Monday, July 28, 2008

Striking a Stance

The above picture is nothing new but it is one of my favorite fan-made Naruto pieces. Any avid Dragon Ball fans will instantly recognize the stances that Naruto and Sasuke are taking. I think it's quite appropriate, given that Naruto has many DBZ influences and there have been parallels drawn between the characters. Naruto has an appetite that's similar to Goku's and he loves to fight. Sasuke has been known to be arrogant, similar to Vegeta and he's been envious of Naruto's strength on more than one occasion.

You gotta love homage.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Spidey Was In My Mail Box!

The awesome Spider-Man drawing you see to the right arrived for me in the mail on Friday afternoon. How did I get such a sweet pic? Well I subscribed to Todd's Art Blog and my name came up as his very first character commission. Basically, he asked me what I'd like a drawing of and I said Spidey. The picture to the right is what he came up with. I just had to pimp it here.

Todd's a wonderful artist who does a masterful job of mimicking Steve Ditko's style. Really, I cannot say enough about what an amazing artist Todd is. I can draw but I'm nowhere near on Todd's level.

I thought this drawing would be the only thing Todd would send. It was all I was expecting but Todd sent some extra stuff as well.

The picture above is the final of a drawing Todd had been working on for a while. Looking through his older blog posts I was able to see this baby when it was in black and white. Getting this was an unexpected bonus and so was the little beauty below.

Another fantastic piece by Todd. I love these things so much, I've decided to buy frames for all three of them and hang them on my walls. Thanks so much for these, Todd. You really made my day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

June's ASM Sales

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Twice Marvel has tried to get rid of Mary Jane to tell single Spidey stories and twice they've failed. The previous failed attempts were the Clone Saga and the '98 reboot. With Brand New Day, this could be Marvel's third time getting an F in history.

The sales estimate numbers for June's issues of Amazing Spider-Man:

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #561 - 72,372
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #562 - 71,409
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #563 - 70,792

(Link Here)

If you've been keeping up on past sales estimates for ASM, then you know that outside of a few spikes here and there, ASM has been dropping since BND began. Spidey editor Tom Brevoort
made some comments about this in his blog.

"It seems like, more and more often now that the internet has diminished the dividing line between the average fan and the behind-the-curtain business aspects of the world of comics, every reader is incredibly interested in the sales numbers. Not a day seems to go by without me receiving an e-mail of some sort from a fan, bolstering his points using the rough sales data he's collected online.

Now, first off, that sales information is rarely if ever 100% accurate, and it only accounts for the direct market and not any other revenue stream that might exist. But in a much larger global sense, I don't know how much the average fan shoudl really be worried about the overall numbers (outside of on those occasions when the sales on a beloved title slip to the point of cancellation.) But the sales numbers aren't really anything that affects the lives of the readers directly, and those of us whose lives they do affect directly have a much better idea of the overall picture, of Marvel's corporate goals and initiatives, and financial reasons for doing something we might be doing. In other words, throwing sales information (incomplete sales information at that) at us isn't likely to sway anybody on a particular course of action."

(Linky to Tommy's blog)

But wasn't BND designed to sell better? Isn't this comic supposed to be in Joe Q's own words "selling like gangbusters"? Now I didn't expect Mr. Brevoort or anyone at Marvel to come out and say they were worried about declining sales. If they are worried they sure wouldn't show it because it isn't a good idea to let anyone see you sweat. So while I do think Tom makes some interesting points, let's call it what it is, spin.

taechunsa from the Crawl Space message boards has made a chart that I fi
nd found pretty enlightening.

"I have compiled and graphed the average sales per issue of Spider-Man title released each month for four periods: 29 months following the '98 Reboot, first 29 months of JMS run, 29 months prior to The Other (for a trendline of non-event sales), and months since BND.

To me the trend is pretty obvious, and one that I would be concerned about if I were Quesada. Given that the EIC in charge at the time most resembling BND's trend was canned at the end of the data.

See for yourself and conclude what you will.

Personally, I cannot see this as a good thing considering the sales are still falling while at this point JMS was rising, and that in general they are not selling much more than pre-Other was for several months (the drop at the end of pre-Other run points to a needed change, but obviously not this change)."

(Thread link)

Personally, if I were Marvel, I would not be shrugging the dwindling numbers off. BND is in many ways frighteningly similar to the '98 reboot and we all know how that turned out. We could see a good spike in sales when John Romita Jr. comes back for New Ways to Die in August. However, JR Jr. worked on ASM in the '98 reboot era and even his art couldn't stop the book from sucking. Just something to think about.

Luffy vs. Goku

Once again I post a cool picture and do not know the name of the artists who drew it. This particular piece pits two of my favorite Shonen heroes against each other.

First off, let me say that Luffy vs. Goku isn't a match. This would be a one-sided beat down with Goku not even having to use much of his strength to defeat Luffy. Even Krillin would beat Luffy with not much effort. Still, this is a pretty sweet pic and even I can put aside my knowledge of the outcome to take in its awesomeness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

24 Years of Dragon Ball

What began as a humble manga series in 1984 has grown into a world wide phenomenon. Akira Toriyama's martial arts epic Dragon Ball (the later half in the anime known as Dragon Ball Z) has wowed millions for 24 years now. The series ended in Japan in 1995 and in the United States, the anime ended in 2003 while the final volume of the manga was released in 2006. (No, I'm not couning GT because it sucks.)

Now that I have all 42 volumes I've been meaning to go back and read the entire series ago. I also need to catch up on the season DVD releases of Dragon Ball Z. I'm hoping Funimation gives the original 153 Dragon Ball anime series a similar treat that DBZ has gotten.

Happy 24th anniversary, DB. Yes I said all that so I'd have something to go with that cool picture. Wish I knew the name of the artist who drew it. I really like the style.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ultimate Spidey Annual Returns

Ah, Ultimate Spider-Man Annual. How I've missed you. In case you haven't heard, coming October, Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 will hit the comic shops. The issue will deal with the birds and the bees. You know, the horizontal polka. The wild monkey dance. "Houston, we have lift off!" That sorta thing. Still don't know what I'm talking about? Sex. There, I said it. USMA #3 will deal with the issue of Peter and MJ deciding on if they should take their relationship to the next level.

Now as surprised as I was to initially hear about this story, teenage sex is still a hot button to this day. It isn't going to go away anytime soon and its only natural that Ultimate Spidey tackles such a subject.

So will Peter and MJ do it? No. Way. Why? Short answer: This will bring so much unwanted crap down on Marvel. More in depth answer by Morbius from the Crawl Space Message boards:

"I would love to see this happen because it is realism, and it's time in their relationship. It's a real piece of the character story that's just not dealt with often in other books. It would add a whole new layer of humanity and relatability to them as characters. But the unfortunate fact is, it's not going to happen. If they had young, underage Peter Parker have sex and not immediately denounce it as a terrible mistake (which would ring very false) the media would string them up from the nearest flag pole then draw an quarter them for "advocating teen sex," because we all know that's what they would call it. The minute it happened, a crap load of old, bald white guys and mom's unions and whatnot who have never read the book in their life would be on the news talking about how important this book is and how it's betrayed our kids, telling them it's ok to be immoral and have satanic sexual relations outside of wedlock. Just like when a bunch of people who have never read the comic in their lives got on the news and said killing Captain America at a time of war is irresponsible and sends the wrong message to the troops. I'm quite sure the reason it took him a year to get this greenlit was simply having teenagers seriously talk about having sex. I will be utterly bowled over if they actually go for it."

It should make for quite a story, but Joe Q sees Peter Parker as a role model for the kiddies. So Peter having sex in Ultimate Spidey is off the table.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Watchmen Trailer

Ladies. Gentlemen. Boys. Girls. The Watchmen Trailer.

If you're a comic book fan and you've never read Watchmen, you need to stop what you're doing, go to your comic shop, book store, or online store and buy it. I don't care if you only stick to one comic book character or you don't read DC. Watchmen is essential reading material, arguably the greatest comic book Alan Moore has ever written. Even Time Magazine called it one of the 100 best novels.

Now I'm not saying all of this because I'm some old-school comic book junkie that read Watchmen when it first burst onto the comic scene in the '80s. I picked up the trade of Watchmen in 2007 and read it for the first time then. It wasn't until I'd read it that I finally understood what everyone was talking about, why this book was so good. Watchmen isn't so much about super heroes, rather than its about the people who are the super heroes and the world they live in, which is quickly crumbling around them.

I think the trailer looks pretty sweet and I'm really hoping they don't screw this movie up.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man Preview

Oh yeah, now we're talking. THIS is the kinda stuff I want to see in Spider-Man. Fans that have missed having a married Spider-Man will get a nice fix in the form of Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man, written by Tom DeFalco, drawn by Ron Frenz, and inked by Sal Buscema. If you click the link to the preview, you'll notice a few homage scenes. There's the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #44, and the famous final panel of Amazing Spider-Man #42.

Peter and Mary Jane themselves are looking very John Romita-like, which has this Spidey fan foaming at the mouth. The Lizard looks more like he did in his earlier appearances, probably to keep with the old-school feel of the art.

It all starts on August 6th, folks. Push, shove and knock over whoever is in your way to get a copy, but make sure you're polite about it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another JR Jr. Special

Spider-Man has been drawn by countless artists over the 45+ years he's been around. One of my favorites is John Romita Jr. I love looking at his old work and his most recent drawing and he's still improving his art style. He's worked in the business for over 30 years and has a huge fan following.

Volume 18 of Modern Masters focuses on JR Jr.'s career in comics with some good old Q & A, and a ton of artwork from Johnny Jr. The book will be in stock Jul 30th and when I get some cash, I'll be sure to order a copy.

I'd like to thank Todd Merrick Novak for bringing this book to my attention and for giving me something else to spend money on.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Marvel Wants to Hear From YOU!

In the letter page of Amazing Spider-Man #565, Spidey editor Steve Wacker filled the page with nothing but negative letters from readers that hate Brand New Day. Who says Marvel doesn't listen to the fans? And what's more, Mr. Wacker has even asked us to write in and tell them how we feel. Can you believe that? It takes class to run nothing but angry letters and a couple of those to the right are pretty nasty.

My mother actually suggested I write to the editor and state my feelings on the molestation of Spider-Man in ASM. I'd been meaning to write them, but I just never sat down to do so. With the editor of the Spidey books kindly saying that the letter's page is "the place to vent," I think the time has finally come for me to express myself. I don't know if it will get printed since I've stopped reading ASM, but if they take my letter and many others that are outraged by BND to heart, then that's all that matters.

Dear ASM Staff,

Do you know what the worst thing you can do to a comic character is? Make the reader stop caring about him. I've been a fan of Amazing Spider-Man for years and I've always had concern over Peter and his supporting cast even though they are fictional characters. The last 6 months of ASM have been a chore to read. The only emotion I can muster up for Pete and the gang is a shrug because I've stopped caring about every single one of them.

I'm all for new characters showing up in ASM, but the new supporting cast are so soulless they may as well be coffins. And aunt May in not knowing Spider-Man's ID has reverted back to the clueness old fool she was decades ago. She's like an very old piece of furniture that has long outlived its usefulness. You have no idea how much that depresses me.

Peter himself is the biggest offender in BND. I know he's a guy that screws up, but most of Peter's mistakes in BND are ridiculously out of character. I'm a regular reader of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and Ultimate Sider-Man and both those versions have a Peter Parker that behaves with more maturity and common sense than the one in ASM. I can relate to those versions of Peter. The one in the flagship Spidey title is a complete stranger to me and quiet frankly, he comes off as a jerk.

BND overall does not feel brand new. When Joe Quesada said they were going to move forward, I thought the book was going to do just that. ASM has instead regressed. I didn't grow up reading '60s or '70s Spidey books, but I have collected the runs from those eras through the Essential TPBs. I love old-school Spidey as much as the next guy, but come on, this isn't 1972 anymore. The stories in ASM feel like very pale imitations of Spidey eras gone by.

Carlie has had "love interest" stamped on her forehead since she appeared at the end of OMD. The question isn't "When will he she and Peter get together?" The question is "When will the writers hit the kill switch on the relationship?" Since editorial doesn't want Peter married, any type of relationship for Peter in the long term or in serious nature seems out of the question and as a result, every single one of them will fail. I have no desire to read these kind of relationships in ASM because I've read about them dozens of times in the past.

I keep hearing the word "young" or words associated with it tossed around a lot lately when it comes to ASM. I don't have a problem with Peter being young but I'm under the impression that editorial is so bent on keeping him that way that its given them tunnel vision. I've read posts on the net from Spidey fans that are in their 40s and 50s. These guys don't read Spider-Man because he's young, they read about him because he's ordinary and Peter being married never changed that or limited stories.

I know you guys are working hard and have put a lot of effort into ASM. Unfortunately, I won't be reading the book because I feel it is no longer worthy of the title name.

Reggie White Jr.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Marvel/DC: Happy Hour

You'll have to pardon my slapped attempt together logo as there was no official one and this is all I could come up with.

One of the funniest things I've ever seen on YouTube is Marvel/DC: Happy Hour by ItsJustSomeRandomGuy. This mostly parody series uses action figures from both Marvel and DC comics, throws them in a bar and let's the good times roll. The humor in this series is absolutely hilarious and I like that the creator isn't afraid to touch on the serious side of things. There's all sorts of jabs to the comics, movies, and business practices of comic and movie studios. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best thing that combines the two most successful comic companies. Period. It doesn't get any better than this.

Comics, 7-10-08

Back in 2007, I flipped through The Ultimate Spider-Man 100 Project. I probably should have picked it up then, but I just didn't feel like parting with $10 for it, even with my 25% discount on graphic novels at my comic store. Well I was in my shop today, and I didn't see much else I wanted to buy outside of Amazing Spider-Girl #22. They had two copies of USM100 Project, and remembering Bob's kind review of the book, I thought I'd added it to my collection of all things Spidey.

If you aren't aware, this book is basically a ton of different variant covers for the 100th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man. There are covers from just about every well-known artist in the comic industry, including some not-so-well-know artists, at least to me. This is one of those books you can just pick, flipped through and appreciate all the sweet artwork. Not every cover is complete. Some are just sketched, but they still look nice. Even USM writer Brian Bendis contributed a cover. I highly recommend this book. $10 for a ton of variant covers is a steal and the artwork is topnotch.

Brand New May (May, not Day) continues to get better and better. If you missed the last issue of Amazing Spider-Girl, you missed out on some startling developments. The explosion that blew up in Peter's face in last issue is already creating a shift in his behavior. Sara thinks she may have picked the wrong side when she finds out the mutants she joined up with is led by Magenta, Magneto's daughter and one bad mofo that you don't wanna mess with. Humanity First is riding Davida about having the group be a part of their school. I'm just waiting for the stuff to hit the fan on this one. And Gene Thompson is being a punk as usual. He flirts with that skank Simon and then gets all ticked off when Wes is only concerned for Mayday? Look, Mayday, I know you want to do the right thing and make people happy, but Gene is just no good for you. Now, Wes? That boy is all kinds of rocking awesome. Get with him and make all the fans happy.

Oh and the big cliff hanger at the end of the issue? I'm not spoiling that. You'll have to see it for yourself.

ASG #22 also rocked for me because it marks the first time I've ever gotten my letter published in a comic. I was almost finished reading the book and thought I'd take a look at the letter page, and there was my letter. It really helped what was already a great day get even better. They probably could have printed a dozen of other letters. I can only imagine how many similar letters they get to the one I wrote, but seeing that they printed my letter? Wow. That's awesome. Not enough words I can think of to express how cool that is. Tom & Ron, thank you so much.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Can You Believe This Crap?

Usually, I only talk about comics and comic related things here, but this news was too shocking not to mention here. Special thanks to alfaphlex from the SRK forums for bringing this to my attention.

“With one vote, Congress has strengthened the executive branch, weakened the judiciary and rendered itself irrelevant,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This bill – soon to be law – is a constitutional nightmare. Americans should know that if this legislation is enacted and upheld, what they say on international phone calls or emails is no longer private. The government can listen in without having a specific reason to do so. Our rights as Americans have been curtailed and our privacy can no longer be assumed.”

If you don't feel like clicking the link to read all of that, here is is in a nutshell: our 4th Amendment rights, the right to privacy, protection against illegal search and seizures could very well be thrown out the window. Ain't that a kick in the crotch?

Spin, Spidey, Spin!

That Robert is really rubbing off on me. In the past I'd only buy a few assortment of Spidey related things. Thanks to all those blog entries of his that I've read, he's got me picking up whatever things Spidey appears on. In this case, spinning tops. I got a 3 pack, which shows the web-head facing off against Venom, Sandman, and the Green Goblin. Since I don't have a camera, I had to search the net for pictures. Took a little bit, but I found the image you see to the left. These babies cost me only $1 and I must admit, they do look very cool.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Remembering a Legend

"I am not a hero. The real heroes were the boys I once knew who feared for their lives, yet fought for freedom anyway."

-Steve Rogers/Captain America

Anyone that's into comics is probably well aware of the origin of Captain America. Mythos: Captain America is another re-telling of Captain America's origin, but for me, it would actually be the first time I'd ever seen the super soldier's origin in comic book form. I kid you not. As much as I admire the character that is Captain America, this is only the second time I've picked up a Captain America comic (the first time was when Marvel was doing their two-in-one reprints in early 2005 and I purchased New Avengers #3/Captain America #3).

This may very well be one of the best comics I've read all year. It gives you Cap's origin in amazing detail and with some gorgeous painted artwork. Most of the times I've read about Cap, he's fought side by side with the other heroes of the Marvel world. Seeing him fight the good fight in World War II, back in his own time was strangely refreshing.

I've read many comics that tugged at my heart strings, but this one nearly had me in tears at the end. Cap has fought long and hard and at the end of the book, only one of the soldiers he knew from his time was still alive. They're eating dinner and looking on at paintings in the dinning area. The paintings are of soldiers that fought in WWII. Steve looks on and says "I miss those boys." Wolverine, Spider-Man, Daredevil; Cap has been able to fight with other soldiers after his rebirth, but many of the good friends he once knew are dead. I can only imagine how awful that must feel.

I haven't read any of the issues from the current run on Captain America, but I've heard nothing but great things about it. I may pick up the trades somewhere down the road, but for now, I'm pretty content with Mythos: Captain America. Anyone missing Steve Rogers in the red, white, and blue will love it. Heck, I bet anyone would love this.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Frontier... Wow

As much as I love Spider-Man and the Marvel universe, DC just eradicates them in the animation field. Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited are all some of the finest cartoons that ever existed and all tie together in continuity to form the DCAU (DC animated universe).

DC characters shine in direct-to-DVD releases just as well as they do in animated series. Superman: Doomsday was one of the best DVDs I picked up last year. Along with Spectacular Spider-Man, Justice League: The New Frontier is one of the greatest things that's ever been contained inside a TV set.

For those of you that may not know, Justice League: The New Frontier is based off of an award winning comic book mini-series, DC: The New Frontier, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. If you've read the book, you'll probably be familiar with what's going on even though some changes were made to this movie. I haven't read the book (though I've wanted to for a long while now) but, I did get a good chunk of background information on it, and I saw a good sized preview of the film when I watched the extras on Superman: Doomsday, so I knew about the setting of the film beforehand.

If you haven't read the book or have no knowledge about this movie, you're probably looking at the screens and DVD cover art and saying "What the *expletive deleted*?" JL: NF is set in the 1950s in the silver age of DC comics. Since I'm a child of the '80s I don't know much of anything about the '50s and I haven't read any DC comics from that era. So it really is quite a treat to see DC heroes from the silver age in animated form. Old timers or fans that are perfectly fine seeing their DC protagonists go retro will probably geek out.

The Korean War has ended and the need/want for super heroes has decreased. Fear and prejudice has clouded the hearts and minds of the people of Earth when it comes to meta humans. Superman tries to keep the peace by working with the government while Wonder Woman and Batman each do their own thing. Unknown to them, an alien race has been observing the the Earth and its inhabitants for years. After watching mankind kill one another again and again the alien has come to the conclusion that humanity deserves extinction. The Earthlings and super heroes have two options; place the differences aside and unite against their common enemy, or be whipped out.

The plot behind JL: NF is nothing new, but the execution is nothing short of marvelous. There's a lot of subplots going on while the aliens try to slaughter everyone. You've got Hal Jordan's struggling with the aftermath of his taking a life after a cease fire was called to save his own. Then there's Flash, Barry Allen wondering if he's really appreciated in the city he protects since the government is trying to capture and study him. Martian Manhunter investigates the coming threat of the Centre (the aliens) and tries to fit in among humanity. Batman, well he's Batman. Make no mistake, he may look like a 1950s era Batman, but he's every bit the Dark Knight, meaning he will make you wet yourself if you are on the wrong side of the law.

Darwyn Cooke is one of my favorite writers and artists and seeing his work come to life is simply amazing. His art style looks similar to Jack Kirby and it looks like it literally jumped off the pages. It really is a site to behold.
There's a lot of good action scenes in this movie but what really got me was the moral of the story. The people in this film were able to do what needed to be done because they were united. It actually made me stop and think that if the world did that, who knows what we could do.

The voice acting in JL: NF is topnotch. As much as I love Kevin Conroy as Batman, George Newbern as Superman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, and Michael Rosenbaum as Flash, I don't think their voices would have worked for the type of setting with this movie. When I think of 1950s Batman, I can't picture Kevin doing the voice. Jeremy Sisto really surprised me when he voiced the Dark Knight and Lucy Lawless as Wonder is genius voice casting. A fellow forumite said Lucy was perfect for the role because "she's basically playing Xena," and he was right.

As you've probably guessed, I think this is a phenomenal film. One of the best animated flicks I've ever seen and possibly one of the best movies I've ever seen. Go out and buy this move. I recommend the Two disc special edition since there's a lot of cool bonus stuff for you to check out. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch this magnificent film again.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spidey Pinball

I'm not trying to brag, but being a contributor to the staff is one of the best things that's happened to me. Not only do I get to write reviews, but communicating with the staff via messages is a hoot. Plus you can see pics of lots of cool stuff, like the little doohickey to the right.

I'm not a pinball player but I can easily sit back and watch someone else play. This is (obviously) a Spider-Man pinball machine. Maybe I need to get out more but of all the pinball machines I've seen, I've never seen one of Spidey. How old this cabinet is, I have no idea. With all the success Spidey has seen in other media over the last decade, you'd think companies that make and sell pinball machines would be banging on Marvel's door.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Spidey Talk at Chicago Comic Panel

I didn't attend the event but thanks to the wonder of the internet, I was able to hear what was said concerning Spider-Man.

Among the interesting things that were said in this piece:

"The Spider-Man deal with Mephisto was looked upon as a “DC move” by some fans. There was a mixed reaction to a fan who hated One More Day but likes Brand New Day, with about a 50/50 split of cheering and leering."

Yes, the devil deal was very much a DC move. Congrats, Joe Q, you can no longer ride DC for pulling stupid, world-altering stunts because you've just jumped into the pool with the competition.

This one really stuck out to me:

"Spider-Man’s status quo was mentioned as something that really bugged one fan. He said that now Peter Parker “can’t” get married, and that completely limits his future. He also feels that the last 20 years was erased. Over the next year - by issue #600, McCann said, readers will know how all of Peter Parker’s past fit in without Peter and Mary Jane being married. The fan asked why they didn’t just keep the unmarried, younger Spider-Man to the Marvel Adventures and Ultimate Spider-Man titles. Brevoort said that the thinking was that Spider-Man was and will be again the greatest youth property. People forget now, the editor added, because he’s been older for the last 20 years, that virtually all of the other interpretations (movies, tv shows, etc.) use a younger Spider-Man, and that’s the way he’s seen to the general public.

A fan countered, noting that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko graduated Peter from High School in #28, but Tom countered with “Steve Ditko said ‘We never should have graduated Peter from High School’” and explained they did that they only did so because they thought it was a fad and wanted to tell as many stories with the character as they could before Spider-Man disappeared."

Yes, because we all know Spider-Man was over the hill when he was married. Marriage is an evil force in the Spider books and it must be done away with to make the lead character YOUNG, YOUNG! And you just gotta love that "youth property" line. Sometimes I wonder if these guys come up with their own words of if someone at Marvel types up everything and puts it on cards for them. Kids aren't reading comic books, adults are. Most kid's knowledge of Spidey comes from the movies, cartoons, or toys. The comics themselves? No way. This isn't the '60s anymore, Marvel. Comics stopped being a hobby dominated by kids a looooooong time ago. Marvel acts like being older or even seeming older is a bad thing. Wake up, Marvel, there are men in their 40s and 50s that read Spider-Man. They don't do it because of his age, they do it because Spider-Man is ordinary.

As much as I respect Steve Ditko and everything he did on Spider-Man, I don't agree with him for wanting to keep Peter in high school. One of the things I really loved about reading those old Essential Amazing Spider-Man comics was seeing Peter grow and it was things like graduation that helped set Marvel apart from DC. This is a company that has always prided itself on realism and now they are throwing it all away so they can tell some badly written fan fiction about Spider-Man.

The way Amazing Spider-Man is being written now, I see no point in caring about the main character or the supporting cast. One, the main character is being written as a rookie-idiot who has no common sense. Two, the supporting cast has regressed to what they once were before they were developed (Just look at Jameson and aunt May). And three, the kill switch will be hit on any and all of Peter's relationships with the opposite sex because, hey, Marvel can't go anywhere with him that cuts the writers off from exploring other relationships with countless other women out there. So you see where this is going, right? Or perhaps I should say isn't going. Basically, Marvel wants to tell the same old stories where Peter's relationships always fail because he's, well, you know. (Rhymes with "does whatever a spider can.") Hey, I enjoyed reading those older stories, but let's be realistic here, you can't keep singing the same old song again and again. I've always thought a writers job was to build on the legacy of what has already come before, not tell a poor man's version of said legacy.

Spider-Man was once a train moving full speed ahead. Now its a paradigm prison and Joe Q is the jailer.

Sweet Spidey Cover

Take a look at the image on the left. Notice anything about it aside from it looking awesome? Take a glance at Spidey's right foot at the bottom. See it now? Yes, true believers, that is the signature of the legendary "Jazzy" John Romita!

JR Sr. is semi-retired but I always love it when he does some work on Spider-Man, even if its just a comic cover. If I recall, the last time John did some work on Spider-Man was in Amazing Spider-Man #500. He drew the last few pages where Peter had a reunion with uncle Ben.

JR Sr. is without a doubt, one of the best artists to ever draw Spider-Man. The way he drew the character was so great that it was copied by nearly every other artist that drew Spidey for nearly two decades. The two artists that came closest to replicating JR. Sr.'s style was John Buscema and JR Sr.'s offspring, John Romita Jr., who now has his own take on Spidey.

The cover you see here is one for the 6 part storyline coming in August, New Ways to Die. As much as I hate what Amazing Spider-Man has become over the last 7 months, even I cannot dis this cover because it was drawn by one of the best that ever worked in the business. The actual story art will be drawn by JR Jr. If you've been living under a rock, the story with deal with Spidey battling the Thunder Bolts, some new weirdo called Anti-Venom, and even Mary Jane will show up. Sounds like a must-buy story arc, right? That does sound like some juicy bait but I still refuse to bite. Until I get a Spider-Man that isn't an incompetent boob and I actually give a rat's butt ox as to what happens to him and the rest of the characters, ASM still won't get my money. Nonetheless, that cover is all kinds of awesome.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mega Man Web Comics

If you didn't know, Mega Man is my all-time favorite video game character. He's got (mostly) great games, said games have sweet music and he stars in some of the best web comics on the... net. The cream of the crop is Bob & George. This baby clocks in with 2,658 comics. Bog & George entertained many a Mega Man fan from April 1, 2000 all the way to July 28, 2007. Kudos to Dave Anez for making such a hilarious comic and for keeping it up and running for so many years.
Even if you aren't into video games or Mega Man, odds are pretty good you'll still get a lot of laughs out of this strip.

Another one of my favorites is Super Adventure Quint. The comic was plagued by delays, and I have no idea of the comic's current status but I always found it pretty funny. To my knowledge, it spans 6 chapters (so far) and over 250 comics.

Suit Up

Wouldn't it be cool if you could actually wear a Spidey costume? Well now you can. This sweet web-site has all sorts of Spider-Man costumes. It doesn't matter if you're 6 or 60, this site has costumes for all ages. Red & blue or black, they've got which ever suit is your favorite. They've even got a Venom mask for all the Vemon fans out there. On top of a huge selection, you've got prices that can't be beat.

Now all we need is for someone to invent some web-fluid and come up for a way for us to crawl on walls, spider strength, spider-sense and we'll fill this world with a ton of Spider-Men!

Secret Wars II Omnibus is Coming

The original Secret Wars mini series was initially made to sell action figures, much like Gi-Joe and Transformers were in the 1980s. That being said, I greatly enjoyed Secret Wars. I picked up the trade paper back in 2005 and although I wasn't impressed with the first two issues, issues 3 kicked the whole series into high gear and I was sold.

There are a lot of good moments in Secret Wars to go along with the overall story. Spider-Man making the X-Men look like scrubs. Spidey taking on Titania and humbling her. Hulk holding up a 150 billion ton mountain to keep the heroes from getting crushed. And of course, who can forget Spidey's black, alien costume?

I've never read Secret Wars II, but I've been told it isn't as good as the original. Some say the tie-ins are better than the actual story and there were a lot of tie-ins to this series, making it even longer than the original Secret Wars. Of all the omnibus books Marvel could release its kinda strange that Secret Wars II is seeing the light of day before vol. 2 of the Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus.

I don't know too much about Secret Wars II, but I know a few things of particular interest. When the Beyonder turned a building into solid gold, Spidey got a gold notepad out of it. Spidey also had to teach the Beyonder how to use the restroom. I found out the later just a few days ago so if nothing else, I'll try to find that issue.

As of now, I'm still on the fence or whether I should eventually plunk down the cash for this one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dave's Web Comics

Ah, web comics. You gotta love 'em. One of my favorites is The Incomplete Ninja, or TIN for short. TIN is written and drawn by Dave Stanworth. The art is on the simple side but that isn't a negative. This comic, while on the gory side is a laugh riot and the less detailed art is pretty fitting.

I take it everyone knows what SNAFU stands for, so I won't bother getting into that. Dave's other web comic is called SNAFU and is primarily a strip that deals with video games. Dave doesn't really stick to one style with this comic. It has evolved over the years but it continues to change. Be warned that this comic can get pretty vulgar so if you're easily offended, you may not wanna read this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Spectacular Art of Andie Tong

Andie Tong is the regular artist of the Spectacular Spider-Man's UK comic book. Now I haven't read any of the issues, but I did come across his deviant art page last night, which feature some of the pages from what looks to be a superb comic.

I love all the quirky posses Andie draws Spidey in. He also does a terrific job on the webbing and the half-mask. I can take big or small eyes on a Spider-Man mask, but I think Andie gets the right combo. The eyes aren't too big and they aren't too small.

Andie also draws a very excellent Green Goblin. It'd be sweet if he could do the art for some of the Spider books in the states.
James Offredi does the coloring on Andie's artwork. Needless to say, James does an amazing job, making Andie's already gorgeous art look even better.

I know its only artwork and I haven't read any of these issues, but from what I've seen, it looks like the stories in the Spectacular Spider-Man UK book are a heck of a lot more interesting than the garbage that's infesting Amazing Spider-Man.

The crew behind the book even won an Eagle Award for all of their hard work. Looks like it was well-deserved. You can check out more of Andie's stuff here. Congratulations on the award and keep up the good work, guys!