Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Tenative DCBS Shipment for October

This is the last Wednesday of the month, so, hopefully, sometime today or early tomorrow I'll be getting the e-mail from DCBS saying a mailing label has been printed for my shipment. If I'm lucky, the Big Box o' Joy will arrive Friday. Here's what I think will be in the box when it does arrive:

52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #3
Abyss #1
Action Comics ##856-858
All-New Atom #16
Alter Ego #73
Amazing Spider-Girl #13
Atomic Robo #1
Back Issue #24
Bart Simpson Comics #38
Batman #670
The Batman Strikes! #38
Birds of Prey #111
Black Panther #31
Booster Gold #3
B.P.R.D. Killing Ground #3
The Brave and the Bold #7
Captain America #31
Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1
Clockwork Girl #1
Countdown ##30-26
Countdown Lord Havok and the Extremists #1
Countdown Search for Ray Palmer Crime Syndicate #1
Countdown to Adventure #3
Countdown to Mystery #2
Crime Bible The Five Lessons of Blood #1
DC Infinite Halloween Special #1
DC Minimates Wave 6
Death of the New Gods ##1-2
Detective Comics #837
Digital Webbing Presents #35
Drafted #2
Dynamo 5 #8
E-Man Dolly #1
Essential Werewolf by Night, vol. 2
Ex Machina #31
Fables #66
Fantastic Four #550
Fantastic Four and Power Pack #4
Flash #233
Futurama Comics #33
Gotham Underground #1
Green Lantern #24
Heroes for Hire #14
Hogan’s Alley #15
Jack of Fables ##15-16
Jonah Hex #24
JSA All Star Archives, vol 1
JSA Classified #31
Justice League of America #14
Justice League Unlimited #38
Justice Society of America #10
Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #7
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #2
Madame Mirage #3
Marvel Adventures Avengers #17
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #29
Marvel Adventures Hulk #4
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #6
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #32
Marvel Comics Presents #2
Men of Mystery ##67-68
Metal Men #3
Metamorpho Year One ##1-2
Mighty Avengers #5
Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #2
Ms Marvel #20
Necessary Evil
Neozoic #1
New Avengers #35
Nexus Archives, vol. 6
Nightwing #137
Nova #7
Paul Jenkins Super Summer Sidekick Spectacular #2
Potters Field #2
Powers #26
Previews, vol. XVII #11
Proof #1
PS238 #26
PVP #35
Richie Rich Harvey Comics Classics, vol. 2
Savage Dragon #133
Shadowpact #18
Showcase Presents Teen Titans, vol. 2
Simpsons Comics #135
Star Trek Year Four #3
Super-Villain Team-Up Modok’s 11 #4
Supergirl #22
Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #35
Superman ##668-669
Superman Confidential #8
Sword #1
Tales of the Sinestro Corps Cyborg Superman #1
Tales of the Sinestro Corps Superman Prime #1
Teen Titans #52
Teen Titans Go #48
The Jack Kirby Reader, vol. 2
Ultimate Fantastic Four #47
Ultimate Power #8
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #2
Welcome to Tranquility #11
Wolf Man Hunters Moon Novel
Wonder Woman #13

Monday, October 29, 2007

The answer is: 37

The question: How many comic books did I read this weekend?

You'd think that that many comics would run together after awaile, but they don't, at leasat no more than normal. I do think, though, that the sheer bulk of comic books I read monthly coupled with my moderate, at best, writing speed pretty much is going to keep me from commenting as much as I want in the way that I want. I thought that the method I'd been using would help me along, but I still found myself finding something to say about everything I read, and at those kind of numbers, it adds up.

As for what I read this weekend:

I don't know how it happened; I think when it happened was during his writing of 52; but Geoff Johns's writing has become as good as his fans have always said it was. His writing doesn't feel padded anymore, I feel like I am actually getting something of a story in any one issue of a comic he writes as opposed to an event in a larger whole. Actually, I am getting less of a writing-for-the-trade vibe from mainstream DCU comics lately. Maybe a company-wide mandate was enacted at DC, reminding the writers and editors that the trades are subsidized by the people who buy monthly titles. I hope so. Now, if only DC (or Marvel) would bring back thought balloons and get rid of narration captions, and number the pages of its comic books, then I'd know that they were putting the fan of monthlies, or at least me, first.

I love the conceit of Booster Gold, but I have to wonder if it can be sustained for many years. I want this comic to last many years, if for no other reason then that I like time travel and alternate dimension stories. I've long thought the The Powers That Be at DC really shot the creative side of the comapany in the foot when it enjoined the use of time travel and alternate dimensions in mainstream stories. Despite the pathetic whining of middle-thirties-aged fanpeople, the DCU (and Marvel Universe), is as connected to reality as Middle Earth is connected to reality. Strip the DCU down to its earliest moments, and its core grows from science fiction, or at least science fantasy, the landing of a rocket on the Earth that contains a baby from another planet. (Yes, I know, Crimson Avenger, et al., have a basis in pulp fiction/crime fiction, but I'm considering the event that put DC on the map). To prevent the use of time travel and/or alternate dimensions as plot devices, both of which are traditional starting points for many a work of science fiction, hamstrings writers, chaining their imaginations and chaining the characters they write to mundane stories. Anyway, even if Booster becomes the deus ex machina for DCU retroactive continuity, after the Blue Beetle story appears, any other stories could feel anticlimatic and I'd hate for apathy to kill this book.

Dwayne McDuffie didn't disappoint with his two Justice League premieres (JLA Wedding Special and Justice League of America #13). His writing is so much better than Brad Meltzer's, at least in regard to comic books, that I really think both companies need to start reevaluating the worth of name writers from other media. The art, however, is as bad as ever, even with a new artist on the book. Why did scratchiness coupled with bad anatomy ever become a viable art style and what can I do to stop its spread?

Black Canary Wedding Planner was cute, but no where near as funny as Jann Jones had me thinking it was going to be based on her comments at Wizard World Chicago.

Let me get this straight: Giving Green Arrow a beard more suitable for an extra on My Name is Earl somehow makes him more attractive.

Ultimate Fantastic Four is becoming boring, possibly an artifact of the stories continually being written with the trade in mind. It might be cut soon.

I don't know why, but this iteration of Madman just isn't doing it for me; even Mike Allred's artistic tour de force last issue, beyond the fact of how well he aped the works of his artistic influences, wasn't enough to make me glad I can buy new issues of Madman again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Order for Comics Shipping Primarily in December 2007

This is basically what I'll be ordering, though I am on the fence regarding a few items, especially the Essential volumes since I can usually find those at a reasonable price at Wizard World Chicago. Those comics that I may wait on are in color.

Previews, vol. XVII #12
End League #1
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
Countdown Search for Ray Palmer Red Son #1
Countdown Ray Palmer Superwoman Batwoman #1
Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #3
Countdown Lord Havok and the Extremists #3
Salvation Run #2
Bat Lash #1
Crime Bible The Five Lessons of Blood #3
Death of the New Gods #4
Booster Gold #5
Infinity Inc #4
Metamorpho Year One ##5-6
52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #5
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #4
All New Atom #18
Birds of Prey #113
Brave and the Bold #9
Flash #235
Green Lantern #26
Justice Society of America #11
Justice League of America #16
JLA Classified #48
JSA Classified #33
Shadowpact #20
Legion of Super-Heroes #37
Teen Titans #54
Wonder Woman #15
Doom Patrol Archives , vol. 4
Showcase Presents Aquaman, vol. 2
Showcase Presents Robin, The Boy Wonder, vol. 1
Batman Strikes #40
Justice League Unlimited #40
Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #9
Teen Titans Go! #50
Ex Machina #33
Fables #68
Jack of Fables #18
Cryptics #3
Next Issue Project #1
Dynamo 5 #10
Fearless #2
Madman Atomic Comics #7
PVP #39
Astonishing X-Men #24
X-Men First Class, vol. 2 #7
Ultimate Fantastic Four #49
Amazing Spider-Girl #15
Annihilation Conquest #2
Avengers Initiative #8
Black Panther #33
Captain America #33
Daredevil #103
Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom One Shot
Immortal Iron Fist #12
Iron Man Power Pack #2
New Avengers #37
Ms Marvel #22
Nova #9
The Order #6
Twelve #0
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #31
Marvel Adventures Hulk #6
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #8
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #34
Marvel Adventures Avengers #19
Powers #29
Marvel Masterworks Golden Age Human Torch, vol. 2
Essential Dr Strange, vol. 3
Essential Power Man and Iron Fist, vol. 1

Bart Simpson Comics #39
Simpsons Comics #137
Simpsons Super Spectacular #6
Superpowers #0
Jungle Girl #4
Drafted #4
Fist of Justice #1
Angel After the Fall #2
Maintenance #8
Abyss #2
Atomic Robo #3
Neozoic #2
Alter Ego #74
Deadly Beloved Ms Tree (Novel)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Today's Out of Context Comment

Once I am in charge, anyone--and I mean anyone--who says "It makes my head hurt" or some other phrase referring to physical pain when discussing a story involving time travel, unless it is documented through testing that that person's I.Q. is less than 85, will be immediately killed for drawing attention to your ignorance.

Monday, October 22, 2007

OML for September, Part 3

Man, my October shipment should be on its way next week and I don't think I've read half of September's shipment. I guess I could blame my new job with the required hour-and-a-half drive, one way, and the necessity of getting out of the house before 5:00 A.M., as the culprit eating into my time. The real culprit is, however, Xbox 360 and the golden age of games in which we now have the honor of enjoying. Within the last six weeks, Bioshock, Halo 3, and The Orange Box were all released, so I have little time for television let alone readong. Actually, I do have time for reading as the baby doesn't feel her day is complete unless she is read a good dozen or so books a night and she has reached a stage, at 10 months, where she just isn't content to lay next to me while I read comics outloud to her.

Anyway, here's the beginning of September's Category B comics and here's an explanation of how I categorize and read my comics, for those who haven't read it yet. I'm really going to try to rein-in the feeling that I should comment on every comic I read, if only to speed up the posting process.

Category B
PS238 #25
I really enjoy this comic and it should be much lower in the pile, but it has occasionally really tugged at my heartstrings and if I'm going to tear up, I'd rather do it earlier than later. For those who don't know, PS238 is about a public school for the super-powered (generally) children of super-heroes and a few super-villains. The children are the primary protagonists, but the school's staff, comprised of retired super-heroes, plays a role, too. In this issue, Aaron Williams, the writer/artist brings together a few plots that he has been presenting for a while now, the culminating event an alien invasion. Reading the comic, you get the feeling that everything is going to tie up nicely because this is the twenty-fifth issue, mainly because that is the rhythm of mainstream comics. However, the invasion isn't stopped, and like a Marvel comic written at the company's creative height in the mid-1960s, you want to come back to find out what comes next. By the way, this is an excellent all-ages comic, the plot and action neither too slow nor overflowing as to alienate child or adult. In fact, I think a new reader could pick up the latest issue and be able to dive right in without missing a beat. However, that is only possible if that new reader is willing to set aside any notions that a comic is inacessible after the second issue.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

OML for September, Part 2

Category A (cont.)

Y, the Last Man #58
Is it wrong of me to be happy that this comic finally coming to the end of its story? I'd have to go look at the back issues to tell when it happened, but about two-and-a-half years ago the story started feeling padded to me. Not that there haven't been some nice moments and interesting reveals during that time, but I just kind of feel it could have gotten to the end sooner. Beyond that, those last few pages were a hell of a kick in the head and, for me, kind of disappointing. Especially in contrast with the book's cover.

Marvel Comics Presents #1
I'm not sure yet. The point of an anthology, I would think, is that there should be one feature that brings a person back to buy the book. For me, it would be the Hellcat story, and if it doesn't run past issue #3 I'll stick with it, but nothing else really excited me. Maybe I've so distanced myself from the Marvel Universe, ignoring huge chunks of characters and books for years, that the characters featured can't excite me. However, when you have a Spider-Man story, where he meets all the other Spider-Men (Spider-Mans?) from all the other dimensions and alternate realities, and it doesn't generate as much interest in me as any random issue of Marvel Team-Up from the 1980s, something is wrong somewhere.

Wonder Woman Annual #1
When all is said and done, Alan Heinberg's story was a lot about nothing, and that was emphasized by having the chronically late story finish not in the monthly title where is began, but in an annual because the monthly title had to move past waiting for whoever was late, Heinberg, the Dodsons, or both. The best part of the story was the conversation between Wonder Woman and Batman, but then, long before it became part of the character development on Justice League Unlimited, I've always thought the two should get together. I guess I might be more forgiving if, in the end, the story just wasn't so outdated by events currently happening in the DCU titles. However, I did like the back-up story, a Secret Files-like story that presented backstories for Diana Prince, Nemesis, and Sarge Steel, and it was written by Heinberg, too, with art by Gary Frank. The best part of this story, though, was the inclusion of Thunderbolt with the other Action Heroes for a panel. Harbinger that the character is part of the DCU again or mistake? I'd like it to be the former, but I'm pretty sure it is the latter.

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #6
In some small way, I almost wish that Joss Whedon had provided us a bible for the show's eighth season and let fans daydream about would might have been rather then seeing them produced in comic book form. Not that this is a bad series, but it is a comic book series and not a television series, so no matter what, it is always going to feel like a comic-book derived from a television series. I think what I'm trying to say is that if Buffy had started as a comic book, this would be a fantastic continuation, but as a continuation of a television show, it suffers for being a comic book.

Countdown to Mystery #1When the Eclipso back-up story is more interesting than the main story, something is wrong. Why I understand that Steve Gerber needed to include background on where Dr. Fate's helmet had been until showing up here, even without that material, I found the story a little confusing and kind of boring. Like I said, Eclipso fares better, though the background of the character is veering away from how I remember it and while the inclusion of Plastic Man is slightly interesting, would that the character was more like Jack Cole's version and not the "funny" version thrust upon us by Grant Morrison.

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #12
I know I'm supposed to be heartbroken that this canceled, but I'm kind of glad because it is a comic I don't have to buy anymore. It looks like Eric O'Grady could be maturing at story's end. We'll see if that continues into Avengers: The Initiative.

Supergirl #21
Liberty Comics #1

Sergio Aragone's Groo: 25th Anniversary Special
Maybe the best thing about Groo is that the Sergio and Mark Evanier don't feel a need to update the character for a decreasing, aging fan base. I've read Groo sporadically over the last twenty-five years, but I've always liked it, and, even though I didn't know who some of the characters were outside of Groo and his dog, I neither felt I had to go back and buy read all the back issues nor did I feel cheated because a what-has-happened previously page wasn't at the front. Yes, most of the supporting cast was re-introduced in "The Groo Alphabet" and Groo's early years were shown in "Groo for Sale," but those were back-up stories, properly read after the lead story.

Jungle Girl #1
I'm still enjoying the story, even with what feels like Frank Cho's greater participation. Thankfully, because of the inclusion of more unapologetic shots of Jungle Girl's chest and backside, Cho appears to be influencing the art more than the dialogue.

Batman and the Outsiders #50
I did not read an issue of this when Judd Winick was writing the title and I only picked up this issue because I needed to see if this was were the darkening of Batman (something I don't want) was going to start. Thankfully, Batman wasn't the jerk I've disliked prior to Morrison and Dini writing the character, and I didn't mind the comic so much, though the fingernail dropping passing as Metamorpho needs to get rid of Queequeg's facial tattoos.

Friday, October 19, 2007

OML for September, Part 1

I just finished my comments on August comics, and here comes September. I've vowed only comment on those comics that made an impression on me, for good or bad, and to reduce my commentary when I do write. We'll see how that works out.

Category A
Jungle Girl #0
Being a well-adjusted, heterosexual male, I enjoy Frank Cho's art. His writing on the other hand . . . well, I like his writing on Liberty Meadows. I was very disappointed with his writing of the Sheena mini-series from a couple of years ago, though the art was beautiful, so I didn't have much hope for this to be any better, but since it was only a quarter, I wouldn't be out much. Maybe because all Cho did was supply the cover and the plot, but even as a short introductory piece, Jungle Girl #0 was heads and tails better than his Sheena. The story by Doug Murray, the same person who wrote The 'Nam for Marvel, held my interest and the art by Adriano Batista is that clean-line style that I think is best suited superhero and superhero-like comics. I had never come across Batista's art before, but now any book to which he is attached I'll consider buying. I've already bought #1 off the stand and am adding this to my DCBS order.

JSA Classified # 30
Take Doug Murray's and Adriano Batista's work on Jungle Girl, invert it, and you'll get the thick, gloppy mess writer Arvid Nelson and artist Alex Sanchez have produced for the second part of the current Mr. Terrific-centric story. This is terrible in so many ways that I don't even know where to begin. No, that's wrong. I can begin with this, since it shows the trifecta of bad editing, art, and writing:

The first panel is confusing with the poor placement of balloons. Read the first balloon on the left, its speaker not really defined by the balloon's arrow, then move on to Mr. Terrific's. Because Terrific's balloon comes second, it appears that he is responding to the first speaker and that that speaker is Jay Garrick. That then, by the rules of comic reading espoused by Scott McCloud, makes Jay the blobby lug in the next panel where he makes a rather Marvel-esque comment, the bigotry of which is not only out of character for Jay Garrick, one of the traditional nice guys in the DCU, but for any of DC's WWII/Earth-2 heroes who have consistently emphasized that World War II was, among other things, a battle against prejudice.

Now, in fairness, in the panel prior to the first one shown here, Jay is speaking, but I didn't understand that to be the case until I was working with the image. When I first read the comic, I thought blobby lug was Jay and the way the balloons are placed there really isn't anyway reason not to make that assumption. The reason I wanted to post this image in the first place was to show the totally out-of-character comment the blobby lug makes. The comment is more fitting coming from a Marvel character like Magneto. DC's WWII/Earth-2 heroes have never been shown that they consider themselves any different then non-superheroes, yet here blobby lug, who represents Ted Grant, I believe, uses "normals" in the pejorative in what you know is the same disparaging tone some people use when they call a monthly comic book "floppy" or "pamphlet." Character development comes from a consistent characterization, not from a characterization bit dropped in pointlessly.

Infinity, Inc. #1
Not my Infinity, Inc., but the team I'm familiar with hasn't been that team since Crisis on Infinite Earth changed the rules. The first issue wasn't bad, but nothing spectacular either, especially after Peter Milligan's great writing on X-Statix. I've heard at least one person call Max Fiumara's art more fitting for a Vertigo title and I can see what they mean. It is a little dark, but that be more a factor of the coloring. To be honest, in my opinion, the art isn't up to the level of craftsmanship readers expect in a Vertigo title. Still, I'll give it a couple of issues to improve.

Lucha Libre #1
This is not the comic I thought it was going to be and I'm not sure if I liked it or not. It is actually an anthology with stories based around the archetypical character of the Mexican wrestler. I thought the lead story, featuring The Luchadores Five, was going to be the whole book when I ordered it, so I am glad to write that I did enjoy that feature. In concept, it reminds me of the 'Mazing Man series from DC twenty or so years ago, in that the five characters are superheroes, continually in costume, though for the Five "costume" means wearing masks of the type Mexican wrestlers wear and street clothers. None of the Five appear to have access to money like 'Maze did to fund their campaign against crime and injustice; those who have cars aren't driving this year's model and of the homes we've seen, none give the impression of lower middle class. I'm really indifferent to the rest of the comic, and probably would have like Lucha Libre more had it featured just The Luchadores Five and lowered the cost of the comic. Still, being published as a bi-monthly makes the cost more absorable, so I guess I'll stay with this until the lead story ends, if nothing else.

Daredevil #100
Nightwing #136
The art was slightly better than last issue, but not by much. I never noticed Jamal Igle like I should have, but after he was taken off of this comic, I sure notice his absence. Combine that with a lackluster Wolfman story, though you'd think that since he'll soon be leaving Nightwing to write a new Vigilante comic, he'd make the new Vigilante, introduced last issue, more interesting. He doesn't and I'm just biding my time until I no longer receive my pre-ordered issues.

Star Trek: Year Four #2
This is really a rather pedestrian title. Maybe David Tischman is the world's biggest original Star Trek fan, but from the last two issues, I'm not getting that feeling. I guess Tischman deserves some credit for staying within the scope of the stories told on the original, but I'd rather the stories had a little more of the second season flair, rather than the drabness of alien-civilization-as-allegory stories of any season TNG presented here so far. A far greater disappointment to me is Steve Conley's art. I love his Astounding Space Thrills, but where his more cartoony style is perfect for that book, one that he also writes, it just seems a little "off" for Star Trek. Mind you, I'd rather see his style of art than any number of Image-influenced artists working today on any number of comics from Nightwing to New Avengers, but he really doesn't help sell the illusion that the stories are "actual" fourth season episodes. Maybe Conley should start writing ST: Y4 and an artist with a slightly more realistic style be brought in.

Dynamo 5 #7
Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax #1

The Flash #232
I'm sorry, but Danial Acuna's art is not appropriate for conveying speed, at least to me. The way he substitutes color for actual line work might impress some, but it does nothing for me, Yeah, yeah, I know that I supposed to embrace his work because he is bringing a more European style to mainstream comics, but, you know what, there's a reason I'm not buying European comics and pretending to like them. I'm not in high school and I don't have to do things or say I like things because I think that'll make the cool kids like me. If you like Acuna, God bless you, but it isn't for me. Another title I'm giving a few more issues, at least until the alien invasion story ends.

The Immortal Iron Fist #9
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
I need to apologize. Iron Fist really is a good comic book and I only keeping putting it at the top of pile because each month I assume it is going to be a "reimagining" of the character for the more cool modern fan. Then each month I read it and I am impressed with the story and art. It was the Iron Fist Annual, though, that helped convince me that Iron Fist deserves to be more toward the bottom of the pile. I'm a sucker for stories set in the thirties and a sucker for lineage heroes, ala the Phantom, and the annual had everything. Even Howard Chaykin's art was more controlled than I'd seen it in a while. Iron Fist is moving toward the bottom next month.

Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters #6
So, it ends. Every month or so as new issues came out, I read this and it felt I was reading Jack Kirby. Not the Kirby overflowing with ideas, but the Kirby who squirted out concepts for Topps Comics toward the end of his life. Galactic Bounty Hunters might have been better even if late-in-life Jack Kirby wrote and drew it, but having four credited writers and three credited artists (one of whom is Kirby) didn't really make it better. My suggestion is that Lisa Kirby, Jack's daughter and one of the credited writers, turn the whole thing over to Karl Kesel, credited for art, but he had received writing credit on other issues, have him bring in Tom Grummett on art, and let them go to town. With those two, I'd buy the next mini-series, if such is solicited, but without at least Kesel writing, I don't think so.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cover Comments

Over at Comics Should be Good, Brian Cronin usually posts commentary regarding the covers shown in each month's Marvel and DC solicitations. Here are links to his comments on DC and Marvel comics solicited for release this coming December.

Personally, I have no idea what he is talking about, but I think he is looking at the covers with an artist's eye, so I'm sure we have different standards regarding a comic book cover and its purpose. Myself, I think the covers of most titles published by the Big 2 are rather pointless. If the cover doesn't actually reflect the contents of the comic to which it is attached--that is, a cover presenting some moment from the comic itself rather than a meaningless picture of the lead character(s) and drawn by a different artist then the one drawing the interior--the point of the cover is rendered moot.

Suffice to say, I have little love for covers as they are currently used. In my opinion, a cover is meant to sell a comic to people who wouldn't necessarily buy that comic and I think most mainstream covers don't serve that purpose. In fact, because the audience for comic books is so insular, bought by people who know what they want long before they walk in the door, I would go so far as to say that having a newly drawn cover each month isn't necessary. I do not think sales would be adversely affected if each month both of the Big 2 had blank covers except for the company logo, title logo, and UPC. To make it easier for the consumer, the covers for a month's worth of comics from each company would be printed in a different color. For instance, for comics published in November, Marvel comics could have green covers and DC comics blue covers. Come December, Marvel's might be yellow and DC's red, January another pair of colors and so on.

At one time I planned on presenting a group of covers from the December solicitations as the ones I found particularly annoying, but some things aren't possible, mainly because I misplaced the flash drive with the covers I'd chosen and I'm too busy to gather them again. However, that doesn't mean I can't offer a few, at least the few I had sense enough to upload before losing the drive.

All Star Superman #10

This cover, at least, doesn't suffer from what I consider one of the primal sins on covers today: presenting the image so close up that the action is lost. Can't have a wider shot than one that shows a giant Superman ready to catch the Earth if it were too fall. However, I have to ask if anyone else thinks Superman looks like Dick Van Dyke?

Countdown Special:  The Atom 80 Pg. Special #1

This is a great example of a bad cover, if that statement is based on what I wrote a few paragraphs back. As part of DC's plan to reprint everything even tangentially related to events in Countdown, DC is reprinting some pretty obscure comics. In truth, the stories that will be in this issue; and the next, it runs for two issues; are probably pretty germane to Ray and Jean Palmers' story that began in Identity Crisis, as the stories show the Atom's search for Jean after she went off the deep-end (again). However, is there anything about this picture that relates that information? The stories reprinted are from Super-Team Family, so not only do the stories feature Atom, but at various time Supergirl, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Aquaman, Captain Atom, and Wonder Woman also appear. Is that information presented by the cover? For everything that image tells me, the cover might just as well be a solid color.

Bat Lash #1

The phrase "continuity porn" is thrown around a lot these days, usually in reference to the mainstream comics from the Big 2, though, I guess, there are people who are actually concerned about continuity in pornography and are "taken out of the story" because of some silly little error. I don't necessarily agree with the reasoning behind the phrase, but the covers offered for the first issue of Bat Lash kind of supports the continuity porn concept.

What do I mean? Let's assume that there is going to be a logo for the comic and all the other particulars common to mainstream covers. Ok, after that, what is there about any of these covers that tells you what or who is a "Bat Lash?" A knowledgeable comic fan might purchase it because of the creators involved or because he knows the name "Bat Lash" from either seeing the character on Justice League Unlimited or recognizing the name from house ads in DC comic books printed in the late sixties, early seventies. An unknowing fan might think it related to the Batman titles in some way. I give both covers, the issue ships with a variant cover, credit for showing action scenes that I'll assume actually occur in the story, but is there anything on those covers that would make a unknowing person want to buy this comic? Western comics, in general don't sell and haven't sold for decades, so the genre isn't the selling point. DC must expect to make sales based upon the name only and since the name is recognizable only to comic-book fans, Bat Lash is a form of continuity porn.

Compare those covers with select examples from the first Bat Lash run:

I think these serve to describe the character much better than the newer covers. They tell a potential buyer the comic is a Western, one that may not take itself too seriously, with a central character who may nor walk the straight and narrow consistently.

Good thing I didn't post more covers.