…On the way to producing articles for Inveterate Media Junkies. If I listed all the things that went awry in just the last 72 hours, I would still be typing an hour later. What’s hilarious (for me at least)– the entire time I’ve been rewriting/refocusing a potential future Hollywood Blockbuster, all I’ve thought about is the huge number of IMJ columns which are late. But that’s life, Baby… And sometimes you just have to get out of the way, or you’ll be run over.
As I sit here, Hollywood Pundits are predicting Iron Man 3 will take in upwards of $175 Million at the US Box Office this weekend… With a $641 Million worldwide gross being a very real possibility by Sunday Night. This isn’t Iron Man 2 box office grosses by a long shot… These are more like Avengers movie numbers. A 78% favorable critic response on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t hurt Iron Man 3 either. As I type this sentence, over 90% of the moviegoing public love the film as well. In comparison, huge movies franchises like Transformers series would kill to come remotely close to this kind of critic/fan response.
When reading reviews critical of the latest Robert Downey Jr opus, keep in mind it is very chic for some of the “bigger” film critics at the more “high brow” magazines and newspapers to hate on comic book movies. The fact most of them couldn’t find a way to eviscerate Iron Man 3 (without looking like anti-pop culture morons) is very telling.
I’m scheduled to see the film this Sunday, as part of My Girlfriend’s Birthday Weekend™. Tickets are already purchased and printed. (How cool is it to have a GF who thinks going to see an Iron Man movie is a great way to celebrate her Birthday?) We opted for the Real D 3D experience as a lark. This will mark only the second time I’ve watched a film in 3D at a public movie theater (the last was Avatar), so I am expecting the experience to be… Interesting.
As I mentioned briefly on the site before, I’ve read the Iron Man 3 script… And I thought it was great. I have high hopes for this film and I believe its critical success + box office bonanza means director Shane Black will be at the Sony lot on Monday prepping his long-awaited, superbly written Doc Savage movie.
For those wondering if Downey will return for Avengers 2, Cosmic Boogaloo— never fear. When asked about future Marvel films, the actor has been smiling like the Cheshire Cat during most of his promo stints for this movie– and with good reason. His long-term multi-movie deal with Marvel Studios may be over, but you can expect Disney to dump a Brinks Truck full of gold bullion on Downey’s driveway any minute now… And I think that’s great.
In the wake of Marvel Studios’ astounding (almost unparalleled) success, most people have forgotten just how risky it was for Marvel Studios to borrow millions to make the original Iron Man movie. Untested comic book character (virtually unknown by the public) coupled with a fantastic actor (better known for his drug-induced meltdowns in the past decade) equaled a HUGE RISK. But if Marvel Comics is The House That Stan & Jack Built, then Marvel Studios is The House That Kevin Feige and Robert Downey Jr Built… So back the truck up already.
Action Comics Vol 1 Superman Men Of Steel – Own the Hardcover
Action Comics Vol 2 Bulletproof HC
Army Of Darkness Omnibus Vol 3
Art Of Epic HC
Bedlam Vol 1
Blackacre Vol 1
Cable And X-Force Vol 1 Wanted Now
Color Earth Vol 2 Color Of Water
Croods Prequel Digest
Dungeons & Dragons Legend Of Drizzt Vol 1 – This Week’s POS*!
Feynman – Own the Hardcover
Fubar Vol 3 American History Z
G-Man Vol 3 Coming Home
Gary Baseman Door Is Always Open HC
Get Jiro – Own the Hardcover
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Vol 2 HC
Graveyard Of Empires Vol 1 – A new Zombie Book I may actually like…
Great Pacific Vol 1 Trashed – Recommended
Iron Man War Machine Hands Of The Mandarin
Jack Davis EC Stories Artist Edition HC
Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol 2 HC – Recommended
Kick-Ass Vol 1 HC – Double the Crap! Double the Idiocy!
Korak Son Of Tarzan Archives Vol 1 HC
Legends Of The Blues HC
Little Prince Vol 7 The Planet Of The Overhearers
Little Prince Vol 8 The Planet Of The Tortoise Driver
Lone Ranger Snake Of Iron – I like Chuck Dixon’s work
Magic The Gathering Volume 3 Path Of Vengeance
Marvel’s Iron Man 3 The Art Of The Movie HC Slipcase Edition
Marvel Universe Earth’s Heroes Digest
Michael William Kaluta Sketchbook Series Volume 4
Roy Thomas Presents The Heap Slipcase Edition – Too Pricey!
Shadow Double Novel Vol 72
Slaine The Grail War
Superman Earth One Vol 1 – Oh, Hell No!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ongoing Vol 5 Krang War
Transformers Regeneration One Vol 2
Treasures Of Bruce Lee HC Slipcased Edition
Walt Disney Donald Duck Vol 3 Castle Secret HC
What Lies Beneath HC
Will And Whit
Wolverine The Best There is Complete Series – Ack!
World Of Warcraft Dark Riders HC
Bloody Monday Vol 10
Fairy Tail Vol 25
Negima Vol 38
Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to work for one of the Pop Culture websites that force/coerce/cajole/threaten writers to say positive things about shit products. In my younger days, I remember quitting a film critic job over this exact same situation– only to be amazed to discover there was no shortage of assholes more than willing to subjugate the freedom of their opinions to such cynical and soulless editorial decision-making.
The deadlines for weekly columns are much more demanding than you might think and the pressure to be current on the internet is amazing. That’s why we quit trying. We’ll let the other sites amaze you with their rewritten press releases– while acting like they’re breaking news. I’ll admit to being a victim of it myself early on– once– when I decided to make Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt – The Neverwinter Tales my Hot Pick of the Week! back on March 21, 2012… Based on reading 6 preview pages.
What a mistake. Even though I wrote the book “…should rock…” with creator R.A. Salvatore’s direct involvement, Neverwinter Tales stands as one of the worst Dungeon & Dragons Drizzt tales to ever kill a tree. Plodding, senseless and boring– Neverwinter proves definitively what was missing from the mix this time… Talented TV Writer/Comic Scribe Andrew Dabb (currently the Executive Story Editor on TV’s popular Supernatural) was in charge of adapting Salvatore’s previous Drizzt stories into comic book form– and he is sorely missed here. Geno Salvatore (R.A.’s son) essentially takes over the storytelling duties for Neverwinter Tales, the first original Drizzt comic book story… And in an unusual attempt at me being nice, let’s just say Geno is no R.A. Salvatore and the comic could have definitely used a dose of Andrew Dabb.
So that’s why I now refuse to review anything unless I’ve read every single word of it. (Live and learn, I guess.) For what it’s worth at this late date, I retract my earlier praise for Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt – The Neverwinter Tales. If you want to read some exciting Drizzt Do’Urden comics, I still strongly recommend all the Andrew Dabb adapted IDW reprints. But this book? Stay as far away as possible.
And for those who may have purchased Neverwinter Tales due to my earlier Hot Pick? All I can do is say, “Sorry”– and promise I will never, ever act like an adolescent fanboy again by recommending a book I haven’t read cover-to-cover.
Given the huge number of Hardcovers and Trade Paperbacks released every week, the term “Mixed Bag” could be used as a headline for this column all the time. This was a lighter week for “Trade-Waiters” and weirdly (and happily), it had a higher ratio of good stuff over crap. I’ve seen this happen many times before… The end of the month often brings on the good stuff, as the various publishers await the first week of the next monthly cycle to dump their high-priced, bottom of the toilet bowl books.
You could say it’s all random… But I don’t think it is. Many people get paid bi-weekly or monthly… So the first and third weeks of each month will find most hard-working fans having paid their rent and most of their bills– and itching to spend some money on themselves. Coincidentally, these two weeks are also when I tend to see a lot more high-priced crap on my list.
Of course, I have no hard data to back any of this up (and as we always say, there are exceptions to every rule) but it is my gut feeling. The First of the Month Dump got its name for a reason… Just sayin’.
I was going to regale you with this blah-de-blah info about 90s Valiant– when I realized that even though a lot of that decade sorta still feels like yesterday, it really isn’t… It’s ancient history. Anybody with a hankering for Wikipedia or Google can look it all up anyway– if they care. And I don’t. Really. Valiant is a new company, run by all new people– with a slew of excellent creators who shouldn’t be saddled with any of that old-timer bullshit.
So upward and onward, as I deservedly tout Shadowman Vol 1 Birth Rites this week… Which stands, creatively, as one of the most successful reboots in comic book history. I read the old Valiant books from time to time when they first came out… And none of them compare to the efforts of Justin (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode) Jordan and Artist/Co-Writer Patrick Zircher.
Shadowman isn’t just the best Valiant comic book (the entire line is solid, so this is already high praise)… It’s one of best adventure/suspense/mystery/supernatural comics in a decade. And the lion’s share of the comic’s success falls directly on the broad, able shoulders of Jordan and Zircher. The duo effortlessly prove they know exactly where great comics come from: Superior Storytelling and Nimble, Expressive Art.
The narrative also isn’t burdened with tons of ancient backstory to decipher… And it isn’t filled with pervy, “shocking” events made to titillate (or offend) comic fans either. In other words, there’s no emptiness or fakery in Shadowman… Just solid, great comic wizardry.
Think about it. When was the last time you could say the same about a Marvel or DC comic book?
That’s what I thought. Make Mine Valiant!
Asterix Omnibus Vol 11
Batman Illustrated By Neal Adams Vol 2 – Recommended
Blue Beetle Vol 2 Blue Diamond
Captain Pugwash Comic Book Collection SC
Castle Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm – Own the Hardcover
Castle Waiting Vol 2 Definitive Edition HC – Own the Less Deluxe Edition
Courtney Crumrin Volume 3 Courtney Crumrin In The Twilight Kingdom HC
Dark Tower Gunslinger Battle Of Tull – Own the Hardcover
Deathmatch Vol 1
Double Fine Action Comics Vol 1
Double Fine Action Comics Vol 2
Fairy Quest Vol 1 Outlaws HC – Recommended
GI Joe Tales from the Cobra Wars (Prose)
GI Joe Transformers Vol 3
Harvey Horrors Chamber of Chills Vol 4 Slipcase Edition
Indigo Prime Anthropocalypse
Invincible Vol 8 The Ultimate Collection HC – Recommended
Joe Hill’s Terrifyingly Tragic Treasury Edition
Judge Dredd Digest The Judge Child – NO digests!
Library Chihoi HC
Marble Season HC – Recommended
MMW Incredible Hulk Vol 7 HC
MMW Mighty Thor Vol 4
Morning Glories Vol 4 Truants
Neil Gaiman Interworld
Peter Bagge Other Stuff
Shadowman Vol 1 Birth Rites – Hot Pick of the Week!
Squadron Supreme (New Print) – Own it. Recommended
Superman Beyond Man Of Tomorrow
Superman Ultimate Guide To Man Of Steel HC
Thea Silton Vol 1 The Secret Of Whale Island HC
Twelve HC – Own the 2 other Hardcovers
Uncanny Avengers Vol 1 Red Shadow HC – This Week’s BS™ (Marvel Edition)!
Warhammer 40K Blood Of Asaheim HC
Who Is AC HC
Who Is AC SC
X-Men Fall of the Mutants Vol 2
X-Men Longshot (New Print)
Alice In The Country Of Hearts My Fanatic Rabbit Vol 2
Atelier Artworks of Arland
Animal Land Vol 7
Arisa Vol 10
Black Butler Vol 13
Bride Of The Water God Vol 13
Bunny Drop Vol 8
Doubt Omnibus Vol 1
Flowers Of Evil Vol 5
Gantz Vol 27
Is This A Zombie Vol 4
Knights Of Sidonia Vol 2 – Locusmortis Recommended
Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol 15
Pandora Hearts Vol 15
Pokemon Black And White Vol 9
Spice And Wolf Novel Vol 8 The Town Of Strife 1
Twilight Saga New Moon Vol 1 HC – This Week’s Manga POS*!
X 3-In-1 Edition Vol 5 – Manga Pick of the Week!
I said months ago I was gonna call out the Uncanny Avengers Vol 1 Hardcover if Marvel went through with their ridiculous plan to reprint the first 5 issues of the comic and price it at an outrageous $24.99… So here we are. Even factoring in Marvel’s usual overblownsense of self-worth, their current pamphlet pricing structure would cause this collection to ring out at $19.95… More if they wanted to be jack-offs and charge extra for the thicker low-grade cardboard used to sandwich the contents.
And that’s precisely what they did: Five $3.99 Uncanny Avengers comics for $24.99… Meaning you pay $2.52 a piece for each of the back and front covers. (Don’t forget the “super expensive” dust jacket!) Am I alone in thinking it’s atrocious that Marvel is testing this price point? (Sharp-eyed readers will remember I called out DC in March 2012 for essentially the same thing– charging $22.99 for the six $2.99 comics collected in the Aquaman Vol 1 Hardcover.)
I hold no pretensions and few complaints about being a trade waiter. I know I’m a lazy comic book fan at best– as I’m no longer willing to put in the work required to be a top flight, front-line collector. I don’t rush to my shop to buy my comics every Wednesday and I no longer agonize if I miss a first print of a comic like the “death” of Damian Wayne. (Hell, I don’t even go to a shop at all. I have my books shipped to me every week.) But as far removed as I am from the Local Comic Shop experience, I know good and well that almost 99.9% of all American hardcovers and trades are REPRINTS of PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED material.
I’ve been trying to come up with a good reason/excuse for Marvel hiking this hardcover’s price– other than greed. (I can’t.) To add to the absurdity of this $24.99 price point: A very perfunctory search of internet comic retailers shows first print copies of Uncanny Avengers #1 still available for at least 20% Off cover price.)
Oh, and before I forget to review the actual hardcover… The comics contained within this overpriced monstrosity suck too. Having seriously enjoyed (and continuously touted) almost every word writer Rick Remender has written for Independent comic book publishers, I barely recognize the Marvel Version™ of this guy. I have no idea what they’ve done with the “real” Rick Remender or if they’re inhibiting his talent by screwing with his usually great ideas or his normally wonderful scripts.
All I know is this: If you want to read a great comic book hardcover (or even a good one), Uncanny Avengers ain’t it.