Friday, January 30, 2009

Ultimate Comics Walk-Up Sales For Jan 21st, 2009

From Lee Newman of Ultimate Comics, the list of top-selling books at one of their locations in North Carolina for what was released on 1/21/09. Pull lists are not included, as this is meant to capture what is being bought off the shelf.

TOP TEN of Week 1/21/09

1. Amazing Spider-Man #583 2nd Printing
2. Presidential Materials: Barack Obama 3rd Printing
3. Dark Avengers #1
4. Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2
5. Amazing Spider-Man #584
6. Justice League of America #29
7. Green Lantern #37
8. Mighty Avengers #21
9. Thunderbolts #128
10. Astonishing X-Men #28

1 & 2. Obama mania round two. Next week, round three!
3. Excitement for Dark Reign is actually bigger than the Initiative in the stores.
4. Gimmick or not, people bought it. After this there is a steep drop off in issues sold off the shelf, with all of the titles selling out off the stands.
5. J.R. Jr. brings a bump to the title, as expected. Will the Brand New Day heavy story keep the readers coming though?
6. Faces of Evil or Wein & Crisscross, used to this title selling well but not selling out!
8. Solid book, lots of word of mouth comparing it to Doctor Who, is that a good or bad thing?

6. If the JLA issue is anything like the Superman/Batman Annual, I'm thinking readers had pretty pictures but a pedestrian story.

Sentry: Not Your Father's Superman

Amazon Set To Become eBook Monopoly?

Amazon is quite clearly the most notable online bookseller. According to PW Daily, they have notified publishers that they will no longer sell eBooks in the Adobe or Microsoft formats. Instead, they will only be selling ebooks in the formats they own (Kindle and mobipocket).

With talk of a new Kindle on the way and Amazon rivaling Apple in MP3 sales, could they wind up the leading retailer of the digital comic book evolution?

Kubert's New Avengers Cover

Who the heck is the guy in the wrestling one piece?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Digital Comics: Eagle One Media

At first glance, I thought this site had to be hosted somewhere outside of the States and only pretending to be legit. But after seeing that the About Us page claims they are based in Michigan, I'd have to guess that it is either legit or run by some not-so-bright people.

Looking at the site, I believe there are more than a few not-so-bright people involved, regardless. The site design is low budget and unattractive. It surprises me that this is a partner that IDW, for instance, would choose to work with to offer their product online.

They aren't alone, of course. Chimaera Comics, Lone Star Press, Heroic Publishing, Antartic Press and others are, also, offered on the site. They're selling the product as protected PDFs, but those PDFs can be used on multiple computers (which seems to mean they're just as ripe for torrenting as an unprotected version). So, for serving up the product in a format inferior to .cbr files, they're getting...absolutely no benefit.

I encourage you all to visit the link at the beginning of the blog and share your opinion in the comments.

The State Of Illegal Comic Torrents

This screen grab was pulled at about 2am EST, meaning the comic had been posted at approximately 1pm EST on Wednesday. That's earlier than a lot of shops have their pull lists sorted for regular customers. I'm sure it was available on Usenet in advance of that.

And these are just people that are dedicated to it as a hobby.

The comic book industry is losing a lot of potential money by continuing to ignore the market for making their books available directly on the internet. Availability online opens you up to customers where there are little-to-no comic books available.

I remember hearing from a Newsarama reader/poster located in Barbados (a lovely country that I'm enjoying some time in at the moment) who indicated he used torrents because it was the only way he could get timely access to comic books (or get them at all). This is purely anecdotal stuff, but I doubt that he's alone or that he represents a small enough group that it should be ignored.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Mark Waid's new title seems like an interesting enough book. I'm sure the orders will be helped by the viral marketing done on its behalf. I wonder whether Rich Johnston was a willing participant in the viral marketing when he showed the MARK WAID IS EVIL t-shirt in his column.

Mind you, it was all harmless stuff. I'm certainly glad it didn't involve any marvel_b0y chicanery.

Press Release follows:







January 27th, 2009 - Brace yourselves for a comic industry event: BOOM! Studios presents a new monthly ongoing superhero series from Mark Waid - IRREDEEMABLE!

With IRREDEEMABLE, Mark Waid dares to ask the question: what if the world's greatest hero decided to become the world's greatest villain? IRREDEEMABLE is a "twilight of the superheroes"-style story from the writer of KINGDOM COME and EMPIRE!

IRREDEEMABLE #1 will feature variant covers by John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN, PLANETARY) and Barry Kitson (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) in a 75/25 split. The first twelve issues of the series will feature incentive covers by hot newcomer Jeffrey Spokes that will spell out I-R-R-E-D-E-E-M-A-B-L-E! The first issue incentive cover will be a special 1-in-50 rarity with every copy signed by Mark Waid. IRREDEEMABLE issue #1 will also feature a special afterword by Grant Morrison.

Peter (POWER OF SHAZAM) Krause has committed to doing the interiors for the first twelve issues.

"In superhero comics, pretty much everyone who's called upon to put on a cape is, at heart, emotionally equipped for the job. I reject that premise," said series writer and BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid. "IRREDEEMABLE is, in a way, my third and most complex chapter on the cost of superheroics - a pulp adventure tale of horror exploring how the lessons we learn about right and wrong as children can become warped and twisted when challenged by the realities of the adult world. "

"IRREDEEMABLE is a fresh start, a way to enjoy superhero comics without forty to eighty years of back story and following dozens of titles," said BOOM! Studios managing editor Matt Gagnon. "It's the superhero book fans have been waiting for!"

IRREDEEMABLE #1 features variant covers by John Cassaday and Barry Kitson in a 75/25 split with incentive covers by Jeffrey Spokes and is a "Featured Item" in the Diamond Previews Catalog with an order code of FEB094134.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Iron Man 2 Casting Chaos?

It was one thing when Terence Howard was jettisoned in favor of Don Cheadle.

But this crud is seeming to get ridiculous now.

According to Variety (as MTV's Splash Page already pointed to), Marvel Studios lowballed both Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson for their roles in Iron Man 2. Rumors have suggested that Rourke is (was?) set to play Whiplash, while Jackson is obviously meant to reprise his role as Nick Fury.

After an amazing first Iron Man movie that hit all the right notes, especially in casting, Marvel Studios might be risking the health of the franchise to save a few bucks during these rough economic times.

Sam Rockwell is rumored to be in the process of getting cast as Justin Hammer. Emily Blunt is said to be cast as Black Widow, as well. Rumor has it that Rockwell might be getting lowballed, as well. While it is possible that there might be a silver lining where the movie doesn't get bogged down with too many villains, you don't want to achieve that result by alienating actors and agents needlessly.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Can Marvel Clue In Their Marketing Guy?

Jim McCann is one of the best in the business in getting the word out about Marvel Comics. He does a killer job on the convention circuit and in so many other marketing methods many of you may not take notice of.

So, how in the hell is he given the impression that a book (Captain Britain & MI13) is canceled only for someone at Marvel to contact Newsarama that it isn't true?

When I was asked about books that did better than expected, Cap & MI 13 was one of those books. The story, the creative team, and critical reception was through the roof. Unfortunately, the audience left after Secret Invasion tie ins. That podcast was recorded before the cancellation came down & we were all hoping it would stay longer. ... And guys, I am just as sorry as the rest of you that the book is cancelled. All I can say is if you like a low-to-mid-tier book, tell your friends, encourage others to pick it up.

I know that McCann is finally getting a crack at writing the funny books, but Marvel would be smart not to have him out of the loop on this type of stuff until he officially is just a freelance writer without a nameplate at the Marvel home office. It's not good to leave the PR voice of Marvel hanging out to dry like that.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ultimate Comics Walk-Up Sales For Jan 14th, 2009

From Lee Newman of Ultimate Comics, the list of top-selling books at one of their locations in North Carolina for what was released on 1/14/09. Pull lists are not included, as this is meant to capture what is being bought off the shelf.

TOP TEN Week of 1-14-09

1. Amazing Spider-Man #583 Obama Variant
2. Final Crisis #6
3. Amazing Spider-Man #583
4. G.I. Joe #1
5. Action Comics #873
6. Deadpool #6
7. X-Infernus #2
8. Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1
9. Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1
10. BPRD The Black Goddess #1

1 and 3. Well, duh. Line out my door when we opened gone an hour later.
2. There may not have been a press bonaza and speculator feeding frenzy, but after the top three sales are less than half of any of these books.
4. Glad it was a good read, hope to see it continue its success.
5. Despite internet complaints of New Krypton losing its steam, it still sells at a brisk pace.
8. Due to a shipping error we did not receive this book until that week. However, it has consistantly sold those numbers since it hit our shelves.
10. The little guys still manage a spot, even in the big pony show of this week.

1 & 3: I heard that 5 page backup story was horrendous stuff as far as entertainment value, but obviously gold as far as publicity value. This is the kind of thing we would have gotten in a PSA/free-comic-book-in-school project back in the day. I wonder if Marvel might consider making the 5 pager available to teachers to print out for their elementary school classes in the near future?

2: I know that Chris said FUCK THE HATERS with such conviction that Pedro almost thought it was a book he missed out on in 2008, but this jump-cut crap doesn't work to tell a cohesive story very well in a graphic novel format.

8 & 9: Haven't gotten to check them out yet. Unemployment has made me a touch more cautious about my one-off purchases.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something So Wrong, There Aren't Words

The Obamas Do What?

Pretty sure this lady wishes she could rephrase the way she tried to refer to the fist-bump. Unless there's something I didn't hear about the First Couple before. You'd think that would have gotten more play in the media than his smoking habit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why No One Should Read Previews If They Want Surprises In Their Stories...

Another month, another set of spoilers that DC inadvertently lays on their readers...

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and covers by Ethan Van Sciver

Through the decades, many heroes have taken the mantle of The Flash, but they all ride the lightning that crackles in the wake of the greatest hero the DC Universe has ever known, the man who sacrificed himself to save the Multiverse: Barry Allen!

Following the events of FINAL CRISIS, Barry has beaten death and returned to a fast-paced world that a man out of time wouldn’t recognize. Or is it a world that is only just now catching up? All the running he’s done before was just a warmup for the high-speed race that he and every other Flash must now run, because even though one speedster might have beaten death, another has just turned up dead! From Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, the visionaries responsible for the blockbuster GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH and THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR, comes the start of an explosive and jaw-dropping epic that will reintroduce to the modern age the hero who single-handedly birthed the Silver Age of comics! DC history will be made, and the Flash legacy will be redefined!
Funny, the are advance soliciting a trade paperback focusing on a speedster character. Not a particular property that seemed to be hot previously. Not one that there is a lot of clamoring for that I'm aware of. Click this link if you want to see who I think it is.

Blackest Night:

DC Direct is proud to produce action figures for the event of the summer – the beginning of the highly anticipated “Blackest Night” storyline!

Included in this series are Earth-2 Superman, the first member of the lifeless, emotionless, Black Lanterns to be revealed; Boodikka, the veteran corpsman who was among the first to become a member of the Green Lantern Corps’ own policing unit, the Alpha Lanterns; Saint Walker, the first member of the Blue Lantern Corps, which champions hope in the universe; and Atrocitus, Abin Sur’s killer and the first to utilize the power of blood and rage to become a member of the Red Lantern Corps, which is out to destroy both the Sinestro and Green Lantern Corps!
Is it just me or do they seem to spoil Geoff's developments a lot lately?

Note: since the comments aren't viewable in the RSS feed or on the front page, I feel that it is fair for anyone leaving a comment to respond directly without further spoiler warning. If you click to the comments section because you were willing to spoil yourself on one, but not the other, you do so at your own risk.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leave It To Liefeld...

After being engaged in a rather snarky discussion about how his SMASH seems to be a blatant rip-off of Marvel's Incredible Hulk, Mr. Liefeld fires the following salvo:

Why don't you jam yourself with your own sausage friend. Get over it. Move along. It's comics, not rape. Not incest. Not a Panzi scheme.

If this gets you so upset than you are a funny guy with no life. Don't buy it or better yet make fun of it tomorrow in your comics store with all your buddies.

Next in the LitG swipe files: Madoff being copied by Liefeld.

Sad Blogger Is Sad

I'm not sure how many of you might recall, but Dean Trippe and Rachel Edidin had announced the launch of SEQUENTIAL HEART. In Ms. Edidin's own words:

"Sequential Heart was originally going to focus on sending comics to kids displaced by natural and human disasters, but we've since expanded that to focus on displaced, homeless, and disadvantaged kids in general."

I contacted them last February about making a donation. The response was that they'd contact me to make arrangements once the website was up and running.

I kept checking the website for awhile and continued to see "coming soon". I figured I'd hear back eventually.

I just checked today...and the domain name has expired, according to what was found at on 1/16/09. Now, it doesn't even pull up an expiration message.

I sent an e-mail to Dean Trippe over the weekend but haven't received a response.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ultimate Comics Walk-Up Sales For Jan 7th, 2009

From Lee Newman of Ultimate Comics, the list of top-selling books at one of their locations in North Carolina for what was released on 1/7/09. Pull lists are not included, as this is meant to capture what is being bought off the shelf.

Top Ten for the Week of 1-7-09

1. Secret Invasion: War of Kings
2. Punisher #1
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #21
4. Secret Six #5
5. Marvel Zombies 3 #4
6. Amazing Spider-Man: Fear Itself
7. Super Hero Squad One- Shot
8. Archibald Chases the Dragon
9. No Hero #3
10. Trinity #32

Commentary -

First an apology. The holidays were rough for me this year. Between business at the shop, a finacially poor year personally, and a couple of new responisbilities online, I got behind in almost every aspect of my life.

Next, a note as to why there will probably be a shift of focus in this list going forward. The great esperiment, the Northgate Mall location of Ultimate Comics closed this past week. This was due to many factors, almost none of them having to do with the economy. Sales for the stores in general either held steady or were up for last year. This year has seen increases across the board, thus far (only two weeks in, but you know). Anyhow, the closing of that store had more to do with the stability of that particular mall and the inability to adjust our hours to the demands of business. We were spending way too much money on labor to justify staying there. The hours of operation there caused us to double our staffing when it opened and the cost was never offset by the sales of that location. Instead it ate away at the profit margins of our other stores.

All that is to say that the customer of that base was consolidated (with a few exceptions) to the Ninth Street location where the shelf sales generate this list. It was good to see a couple smaller books get some love on the list, but it is much more a Marvel and DC show than I remember it being (or maybe I am remembering with rose colored glasses, who knows?).

1. Honestly, I expect this thing to drawf sales of the Annihilation books, between a strong word of mouth for the individual titles going in and the inclusion of the cosmic X-People and the Inhumans while spinning it out of Secret Invasion, I think this one is a winner. The banner saw bumps in Guardians, Nova, and Kingbreaker opened stronger than Emperor Vulcan.

2. My new found love for the character, the Dark Reign Banner and a solid actioner with some good word of mouth created success here. Will it hold out?

4. The little book that could, this book sees incremental growth with each issue for us. That is a great thing, in the era of attrition, I am happy when a book holds steady. To sell more with each issue is great.

6. If Man-Thing is such a selling point, why won't anyone buy the statue in my display case?

7. Kids love comics. They really do. I love selling books to them too. I wish every shop would embrace the kid's titles.

8. Archibald rules. If you are not reading this great book by Grant Bond, than you are missing out. Seriously, everyone who picks up this book loves it.

I'm still not recovered from the holidays and job search stuff, myself, so you can all have at this. ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I've Been A Bit Of A Marvel Event Hater...

...but thinking about it lately, I've come to remember all the types of stories I wished that the super-hero comics would tell. We always settled for Elseworlds, What Ifs and plain ol' out-of-continuity mini-series to get our fix of that really complicated story idea that you knew would never happen in the regular books because it would be too difficult to coordinate and too big of a gamble for the publisher to take (in case readers thought it sucked).

I've been too caught up on holding editorial and creative teams to hyperbolic statements made in fluff interviews to sit back and really appreciate the balls it must take to ALMOST ALWAYS have some major changes happening to their fictional universe that has ripple effects (or more) through their entire catalog.

I, also, get stuck on the idea that they went in this direction instead of that one or maybe weren't quite as ballsy with the changes as I'd like to have seen. That kind of reaction is either testament to how well they've been pulling it off (that my major complaint is that they should have gone further), a bit of entitlement or both.

When I review books (which I'll get back to shortly, whether you want me to or not), I make a point of trying to step back and evaluate the execution as much or more than I evaluate what story direction they've chosen. I've kind of lost sight of that in the last few months.

That doesn't mean that the execution of the last few years of events has been flawless, mind you. Just that I think that a lot of fans forget that, at one time, they asked for this sort of cohesive storytelling to the fictional universes they read about and now try to tear it down because it went off in a direction different from what they would have preferred.

You have to take the good with the bad and, sometimes, just have to step back and realize that the next major change might bring along that story you've been waiting for them to tell for years.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maybe There Is Hope For JSA After All...

From Bill Willingham's comments in his own blog up on Big Hollywood/Breitbart:

Full Metal, yes, I will be writing the JSA starting soon (I’m not entirely sure just at the moment which issue will be my first, and I’m too lazy to walk across the room and look it up), along with my frequent writing partner Matt Sturges. This will indeed be the first test to see if I can hold to my guns. And since JSA is a DC company owned series my only real weapon is the last resort kind. If they insist on imposing too many changes from above, ones that would corrupt my shiny new mission statement, then I’d have to reluctantly walk.

This is the first time I'm rooting for editorial interference.

The actual opinion put forth in the blog itself only strengthen my desire to see Willingham & Sturges off/never on JSA.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Via a reader who likes the Huffington Post AND Schwapp!!! Online, apparently. It's all tongue-in-cheek, natch. The article at HuffPo is worth perusing.

I Know I Hibernated For A Few Weeks...

But when did putting Willingham and Sturges on JSA after a bunch of fill-in issues become a smart decision?

Thank God I found out about this move by listening to the Funny Book Babylon podcast. It helps to have the source of the info already railing on how stupid an idea it is.

You know, Willingham is a great pick. I mean, who doesn't want half of the team working on DCU: Decisions to get on JSA ASAP? Or the guy who wasted away the last few issues of the Blue Beetle series on a gimmick immigration story (after, as the FBB guys point out, the series had a few flailing fill-ins before Sturges settled in)?

And did one of them actually argue that the JSA is a lot like FABLES, only without talking animals?


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dan Slott: New Poster Child For Women In Refrigerator Offenses?

So, Tigra was having sex with the Skrull Hank Pym. Now she's pregnant. The internet is aghast, it would seem, at how Dan Slott has handled this.

If you check over on LiveJournal, you'll see a lot of discussion about it, but I'm reposting my favorite one (from kali921):

I don't have a problem with the scene in regards to its treatment of Tigra. For me it was about repercussions. When I stopped and looked at where the character was and where continuity and other creators had left her, I realized that here was a character who had casual sex with a skrull-- someone assuming a fake name/appearance/false pretenses. That's horrible. That's life-scarring.

Mr. Slott, do you not see how problematic that statement is, especially in regards to the way Tigra has been treated by Marvel's writers and editors over the last few years? Why would Greer be having unprotected sex? There are also troubling connotations to your statement, the kind of connotations that can lead one to believe that you're punishing a female character for having "casual sex."
While I don't know that this is supposed to be punishment for casual sex, it seems silly that Dan Slott's immediate assumption was that they were having unprotected, casual sex. Casual sex is sex that occurs outside of an established relationship, making it seem even more unlikely that our fair heroes would be bonking unprotected. I mean...Marvel IS the company that won't show a hero smoking because it can be deadly, right?

I'm told that Dan Slott is all over the internet defending his decision and honor.