What comic books are you reading?


#21

I usually do the same thing. I really like where this is going. The actual storyline I need to go back some and read again, but Tagon’s ideas sound like the good stuff from golden age Sci Fi. I think Howard has been working towards this for a long time, possibly shortly after he started putting a real plot into place.


#22

If you’re into this topic I have to recommend the novel Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. Kind of a Noir/Blade Runner take as it’s a mystery in a setting where death is trending to be optional, especially for the wealthy.

The sequels veer into other territory, with one resembling the Dirty Dozen and another a sort of character study. All good, but in different ways.


#23

I did a search real quick and look what popped up.


#24

Sounds related. Of interest, even for the first novel they’ll need 2-4 actors for the main character as he jumps around different bodies quite a bit.

In the setting, ‘resleeving’ is something done for long-distance (interplanetary) travel (no FTL for matter, but there is for data), serious body damage, or similar. The wealthy might re-sleeve more often (a character in the novel does it to attend meetings on other continents) but for most it’s unpleasant at best. Unless you can afford expensive cloned bodies, resleeving is described as potentially disorienting.

The main reason I consider this “good” science fiction is it proposes a technology we don’t have, then explores the ramifications of that tech and how humanity would adapt to it. Like you mention, there’s the “continuity” concern of if a stored mind-state is the same person (which has tons of potential religious and social concerns) but then there’s multiple-sleeving (bits are bits… What if you copy a mind-state into multiple bodies?), use of virtual environments (What if we can simulate a mind-state in a virtual environment at 20x speed. Great for studying… But what if it’s used for torture?), and the basic issue of ‘bodies’ becoming a big commodity.

Well done, and pretty action-filled. As I said, the first book is very noir detective in style, so expect lots of heroic gunfights, betrayals, roughing up suspects, and seduction.


#25

Dynamite Comics just started a Mighty Mouse series. First issue is about a boy named Joey who gets bullied at school and almost never sees his mom because she often works double shifts, so he takes refuge in watching the old Mighty Mouse cartoons and drawing his own MM stories. Naturally, MM taking on bullies and teaming up with “Joey Justice” is a common theme. And then something happens that drags MM right out of one of the cartoons and into Joey’s living room…

Based on the artwork, the cartoons Joey’s watching are the old Terrytoons / Mighty Mouse Playhouse, or from The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle. It’s the older style, rather than what was in Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. So, you’ve got a mix of classic animation with the real-world drawing style of a crowded modern city, and that real-world style extends to Joey’s drawings within the comic.

It’s another comic I’m getting for nostalgia’s sake and to see how it’s adapted to include the old and new. A subtle nod to the source material comes from the price on the cover: 399¢ rather than $3.99.


#26

I said a while back that it seemed like that comic book publishers were working more closely these days with the TV shows the comic is based on. I’ve confirmed that’s correct for at least the My Little Pony comics from IDW.

The previous issue had a story that ran in parallel to one of the episodes. It’s the one where Fluttershy wants to build an animal shelter. The comic has her bunny Angel doing all sorts of things behind the scenes while that episode was going on.

The issue that was just released references that Pinky Pie has been made an honorary Yak, and that happened in Saturday’s episode.

So yeah, IDW and the MLP team are coordinating their stories, including the comic that will be a prequel to the upcoming movie. As much as I want to get the Live and Let Brony print, I’m already spending more on comics than I probably should.


#27

A comic that I’ve been reading for a while is The Unbelievable Gwenpool. What you’ve got is the result of a Marvel artist drawing Gwen Stacy, one of Peter Parker’s girlfriends, as Deadpool on a variant cover for the comic. This happened because the Gwen from a different universe got bitten by the spider instead of Peter and her comic book is popular.

So, you’ve got a female version of Deadpool sitting on one of those floating recliners in a swimming pool and it’s so popular that they said, “We gotta do it.”

Enter Gwen Poole. How she got from the real world into the comic book world, she doesn’t want to talk about, but she was an avid reader of comics, so she knows who all of the characters are, including the current movie versions. Because she knows she’s in a comic book and the star, no less, she decides to become a mercenary and she’s pretty much invincible due to her knowledge.

For a while, she lives her life as normal, then starts to bend reality by interacting with the thought and word bubbles and eventually tears through the pages of the comic book to interact with herself across panels. In trying to prove she’s not going nuts, she starts doing a “stream of consciousness” to make them become large enough to touch, but goes overboard and it pushes her out the bedroom window. Her family (which got left behind before) are concerned that she tried to kill herself.

In the latest issue, she’s trying to deal with her brother and does more page-tearing to prove a point. This was actually pretty clever. The tear down the center of page 3 reveals the artwork for page 5, and then when you turn to page four, the tear shows the ad from page 2.

 
If you like the idea of Deadpool but want a “lite” version that might be a little bit funnier, give The Unbelievable Gwenpool a try.


#28

Gwenpool is one I’ve been thinking about trying. I’ll have to give it a try. Maybe when I’m traveling next month.


#29

Okay, this is going to be different. Jim Davis, who draws Garfield, is helping out with issue 26 of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. It’s a story involving Galactus and Norin Radd (Silver Surfer), done in the style of Garfield. Available on November 8th. Preview here.


#30

IDW ended the MLP: Friends Forever comic and started one called “Legends of Magic”. This was definitely a coordinated effort between the comic book and the TV show because the season finale included the characters featured in the comic and so did one of earlier episodes this year.

They’re also doing a “Samurai Jack: Quantum Jack” comic. I think I got the first issue. Time to catch up again.


#31

We don’t have a specific thread for online comic strips that I know of, so I’ll include it here.

A new comic strip was started at the first of the year called “In Security”. It’s about the insecurities that come with new marriages, and the husband and his wife’s cousin are nighttime security guards. Hence, their jobs are in security. It’s mostly Monday-Saturday, with a few Sunday comics.

It has a lot of influences from wacky manga and anime series. It’s been so long since I watched any anime like that and I’m having a hard time getting past constantly asking, “Do these characters need to be on some sort of medication?” The exceptions are Sam, the husband, and Elle, who Sam was involved with back in college and is now renting the other half of their duplex. Sam puts up with Sedine’s instantaneous switches from one manic behavior to the next because he really loves her.

The parents of both of them were just introduced. Sedine’s mother is more of a tightwad than Scrooge McDuck and her father is this overly-jovial fellow that doesn’t care that his wife is insisting that oatmeal would be the best (read: least expensive) Thanksgiving dinner. Sam’s parents seem to have tried to raise him to be ultra-liberal and feminine but he’s more mellow than that. The last panel of the comic they’re introduced in almost makes it sound like they tried to force him to be gay, ranting about “Still imposing your CIS-gender masculinity on us!!” simply because they see him in a dress shirt, tie and vest, and grousing “Didn’t we teach you to be open minded?!!?” and “Could’ve married a man, you know!!”

I know both sets of parents are being hyper-exaggerated to show how the children became different than them. It’s just another factor that’s making it hard to get into the series, but I keep giving it more chances. Maybe it’s an acquired taste that I’ve lost over the years. Could appeal to others, and maybe it will for me sometime in the future once I can get into the rhythm of it.

 
Going back to Gwenpool for a moment, she recently gave up killing, but is now using her ability to interact with the pages of the comic she’s in as a kind of non-lethal weapon. Or at least, until it’s explained more where they disappear to once she pushes them past the borders.


#32

Okay, wow. Yesterday’s “In Security” comic ends on the punchline that Sedine likes Sam’s parents because they make her feel “reasonable” in comparison, but they’re so angry and weeping over the state of the planet that it comes off as if they’re blaming the Earth being doomed on their child being born.


#33

I’m kind of enjoying The Wild Storm. It’s a reboot of the 90s “Wildstorm” universe (bought by DC and partially integrated).

I’ve read some of the 90s material: The Authority, and the stand-alone but technically in the same universe series Planetary. I haven’t read a ton of the older material (besides Planetary, which is excellent) but I don’t think it’s necessary: The guideline for this iteration of the ideas is that it’s standalone, with occasional easter egg references to the old series, but doesn’t require continuity or even reward it.

Warren Ellis, so expect some coarse humor, political discussion, and probably some veers into insanity. It’s Warren Ellis.

A big “thing” so far is that it’s a lot more grounded than the predecessors as far as I can tell. This is not a typical ‘superhero universe’ with capes and body suits, but more a universe where there’s superhumans who are made by or recruited for the private armies of various world-ruling secret organizations. Characters generally favor body armor and helmets over spandex and cowls. Some make do with a trenchcoat.

Right now (I’ve read the first volume) there’s a weird thing where IO (International Operations) has a loose alliance with Skywatch. IO controls the ground, Skywatch controls space, and both dislike each other. Halo is a consumer goods/electronics company that seems to be a mix of Apple, Google, Tesla, and others: The ultimate goal of Halo seems to be advancing humanity. But none of them are perfect. There’s also demons which, I think, ties in to a plot by the predecessor based around a war between angel-aliens and demon-aliens.

I think the plan is for The Wild Storm to be the main thread of the setting, at least for a few years, with other comics telling side stories.


#34

By the way, reading The Wild Storm got me to pick up a couple volumes of Stormwatch and The Authority from the late 90s/early 2000s.

The Warren Ellis volumes were pretty good: Stormwatch is a UN-funded superhero group. Big cool space station they can teleport anywhere from. Really generous budget and minimal oversight beyond requiring permission from the UN to do stuff. This is a really dangerous idea because it concentrates power, especially when the de facto head of the group is crazy on his best days. Some fun characters, and very 90s in that it’s unrealistic body shapes and lots of brightly colored uniform with some graphic violence.

They’re killed in a weird crossover so practically off-camera if you didn’t pick up a comic from another series int he same setting in which the aforementioned space station is eaten by Aliens. Yes, specifically the Geiger-esque xenomorphs. I think they did a bunch of comic crossovers that I assume are not considered canon by the movie writers. Essentially, an asteroid with black techy/organic stuff shows up, Stormwatch sends it away via explosives, but a few critters come back and eat the space station, and many inhabitants are killed off.

From what I have read, the conversation to get Warren Ellis to write this story was basically:

Management: So, we've got the rights to do a crossover with _Aliens_.

Ellis: That's a bloody stupid idea.

Management: You can kill off whomever you like.

Ellis: That's a bloody awesome idea.

And so the setting was cleaned up to make The Authority possible.

The first volume of the Authority is a pretty ‘fun’ run. the title cast aren’t exactly paragons of anything, but they do want to protect the world, even if they chafe at what they see as governments more interested in maintaining status quo than making the world better.

Then it goes weird. Warren Ellis left the book, Marc Millar stepped in. I know next to nothing about it, but he seems to be trying to be more controversial and less subtle.In general, it’s a lot darker and less pleasant to read. There’s a protracted storyline where the core team is killed off and replaced by government-sanctioned replacements. The story where it’s revealed that they weren’t killed off should have been triumphant, but manages to be pretty dark and depressing.

Warren Ellis is known to be a little “out there”: Read Planetary in which he kills off Superman surrogates multiple times, for example. Or his fiction, which is definitely targeted at adults. Or Transmetropolitan, essentially Hunter S. Thompson in a Cyberpunk dystopia. But, in the end, he’s capable of subtelty and telling a story.

Luckily, all of this is not at all necessary for The Wild Storm which, it should be said, is the same-ish character concepts, but in very different combinations in a very different setting.


#35

I still read “in SECURITY” (the correct capitalization of the comic title, I found out) and now I’m willing to give it some more leeway. It’s actually drawn by a husband and wife team and except for the final process of scanning it into the computer for touch-up and coloration, it’s all hand-drawn. Lots of details on the “Mr. Husband’s wild Q&A Ride!”. Yes, her husband goes by “Mr. Husband”.


#36

The “Mighty Mouse” comic ended after five issues.

Though it’s a web comic instead of a comic book, I’m going to give “in SECURITY” a stronger recommendation. Not only is it being made with traditional art techniques instead of being digital, they give titles to their story arcs, such as “There is Something I Mustache You” and “Rosemary’s Other Baby”. I’m currently working on adding the titles to the wiki and linking to the GoComics website where each arc starts.

In the foreword and afterward in the compilation book released in July, Bea R. says that what’s in the book is the “sandbox” phase where they introduce the characters and they’ve got enough story arc ideas to take them through 2021 and beyond. So, in the two years or so that they really got serious about making this comic and getting it syndicated, they have already worked out the types of stories they want to tell for the next 3+ years.


#37

I just bought an dfinished all 7 vol. of the spider-gewn comics plus the spider-women and spider-man/spider-gwen comic so i could read the full set. i also picked up the 1988 Venom introduction arc book, and for a 500+ page comic that has to do with the introduction of venom, there is shockingly little Venom.


#38

All right. I just got done posting the message about the Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors movie that was on Disney Channel and Disney XD, and in it, I put the following. (Skip down if you already read that.)

First came the “Marvel Rising” comic books. They set up how some of the characters meet. “Secret Warriors” doesn’t give you those introductions, so you need the comic books. This idea can work well because you shift the preliminary stuff off to the comics so the movie can focus on the meat of the story.

But there’s a big problem with the comics: the titles and numbering. Here they are, in the order they were released:

  1. Marvel Rising, #0
  2. Marvel Rising: Alpha, #1
  3. Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl & Ms. Marvel, #1
  4. Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel & Squirrel Girl, #1
  5. Marvel Rising: Omega, #1

Marvel’s operating under the idea of “first issues sell better, so let’s Number 1 all the things!” They’re doing it with other comic books like X-Men, but having one title with “Squirrel Girl & Ms. Marvel” and another where you flip those two around?

Marvel, stop confusing your customers, especially when you’re not really making separate comic series. If they’re part of the same storyline, give them consistent titles and numbering. Like this: “Marvel Rising, Part 1 of 5” Or, if you want to keep the “issue 0” for the first one, start the numbering at zero and go up to four, then put on the interior title page what the chapter is for that particular issue.

You can get the #0 issue for free at the Marvel Digital Comics shop.

 
Now, this especially bad example of “Let’s Number 1 all the things!” drew more criticism, including from a person that works at a comic book shop. The article’s titled “Marvel Rising: Why Does Marvel Hate New Readers #0” and it points out that Marvel is making it harder for her to do her job, which is to get people interested in reading and buying Marvel’s comics, among other publishers.

At the very bottom of the article is a link to the one on The Beat that explains why IDW is now publishing some Marvel comics for kids, which is Marvel doesn’t know how to reach kids very well. IDW has been publishing the “Star Wars Adventures” comics for about a year now, so they just added Spider-Man, Shuri (from Black Panther) and Iron Man to their list.

 
To give you an idea of how bad the numbering of Marvel comics is, let me lay it out for you. Just using Iron Man for an example, the numbering of the issues had reached a really high number, somewhere in the high 500s.

They had at least one different series where they started over with issue 1. Issue #12 of “Invincible Iron Man” reverted to the old numbering and was published as issue #593. When that series concluded at issue #600, the series changed to “Tony Stark: Iron Man” and its first issue was dual-numbered as both Issue 1 and “LGY#601”. The issue I just bought is Issue 5/LGY#605.

 
This is why I have to keep a list with me when I go to a comic book store. This just isn’t so I can avoid buying an extra of something I already bought or because I missed an issue. It’s also because I can’t keep it straight any more. I’m having to put in notes like “this is the Marvel NOW! 2.0 version from 2016” to differentiate it from the previous “Marvel NOW!” branding that you can only decipher by reading the fine print on the credits page.

Looking through my list, I see that Dynamite Entertainment also confuses its customers. They have three releases of their “Classic Battlestar Galactic” that are labeled as Volumes 1, 2 and 3 in the fine print. The new one they’re starting this year is called “Battlestar Galactica (Classic)”, so whether that becomes “Volume 4” or a separate volume series isn’t known at this point. I’ll give them points for the cover that mimics the layout of the Marvel BSG comic book and for selling it for the same 35¢ price as that original 1979 issue.

Companies that want to attract customers make it easy for people to get involved with their products. They keep those people as customers by giving them good value for the money and by not making them work to stick around. Building a devoted fan base and customer base is the goal, but doing it by confusing them almost to the point of giving them headaches or having to keep a list is not the way to do it. When the amount of effort to stay with a product becomes too great, customers leave.


#39

Here it is, folks! The comic book you didn’t know you needed, but as soon as you read the title, you’ll ask yourself how you ever lived without it.

Ready? Well, if you’re not, then don’t click on the spoilers.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Comic

Yes, not only does Kinga Forrester want to do better than her dad did, she’s identified another way of conducting experiments: comic books. With the Bubbulat-r, anyone can go inside a comic book. The comic books inside these comic books are in the public domain, so riffing without hindrance is assured.

It’s up to issue 3 right now out of the six total. Published by Dark Horse Comics, and Joel Hodgson is part of the team working on it.