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Food or Comics? | Cupcakes or Cave-In

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Invincible #100

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 this Wednesday, it’d be all Image for me – starting with Nowhere Men #3 (Image, $2.99). The Beatles as a scientific supergroup, through the lens of Dr. Strangelove? Let’s do this. I’ve been a big fan of Nate Bellegarde for a while, and this book finally seems to capture what’s unique about him – his comedy, his stark scientific acumen, and his humanism. After that I’d get Glory #32 (Image, $3.99). Beautiful cover by Ricken here, and reads like a great manga building up to some epic battle. After that I’d get Brian Wood and Ming Doyle’s Mara #2 (Image, $2.99). I tried to hold back my expectations before reading Issue 1, and I was blown away – so now Issue 2 has something to prove. Finally, I’d get Invincible #100 (Image, $3.99) (Cory Walker’s cover, if you want to know!). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I think Invincible is better than The Walking Dead. No need to compare the two really, though, because no matter how you cut it, this series is great … and what Kirkman and Ottley have planned for the 100th issue looks to be unique – both for the promised deaths and the promise of seeing what could have been had Mark Grayson chosen differently.

If I had $30, I’d make up for lost time and get Brian Ralph’s Cave-In (Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95) . I’m reticent to admit this, but I’ve never read this book. I loved Daybreak, but never found a copy or the motivation to seek out more … but this Wednesday that will change.

For splurging, I already have most of this in the single issues, but I can’t help but splurge on the new collection X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Marvel, $34.99). This was my first crossover in comics, buying back-issues before I discovered events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. In my rose-colored glasses, it’s an ideal crossover for not being too overbearing and relating to a conflict or situation that isn’t superhero-specific. Love the Morlocks, love Uncanny X-Men and the associated books around this time, so I’m buying this and spending an evening enjoying it all over again.

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DC announces annuals for Batman and Robin, Superboy and more

Following a wave of annuals in August that included Detective Comics, Superman and The Flash, DC Comics announced this morning that it will kick off 2013 with special oversized issues for four more titles.

January will see the release of Superboy Annual #1, by Tom DeFalco and Yvel Guichet; Batman and Robin Annual #1, by Peter J. Tomasi, Ardian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes; Green Lantern Corps Annual #1, by Tomasi and ChrisCross; and Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1, by Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins and Andrei Bressan. Each issue is 48 pages and comes with a $4.99 cover price.

See the cover images and solicitation text for all four titles below.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Doubling down on the Darknight Detective

Yes, that is Benedict Arnold with a flaming sword

This week sees the print debut of Legends of the Dark Knight, the ongoing print version of DC’s digital-first Batman anthology. By design it’s not part of the regular Batman line, and therefore not counted as one of the New 52. However, it gives me an excuse to ask how many Bat-books DC Comics really needs.

Now, I don’t mean that to be as dismissive as it sounds. The current Batman line is built on years, if not decades, of steady readership and fan attachments, and you don’t just wave that away. Nevertheless, if there are only 52 slots in the main superhero line, must the Batman Family claim a quarter of them? The relaunch has made pruning these titles both easier and harder, and today I want to look at the opportunities it presents.

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What Are You Reading? with Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are the creative team behind the upcoming self-distributed indie comic LP, Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos. You can read more about the comic in the interview Tim O’Shea did with Curt earlier this week.

And to see what they’ve been reading lately, click below.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Already? DC Solicits for January 2012

"I throw him a growl I've brought all the way from Africa"

I was going to open with some snotty Wow, the holidays went by super-quickly! comment, but then I read the first issue of Justice League in seven weeks. Sometimes DC gets ahead of itself; sometimes it’s a little behind.  Happens to the best of us — sometimes you do two solicitation roundups in three weeks….

Anyway, with the January solicitations, the New-52 books each turn five issues old. Series wrapping up their first arcs this month include Blackhawks, Batwoman, Animal Man, and the Deadman feature in DC Universe Presents.  (Not to worry about the latter, because there is a lot of Deadman in these solicits.)  I’m not sure why five issues is such a wonky number for story arcs — there are five-issue miniseries all the time and they collect just fine. Still, I expected most of the New-52 books to take six issues for their introductory stories, and most of them may yet do that. Only a few books look to finish their first arcs after December’s issue #4s (Hawkman and Frankenstein, probably OMAC, maybe Batgirl), and those plus this month’s are barely an eighth of the relaunched line. It makes next month’s solicits more intriguing, I suppose.

Regardless, we live in the now (as it were…) so — onward to January!
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What Are You Reading? with Chris Duffy

Optic Nerve #12

Welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Chris Duffy, editor of First Second’s Nursery Rhyme Comics. We spotlighted this anthology project all week here on Robot 6; check out our interviews with Chris as well as contributors Scott C., Aaron Reiner, Richard Sala and Eleanor Davis.

And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Food or Comics? | Batwoman, 20th Century Boys, Regenesis and more

Batwoman #2

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d first grab hold of my favorite of DC’s New 52, Batwoman #2 (DC, $2.99). J.H. Williams III has successfully kept up to the immense expectations he accumulated following his run with Greg Rucka, and the artwork seems to benefit even more by J.H.’s input into the story as co-writer. Next I’d dig down for two of my regular pulls, Northlanders #45 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #16 (Marvel, $3.99). For my final pick, I’d have to miss a bunch of other titles for the chance to get the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 #4 (Image, $4.99). I love the anthology format, and having that plus the good cause plus the a-list talent makes it a must get; seriously, can you imagine one comic book containing new work by Frank Quitely, Williams, Mark Waid, J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Wagner AND Craig Thompson? BELIEVE IT!

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Grumpy Old Fan | New 52 Week 2: You again?

Frankenstein, Agent Of SHADE #1

This week, I count at least five New-52 books picking up pretty much where they left off. Chief among these are Green Lantern and Red Lanterns; followed by Batwoman, which was supposed to come out months ago. Batman and Robin keeps its previously-announced regular creative team, and Legion Lost spins out of the pre-existing Legion of Super-Heroes. Overall I thought this week was pretty strong, but there were a few clunkers, including at least one book which really disappointed.

Just think — after this week, we’re more than halfway done…!

SPOILERS FOLLOW, but not too many.

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What Are You Reading? with Akira the Don

Amazing Spider-Man #666

Today our special guest is the recently married Akira the Don, a musician and artist whose latest album, The Life Equation, can be heard on his website.

To see what Akira the Don and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below.

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DC reveals details about the relaunched Batman line

Ceçi n'est pas un Batman

Ceçi n'est pas un Batman

DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch…with one conspicuous absence until the very end.

So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while ‘Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.

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Tomasi and Gleason’s Batman and Robin debut delayed

The new cover to Batman and Robin #17

Paul Cornell and Scott McDaniel will unite for a three-issue arc on Batman and Robin as the debut of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason as the new regular creative team is delayed until February.

As announced in July, Tomasi and Gleason were to take the reins from Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart with November’s Issue 17. However,  Editor Mike Marts tells IGN.com that their work on Brightest Day led to difficulties.

“Both Peter and Patrick were pulling double duty on Brightest Day and Batman and Robin — no easy task, even for dedicated and hard-working creators like these guys,” Marts tells the website in an e-mail. “So rather than have them running ragged on both titles we decided to make their lives a little easier by delaying the start of the run on Batman and Robin. This way, they can give priority to the important storylines they’re taking care of now in Brightest Day, then recharge and refocus for their debut on B&R.”

Cornell, who’s been busy with Action Comics and the Knight and Squire miniseries, says his arc features a new villain and centers on the theft of the corpse of one of Bruce Wayne’s former girlfriends.

“This is a very dark story, in the Grant Morrison tradition,” Cornell says, “with some evil stuff going on under the surface and some mad bubbles on top.”

What Are You Reading?

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we give a great big hug to all the comics, graphic novels and what have you we’ve been reading lately.

Our special guest this week is Ben Morse, assistant editor of Marvel.com and one of the several contributors to the Cool Kids Table blog. He’s also written a few stories for Marvel as well.

To see what Ben and the Robot 6 crew have been reading recently, hit the link …

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SDCC ’10 | Carla Speed McNeil & Grant Morrison agree – let fiction be fictional

Over on the CBR mothership, Pam Auditore has a report on Finder writer/artist Carla Speed McNeil’s spotlight panel. McNeil talks about her move to Dark Horse, her long history of self-publishing, and a variety of other topics, but it was the following passage that struck me:

from Carla Speed McNeil's Finder

from Carla Speed McNeil's Finder

One fan was interested in how much “science” was in her science fiction, stating, “I guess I’m sort of interested in where the line between science and science fiction breaks with rules of science and reality.”

Laughing, McNeil answered, “Most of us don’t know the rules of science. Most of us are not actual scientists, I hate to burst the bubble.”

The young man persisted, responding, “But I know you’re breaking rules. We know people can’t fly. Do you say to yourself, ‘Well, I know that can’t happen in the real world, but I need it to happen to fit the story’? What do you do?”

In reply McNeil said, “Well, I generally follow the rule of cool – if something is exciting to you as a story element, it doesn’t matter if its about a person’s relationship or their job prospects. It’s not different. Whether or not a layered dome city, which is what I have in ‘Finder,’ is impractical [doesn't matter]. It’s whether or not it seems like it makes for something cool in the story. Something that gives you an emotional aspect to the environment that people are living in. It took me a quite a long time to realize that super-heroes are not actually science fiction. From the time I was eeny-weeny, I thought they were, because they used ‘sciencey’ sort of terms. It wasn’t until I saw the first Spider-Man movie and having come back out having had a good time and never having liked Spider-Man to begin with, but I enjoyed it and it occurred to me, “It’s a personal fantasy narrative that’s been smacked on the head with a science stick till it sounds ‘sciencey,’ but in fact isn’t.

“Basically, almost all stories that are not hard SF have that core in them that you are taking, well one hopes, the emotional realities of a situation, and you’re sort of embroidering them with scientific fact,” McNeil continued.

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Morrison, Finch, Cornell, Paquette, Snyder, Daniel, Tomasi, Gleason, Scott…Larroca?: A Batman news round-up

Batman and Batman and Robin by Frank Quitely

Batman and Batman and Robin by Frank Quitely

Not since Bane broke all the lunatics out of Arkham Asylum has Batman had this eventful a week. Perhaps to avoid the avalanche of news coming out of San Diego next week, DC has spent the past few days announcing a slew of new Batman projects and creative teams. And heck, even Marvel got in on the act, sorta…

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What Are You Reading?

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is writer and artist Dean Trippe, creator of Butterfly and co-founder of the Project: Rooftop blog, among other credits. He posts regularly on his Tumblr site Bearsharktopus-Man, where he is currently selling this nifty Doctor Who/Batman crossover print. He also has some art in the Webcomics Auction for the Gulf.

To see what Dean and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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