Thursday, March 31, 2011

New column for 3/31

Here is the link to my new column.  With the Wonder Woman series starting to film, is it doomed before it starts?  My thoughts plus this weeks highlights and more:

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Column

I wrote an article for this week, but it hasn't gone up for some reason, so here it is.  Enjoy.

Are Comic Book Movies Burning Out?

While many fans of blockbuster films will disagree with me, I am scared to say that this might be the truth.  While comic book movies have been very good of recent years, it may come to a point when they ALL suck.
For the time being though, I think they will continue to do well.  This summer has “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Green Lantern,” and “X-Men: First Class.”  Yeah, that’s a lot.  But this doesn’t have me worried.  What does is “The Avengers.”  It will be the mother of all comic book movies.  The epic movie made by fanboy god Joss Whedon will most likely set the bar for what comic book movies will have to achieve after it comes out.  Christopher Nolan’s Batman series isn’t included, as it started before and has already had it’s production started.  
But how is “The Avengers” going to burn us out?  Well look at the cast.  It’s made up of mostly A-listers and a few Oscar nominees, and by a Marvel fanboy (Joss).  Yes, it could end up being terrible, but the Joss fan in me doesn’t think that will happen.  Seeing all these iconic characters on the screen will just be the top of the mountain in terms of comic movies.  Much like “The Dark Knight” showed everyone that comic book movies could be artistic, this will show comic book movies could be epic like “Lord of the Rings.”    
After a summer like this, and then having the next summer still loaded with comic movies (“The Amazing Spider-Man” is set for 2012 as well), it’s just going to tire us out.  We won’t want to stand them anymore unless they are Oscar level like “The Dark Knight.”  Yes, this could be completely wrong and something like the Daredevil reboot could be amazing, but this is my worry as a comic fan.  
Movie Time
Kevin Costner is going to be playing Pa Kent in the Superman reboot.
It has been confirmed that the main villain in “The Amazing-Spider Man” will be the Lizard.
Trade/Series for Newcomers
This was a no brainer.  I finally picked up the first trade paperback for “Morning Glories,” the Image series taking the industry by storm.  Think “LOST,” but set in high school.  It’s written by recent Marvel exclusive writer Nick Spencer.  Six kids are sent to a boarding school and the mysteries around the school keep getting better and better.  
Highlights for 3/23
-Batman Inc. #4- Two issues in one month?  Thank Galactus for this.  Batman continues his adventure in Argentina.
-Green Lantern #64- The “War of the Green Lanterns” starts with this issue.  Judging from the teasers, it sounds like only three will wear Green Lantern rings by the done of this event.
-Angel #43- It’s the second to last Angel issue before our favorite fluffy puppy vampire heads over to Dark Horse to join the Buffyverse.
-Marineman #4- I will continue to be a big supporter of this indie book.  It’s bright, it’s fun, and it’s a great read.
-F.F. #1- The new direction for the first family of the Marvel family is starting here.  Spider-Man is joining the book and it looks like the book will have the group facing bigger threats.
-Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #156- Mark Bagley is coming back to USM.  I have been pumped about this for months.  The original penciler will draw what looks to be maybe Spider-Man’s last story in the Ultimate Universe.
-Uncanny X-Force #6- This book is the shot in the arm the X-centric corner of the Marvel Universe needed.  This issue sees Fantomx fighting more Deathloks

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trade Nation

I was recently talking to a few friends about comics.  These friends are fair weather fans of comics (and they admit it).  They will read something like "The Walking Dead" because they loved the series, or an issue of Batman or two because they want to read more about the Joker.  But these people all said they never go for single issues....they always go for the trade paperback.

This has been an issue of recent years, where many blame writers for writing for trades.  Big six issue arcs that drag on can be seen like this, but comics is still a an issue by issue medium.  Trades serve the purpose of catching up and being able to read something you love that isn't available anymore.  Here is my example:

I got into "The Immortal Iron Fist" when the "Immortal Weapons" mini-series was released.  I was stunned at the series and how amazing the writing and art was.  But the series was over and it was almost impossible to find any back issues of the series.  Just like me, people realized how amazing it was and bought them up.  But the trades alleviated this.  Trades were also helpful for "Nova" and "Morning Glories."  More often than not, trades help understand continuity deeper.  When I got into comics, I had to make a lot of trips to local comic shops to stop by and read the trades to understand what characters were talking about.

But the real question is the trade industry ultimately hurting the publishers?  If we are looking at this from a numbers standpoint, why yes it is.  Using a six issue arc for example, if a customer buys all six issue right when it comes out, that person pays about $17.94 for a $2.99 book and $23.94 for a $3.99 book.  Browsing through some trades at a local comic shop, the majority cost $12.99-$14.99.  While a couple of dollars doesn't seem like much, it starts to add up when something sells a lot.  Hopefully those people will be like me, where if I buy a trade and love the series, I will continue to buy the issues.

So do trade paperbacks hurt the industry?  Yes and no.  They are a gamble that works with the right people, and not with others.  But they will always be there for better or worse.