You're Welcome, Internet | April 25-29, 2011

Sex pictures! Get your sex pictures here!

And so another week of the internet comes to a close. As always, the lesson we’ve all learned looks like a shit tonne of gifs and jpegs.

You’re welcome.

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THIS MEANS YOU !!!!

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Kiss her, you blockhand?

(Via Maison Immonen)

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You sunk my sneaker!

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Nope nope nope! Refusing to make this any smaller.

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Schatz: So I’ve pretty much decided that this week was amazing. Comics-wise, and life-wise. Comics were amazing, I got approved to move into a new place, and uh… other stuff happened that I may or may not talk about later. But seriously? It’s been great.

Oh! And Phil Roland somehow got some webspace and is now writing there fairly regularly… ish. And it’s rad. So you should check that out. And uh… yeah, other than that, I don’t really have many more words for you. You know, other than the fact that I look forward to another week of getting fucked up on comics with all of you.

Until then!

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Leask: Apparently, Brandon had a better week than I did!  Now, not that mine was bad or anything, but when it starts with a 15-hour workday that ends at 1:30am the day after you started, things are bound to be a little skewed.  But there are good comics, good food and good friends, and that goes a long way.  I am, however, wiped the fuck out.  So of course this is another weekend where people want to do things.  Goddamn you friends, stop liking me and shit!

Apparently I don’t have real problems anymore.

You’ve been reading Comics! The Blog. This concludes our broadcast week.

Recommendation – Osborn #5

Goddammit, Spider-Man.Osborn #5 (Marvel Comics)
By Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Becky Cloonan, Jose Villarrubia & VC’s Clayton Knowles

Synopsis: So Norman Osborn has escaped prison and roofied the reporter who could expose him.  This should go well.

01. I missed Norman Osborn.  Not necessarily the scenery-chewing villain from Dark Reign, who was also awesome, but the guy you weren’t afraid of because he was powerful, but just because he was absolutely fucking terrifying.   Because that guy, the one who’s never more dangerous than when he’s secretly hidden in an underwater superprison away from the world?  That guy is one of the greatest villains in comics, and I’m so, so glad that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios have helped bring him back.

02. Three weeks after posing as a false messiah to the secretly imprisoned before blowing them all up to cover his literal and metaphorical escape, Norman Osborn is nowhere to be seen.  Daily Bugle reporter Norah Winters, who followed a lead right up to Norman’s jailbreak and who has since published a series of articles about Norman’s escape, is testifying in a US Senate hearing chaired by one of Norman’s erstwhile allies and co-conspirators, who is doing everything he can to discredit her.  Despite Senator Muffoletto’s efforts to back up Norah, everybody’s plans are thrown out the window when Norman resurfaces to turn himself in.

This is where things get interesting.

03. Because nobody plays that game better than Norman Osborn, with the possible exception of the person writing him.  He’s got his own plans, but what are they?  Nobody’s happy to see him, even the guy who helped break him out of jail.  The rest of the issue is pure, delicious reaction, with Norman dodging and toying with Norah, Muffaletto and the media itself.  Inscrutable as ever, he has plans.  And I, for one, am scared absolutely shitless by this.

04. Every page is drawn with incredibly powerful effect by Emma Rios and some support from Becky Cloonan.  I challenge anyone to come up with a more intimidating representation of Norman Osborn than the pair’s angular, leering monster, smiling all the while.  Look at his smile as he opens the lid of escape vessel, as he taunts Norah and Muffaletto, or even as he bites down on his lunch.  I mean, just look at it!  The artists on this issue have outdone themselves and created something that could be iconic.

05. Of course, much credit has to go to Kelly Sue DeConnick, the mastermind, along with editor Alejandro Arbona, of this miniseries.  It’s an artfully and intricately crafted series that makes excellent use of the compete absence of Spider-Man from the story of the return of his greatest villain.  Because Norman should terrify everybody, and this series shows us why.  He’s not just a superhero problem.

06. One last thing before I go.  Remember the part earlier before where I suggested one of the only people as smart as Norman Osborn is the person writing him right now?  I meant it.  Stories about smart people sink or swim based on the person writing them, because none of the characters can be smarter than the writer can think.  Now, Jonathan Hickman isn’t a genius scientist because he writes Reed Richards as one believably, and neither is Dan Slott because of his work on Amazing Spider-Man.  But their characters can only think big and be smart because the writers are smart people.  And even if Kelly Sue isn’t actually a megalomaniacal evil genius, the fact that she can write one so well in her comics is absolutely incredible and a testament to how smart she is.

I cannot wait to read every single thing she writes from now on.

Recommended if you like: Amazing Spider-Man, Thunderbolts, Ex Machina, and good comics

Me vs. The Angry Mob #5 – Crackheads

Do you think that I'm funny?

He knocks on the door at the back of the store.

“Hey man, what’s this do.”

It’s not a question so much as a demand for information, albiet one tempered with the pain of some kind of withdrawal. My mind immediately pegs him as a crackhead, though to be honest, I’m not the kind of guy who regularly meets crackheads, so what do I know? This could just be your regular, every day guy with a heavy twitch, sunken pink eyes, and an insatiable urge to scratch his shoulder. He could have Michael J. Fox disease and I could just be a terrible person. But he’s probably a crackhead.

“It definitely doesn’t lead outside,” I lie, as he eyes the rows of manga located close by.

“Shit dude,” he curses, “I just wanted to get some air quickly, you know?”

This doesn’t make any sense. Our store isn’t a labyrinth, and the front door is a clear shot from where he’s standing. But then, there’s no product locate as close to our front door.

“Front door is over there, dude.”

“Yeah, I know,” he says, his scratching getting a bit more intense as his legs start to jerk with less control, “But I can’t, I can’t, there’s people looking for me there, you know?”

Oh shit.

“Hey, got any weed or Pepsi?”

The motherfucking comic store.

I love working here you guys.

ME VS. THE ANGRY MOB

ISSUE #5: CRACKHEADS

After letting the crackhead know that we didn’t have any weed or Pepsi, he milled around the store a bit, muttering incoherently. Every now and then he would turn around and look at me, just to check if I was watching – and of course I was watching. Eventually, he decided that he wouldn’t be making it out of the store with anything in hand (though there was a close call with a stuffed Hello Kitty) and left without checking for the people who were looking for him. An uneventful ending, I admit, but there was a full day of work ahead, and I didn’t really want to deal with “stabbings” or any of the shit that goes with that type of desperation. I suppose I should be happy he wasn’t that far removed from his last fix to be super super desperate?

But whatever. I deal with people like this everyday. My shop is always filled with crackheads – just not the kind looking to melt their brain into sweet oblivion with weed and Pepsi. No, my little crackheads are after something a little different. They’re after the sweet stuff. Comics.

COME ON MAN, JUST A LITTLE TASTE?

It started as a joke. A combination of boredom and people’s visceral reaction to the phrase “comic shop guy” caused me to claim that I was a Nerd Crack Dealer whenever asked. But then like most of my jokes, I started thinking about it a little too hard, and starting picking at it’s scabby edges, just to see what else I could pull from it and suddenly, a rush of puss ridden joke blood started flowing from the freshly exposed metaphor skin. (YOU’RE WELCOME.)

For a comic store to succeed and do well, you have to treat the business like a drug dealer. Have to. Otherwise, you’re not going to survive. Because seriously? While they may not be illegal, the general population still treats comics like they are illicit goods. If you need any proof of this, try reading some on a bus and see what happens. Sure, for the most part people aren’t going to care, but more often than not, you’ll get honest to god stares from people who look like they’re counting the number of children they think you’ve molested in your head. And they’re reading a magazine that talks about the inner workings of a “Snooki”. It’s terrible, like a shambling alcoholic judging the folks that like to blaze up every now and then. But I’m wandering off topic a little – the fact is, comics have a stigma – and while it would be rad if that were not the case, working inside of that stigma is great for business. Some examples:

TREAT EVERYONE LIKE A POTENTIAL ADDICT

While most people aren’t going to like the idea of reading comic books, you can pretty much turn anyone onto them with the proper amount of finesse. There are several ways to do this, but all of them take a bit of a light touch. After all, if the worst you’ve done your entire life is sip on a cooler you stole from your parents’ stash at a party that one time, you’re probably going to balk at the dude who walks up to you and yells, HEY MAN, WANNA TRY SOME CRACK?! The trick is to open the door to addiction slowly. If you’re friends with the person, always keep some good shit on you. Nothing too harsh – you don’t want to toss them off the deep end just because you were stupid and didn’t have anything on you but Final Crisis. Have something that goes down easy around you at all times, like Demo or Nextwave or Walking Dead or Chew… depending on the tastes of your friend in question. And make sure your friend sees you having fun with comics every now and then. The appearance of fun can turn quite a few people if boredom and desperation sets in, so be ready. Once you have a person trying comics socially, you can usually get them to go a little bit further – just don’t push too hard, or else they’ll have a bad trip and swear off the medium for a while (or forever) and you don’t want that.

Now, if you’re a dealer, the whole “getting people hooked” thing is a bit different. Lots of times, you’re dealing with people you don’t really know – usually the friend or family member or significant other of a regular that’s getting their fix. For these people, you must employ the “First Taste Is Free” protocol. Step one, as always, is convincing that random person that you are mostly harmless, and just like normal people that they would hang out with. The second step, once they are more comfortable with you, is to try and give them a taste. Gauge what you think they’ll enjoy, find something with a low commitment and prior knowledge threshold, and just give it to them. If the person who brought them in knows what they’re doing, they’ll offer to get fucked up on comics along side them when they take their first hit. Past that, when you see them again, it’s up to you to ask if they liked what they read, and to offer them something more. Again, try and go with something inexpensive and innocuous until you’re sure they are ready for the harder stuff – you could kill a person if you give them Demo and then jam Casanova into their brain pan, so work up to it slowly.

HOOK THEM YOUNG

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a bitch and smoking around young children can be hazardous to their health. That’s why that shit is mostly frowned upon and vaguely illegal. But exposing kids to comic books? Shit, that’s perfectly legal – and at worst, it gets them reading. Which is why I have no problem focusing my attention on the young ones when they walk into the store. Because honestly, if a parent is willing to expose their children to such an environment, chances are they’re not adverse to letting their kids get a little taste of the good stuff.

Now as always, a bit of finesse is required. People tend to be very protective of their children, and they don’t want them experiencing anything too harmful – which means no Preacher or Fables, even if that last one is about fairy tale characters. You think that would go without saying, but seriously? There’s some people who get a little too crazy with the four colour crackle and start pushing all sorts of shit on people for their own dubious reasons. If you’re a pusher man, always keep the audience in mind when you’re pushing – especially when it comes to kids. Keep a good stock of the all ages content, even if it doesn’t sell as well as the harder stuff. And be prepared to part with a book or two for free. Hand a kid a comic, give them a free bag and a board for it when they leave, and express to them (and by proxy, the parents) that the book is theirs for no money. If you pick the right book and the kid ends up enjoying it, they will come back at least once. And if you can find something else for them the second time they are in, they’ll come back again and again until they are regular. In doing this, you’ll win twice – you’ll have a brand new customer and an adult addict who will get their fix from you by proxy. It’s a win-win-win.

KNOW WHAT THE GOOD SHIT IS

Now this is the dangerous part: to be able to hook others, you need to know what the good shit is, and you need to know who to recommend it to. Doing this requires you to taste the product – but keep in mind, you are just tasting, not devouring. If you get too far deep, you’ll be the guy who sits on the chair reading comics, ignoring everyone around you in order to chase the dragon – or at best, you’ll start incoherently start talking about the Silver Age Legion like you got all types of tourettes and start scaring people. Nobody wants that. Control your intake and be prepared to part with some of the good stuff for the good of the medium if you happen to be out of everything but your copy. Function like a normal human being, and you should do fine pushing the product on others.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE

We’re going to diverge from the metaphor for a little bit to discuss something that’s pretty much unique to the comic industry: Free Comic Book Day

The best day to get people hooked, is Free Comic Book Day. This day, above and beyond all others, is when you will get the highest traffic of non-addicts in the store. Most of them, if not all of them, will be curious to try something out, so this is a prime opportunity to get the whole “taste” thing out of the way for relatively small amounts of money. On this day, the dealers and the regulars must work together to make shit happen. That means as a regular, its your duty to bring someone in who might be into tasting some shit – and as a dealer, you have to be ready with a solid stock to start handing out. It’s a fantastic opportunity the let the magic start happening, and if you do things right, you’re going to get more people hooked on the product. A few things to consider for FCBD:

  • DO NOT put sale prices on the good stuff on FCBD. Your tasters are there to taste. That said, once they have comics in their hands, make sure to let them know that they can come back next week for some cheap shit. Give them a coupon that nets them an extra discount the next time they come back, or just put everything on sale for the next week. Just make sure they know they have access to something good for a relatively low price if they return, and they just might.
  • Be patient. Yes, there’s going to be some people who are just in for the free shit. They’re already addicts but hey, free hits are free hits, right? No way they are going to turn that down. Be personable, sell yourself, your shop and your personality, and try and plant the seed in their brain that they want to get he good stuff from you and not some other asshole.
  • Hand out comics based on a person’s particular taste. That means you should start by asking what they like and go from there. The product might be free, but that doesn’t mean you should squander it by letting someone who isn’t going to like Amazing Spider-Man waste their time reading the book. Hand the shit out wisely, and you should do fine.

CHASE THAT DRAGON

If the industry is going to be treated as something illegal, the least we can do is use the system to our advantage. Be a dealer. Lose a bit of money for heaps of future cash money, and spread the word wisely. If we all get on board, we can all be making sweet crack money without the whole “weed and Pepsi” aspect of possibly getting stabbed.

BACK MATTER

There’s been a lot of talk going around as to the effectiveness of Marvel’s Point One initiative. For those unfamiliar, the system goes like this: every now and then, the company will release a one-shot story for any one of their series. That book generally takes place in between the pages of the regular run (for instance, this week’s Secret Avengers #12.1 takes place after #12 and before #13) and offers a relatively cheap, low-continuity story to get new people hooked. Sales of these issues have yet to light up the charts, with retailers lazily ordering the regular amount of the book for pre-existing customers. Which is stupid. There are tons of ways to use this promotion to your advantage – you just have to be active about it.

  • When a Point One issue is solicited, do not just add it to the files who already get the book, and leave things at that. Those people are already sold on the book, and they don’t need a reintroduction. So, before you just toss the book into their file, find out if they want the issue. Despite the fact that Marvel offers these books at a lower price-point sometimes, a person might not want to budget for something that can be skipped. Put the book into the files who want everything and skip the ones who can do without.
  • Flag customers who you think will like the book. Ask them if they want to try the Point One when it comes out. Offer them a deal: if they pick up an issue off the shelf and get the next issue, that issue will be free. If they like the book, you’ve got another monthly sale – and if they don’t, whelp, no harm, no foul, they’ll still buy what they normally get anyhow.
  • Keep issues around for random people who are looking for starting points. Seriously, telling someone they can get a taste before having to commit is a far easier sell than “well, the series is already 27 issues in, and you should really start here“. So, you know. Do that.

If you follow these rules, you should have no problem selling Point Ones up and above your normal orders – and if you work things properly, you’ll get more readers onto books they would’ve never bought before. They get to enjoy something new and you get cash money. Everybody wins.

 

Movin' on Up, Part 3: We finally got a piece of the pie

Now they give it to me nice and easy/Since I moved up like George and Weezie

Part 3: We finally got a piece of the pie

This is the third and final installment in a three-part series about being a nerd and moving.

You remember this picture, right?

Honestly, I don't even know where I'll put them.

That was what was left when last we talked about my moving into an apartment by myself.  Oh, the plans I had!  I would finally sit down and organize my comics – about 1/2 to 2/3 of the contents of those boxes – a process that consists of:

  1. Taking armloads of comics
  2. Dropping them into stacks according to series
  3. Sorting the series chronologically
  4. Grouping the series by “family”; e.g. Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Marvel Ultimate Universe, Joss Whedon
  5. Grouping the families, when possible, by publisher.

The thing is, this takes a lot of time and space, especially since I only do this once every six months (optimistically), once every year (sometimes) or even longer (more often).  It’s an entire afternoon of something that I actually find quite relaxing, but something that still requires a lot of budgeted time and initiative to actually get started.  Why organize my comics when I could read more?  I’m always behind.  Why organize comics when I can catch up on TV series I have recorded?  I’m always behind on these too; I only started watching The Killing tonight.  The latter option is always, always more fun, be it related to comics, TV, friends, cooking or even political volunteering.  As a result, some things, like organizing comics, fall by the wayside.

So yeah, I said I’d organize them.  And where am I now?

"Work work work" - Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles

If you look close, you’ll actually see there are even more comics on top of the boxes.  Some of the boxes are a bit more full than they were before, but nothing is more organized.

So what happened?  I have a few ideas:

  • I was framed.
  • Couch too comfy, also: hungers for my ass.
  • Comics actually were organized; Brandon has secretly de-organized them to make me look bad.
  • Intermittent selective paraplegia, dementia, Helen Keller-itis
  • Dance parties!
  • Political career taking off.  My staff is on it.
  • Meth.
  • Ennui-laden existential crisis.
  • Rickets.
  • Forgot how to count.
  • It was all a dream!  (Ed Note: Just try suing us, Bob “Not Tim Conway” Newhart!)

But the big reason might just be that I still have all this to go through before things can be organized:

Coasters by www.scarygoround.com, buy some!

That’s just the last month.  And just the ones that aren’t read yet.  Comics is serious business, guys!  Brandon was right after all, though I’ll probably have to chloroform him so he doesn’t remember reading this.  Luckily, I just stocked up, for these exact situations.  I hope he’s not building up a tolerance.

But hey, things could be worse.  My books are still organized, my DVDs and video games are all shelved.  With a few custom framing exceptions, all my art is hung.  Dishes are washed, laundry is done and Isaac the somewhat scary Roomba makes sure that the floors are clean.  My desk is consistently clean for the first time in five years and I finally used my dining room table for only the second time.

Well, I didn’t use it per se.  Other people did.  I just sat nearby and smiled politely.  See?  Growth.

All in all, things aren’t that bad.  Sure, the comics aren’t organized, but everything else is at least clean, I’m keeping up with the other chores and my parents have been successfully convinced that I’m not going to starve to death or be murdered by a stack of rats assembling a Voltron-esque automaton or golem.   Food gets cooked, general maintenance gets done and the Roomba uses his Dirt Apartheid to make sure I’m not living with any kind of unsavoury characters.  The plastic Batmen are multiplying, but I’m okay with that.  At least they’re not eating their young.

At least I’m not regressing to grunts and crude gestures, which is something.  Comic filing will have to come after I’ve re-discovered fire.

Don’t tell my landlady.

Drunk Comic Recaps | Uncanny X-Men #426

Heeeeeeeeeey, champ. Do you know what time it is? Thaaaaaaaaaaat’s right, its time! For the Drunk! Comic! Reeeecaaaaaps! We’re going to get right to this noise tonight, so that it gets done and junk, you hear? The rules are thus: I will read some comics and then write about them while drunk and then the next morning, when I wake up, I can’t go back and change anything. ‘Cept for, you know, the whole “tagging posts” and “adding pictures” thing. Okay? Okay.

Uncanny X-Men #426: Wedding Blues and junk.

So previously in Uncanny X-Men, Havoc was getting married, but realized at the last second that he loved Annie which was bad for him, because his almost wife is a ca-raaaaaayzeeee bitch, and she’s about to murderize everyone with MAGNET POWERS.

This issue opens with the Juggernaut playing pinballs! Because he was not invited to the wedding maybe? Anyway, he gets cranky when the pinball machine tilts and he goes to punch it. But what’s this? He notices that outside, Polaris has gone balls deep crazy and has fashioned a Magneto hat out of cutlery, and is attacking everyone at a wedding. He notes that this probably isn’t good, while Polaris is yelling that it’s all the nurse’s fault. Annie (the nurse) says something like wwhhaaaaat? I had nothing to do with this! And of course, since the bitch is crazy, she needs to be taken care of, and so Havoc tells Bobby to ice up Lorna bcause (and I quote) “THERE’S NO METAL IN WATER!” But what’s this? Lorna says that there is trace metals in everything and she completely, um… cuts through the ice, with her metal powers. Then she grabs Bobby by the throat and says that trace metals runs through his blood and says “You should now that by noooow.” (The “noooow” included that many letter in the teeeext).

Bobby protests because, as he says, he still loves her (d’aww). Polaris says that the thought is sweet, but she’s getting married OVER ANNIE’S DEAD BODY. Havoc grabs Annie and her son and tries to get them out of the wedding thing by flying and landing in water or something. Polaris notes that the flying thing is mostly new, and then follows them by creepily singing the “here comes the bride” song, which when I was a kid, we always sang as “here comes the bride, all fat and wide, slips on a banana peel and goes foooor a riiiiiiiiide”. Because kids, y’all.

Anyway, once their safe for a little bit, Annie notes how Lorna is probalby going to kill them and says she’s cool with it as long as she leaves her son alone. Havoc then says he won’t let that happen “Especially not now that I’m beginning to understand my feelings for her. And hers for me.” D’awww… He then spends some time explaining how he’s got feelings and junk, and then we find out THINGS. Like the fact that Annie’s son has been using his mutant powers to mind meld Havoc and his mom together so that they could make out in dreams and both be happy – which worked, and then, you know they fell in love, and they learned shit about each other, like how Annie hates mutants because Carter’s dad was a mutant and wanted to kill Annie because she was pregnant and he didn’t want to have kids.

This is when Polaris shows up and yells at Havoc for figuring this out on her wedding day, which seriously, is a legit complaint. I mean, in the previous issue, she did bang stripper Gambit, but whatever. She’s mad. This is when Juggernaut shows up and punches that one bitch out cold and then everyone is okay. Later, we find out that Havoc and Annie are all happy and making out on the Eiffel Tower and then the book ends!

Next week! I’m gonna’ try doing two comics, even if it kills me.

I hope it doesn’t kill me.

Until then, komitchiwam, bitches!

You Read These With Your Eyes – April 27th, 2011

Read about these, earth-man.

Every week, Comics! The Blog goes through the list of new releases and tell you which comics to plug into your mind hole. Your mileage may vary.

Toomany… good… comics…

ACTION COMICS #900 (DC Comics)

Paul Cornell brings his super rad Lex Luthor story to a close here – with a fight against Superman and, you know, 51 god damn pages. But hey, the fun doesn’t stop there! There’s also stories from one of the guys that co-wrote the recent Batman movies, that one guy that wrote the old Superman movies, that other guy that wrote some of the Batman cartoon, that dude what makes the Green Lantern comics and that other dude that did things for Lost. SO MUCH COMICS, and all of it should be awesome!

BATMAN INCORPORATED #5 & DETECTIVE COMICS #876 (DC Comics)

Yeah, I’m cheating this week. You’re going to deal with that shit.

I’m listing two Batman books this week, for a few reasons. One? They are awesome. And two? Together, they illustrate how amazing comics can be. Not only can you have a book where Batman learns a death tango from a long lost bat-love before dealing with some dude who holds orphans hostage so that two dudes can electric knuckle box to the death. And then, there’s a book in which Batman straight up detects shit and solves mysteries. Two completely different flavours – and yet they both work. Kids, you can have it all – and man, you could do way worse than to nab these two titles tomorrow and experience that.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #659 & FF #2 (Marvel Comics)

We’ve only gotten two stories of the new FF so far (in this month’s ASM and last month’s FF respectively) and they’ve both been rad-balls. And look. I’m not going to lie. I’ve read both of these? And they’re stunning. I mean absolutely stunning. Dan Slott digs in on ASM with a tale that recalls the Four’s first Doctor Doom adventure and Hickman deals with the fallout of the FF’s newest member – and both have some amazing twists at the end. Seriously, you’re going to have to read them to believe them. So do that.

AVENGERS #12.1 (Marvel Comics)

Do you want 33 pages of Bryan Hitch art for just $2.99? Do you want those pages written by Brian Michael Bendis? Well you should probably pick up this book. A complete done-in-one story with what we can only assume is some big action – and it’s all for $2.99. Seriously, this book should be picked up by lots and lots of people – if only to send a message that quality content at $2.99 does sell more than “less” content for $3.99.

MORNING GLORIES #9 (Image Comics) & SECRET AVENGERS #12.1 (Marvel Comics)

So hey, you know how we like Nick Spencer? And you know how he’s got a new Morning Glories out this week, as well as the premiere of his run on Secret Avengers? We should probably buy, just… ALL of these. Because he’s awesome.

These are just five eight books being released this week! You can find the full list of comics being released here. If you have any other recommendations, let us know in the comments below.

C!TB's Best of the Week | April 25th, 2011

Ta-daaaahhh

It’s Monday, gentle internet, and that means one thing: time to watch those genital torture videos to help you start your week. Oh, and can we just say, we’re really happy that you’ve stopped by our site before doing that. Right? RIGHT?

Okay fine, just… just don’t show us, and we’ll just hand out some awards and call it a day.

THE GREATEST (FICTIONAL) GENERATION

There are some comics that are a part of your DNA. You know the ones. The first comic you read as a kid, the first run that sparked your imagination, the first character or group of characters that you discovered – that were yours, and not, you know, everyone’s. I know that my first comics were Spider-Man comics. I know that my copy of Sensational Spider-Man #0, though stylistically off from the type of books I enjoy now – will always stay in my collection, because it was my first Spider-Man #1… and really, the first comic I spent hard earned cash to make my own. From that moment on, Ben Rielly would always be my Spider-Man, would always hold a special place in my heart, despite my aversion to that era and the storytelling bits that it held dear.

Now I know I’m off track a little, but you know what? It’s half my site, goddammit, and I can do as I please. But I do have a point, and my point is this: Generation Hope is going to be a comic that someone is going to be a part of the new blood’s DNA. It’s the X-book that has characters that are theirs, that will go on adventures as the readership ages. When the book dies (it’s not just me that feels like this book is being built in a finite fashion, am I?), there will be people at conventions asking after these characters for years – just as they do with those kids from Generation X and New Mutants and the like.

It’s a book that’s fresh, and new, and features unique stories and characters, and even with the wide variety of X-books happening at the moment, it really feels like the only X book that really feels special. Don’t get me wrong – I love what’s happening in Uncanny X-Men and Uncanny X-Force and the like, but those books, and the other X-books often feel like something we’ve always had, and always will have. Now, those books will stick around forever in one form or another, because those books are the backbone of superhero comics. They do what they do and they do it so good, and I would never want that to go away, ever. But again, Generation Hope feels like something special – something vitally new that I could throw at a new reader and say, you want to try some X-Men? See what you think about this. And honestly, I think that’s going to work – even more so than giving them recent arcs of the Uncanny books – because as magnificent as they are, they aren’t really discoveries, you know?

Anyway, I’ve rambled on for long enough. Generation Hope? You get an award. You get the Comic Book DNA Award, because again, this is one that’s going to stick with people. And thank satan for that.

Regrets? He's got a few.WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN “PALMER ADDLEY” SANDIEGO?

Now, this comic could win an award this week just off Sebastian Fiumara‘s fantastic, fantastic cover.  I mean, look at that thing!  If that’s not genius, I’m not sure what is.  Step aside, Stephen Hawking?

Oh, what?  My bad.

Regardless, what’s inside is just about as good.  It’s nothing entirely unfamiliar to North America since the Columbine shootings (or another one from your own experiences), but here?  A look at Palmer Addley, ghost terrorist extraordinaire, through the eyes of his family and the people who knew him with he was young.  We still don’t see Addley, but it’s like he’s in the room.  We all knew that kid, minus the murder part.  Nick Spencer plays on these familiarities to have an issue that, while seemingly providing no action, actually provides so much more, just by the looks of pain on Addley’s mother’s face or the guilt in the eyes of the guy who gave him a ride.  It might not seem like we’ve moved Jim Rhodes’ story along in these pages, but that’s deceptive.  In giving an issue that’s a bit of a breather, Spencer actually managed to keep me waiting in suspense for the whole issue.  I didn’t want Addley to do it.  I didn’t want those people to die.  But it’s the past.  All we can do now is hope Jim can stop him.

So for keeping me on the edge of my seat through nothing but storytelling bravado, we award Iron Man 2.0 #4 the coveted Dump Truck Full of Money Award. (Note: Contains no dump truck or money) (J)

Better than alllll the rest

I want to be very clear with this.

By virtue of doing this feature every week, we tell you about a lot of books that are great. Now, we don’t ever lie when we say those things to you. We don’t. Every book we talk about on this site is a book that we enjoy immensely – some on different levels than others, but the point still stands. We like all of these comics.

But then there’s those other books – those pitch perfect books that come along and just make everything else you’ve read seem a little less… something. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it, because those books are still good and nothing has changed about them – but man, after you read some things, you almost feel ruined when it comes to just… everything else. I know James and I felt a little bit of this after watching Hobo with a Shotgun, which made us wonder why anyone would try and make movies of dire consequence and substance when you could have so much fun just screwing around with a hobo, a shotgun, a cast member from Everwood and a bus full of small children that’s been set on fire. Now, I’m feeling this way about The Sixth Gun.

This book is something else. As far as I’m concerned, its a perfect book – as far as you’re concerned… maybe it’s near perfect? Maybe you can find the flaws? But I’m desperately trying to claw at the woodwork, trying to find the cracks in the paneling and I just can’t find them. At the end of two arcs, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt have accomplished some amazing bits of storytelling. Chock full of character building, but ballanced oh-so-perfectly with plot movement, these two creators are marching in lock-step, building each story to a favor before the gut punches give away to a dénouement that wraps the arc succinctly, while still offering tasty morsels for the future.

The last issue of the second story arc shipped this week, and the collection for the first arc is on stands everywhere. If you haven’t read the book yet, pick up that first collection. I can almost guarantee that’ll you’ll be chomping at the bit for more – and hey, if you really can’t wait for the second collection to hit in June, every issue of the second story arc remains available from Diamond – so your LCS should be able to get that for you, no problem.

Now get on that.

This is Comics! The Blog. We now commence our broadcasting week.

You’re Welcome, Internet | April 18-22, 2011

Sex pictures! Get your sex pictures here!

Good afternoon, Beelzeloves!  How are you on this fine, fine Good Friday afternoon?  We hope you’re able to enjoy this long weekend, because if we were you?  We’d get crazy.  Like, Gary-Busey-partying-with-Randy-Quaid crazy.

Yeah.

Welp!  You’re welcome, Internet.

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Sacrawhatnow?

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Then... it repeats.

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Portal is about sex crimes, right?

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Got a washboard stomach and a microphone.

(Stolen with love)

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Show-off. Someone should steal their dog just to teach them.

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Then they were murdered.

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Up until the sex crimes.

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LEASK: Another week, another crippling new addiction.  This one’s to Doctor Who!  No meth for me, kids.  I learned from Brandon’s mistake!  Speaking of which, apparently his “boss” is “using the computer”, which I am taking to mean that he is strung out and about to OD, so from now on, there will be a whole new direction here at C!TB!  From now on, it will be James! The Blog, all about me and the things I like.  Which is basically what it is now, except with less Schatzening.

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SCHATZ: Since Brandon’s too busy chasing dragons to post here, have a picture!

GodDAMN, people.

(From the always wonderful Phil Noto)

You’ve been reading Comics! The Blog. This concludes our broadcast week.

Late to the Party, No 2: Doctor Who

Don't worry, we left you some Cheetos.

No. 2: Doctor Who

British Conan O’Brien enthusiast travels through time and space, or:

Eccentric faux-Englishman galavants about time, fights robots with plungers for hands

The reason two are necessary, of course, is because there is more than one Doctor.  And his name isn’t Doctor Who, it’s just… the Doctor.

I know, right?

And I’ll be honest: the second, more general description of the series didn’t quite get me there.  It got me oh so close, though.  My dad had watched the series back in some of its earlier days, including the Tom Baker years, aka the Scarf Years, aka the knitted sex swing years, but never really talked about it, I just knew that, when the series reappeared on my beloved CBC in 2005 with a weird, angry looking man I didn’t really believe had any sort of medical degree, I knew enough to know that when my dad watched bits of it, it was because he had watched something very much like it before.  And usually, this is how I discovered science fiction and fantasy things as a kid: my dad would mention something or explicitly suggest I check it out, I would and then we’d all have a larf and bond or something.  My childhood was heartwarming as fuck, people.

But for some reason, this time I didn’t listen to my dad (though I would not too long later with the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica).  Instead, I went to another room, did something else, and now, years later, am sorry I did.  That’s the lesson here, kids: always listen to your father.  Especially when he’s both a nerd and cool like mine is.

Hi, dad!

So.  Years pass.  There’s a new actor playing the Doctor, which isn’t weird.  In fact, it’s actually one of the series’ primary conceits, which is absolute fucking genius, when you think about it.  BBC America has successfully brought Doctor Who away from PBS reruns and into the wider minds of Geekville.  More of my friends started watching it, and it became an ever-growing part of Pop Candy, one of my favourite sites on the web.  I started getting urges.  Finally, in late 2009, I made an announcement:

All talk, no action.

Two years later, I had done literally nothing.  There was another new Doctor – the perfect jumping-on point – but still… nothing.  My sister started watching the show, and devoured all the seasons since the show’s 2005 relaunch in a matter of weeks.  I thought, okay James, time to get on this.  You can do it. I recorded the Christmas special, which was advertised as a great stand-alone episode.  This was on December 26th.

Then I waited three months.

I eventually watched it solely because of my sister’s vaguely terrifying anger when I let this slip.  I didn’t mean for it to be so long, but… it just happened.  I was watching Fringe, if you remember.  So finally, I watched it.  And guys, I absolutely loved Doctor Who!  The story was moving, the characters were funny and it really was all about the powers of intellect and curiosity over brute force, which really explains why we nerds love it so much.

That was it, for the time being.  But then my sister moved back to town, with her copies of the seasons, and we both realized that a new season would be starting tomorrow, April 23rd.  We made plans to watch the previous season, starting last Friday.  She came over, we watched the first episode and she made me eat fish custard, which is a Thing.

Really?

Seriously.  It’s actually good.

Hey ladies.

And, just like that, I was sold.  I got a great deal on the entire last season on iTunes and have been working my way through ever since, because she’s coming over again tomorrow for more TV and more fish custard.

The show is like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It is, in very literal terms, about the power of intelligence and imagination.  It’s a show where the Doctor helps save the Earth from callous international space jailers, then saves England, which is a starship (OR IS IT?), helps Winston Churchill fight the Nazis and evil aliens with plungers for arms, before saving the Church, which is now an army, from evil statues.  And those are just the ones I’ve watched so far.  Like the Eleventh Doctor, played with sexual gusto by Matt Smith, tells his companion Amy (Karen Gillan), the whole of time and space are the limit.  Imagination is the limit.  And that’s, well, you know.  Without a limit.

Doctor Who is a show where the most dangerous being in existence is a nerd with a bowtie, tweed jacket and floppy hair who waggles a “sonic screwdriver” about while cracking wise and rarely, rarely doing anything close to throwing a punch.  He’s much too smart for that, you see.  And the viewer?  Well, I’m a nerd.  And when I was a teenager, I’d have loved if this were real.  I’d have loved to be surrounded by an army of evil, terrifying monsters that have killed most of the people I’m hanging around with, crack a smile, come up with a plan and remind the monsters that they’re right fucked.  Frankly, that would have saved teenage me a bit of trouble.

Your first Doctor is your Doctor.  Your first doctor is the one that reminds you of the power of sheer thought, of the limitless possibilities contained within the mind, the one who introduces you to the TARDIS and the sonic screwdriver, to the Daleks and the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels.  My dad’s is Tom Baker.  My sister’s is Christopher Eccleston, though she loves Matt Smith too.  Probably in a different way than I do, though.  But I decided to start with the current Doctor purely for topicality and posterity, and I’m glad.  Because I don’t know if anybody else would have made me such a believer in the series, who would have me so excited to go on all these adventures.  But like the saying goes:

Trust your Doctor.

Recommendation: Super Dinosaur #1

SUPER DINOSAUR #1 (Image Comics/Skybound Ent.)
by Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard, and Rus Wooton

Synopsis: Derek Dynamo and his science-and-missile infused T-Rex fight evil with awesomeness.

01. I can’t exactly remember when it happened – whether it was shortly after he left Marvel to focus completely on his creator owned comics or around the time that he became a partner with Image – but if you poke the internet long enough, you’ll find a bit of dialogue from Robert Kirkman bemoaning the state of all ages comics from the big two. At the time it seemed a little odd – the man behind The Walking Dead and the increasingly blood soaked adventures of Invincible and The Astounding Wolfman talking about how superhero books needed to shed their adult-oriented story lines in favour of more kid friendly fare – but now the man is putting his money where his mouth is with a decidedly all-ages book called Super Dinosaur – and it’s rad.

02. The book opens big with our hero Derek Dynamo taking on some evil dinosaurs with the help of Super Dinosaur. In a short span of time, Kirkman lays out all the rules and the stakes while things are punched and everyone has a good time – minus the story’s villain. As the story progresses, the cast is fleshed out, as are their roles – and we learn just what kind of food Derek’s T-Rex likes best. Here’s a hint: it’s awesome.

03. The art from the book comes from The Astounding Wolfman’s Jason Howard, who is drawing a lot less blood, and a lot more missiles in this outing. His style is particularly suited for this kind of story – a larger than life romp with big ideas and crazy looking villains. It’s like you’re watching a Saturday morning cartoon with big stylized characterized humans and creatures alike – though unlike a cartoon, page turns are utilized to make big moments even bigger, like near the end when Super Dinosaur shows up with… ah, well, that would be giving things away. Suffice to say, it was a lot of fun to read.

04. This book is going to be a huge hit on Free Comic Book Day – I mean seriously, you tell a kid that they can read a free book about a boy an his pet dinosaur that uses missiles to fight bad guys? And you’re going to see them lose their minds – and with good reason. It’s a fun book with a great cast that can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. So if you’re into this kind of thing… uh… get it. Okay?

Recommended if you like: Invincible, Tiny Titans, Iron Giant and good comics.