Saturday, September 30, 2006

Foggy Says, "Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man!"

In case you haven't heard by now, Robert Downey Jr. will be Iron Man in the upcoming Jon Favreau movie.

My initial reaction to this news was not very good. In fact, I thought it would be a disaster. However, it has started to grow on me. For obvious reasons, Downey would be perfect to portray Tony Stark fighting his demons.

Even though Downey is a tremendous actor, I am not totally sold on whether he will be able to pull off the billionaire industrialist role. I am afraid he might come across as a parody of the "evil rich guy." Tony Stark is not a Wall Street (greed is good), type of guy. He is a subtle mix of Hugh Hefner and Richard Branson.

I am always confused as to why most comic book movie directors show no respect for the rich history available to them. There was absolutely no reason why Batgirl was not Commissioner Gordon’s daughter. By the simple act of making her related to Alfred, Joel Schumacher, spit in the face of 60 years of established storyline.

I do however, feel that most stories need to be updated for a new generation. Marvel has done this successfully with their Ultimate line of books. A perfect example is Sam Raimi’s decision to alter how Spider-Man produces his web. It was much more believable than a teenager inventing spring released gadgets that he attaches to his arm.

I feel the best thing going for this movie is Jon Favreau. Like Sam Raimi and Christopher Nolan, he is perfect to direct this movie. I can't think of anything he has made that I didn’t like. He also seems to be going out of his way get input from the fan base. I just hope he is faithful to Iron Man’s 40 year history.

But tell me this; if Favreau has a role in the movie, will he have to explain why Foggy Nelson (his role in Daredevil) has a clone elsewhere in the Marvel Universe?

What do you guys think?

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 29, 2006

Pride of Baghdad: The Lion King Meets Apocalypse Now!

In my opinion, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD is a must read!

I finished it last night and I was blown away. I sold out of it immediately when it was released a couple weeks ago. So when I got my shipment this week, I broke my own rule and grabbed the first one.

This graphic novel is based on a true story you probably remember from the news a couple years back. In 2003 a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during one of the
US bombings of Iraq. This story follows The Pride’s short journey into freedom.

Artist, Niko Henrichon (Barnum!), creates a beautiful and believable world that has the cuteness of The Lion King but the horrifying reality of Apocalypse Now.

Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Runaways) again proves that he is one of the best of the new generation of writers. His dialogue flows so naturally and effortlessly, and best of all, his use of metaphors doesn’t get in the way of the story.

I must say that I was a little surprised that Vaughan took the high road and avoided being too political. It would have been easy to turn this into a Bush bashing story. Whether you believe President Bush is a liberator or conqueror, it would be hard to disagree with his subtle points. No matter how right or wrong this war may be, there are—and will continue to be—innocent casualties. It is easy to forget about them when we refer to them as collateral damage.

Many people are missing the subtleties of Vaughan’s symbolism. In my right opinion, he is not declaring Saddam Hussein and his ilk as victims. Yes, the Iraqi military liked to use the term, “The Lions of Baghdad.” However, this particular pride of lions represent the guiltless Iraqi people who were enslaved by Hussein. In fact, one of the stories main protagonist, remembers a brutal attack she received by certain “brother” lions. Uday and Qusay perhaps?

This parable also uses other animals to symbolize various countries of the world. The bear represents Russia and The Pride deals with him similarly to Iraq’s dealings with Russia. Also, note the actions and words of the monkeys, the turtle, the horses and even the birds. Let’s discuss who they represent.

The graphic novel format is the only way this story could be told. It wouldn’t have had the same impact as a monthly series. My only complaint is minor. The story reads a little too fast. You could easily read it in one or two sittings. However, this is mostly due to the great flow of the story. You really should read it more than once to catch all the nuances.

Go pick it up at your local comic shop. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it for you. If that doesn’t work, contact me and I will sell you a copy and mail it to you for free.


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Marvel Civil War: Clones, Racists, and Skrulls, Oh My?

CLICK HERE For The NEW Complete Marvel Civil War Review. (updated 2/21/07)

The following post was written after Marvel Civil War #4.

Where the hell are the real Tony Stark and Reed Richards? There is no way these people are the same guys we have all grown up reading.

How will we be able to look at Iron Man as a hero again?

No matter how you slice it, Reed Richards is responsible for the death of Goliath. He’s going to have to be held accountable.

I hope and pray that Marvel will give us a good explanation as to why everyone is acting so out of character.

Before you think I am breaking my own Commandment #7, let me state that I am really digging the story so far. It reads, looks and flows like a great movie. It has continually been unpredictable and given us some of the best cliffhangers in comic history. Nevertheless, I am starting to get worried as to how this thing is going to end. I do know...

The 5 worst ways to end Marvel's Civil War:

1. Peter Parker regains his secret identity when Ben Reilly returns to don the Spidey garb. This will allow both Spider-Man and Parker to be seen in public together.

2. We find out that these events never even happened. This super-power hating world is contained in a tether ball owned by Franklin Richards.

3. The Scarlet Witch wipes the mind of everyone on Earth and returns things to normal. Nah, they would never do anything that ridiculous.

4. We find out that Richards and Stark are from Bizzaro World. Damn, they actually might be acting screwy because they are from the Negative Zone.

5. Everyone’s a Skrull!

Regardless of how they end Civil War, Marvel needs to let it stick. I am sick of everything conveniently going back to normal.

In recent years, DC has been much better at character development than Marvel. Most Marvel books have been pretty much like a Star Trek episodes—totally interchangeable.

Now let me explain the picture at the top of this blog.

First, I want to make it clear that I am in NO WAY a fan of the Confederate flag or the South’s role in the real Civil War. I do however; think this picture shows just how idiotic some people’s views are concerning Marvel’s Civil War.

You see, I read a lot of blogs and forums, and over the past week I have been shocked at one recurring theme. It seems some of our fellow comic fans are convinced that the guys at Marvel are racists.

Apparently, Thor (who is a white supremacist wet dream—blond hair, blue eyes), killed Goliath because he was black. I thought it was a joke the first couple times I read it. By the fifth and sixth time, I was dumbfounded. What kind of glasses are you wearing to read Civil War #4 that way? In my opinion, you have to be quite a bigot yourself.

If the guys at Marvel were racist, do you think Luke Cage and Jessica Drew would have married and had a baby? Would Black Panther be a pivotal member of the Illuminati? I don’t think so.

Wait…Now that I think about it…Marvel did keep Bishop in Jerry Curls way to long.

What do you think?

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 24, 2006

10 Commandments For A Strong Comic Industry

So here we go.

For several months now people have told me that I should blog. I wasn’t sure whether they meant it as a compliment or some type of insult. Who knows? Who cares? The only certain thing is...“I gots me some opinions!” Better than that, my opinions are always RIGHT!

Ancient History

I have been in the Comic Book retail business for over 16 years! Believe me, I've seen it all. I was here for the rise and fall of Image (yes, I consider them fallen). I survived Marvel’s attempt to take over comic distribution with their Heroes World debacle (thank God Perlman’s gone). My store barely scraped by when Wizards of The Coast released Fallen Empires (several stores went bankrupt).I even made the huge bucks with the Pokemon craze. Never will there be anything like it again.

Recent History

The past few years have been rough for the comic industry. Many thought that our life support plug had been pulled, and we were beginning a long and painful death. Year after year, comic sales were down. Many of the fans quit reading comics all together. Many woke up and realized that they were raped by the industry in the 90’s.

Many of the comic faithful decided to just start buying trade paperbacks. Why not? You could buy them immediately after a story arc ended. Other readers discovered eBay. You can always find some idiot who is selling stuff for less than he paid for it (even before the fees).

Out of desperation, comic stores began evolving into “gaming stores.” Unfortunately, this only made the comic fan feel less respected. Now they had to wait in a line of Pokemon brats buying ten cent common cards. A few more loyalist quit reading.

Over the past few years games have begun loosing steam. Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic sales are way down. This was due in part to distributors selling product online under fake names. Also, quite a few gamers were switching to online games.

As usual, panic and lack of sales have caused stores to close their doors. The few that remained (mine included), began moving to smaller stores and cutting back quite a bit on gaming space. It is hard to justify paying extra rent when customers are buying their stuff online and want to use you for the free space.


In the middle of the carnage along comes Infinite Crisis and Civil War. Could it be that comics are back? Sales are up, and long lost readers are back. Great art has finally been combined with great WRITING. Things are looking good.

How long will it last? Is this just a fluke? I hope not. And I have a few ideas on how to keep it strong. And by the way, my opinions are always right.



1. Publishers: Thou shalt keep the focus on great writing.

With the increase in sales, please don't go crazy with all the alternate cover bullshit. Yeah we’re making extra money, but don’t go to crazy. This resurrects our evil nemesis, SPECULATOR MAN.

I always want to choke the guy who walks in and says, "Oh, I don't read comics, I collect them." Thanks buddy. It's guys like you who screwed up comics in the 90's. How many copies of Death of Superman do you have? Got any early Image stuff?

2. Publishers: Thou shalt limit the gimmick crossovers.

We all love the universe changing events. But let’s keep them to big stories. Once a fan realizes that you are only trying to sell more books they feel screwed. God, didn’t we all feel screwed in the old Infinity Gauntlet days? Or Deathmate….echh!

The awesome thing about Civil War and Crisis is that you don’t have to read every tie in comic. However, if you do choose to read them you get a bigger picture. And you realize that there is a lot of awesome books these days.

3. Writers: Thou shalt remember continuity and keep it holy.

Dammit, if Spider-Man transmogrifying (love that word) into an actual spider in Spectacular; he needs to be an arachnid in Amazing! It drives us crazy! At the very least give us a blurb in regards to timeline.

4. Writers: Thou shalt commit to adults with trees.

Okay, I know the tree thing is lame.

Thank God the publishers have finally realized that only adults read comics. If a kid gets $5.00 for allowance, he is renting a video game (or maybe buying crystal meth).

We as an industry need to duplicate the marketing of video games. America now understands that it is adults who play Xbox and PlayStation.

Side note: Writers, as a personal request, don't get too wordy; I like to finish a comic in one sitting on the toilet. My motto: “One crap…one comic.” Thanks.

5. Readers: Thou shalt honour your local comic shop.

Why in the world are you buying your trade paperback at Borders? It is available in your comic shop on the same day, and for the same price. Technically even cheaper if you count that $5.00 latte.

Worse than the trades—why in hell are you buying Spank-Me Boy #1 at Kroger??? Come on! Your comic shop is barely making money as it is. Not to mention that they just might have a comic called Spank-Me Boy. I remember a few years back when one of my pull guys got a copy of Leather Boy #1. But I digress (oops, that is Peter David’s line).

6. Readers: Thou shalt not covet discounts.

Support the store that gives you the best service and has the most choices. People aren’t in the comic business for the money. We are in it because we love comics! Most of us would make more money if we managed a Blockbuster or asked you if you wanted fries with that instead of boards.

Let’s say you’re someone who reads 20 comics a month and you go to a shop that gives you 10% off. Based on the now standard $2.99 a copy, you’re saving $6.oo. That’s only $1.50 a week. Not that big a deal. But multiply that by 1oo customers and your comic shop owner may not have to eat Alpo.

7. Wannabe Fan Boys: Thou shalt not bear false witness against other creators.

In other words, Quit bitching! I am sick of hearing how you would have done it better. If you can “do it better,” then do it for Christ’s sake! Maybe you are not being kept down by the Man. Maybe you just suck! Self publish, put your stuff online or do something! That being said, be sure to check my blog every few days where I will break this rule repeatedly.

8. Store Owners: Thou shalt not kill thyself.

QUIT BEGGING FOR BUSINESS. You are committing suicide if you are giving heavy discounts! You will never sell as much as Wal-Mart. You will never make your money in volume.

Let me try to hit this home. First, let’s assume you have mastered the art of ordering. You sell out of everything you order perfectly. Second, let’s assume your comic discount is 50%.

Next, figure out what percentage of your operating income is spent on rent, payroll, taxes, utilities, and all the other crap. If you have all that under control, it is almost impossible that it would be less than 40%. So if you’re perfect, you got 10% left!

What discount do you offer your customers,10%, 20%? Do you give free boards with your comics? You’re losing money! I would love to discuss this further. If you’re interested, let me know?

9. Store Owners: Thou shalt have no other loves above your first.

Did you really get into this business to babysit Yu-Gi-Oh kids? Do you like spending all that money on disinfecting your game room from the gamer funk? If you love gaming, great! If not, stop the madness.

10. All of Us: We shalt allow others besides Diamond.

Diamond Comics Distributor is a monopoly, plain and simple. This is NEVER good. Much of the chaos in our industry is a direct result of Darth Geppi’s Empire. Let's unite the rebel alliance!

There... problems solved. Obey these commandments and the comic industry will last forever!

Let me hear from you. I welcome all discussion. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I will try not to be so verbose in the future.

Do you own a comic book store? Do you want to? Drop some comments or questions.


Labels: ,

Download The Departed at CinemaNow

Powered by Blogger