Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Lately I've been contemplating selling off my comic book collection.

It's not something I really want to do, but it is getting harder to justify continuing the hobby.  The space required to store my books is one consideration (I always dread loading the comics when moving), and the cost is another.  Comics are not getting cheaper, and with a new bundle of joy at home my expenses are not getting cheaper either.

I love my comics.  I love reading about heroes who do what is right simply because it is the thing to do.  I love the creative application of superpowers, in both combat and non-combat situations.  I mean, I'm just as interested in the creative application of super powers to clean the Mansion as how they would be applied to defeating Ultron. 

I have long dreamed of the day when I could share my love of superheroes with my son.  I don't think I've bought him anything superhero related yet (other than a stash of birthday presents he'll be ready for a few years down the road) but friends and relatives keep buying him Spider-Man stuff just because of my love of comics.

However, with the cost of comics these days, am I doing him a disservice by getting him into the hobby?  I've spent a lot of money on comics, and the majority wasn't purchased at the current prices!  To start collecting now with the prices as they are would be pretty expensive getting towards a collection as extensive as mine.  And a lot of the comics I have from back in the day can be read as stand-alone issues, which isn't the case now.

As I write this though, I do recall the argument I used to give to my father when he would rag on me for buying comics; "Would you rather I spend my money on reading material or on cigarettes & alcohol?".  He never had much of a comeback for that one.

Still, the thought of selling off my collection and getting out does have some appeal.  Going digital has some appeal, if the prices were to drop; having my comics accessible on my tablet and not taking up space in the basement is pretty handy.

For now I think I'll be standing pat and continue my love of comics, but I have to admit the temptation is there to get out.  The idea that a long-term fan like myself (20+years) is thinking of getting out due to the current story structures and pricing should be an alarm bell to the publishers, but it doesn't seem like it's much of a consideration.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Today is a Great Day

I just discovered a blog dedicated to the Martian Manhunter, "The Idol-Head of Diabolu, a Martian Manhunter Blog".  This is a very happy day.  The Manhunter is one of my favourite characters, and is definitely my favourite DC character! 

I'll have some actual content for my own blog next week, this one has been nuts!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Stupid Real Life

Crazy week, hope to have something up Friday or Saturday.  Sorry True Believers!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Youtube Friday - Justice League Live Action

This was just a quick project I put together a few years ago.  I took the opening theme music from Justice League, and set it to footage from the pretty-darn-awful Justice League live action pilot.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Time for a Change

So last week I left off saying I was making some changes to my reading list, so let's continue.  To recap, my pull list is currently:

Captain America
Captain America & Bucky
Journey Into Mystery
Secret Avengers
Alpha Flight
Avengers: Children's Crusade
Avengers Solo (slot "any solo Hawkeye books" here)
Now before I continue, I thought I should add the books that I collect in the form of trade paperbacks.  I have an all-hardcover collection of all of the cosmic books going back to Annihilation, with the exception of Nova which is in softcover (as the entire run is not collected in hardcover).  Even though I'm not wild about the concept, I am waiting for the collected edition of Annihilators: Earthfall.
I also collect Fables and Jack of Fables in trade format, though I am a little behind on Jack (which I think has ended, which I'm fine with because I've never loved the character).  I will probably get the Cinderella spin-offs as well.
Up until the Mark Waid "relaunch" I have a full run of Daredevil going back to the Smith & Quesada "relaunch".  I'm undecided if I will continue with the Waid books simply because I have a nice book-ended run right now and the collector in me likes that.
So what have I added? 

Fantastic Four and FF.
I keep hearing about how good Hickman's run has been, and a reluctance to add more titles is what kept me away.  With that being said though, I am happily jumping in now, for the following reasons:
- The books I've been reading have been kind of dreary, especially because of Fear Itself tie-ins (lately).  I'd like a more fun, upbeat read, and the Fantastic Four fits the bill.
- The Fantastic Four is a book about family, and now that I'm a father myself I love the scenes with the kids even more (and I've been a fan of the family stuff for awhile)
- The books should be fairly self-contained.  Marvel's events lately have revolved around either the Avengers or the X-Men, the FF dont' usually headline events.  Hopefully that will continue going forward.
- The Fantastic Four actually go on adventures!  I remember when the Avengers and X-Men used to do that, it's been awhile.
I am also very close to adding Avengers Academy to my list; I've read some issues digitally and I really like what I've been reading.  The completist in me likes to go back to the beginning, and since Marvel tends to cancel every new series anyway I'm thinking of just waiting for it to be canceled and getting a full run at a discount.  It sounds terrible but really, what book has Marvel launched in the past 10-15 years that made it past 30 issues?
I also considered the X-Men, as I really like what I read in Schism.  However, there are simply too many titles that tie into each other for me to get into it.  If I could get the story of Cyclops' team in one book and Wolverine's in the other, I'd be okay with that, but there are I believe 8 different books, with 4 per devoted to Cyclops' side and 4 more to Wolverine's, plus whatever other X-Books there are.  Too big for the kind of money comics cost these days, so I'll pass.
My comic book store has put together a Fantastic Four and FF run for me, all of Hickman's issues, and they're giving me a bit of a price break, so I'm looking forward to picking them up next time I'm in the city.  I may be paying in installments though, that's a fair number of books!  Fortunately my shop is awesome like that.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Avengers vs X-Men...Pass

So Marvel has announced their big event for 2012, Avengers vs X-Men. From what I've read ( and, it will be a bi-weekly 12 issue event created by a whole pile of creators.
Writers - Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, & Jonathan Hickman

Artists - John Romita Jr., Adam Kubert, Frank Cho, and Olivier Coipel

From what I've read it seems like individual writers will script each issue, and each artist will be responsible for a 4 issue arc of the series.

I will be passing on this event.

12 issues for such an event seems really stretched out, even as a bi-weekly. And currently Marvel is doing an Avengers/X-Men crossover called X-Sanction, which I am assuming will lead into Avengers vs X-Men. So before you add any tie-ins that is a massive main event, which is funny since a couple of years ago Marvel said they were going to focus on "smaller" events, like Siege, which clocked in at 4 issues (and I hate to say it, should have been 6 to give each plot point enough room to breathe).

I also am not wild about so many creators working on the book. Maintaining a cohesive story with so many hands in the pot is going to be tough. For example, Coipel and Romita Jr. couldn't have more dissimilar styles. On the writers side, maintaining a consistent voice is going to be difficult, especially with Bendis' dialogue style.

It really is too bad, because there is some potential for some good stuff here. Seeing how the Beast, Wolverine, and other X-Avengers react to being put in the middle could be good stuff. I'm a fan of the old Avengers vs X-Men mini-series that saw Magneto tried for crimes against humanity, but it was a much more reasonable 4 issues (that will probably hav more story content than all 12 here).

I skipped Fear Itself because of event fatigue, and now Marvel is launching a 12 parter that will get its start in another crossover (again, my assumption, not confirmed), I will definitely not be adding this to my pull list.

Fortunately most of the titles I read should be immune from this crossover, or at least I can hope.

Every Neighborhood Needs a Friendly Spider-Man

Not much time today to work on the blog, so I'll leave you with my son and one of his favourite toys (which is actually mine but I'm okay with him having it), the Itsy Bitsy Spider-Man.

Friday, 2 December 2011

State of the Longbox Address

I've been feeling for a little while that the crop of books I'm buying is getting a little stale.  Here is my pull list:
Captain America
Captain America & Bucky
Journey Into Mystery
Secret Avengers
Alpha Flight
Avengers: Children's Crusade
Avengers Solo (slot "any solo Hawkeye books" here)

I've found that some books just haven't been getting me very excited lately, and it was time for a change.

I think Ed Brubaker does a spectacular job with Captain America, but I'm getting kind of bored with all the WWII/Cold War stuff in the title.  Going to the well here and there is great, but it gets a little old after awhile, and Brubaker has been on the book for quite awhile now (a great accomplishment in this day and age).  That theme doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, since he will be launching a Winter Soldier ongoing (provided Marvel doesn't cut the feet out from under it before it launches) in 2012.

I was tempted to get the Winter Soldier seres, to have a complete collection of Brubaker's work in the Captain America universe, plus he will be re-teaming with Butch Guice, but as I said, I'm burnt out on the old war story stuff.  Therefore, I made the decision to axe Captain America & Bucky from my list, and will not be getting the Winter Soldier series.

Thor has been a disappointment for me ever since Matt Fraction took over the title.  I feel he has ignored recent continuity, as established by J. Michael Stracynski and Kieron Gillen, and that really makes it hard to enjoy the book as an ongoing series.  I feel that the dialogue is terrible, as Fraction cannot decide if Thor is eloquent or a brute, and the rest of the characters aren't much better.  Fraction is good at starting things at a slow boil, but his conclusions leave a lot to be desired.  With the price of comics today it is really hard to justify buying the book, even though I have a complete run going back to Volume 2 (and we're on the equivalent of Volume 4 right now). 

Secret Avengers was a book I was really excited for.  I don't care for Bendis' Avengers, and Brubaker picked a really great line-up for the book; Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), War Machine, Valkyrie, Beast, Moon Knight, and Nova.  This was a great blend of characters I thought would play well off of each other, but unfortunately the book under Brubaker always felts like "Steve Rogers and friends", not a true team book.  I gave the Warren Ellis issues a try but they haven't really seemed to be going anywhere, and I have no great emotional attachment to the series (as I do Thor) since it never quite achieved its potential to my mind, so cutting it off is just the way to go.

So now we are at:
Captain America
Captain America & Bucky
Journey Into Mystery
Secret Avengers
Alpha Flight
Avengers: Children's Crusade
Avengers Solo (slot "any solo Hawkeye books" here)

Of the remaining books, Journey Into Mystery is a real treat.  I feel that Kieron Gillen has a grasp of Thor and the world of Asgard second only to the great Walt Simonson himself.  Gillen's fill-in work on the Thor title, before Fraction took over, was spectacular.  I firmly believe that he should be the writer of the main Thor book; I would be back in a flash if that were to happen.

Even though I am tired of the World War II inspired stories in Captain America, Alan Davis is coming on board as the artist starting with #6, and anyone who follows this blog know how much I love Alan Davis.  Therefore Captain America's main book will be spared the chopping block.

I absolutely love Alpha Flight, and I have every issue of their various on-goings and mini-series ever produced, and am working on getting their notable appearances in other titles (I am a proud owner of their first full appearance thanks to a trade with Tom Breevort, in Uncanny X-Men #121).  I was very sad that Marvel toyed with my emotions by announcing the mini-series by Pak and Eaglesham would be made into an ongoing (yay!), then they later announced it was reduced back to a mini (boo!).  While I haven't completely fallen in love with the current story, I think it was going to establish a good base to go forward with.

Avengers: Children's Crusade has been alright, though I'm starting to find Young Avengers books to be a little formulaic; kids confront a problem, Avengers tell them to stay out of it, kids defy Avengers.  And if there is an in-story reason why these kids aren't a apart of Avengers Academy I'd love to hear it; I assume the in-story is that the Children's Crusade book couldn't even keep to a bi-monthly schedule, makes it hard to include them in other books. 

Avengers Solo #1 was okay, though I wasn't blown away.  I think I need to re-read it, as part of the problem may be that it was a fairly dense read, and I'm not as used to that as I used to be, with the way comics are currently written.  I will still collect the whole mini-series though.

So with all that being said, I felt it was time for a bit of a change.  What books have I added to the mix and why?  Stay tuned for "Time For a Change", same Blog Time, same Blog Channel!