Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 Years, 555 Posts, What, AGAIN With The Comics ?!?

Again With the Comics first feeble post hit the internet on June 13, 2006. Has it been five years already? Christ, I'm old.

I spent the last couple of weekends working in the yard. My wife and I have built quite a nice little garden paradise in the back yard of our house over the last ten years, and each summer means tending to it, which of course means less time for comics and blogging about comics. Which is not to say they aren't always in the back of my mind. Case in point: after all the work was done, I was sitting on the patio enjoying a beer and she was taking photos of all the new flowers she had planted. Needless to say, I soon leapt to my feet, stalked across the yard, and barked:
More bemused than amused, she rolled her eyes and continued her task. She's lucky I started up Again with the Comics five years ago, or I'd have to vent to her about DC comics' latest revamp, or how Marvel and DC keep screwing up their numbering, and that would be grounds for divorce, I'm sure. I mean, she she still has to hear more than her fair share of comics talk, like when we're watching 30 Rock, and I'm trying to explain why Liz Lemon and Superman should meet, because according to Suprman lore, they have a weirdly-fated "LL" connection:

But here I have a place where I can babble away about funnybooks to my heart's content, and everyone gets it.  

For newcomers, welcome. I am Brian Hughes, award winning Internet Comic Book Blogger and humble host of Again with the Comics. I write way more about comics than is healthy for a normal adult, see the archives for details. Longtime readers, linkers, commenters: Thank you for your support, my friends.You know, if you keep encouraging me, I'll never go away.

In closing, and for no particular reason, Daffy Duck by Peter Bagge:

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Marvel to Relaunch Entire Line, Publish ONLY First Issues Starting January 2012.

Just some of the Marvel titles with long, unbroken runs  that have earned their pedigrees   published since the 1960's affected by "Forever First" changes 

Not to be outdone by cross-town rival DC Comics, Marvel Entertainment has announced a bold new publishing initiative called “Forever First” designed to revolutionize the concept of comic book collectability. Recognizing that every issue of a comic is someone’s first, and that collectors crave first issues like a junkie craves sweet,sweet smack, Marvel will launch an historic renumbering of the entire Marvel Universe line of comic books with 104 first issues, beginning January 11, 2012. This isn’t just a carbon copy of DC’s plan, however, since the next issues of each series, shipping in February, will ALSO be numbered issue #1, as will all comics published in March, April, May, and all subsequent months.

Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonzo explains further:
“Basically, this move is designed to provide maximum accessibility to all Marvel titles, while allowing every reader to feel like they’re jumping in at square one, every single month. We’ve stopped and restarted our numbering so many times, we frankly have no idea what issue Captain America is actually up to by now, so this seemed like the next logical step. Assuming you have a very flexible definition of the word “logical” that is. At least this way, Moon Knight never gets canceled again, and everyone can own a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #1, every month!"

All titles will be available digitally on the same day-and-date as the print copies are released to comic shops, for $2.99 per download - But only for 4-6 hours. Then, a week later, the digital comics will be reoffered unless they aren't and the price will drop to $1.99, but all digital comics will download sideways so you have to twist your head to read them if you're on a sucky PC. Then, a week after that, they will download normally again, but only in black and white, and for $3.49. Then they go into the vault for six months. After six months, they’ll be available again, possibly in color, definitely on an incompatible reader, and probably, oh...let’s say $3.26. We’ll get back to you on that.

While it was still too early to release information on all of the 104 new titles destined to glut shelves in 2012, Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort was able to give some tantalizing hints:
“Forever First builds on long-term foundations that we’ve been laying for years here at the house of ideas. These are stories that needed to be told, and could only be told in a series of never ending first issue spectaculars! For example, we’ve been wanting to launch an ongoing Pet Avengers title, but we had to wait until the time was right to co-launch it with Ms.Lion’s New Pet Avengers. That time is now, and the place is Marvel!”

Instead of just changing the heroes' costumes once in January, Marvel will be taking a cue from recent issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, introducing a new costume for each major character every month. "Fans lose interest in the same old costumes faster than ever in this media-driven information age," explained Brevoort; "Readers are sophisticated enough to figure out that Spider-Man has joined the FF by now, and are bored with his dull old white costume.He really needs a new look ever time he appears; after all I don't wear the same clothes every day. Er, maybe that's not the best example..." Alonzo continues:  "Hey, Iron Man is genius enough to create a new armor every day, forget once a month! The possibilities are endless! Oh yeah, plus, someone DIES in every issue now, too! Venom, Cyclops, Daredevil, the Hulk and Annex are all joining the Avengers, but someone won't survive their first mission as a team! Can't guess who? Read it and find out!"

All 104 January-shipping titles weren't available at press time, but a partial list of confirmed books included some old favorites and some new surprises:
  • Spider-Man #1
  • Amazing Spider-Man #1
  • Web of Spider-Man #1
  • Spectacular Spider-Man #1
  • Sensational Spider-Man #1
  • Spider-Man Adventures #1
  • Spider-Man Pays His Bills and Washes the Dishes #1
  • Rocket Racer #1
  • Vengeance of Frog Man #1
  • Aunt May: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. #1
  • Captain America #1
  • Captain America and Bucky #1
  • Captain America is Talking About World War 2 Again #1
  • Avengers #1
  • New Avengers #1
  • Avengers Scabs #1
  • Avengers Academy #1
  • Avengers Cleaning Staff #1
  • Pet Avengers #1
  • Ms. Lion and the New Pet Avengers #1
  • Forbush Force #1
  • Ghost Rider #1
  • Tuff Ghosts Starring Ghost Rider #1
  • Fantastic  Four #1
  • FF #1
  • The Thing #1
  • H.E.R.B.I.E. and the Fantastic Force #1
  • Wolverine #1
  • Wolverine: Berserker Rage #1
  • Wolverine: Mellow Moods #1
  •  Wolverine Team-Up #1
  • Wolverine Force #1
  • Wolverine’s TV Laugh-Out
  • Wolverina #1
  • Wolverine Jr. #1
  • The Three Lieutenant Wolverines #1
  • Lady Bova: Legend of Wundagore #1
  • Mighty Iron Man #1
  • Iron Man #1
  • Iron Man, Too, But This One’s A Black Guy #1
  • X-Men #1
  • X-Force #1
  • X-Men Legacy
  • X-Treme X-Men #1
  • Uncanny X-Men (Team Cyclops) #1
  • Uncanny X-Men (Team Wolverine) #1
  • Ex X-Men #1
  • Deadpool, of Course #1
  • Red Hulk #1
  • Incredible Green Hulk #1
  • Beige  Hulk #1
  • She Hulk Squad #1
  • U.S.1 vs. Razorback #1
  • Invincible Thor #1
  • Thunderstrike and Lockjaw #1
  • Volstagg the Voluminous#1
  • Warriors Three #1
  • Journey into Thor #1
  • Web of Hercules #1
  • Marvel Team-Up
  • Marvel Two-In-One
  • Marvel Triple Action #1
  • Marvel Quadruple Action #1
  • Kickers, Unlimited #1
  • DP7, Inc. #1
  • New Street Poet Ray Adventures #1
  • Terrible Tinkerer #1
  • Yancy Street Gang #1
  • Venom #1
  • Venom's Wise-Guy Jokes #1
"And that's just the tip of the iceberg!" Alonzo muttered. "If these don't work for you, wait'll you see what we have in store for February! Two Words: Howard. The. Mutant." With this massive push, its clear Marvel plans to be "Number One" in comics for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I'll Bet This Somehow Ends Up Making Donna Troy EVEN MORE Confusing.

Well, Action Comics almost made it to #1000 uninterrupted, but those manics finally pulled the trigger. I've long despaired of this renumbering-mania that publishers are obsessed with, but Action and Detective Comics are two of the most venerable runs in comics, and seeing them go down is painful. If you've no idea what I'm rambling about, DC Comics is relaunching their entire line in September with a renumbering of all DC Universe titles at #1, and yet another continuity reboot. I'm assuming this includes Action and Detective, though they might be canceled outright for all I know. I would almost prefer that, since they could always be quietly brought back later with their original numbering, no bizarre deviations and no one the wiser. Yes, I actually worry about things like this.

Apparently, all of this involves more continuity tinkering, and tweaking of a number of troublesome story points. Rumors include new origins for some characters while retaining others, undoing Superman's marriage to Lois Lane, restoring Barbara Gordon to the Batgirl role, and a number of other claims that, if true, would require unwinding hundreds of recent stories from continuity, while apparently trying to keep others. In other words, they're opening exactly the same can of worms they opened 25 years ago with Crisis on Infinite Earths.

It is also meant to reset the characters to younger, fresher and newer versions, which to me implies that a lot of recent works, Morrison's Batman, Inc. for example, may be swept under the rug in favor of a younger, hipper Batman who doesn't constantly remind you that he's old enough to have an adult "son" with the same job. How many very recent works will fall down the memory hole this time I wonder? Then there's the whole 'married Superman issue, and the legacy/generational aspect of the DCU in general that obsessives like myself enjoy, but theoretically are a turn-off to new, young audiences that DC hopes are waiting on the digital frontier.

A few problems, however:
If Jim Lee draws ten full issues of Justice League -on time and in a row- I'll eat my Justice League longbox and all of its no-longer-in-continuity contents. I don't believe for a minute that DC has the talent pool or the editorial competence to pull off FIFTY-TWO launches in September or any other month. This digital day-and-date thing could be a disaster for retailers; allowing customers to bypass the brick and mortar store entirely, and presumably download comics before they could physically make it to the store. How many stores will go down when Marvel inevitably follows suit?

And oh yeah, the last thing the DCU needs is another continuity hiccup. I'm sure I've mentioned this before.

For my part, I'll pick up whatever my favorite creators are working on. I would have purchased a Grant Morrison Superman book regardless of whether or not it came hand-in-hand with a crazy stunt. This just seems like a super-crazy stunt at a super-crappy time in the market, so I hope (more for my local retailers' sake than DC's) that they know what they're doing.