Sunday, May 27, 2007

Big Events - World War Hulk

It's funny, but I'm actually looking forward to Marvel's big coming event.

Normally, I look at these comic 'events' with a level of fatigue. Both Marvel and DC make these huge, undeliverable promises... worlds will live, worlds will die, nothing will be the same, and the internet shalt break in twain.

As if.

I think that the level of hype going into the events actually gets me tired of said event BEFORE it starts. Which brings me back around to World War Hulk. Sure, there's been press about it... but I haven't heard anything approaching the level of hyperbole surrounding Civil War.

Instead, World War Hulk strikes me as the logical extension of a story I've been enjoying for a little over a year now. It's only peripherally touched on the Marvel Universe... you haven't had many folks scratching their head, wondering whether the Hulk was on Cap's side or Iron Man's side... he's just been off doing his own thing, and only She-Hulk has apparently wondered why he's been so quiet.

So my joy that this little story, about which there's been so little hype, quietly turns into a big event... I think I'm in a mood for that. Oh sure, there'll be the requisite Frontline title... I'll be wise enough to avoid it this time. In fact, I don't think the event will actually change my buying habits much. I think that's the biggest relief of all.

Though I do think I'll buy the Iron Man issues. Tony's been deserving a serious butt-kicking for a little over a year now.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Creeping Crud Claims Another Victim

I haven't been reading or even thinking comics much over the past few days. I've got some nasty bug that won't just let go. I'm trying to rest up so that I won't have to cope with it when work rolls back around.

One thing of note, however. If I've preached to you about the greatness that is the Comic Collectorz database software package, I have one fewer reason to crow. Apparently as of this past November, they have changed one of their policies. When I purchased this package, and it really is a very good comics database, one of the features for purchasing the product was that you would receive all future upgrades free for life.

Now, sadly, they've had to change that promise. Those of us who purchased before November, 2006 will still receive all upgrades for free. However, anyone who has purchased since will have to pay for major upgrades. This functionally means you have to buy the software all over again, or use a version that will never be updated again. It's sad, but is a business, not a charity. I do still recommend them... theirs is a strong product, and even with purchasing major upgrades, it's financially much cheaper than Comicbase. But I think this is a chink that might make Comic Collector Live a stronger competitor.

If you use the latter, let me know what you think. I do have to confess, I'm intrigued by the intigrated store. But I like all of the information that lets me track.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Post About The New Multiverse

Okay, I'll grant you... the subject is a spoiler, so I'm already breaking my own rules. I'm edgy like that sometimes.

I don't think that anybody that might read this is in need of a history lesson regarding the DC Universe, so I'm going to write with the assumption that you understand why DC got rid of the multiverse a few years back in a little-known story called Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Someone at DC apparently thought iit would be a good idea to bring back a finite Multiverse, such that the DC Multiverse now contains 52 separate (but equal) dimensions. The justification that I've read (and I'll confess, maybe work has kept me from reading all of the exit interviews on Newsarama) is that this opens up avenues for new stories, and takes away limitations placed on writers.

What I haven't heard, and I'm wondering if I'm likely to hear, is an explanation of the state of the Multiverse. It's pretty clear that the Justice Society hasn't migrated to Earth-2, given that they're currently crossing over with the Justice League. Which of the books that I'm reading are taking place on which Earths? In The Trials of Shazam, Freddie Freeman hasn't interacted with any other super-beings from the mainstream Marvel Universe. Am I looking at Earth-5? Is The Spirit now an official part of the Multiverse?

Did DC even consider that contemplating the logistics of the New Multiverse might trump the excitement of having multiple dimensions again? I'm not even sure where to start!

I've got to say... I was a bit happier, over all, with my Marvel offerings this week. I can't help but wonder if the balance of my tastes isn't tipping in another direction now.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

I love the smell of Free Comic Book Day in the morning.

The Dragon spreads quite a table for one of my favorite holidays, turning a marketing gimmick into, almost, a micro-convention. Aside from the rush to gather the free offerings that seem worthwhile (and honestly, in that price range... I'll try just about anything once), there were downright mighty discounts on back issues.

When slashed prices are cunningly combined with volume discounts, I am swiftly and easily parted with the contents of my bank account. Between the purchased books and the freebies, I walked out with at least a good fifty pieces of reading material.

And some quality stuff too. I'm working on branching out my Marvel back-issues beyond the X-book du'jour and I find that the water is quite pleasant.

I'm told that the Amazing Spider-Man offering for FCBD, penned by Dan Slott, is in-continuity. I'm curious as to where it is, in continuity. Some things seem to hint future, yet others seem to come from Spidey's past. Maybe it's just a big sign that the past year of Spider-Man's life is about to be retconned. Who knows? No, seriously... anybody have any thoughts?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Thanks to a little scheduling assistance at work, I made it out to see Spider-Man 3 at a midnight showing late last night, or early this morning, all depending on how you look at it.

On the whole, let me say that I think it was very well done. I don't think it quite topples Spider-Man 2 for the best of the franchise (and possibly best super-hero movie I've seen) but it gives it a good, respectable try, and somehow avoids a whole host of pitfalls associated with super-hero movie franchises that run for more than two pictures.

So if you're asking me if I recommend it... I do. Wholeheartedly. But it's not perfect.

First, there are the detail oriented things that just bug me. Why isn't Venom talking in the plural? My impression of the character was that because of the failure to bond with Peter, he never properly bonded with Brock, leading to the use of plural pronouns when referring to himself. And while I like using Topher Grace as Eddie Brock to show commonalities between him and Peter... Venom's usually drawn as being big. Like, body-builder big. Something just doesn't look right, specifically about his head. Maybe that's just me, but I think it's because of the basic body-form.

But those are just little details, and conceptually I think there are some bigger issues that handicap this movie more than the others. I understand why Sam Raimi made the choices he made... and I can't say that I disagree with him, but they do stop him from just swinging for the fences.

There was a three-movie deal for the Spider-Man franchise before anybody could re-negotiate. As long as the studio wanted to make this movie, the prices were all locked in, and the actors and staff were guaranteed work. So if or when there's a Spider-Man 4, there's no telling who the director will be. Sam Raimi would, rightly, ask for more money for any future pictures. He's taken Spider-Man to the top of the comic-book movie pile. Heck, it was the dual successes of Spider-Man and the first two X-Men movies directed by Bryan Singer that restored credibility to comic-book movies.

But the fact of the matter is, Columbia Studios, owned by Sony, may tell Raimi to get lost if he asks for more money. And a change in director is the kiss of death for the comic book movie franchise. The first spate of Batman movies died when they were handed over to Joel Schumacher, Public Enemy #1. The Superman franchise took a severe hit when Richard Lester. And Brett Ratner's X-Men 3 puts him just one step behind Schumacher in my book.

So since this is quite possibly Sam Raimi's last Spider-Man movie, I can understand him wanting to cram everything into it that he can. So we get a resolution to the whole Peter/Harry/MJ thing, we get Gwen Stacy, the black suit, Sandman, Venom... there's enough material in here for three movies. And Spider-Man 3 loses it's focus.

Like I said... I understand why the movie is the way it is. I don't like it any less... it's a ride, and there's no denying that. But I would've liked to have seen all this over two or three movies.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hulk SMASH Dull Comics!

Great green jeans!

I have to say that over the past year, one of the most reliably good comics has been Greg Pak's run on the Incredible Hulk. I haven't read Peter David's groundbreaking run on the Hulk (a shortcoming I need to rectify) but Planet Hulk took the Hulk in a direction I'd never even imagined for him. Every issue of this 14 issue epic kept me glued to the pages.

And do you want to know something?

It's looking like World War Hulk is going to be every bit as good. I just read the World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker, immediately followed by Incredible Hulk #106. I'm burnt out on big event comics like Civil War, but I've got to confess... I'm very interested in seeing what's going to happen next. I think I can honestly say that the Incredible Hulk has moved up to be one of my favorite monthly titles being put out there.

What other runs out there pull the Hulk out of the roll of monster? I've heard a lot of talk about Peter David's run... and after reading him on other titles, I can definitely see that. Any other good Hulk stuff I should dig into the back issues to find?

Minor Changes

Due to the fact that I've been told there's a well known comics blog called Dave's Long Box I'm changing the title and address. I'm strictly amateur night (which I well know) and I hardly want to step on any toes. Henceforth, I re-christen my blog Jason's Comic Shelf.*

(*Until someone tells me I'm stepping on someone else's toes. More names, possibly, to follow.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

And now for something completely different...

A Marvel rant.

I've been going on and on about DC for a couple of weeks now, so it's about time that I train my guns on the opposition. I'm a fair and balanced comic book reader, after all.

Would someone please tell me why Marvel has so much difficulty in publishing monthly comic book titles? It's something I've had a lot of trouble grasping. I've ranted about this before, you see. In fact, I was pretty much calling for Joe Quesada's job. My current tear is mostly coming from the stunned realization that Captain America #26 is almost a month late. #25 came out on 3/7/07. It'll be at least two months after that date that #26 will get to the stands.

Marvel manages to swing for the fences with the media (and infuriate retailers across the country) with Captain America's surprise death... but they can't tell us what happens next for two months? My previous rant about Marvel and 'monthly' comics was related to the delay in Civil War, and it's affect on several key flagship titles, grinding the Marvel Universe to a halt. (Little title's nobody's heard of like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four.)

DC's answer to the problem would be to supply us with fill-in stories. Honestly, after seeing some of the fill-in stories for Grant Morrison and Paul Dini's run on the Bat-books, I can see why you should be careful when it comes to fill-in work. But the filler stories we're getting in the Superman books are possibly better than the stories they're filling in for.

Ultimately, while it may irritate me, Marvel's the one not picking up their $2.99 for a month. I guess we'll have to look at the sales of Captain America #26 to see if it pays off.