Robot 6

The Fifth Color | Comics resolutions for 2011

That's a sexy little hip flick Scott's got going on there...

Pardon me, but I seem to have arrived a little tardy to the New Year. The Mister and I, as some of you might know, are going through some medical procedures and health issues at the moment but Dr. Erskine promises us that the Super Soldier program is exceeding his expectations.

Now, if only we could walk him to his car…

2011 is a brand new year and new years come with resolutions. And why not? Past mistakes are behind us, the previous year can be listed and filed and tucked away for True Believers to face front and look over the horizon at all the things that Could Be. This highly charged moment of calender change and future reflect should turn inwards from time to time and help us evolve along with the fast-paced 21st century. Goals set can be goals achieved, and who knows what wonders you can discover if you challenge yourself!

Thanks to the rocky start of 2011, I will be starting my New Year’s Resolutions as of Jan. 15. It’s kind of terrifying saying this in public, but it’s important because putting all these down with chisel on this here Robot 6 web-stone makes them all the more permanent. Also, a lot of my resolutions this year are about comics. However, these are something I’d hope all comic readers could keep in mind as the year progresses, hopefully making us better consumers so that the product we so delightfully consume improves as well.

Wanna see ‘em? Well, listed below are five of my personal New Years’ resolutions as pertains to Marvel comics (and comics in general).

In no particular order, here we go:

Give Fear a Chance

Ohhhh man, do I not want to. I’m done, you guys. Done since Secret Invasion. The last thing I want to read for a good long time is an over-hyped mega event series with a dozen tie-ins that, even worse, have told me are reflecting the fears of the modern era. Is it just me, or do I read comics for a mild bit of escape from my daily news? There are indeed terrible things going on in the world today, things happening closer and closer to us each day. Our daily news networks continually cover this fear morning, noon and night. Pundits at your water cooler (if anyone even has a water cooler anymore) debate these fears, mothers shelter kids from these fears, yes! We know! Why do my comics have to tell me the same thing? Of course, Spider-Man’s afraid of losing his Aunt or his job or that Joe Quesada will write him another storyline, but can’t the man just swing a web without wallowing in that? We are at best not defined by our fears, and I would be more excited about a promotion that celebrated what the heroes can do and will do instead of focusing on the threat they face.

With that said, I’m being hypocritical. The story isn’t even out yet and I’m ready with a pitchfork and an angry mob. This is no way to read your comics, folks, so it is my resolution to read my way through only the basics of Fear Itself before the issues arrive. If I read too many press releases or interviews, I’m going to be irritated with the focus I’m putting on the book and will have damned the series before it arrives. I promise to read five issues of the main series before tossing it out a window.  I resolve to keep an open mind and hope that Lucy won’t pull that football out from me when I run to kick it.

It's like this, but less pink

Pick and Stick

We are going to get so many Captain America books, our shelves will be awash in red, white and blue. We’re going to look like a President’s Day Used Car sale with all those banners and mini-series and one-shots. You might take a look at all of those, throw up your hands and just give up. As well as Deadpool comics sold, there was a lot of public backlash to just how many titles were out there. When Marvel wants to promote a character, there’s sort of a Barbie approach. Let me explain: the public consciousness knows what a Barbie doll is, right? Busty blond-haired fashion doll. Every year, they make the standard Barbie for young girls to play with, but they also make a bazillion different outfits, jobs and playset for you to imagine her in. Don’t like regular Barbie? How about Ballerina Barbie? Malibu Barbie? Computer Programmer Barbie? There’s a Barbie out there for all types of interests and rather than be a collector of Barbies, I think it’s time to pick one and enjoy it. Sure, there’s a lot of Thor titles on the shelves, so instead of rallying against the multitude, I’m just going to choose one and stick with that. No matter what comes out, I’ll always know the storyline from the main Thor title and all the extraneous mini-series and extra issues can be ignored. There’s not a million different titles, there’s my title and I’m going to enjoy it.

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Read Something New

Almost in complete counter-point to what I just said, I resolve to try a new title at least once a month. When I first started reading comics, I only read Star Trek titles. I read a lot of different kinds of Star Trek comics, but if it didn’t have Kirk or Picard or Sisko in it, I did not read it. Then, thanks to my brother’s old collection of comics and the new (at the time) animated series on Fox, I picked up X-Men #24 and left my comfort zone of the Starship Enterprise.

The rest is pretty much history, and here I write to you. So I resolve to try something I’m not all that interested in. Fear Itself will do nicely, but maybe I’ll get around to reading some Omega the Unknown or go back to Powers again. Maybe I’ll read some classic comics or look ahead and read Scarlet. Dare I say it? Maybe I’ll read an independently published title!?!?! Who knows. But the most important thing is that I try something out of my comfort zone at least once a month, for man cannot dine on Star Trek alone.

Keep Up My Pull List

Now, as a proud employee of a local comic book shop (Metro Entertainment in Santa Barbara, CA – Comics, Toys, Games and More!), this one is two-fold. We offer to our customers a Pull List: a big list of comic book titles that people can reserve and then pick up on a weekly, monthly or arranged basis. If you really want to get Spider-Man every month, you’d check him off the list, and we would order that comic for your pull. This is great because it helps customers get what they want and helps retailers judge the number of comics they should order month to month. Sounds great, until you factor in all the changes Marvel does at the drop of a hat. Any hat. Titles change from four issues to five issues to canceled to multiplying into dozen of different storylines. It could be hard for a guy who just gets X-Men books right now, because there are two different tracts of X-Men books to follow, plus who know what Marvel will come up with next? Thanks to a lot of media buzz, everyone’s looking forward to the next Fantastic Four issue and we’re taking a reservation list.

So go sign up. If you only get Daredevil books, but want that Fantastic Four issue? Go sign up. If you know that your favorite book’s getting canceled and changing its name? Make that change with you LCBS, they’ll thank you for it. The nature of the business is in flux right now as titles come and go, and main events are here to stay, it seems. I resolve to, every few months, look over what is on my pull sheet and make sure I’m getting everything I want. If there’s a book on there I’m just not reading but buying out of habit or a hope that it “gets good again” (you know what I’m talking about), then cross it off my list. If something just got announced this week, make sure I’m ready for it on my pull sheet before the issue is set to be released. You (and your retailer) will be glad you did.

Read a Digital Comic

whether I like it or not...

I hate those bastards. I tried reading them a couple years ago and the formatting sucked and the variety wasn’t what I was looking for and I sell real comic books for a living! Every day someone asks if “digital comics are hurting business” and I always say “No “because I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you how easy it was to get digital comics because I actively avoid them.

However, I can’t do this forever. Whether they are the next generation of comic book storytelling or just this generation’s holofoil covers, they should still be given a shot. I resolve to read at least one digital comic and figure out why people like them so much over the real thing. I also resolve to read it on an iPad (curse you, Apple products!).

These are just mine, but you may want to come up with your own Comics Resolutions for the New Year. When we get better as readers, open ourselves up to this new evolving world of comics, we can complain better when things don’t speak to us or a story turns out to be an utter sham. We can also appreciate what we like more and receive it readily. Feel free to face front and list your own resolutions below in the comments.




Curse you Apple products, indeed! I totally want one! ARRRGH!

I’m through with Marvel’s over-hyped mega event series. DC was okay but not all of them. War of Green Lanterns and Flashpoint series sounds okay with me.

Might I suggest trying some of the fine books coming from Ape Entertainment in your ‘something new’ reading? RICHIE RICH or Kung Fu Panda in May or Black Dynamite in March?

And for your digital reading, there is the best-selling Pocket God comic app which routinely outsells/outgrosses the Marvel and DC apps with just 5 issues available (there are print versions too!)

Nice column! Full of positive goodness! I’m vowing to restart my pull list at a new LCS this year.

If you’re a fan of Steve Gerber’s other works you should definitely check out Omega the Unknown.

my 2011 resolutions:
Read some Kirby
Read some Alex Toth
Read some Chris Ware
and read more Manga

For the sake of your poor LCS worker, yes, please keep your pull list updated! When series would change titles, we would often be left to guess if our customer wanted the “new” series or not. Somehow many customers thought we could read their minds, and more than once someone would be angry for getting something in their pull list they didn’t want, or not getting what they did want — never mind they never let us know. (Similarly, if you don’t want a title anymore, please just let the shop know instead of “dumping” your title on the shelves.)

I love that you’re planning on “giving fear a chance.” Despite how we readers like painting megaevents as either sucking or being awesome, they really do vary. Withholding judgment may help you discover something awesome! I’m hoping Fear Itself will be a pleasant surprise.

Digital comics may not be THE future, but they are part of it for sure, and I think you should definitely check them out. Before you spend a boatload of money into buying an iPad, you should first check out the comiXology website, where you can read them, just to get used to the idea.

And hey, there’s plenty of free ones to try out every week for you to try out without dropping a dime. I run a column every Friday where I read all the free comics offered.

It’s a nice way to find new titles you wouldn’t otherwise be interested to check out AND you would be hitting two of your resolutions at once: read digital comics, and try something new.

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