April 22, 2017
I’ve been doing this breakdown of my comics pull-list as I adjust and budget for the future and have made a few observations. I’m going to break it down by company.
- With DC Comics, I continue to collect several titles. Aquaman, the Flash, Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Batwoman, Batman, All-Star Batman, Wonder Woman, and Scooby: Apocalypse. Most of these titles I’ve collected consistently since the onset of the New 52, with a few changes made here and there. I’ve thought about collecting Superman or Action Comics again, but I only have so much money to work with and I have to draw a line somewhere. Although if there are enough ongoings out of the way, I might add them again. Despite the flaws with the New 52 and Rebirth, I’ve actually been really impressed with a lot of what DC Comics has done. It does feel like they have a good plan and are more willing to take chances with that plan.
- Independent Comics are a steadily growing part of my collection. From Dynamite Entertainment, I’ve been collecting the James Bond title. Mostly because Warren Ellis had been writing the title, might drop that one now that some one else has taken over. From IDW I have been collecting My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as well as My Little Pony: Friends Forever, which is being replaced by My Little Pony: Legends of Magic. Despite an exgirlfriend’s best efforts, I never could stand the television show, but the comics were top notch. And this new comic is supposed to deal with the history of magic in the MLP universe. From Image Comics, it has been a steady lineup of Bitch Planet, East of West and Sex Criminals. All three of which have been excellent. From Titan Comics, the Doctor Who series focusing on Doctors 9-12. Kept meaning to get into the Torchwood comic as well, but never did. Again, budgeting. The last Independent comic I’ve been keeping on is Insexts, which has been this weird, delightful story.
- Which leaves Marvel Comics. This is where I’ve cut most of my books actually. Mostly I’ve been collecting the Star Wars comics–Star Wars, Poe Dameron, Doctor Aphra, Darth Maul–while the core superhero titles is down to the Avengers, Hulk, the Mighty Thor and the Unworthy Thor. Hulk has been a really good PTSD story, while Avengers and the Thor books have been fairly solid and consistent.
So I’ve outlined what I’m actively collecting right now. I’ve observed this general shift away from Marvel, which has been for a number of reasons. Not likely to ditch any Star Wars titles, but the core titles have been dropping fast. Even the Thor or Avengers titles could go soon. And here’s why.
- Creators. Not that long ago, Marvel Comics had writers like Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Kelly-Sue DeConnick, Jonathan Hickman, Rick Remender, and Kieron Gillen working for them. Artists like John Romita Jr., Dale Eaglesham and Declan Shalvey has since moved on from Marvel. Every one of those that I’ve just listed had some role in the overall redefinition or rejuvenation of a character. Most of them have gone to do work at Image or other independent companies. Meanwhile, I look at DC and think they have done a pretty decent job of finding good fits for their overall plan and keeping them in positions to be at their best. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. I think it would have established a better consistency of tone with Marvel if they hand been able to keep a couple more of those writers and artists around.
- Stories. Despite their flaws and missteps, DC seems to be sticking to a bigger vision for their titles and that comes out in stories on all levels. From the solo street level characters up to the big cosmic team books, there has been a solid and consistent vision. Marvel on the other hand, I just think they’ve been telling mediocre stories. So many of their books are just building up to the next event so we don’t have an opportunity to see any character development. Stories too dependent on ex machina gimmicks and Macguffins. DC might be guilty of that too with the Watchmen button, but I argue the return of Wally West and the Pre-New 52 Superman made that a bit less of an annoyance. Cosmic Cubes and Infinity Gauntlets are more what has become an annoying dependency for Marvel.
- Pricing. I think Marvel could make more of an effort to keep more of their books under $3.99. It is more the nature of the business, but I think DC has made a much more obvious effort to keep their prices under control.
- Diversity. Marvel has tried to blame slumping sales on too much diversity at one point or another. The one way that happens is if they force things too much. I do think they have tried too hard to diversify, but haven’t necessarily given the conditions for those titles to succeed.
April 19, 2017
For if one is remembered by a friend, one is never truly gone.
-Star Wars: Thrawn
- Finally broke the hour mark in Overwatch with Orisa. In some ways she can be annoying, but her abilities can be useful. I probably will play as her more often than I play as some others.
- Weekend off coming up. Hopefully going to power through some reading, writing and drawing that I’ve been putting off. Getting closer to Comic Con season, so I stepping that up is a priority. Might also start the process of selling off my comics. That is a bit of a trickier thing, as I want to have a steady flow of books getting signed and graded as I sell them. Maximize and extend my profit window.
- I saw recently that Greg Rucka’s run as writer of Wonder Woman will be coming to an end relatively soon. Part of me is kind of glad about that. It’s not that he’s a bad writer, but I just get tired of him working with lesbian characters all of the time–I could argue Wonder Woman as more bisexual, but in the current storyline she has not necessarily shown an overwhelming interest in men. Regardless, Rucka’s work–thinking of Rene Montoya, Kate Kane, Carrie Stetko–tends to focus on lesbian heroines. I’m all for diversity, but I think there could be a bit more variation to the diversity. Kind of goes along with my biggest complaint about Tracer from Overwatch. I thought there were more powerful statements to be made with the character and the game in general.
- Finished reading the new Star Wars: Thrawn novel. Pretty solid stuff. Think Timothy Zahn did a good job building up the characters and showing the functioning of the Empire at that time. I was a bit taken aback when Disney announced that the novels and comics and video games from the last couple of decades were no longer canon, but I understood the need to declutter. A lot of the material was clutter and detracted from the better stories of the Expanded Universe. I’m glad they brought back Thrawn though. The Thrawn books were some of my favorites from the novels, probably the most well written. Makes me wonder if Thrawn or Eli Vanto will appear in Last Jedi or Episode IX. In some form, maybe the character portrayed by Benicio Del Toro?
April 5, 2017
“I am only an egg.”
-Stranger In A Strange Land
- Saw something about Twitter changing the default avatar from an egg to a silhouette. I was preferable to the egg myself. In the novel Stranger In A Strange Land, Michael Smith often repeats the phrase, “I am only an egg.” Basically he’s saying, “I still have a lot to learn.” Having the egg I think was a good reminder that people people don’t necessarily know everything and that we all still have a lot to learn. We all have something to learn and something to teach each other. Plus, Twitter does have the bird theme.
- Was trying to figure out if there was going to be a trade paperback of the Overwatch comics coming out anytime soon. Doesn’t look that way. I think Dark Horse has been putting them out digitally, but I would like to get a hard copy at some point. It is really interesting how they have developed the world and characters of the game, in that there is no real story in the game play. Been taking a break from that anyway. A lot of Batman: Arkham Knight and Mass Effect: Andromeda with some Skyrim thrown in. Finally cracking into the stack of games I haven’t gotten into as heavily yet. Gave brief thought to plugging the Playstation 3, which I still haven’t done since I left Shoreham.
- Saw an article the other day about how some people at Marvel Comics is blaming their drop in sales on “pushing too much diversity” in their comics. Seriously? You basically have all your books leading from one event to the next, constantly restart the titles each year, and recycle plots from the last few decades. On top of that, Marvel has lost a lot of top talent over the last few years, probably on some level due to Editorial issues. But anyway, tell me how “too much diversity” is the real problem.
- Joss Whedon has apparently taken on the task of making a Batgirl movie. At the first glance, I was excited. Whedon has done an excellent array of work with female characters that most find admirable. And the plan is to base it off Gail Simone’s New 52 run with the character, which was arguably one of the better parts of that initiative that DC Comics put out. So that seems like a recipe for success. However, he did have a brief flirtation with a Wonder Woman movie that failed to pan out. And there was Avengers: Age of Ultron, which featured a disappointing direction for Black Widow. Some of that could be attributed to creative issues with the studio, but it does raise a red flag or two. So I’m cautiously optimistic.
February 22, 2017
Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.
–The Doctor in Doctor Who “The Zygon Inversion”
- Continuing with a previous post: Freedom of Speech. I was thinking about the Bill Maher/Yiannopoulos interview and a point occurred to me. I like to think that the whole point behind Freedom of Speech is the exchange of ideas. Put forth new ideas that open people’s minds and get them thinking. There’s a difference between trying to pick a fight and putting forth a new idea. Ideas encourage thought and discussion. Whenever I’ve tried to write seriously about any topic–guns, religion, relationships, politics, social issues, etc.–I’m really just trying to give people new ideas to think about. I don’t necessarily overburden myself with a notion of being right or wrong. And any of those ideas I usually think on more after I write about them and would be willing to have a discussion about. I know that probably was never really possible for some people and probably never will be, but I wouldn’t mind discussion where possible. Being challenged helps new ideas to form.
- I’m pretty impressed that I’m holding steady at 175 pounds right now. My diet and exercise routines seem to be working effectively enough and I’m ramping up the cardio lately. Made it to 6.5 minutes on the elliptical machine. Can’t wait to kayak and hike again. I pretty much cut out cardio completely for the winter under the rational that I’m on my feet and running around for most of my eight hours at work every night so that should amount to something and I was trying to gain some significant weight. Still not where I want to be in regards to sleep, but there’s always something to work on.
- Trying to figure out how one is really supposed to celebrate President’s Day. What is one supposed to do?
- Lately, I’ve been giving more thought to bringing back Chlorine and Acid. I almost did a special page about something that was going on at work, but events unfolded so it was unnecessary. I feel like it is needed again. Going to do some page layouts and maybe redraw some of the early pages. Maybe even make some use of various reference pictures I took.
January 18, 2017
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
- So this flu–going to call it that based on the myriad symptoms I’ve exhibited–has dragged on for about a week. I’m getting tired of it. Mostly I just want to breathe again. Haven’t been able to bench for a few days, lying back on the bench when you struggle to breathe is quite the challenge. Hopefully I will be back to doing a flat or decline bench at the end of the week. Did a pretty decent workout today, which is a very good sign.
- Got the last of my NYCC books back from CGC. This round of books were the set I got signed by Jim Starlin. I got a 9.2 on Avengers Annual #7 (Conclusion of the first Thanos Saga and the “Death” of Adam Warlock), Infinity Gauntlet #1 got a 9.4, Infinity Gauntlet #2 got a 9.4, and Infinity Gauntlet #3 got a 9.6. Not a bad hull. The Avengers Annual actually has Thanos’ first “death” as well as his assembling the Infinity Gems, although he does not use them as the Gauntlet until the series of the same name. Very pleased, fits right along with my plans for these and the books I got signed by Stan Lee as well.
- Trying to budget more time for drawing, optimize my abilities. I’ve been doing a lot of side stuff, but I’d really like to get back to comics. I’m going to try drawing more by hand, with actual pencil and paper. I’m not necessarily a fan of being purely digital. Definitely feel like I draw better in pencil first, then pretty it up in Photoshop.