The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo opened its doors for the 2012 edition at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday the 13th. I decided to tempt fate, spit in the eye of superstition and join a trio of friends from my local comic shop to make the four-hour trek between Detroit and Chicago, take in the sights to see at C2E2 and return home, all in one day. That’s right: I was silly enough to think a whirlwind visit to Chicago would be a good idea.
We hit the road around eight o’clock and with a pair of stops on the way to coincide with the wonderfully easy traffic all the way into the great state of Illinois, we made it to McCormick place by 11:15 Chicago time. Coming in from the south side of the convention center, we mingled with Chicago White Sox traffic (oddly enough, the Detroit Tigers were in town to play the Sox) and managed to find parking at McCormick after driving through the shipping area of the parking facility.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew has been reading lately. Today our special guest is Jamaica Dyer, creator of Weird Fishes and Fox Head Stew, which can be read over at MTV Geek. She also recently did a concert report in comic form from San Francisco’s Noisepop for Spin Magazine.
To see what Jamaica and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Atomic Comics, the nationally known Arizona retail chain, abruptly closed all four locations on Sunday, shocking staff, customers and industry figures alike. Although the closing of the stores in Mesa, Phoenix, Chandler and Paradise Valley was initially announced last night by multiple employees and creators, owner Michael Malve confirmed the news this morning in an installment of his weekly newsletter titled “My Final Report.”
“As some of you may have already heard, after 25 years of running a successful business, sadly and much to my dismay, I have shut the doors of Atomic Comics,” Malve wrote. “The villain in this tragedy is the economy. I had hoped to be the superhero and triumph over the recession, but sadly the economic downturn of the past 5 years has proven to be unsustainable.”
In the newsletter, which can be read below, Malve revealed he’s filed for bankruptcy, and that he and his family are losing their home, ” as we had secured it against our leases which we obviously have to break.”
“I know there are many people out there facing very similar situations in these difficult times and now I can definitely empathize with them,” he continued. “I have always been and will forever be an extremely optimistic person and will look at this situation as an adventure. I have very high hopes for the next chapter of my life.”
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.
It’s a week where I’m happily embracing the superhero of it all. If I had $15, I’d go for the fifth issue of Marvel’s Fear Itself ($3.99), mostly because I’m this far in and I’ll probably keep going just to see how it turns out instead of actually enjoying it, as well as the first issue of “Spider Island” in Amazing Spider-Man #667 (Marvel, $3.99) to continue my love/hate relationship with Dan Slott’s Spider-Man run. But when it comes to full-on nostalgia, DC has me in the palm of its hand with DC Retroactive: Justice League of America – The ’80s #1 (DC, $4.99). No joke: The Justice League Detroit era is one of those guilty pleasures that I not only can’t explain, but also can’t resist – Gerry Conway revisiting that failed team for a new one-shot (especially with art by Ron Randall) is something that I literally can’t help myself but pick up.
While Marvel fans knew the April-debuting “Infested” arc would put them on the path to “Spider-Island,” few details were known about the next big Spider-Man event. That is, until this evening.
On today’s episode of G4′s Attack of the Show, “Fresh Ink” host Blair Butler revealed that the storyline begins in August’s Amazing Spider-Man #667 as more than 16,000 New Yorkers begin to manifest abilities similar to Peter Parker. Among those residents embroiled in a spider-powered crime wave? Hawkeye and Shocker.
But as the crisis worsens, with many New Yorkers sprouting extra limbs, Mayor J. Jonah Jameson is forced to place Manhattan under quarantine. Hence, “Spider-Island.”
Butler teases that the event, by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, will permanently change some of Spider-Man’s core cast members.
Watch the “Fresh Ink” segment after the break.
Update: Now with the official press release and cover art, after the break.
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There are two constants in this world: death & taxes. And because no one wants to watch the X-Men note their deductibles in a double-sized gate-fold covered extravaganza, we see a lot of death in comics. Much like origin stories, deaths are a reward to read because we are witness to moments of change and a new beginning in an old, familiar life.
By now I take it for granted that everyone knows who Spider-Man is. Pop culture has evolved in such a way that people can recognize a lot of obscure heroes that we normally reserved for the True Believer. But that doesn’t mean people know everything and, like I said, people are excited to be there when it first happened, or even just when the last thing happened.
Ratings go up when the last episode of a television show airs. No one ever asks me at my comic shop for the most recent volume of the Walking Dead when they are inspired by the new TV show, they want the first volume even though it will recap some information they’ve already seen. Marvel’s Point One program could be that entry point for curious readers who at least know the basics, but want to have that thrill of being there when it first happened, whatever that may be.
Then what? Yeah, we all want to be there when Peter slings his first web or when the puny Banner transforms into the brutish Hulk for the first time, but there’s always more to that story than just its beginning. You can’t just string a bunch of events together, over and over, starting something and never finishing it. Stories that highlight this brave new start have to go on after that moment and never be the same again. If you use a death to highlight a moment in your story, things simply can’t return to normal the next issue. These beginnings and endings have to matter for the reader to be enticed to the next issue. Sure, Stacy X died in an issue of the most recent incarnation of the New Warriors, but that death meant nothing to the greater comics stories at large, no one important took it to heart and most likely she’ll come back as a zombie or a movie cameo, and that moment will be empty.
Two books came out this week in a double whammy of mourning, teaching me at least a little about how to do these beginnings and endings right. I’d like to give these two issues a toast, to the future of these characters and the undiscovered country that awaits them both.
(WARNING: Hey everybody, people died in comics! If you don’t know who these people are or haven’t caught up on the Fantastic Four or Amazing Spider-Man, please go do so. These are pretty phenomenal books right now, and they will win you over with excellent storytelling and astounding artwork. If you already know who lives and dies, read on and let’s discover some country. Read on!)
Welcome to a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of What Are You Reading? Not that it’s any different from a regular WAYR column, but you can enjoy it while eating hot wings while the TV is paused.
Today our special guest is biology professor Jay Hosler, creator of Clan Apis and Optical Allusions. His latest book, Evolution, with artists Kevin Cannon and Zandor Cannon, was recently released by Hill & Wang. Check out his blog for a story he’s working on about photosynthesis.
To see what Jay and the Robot 6 gang are reading, click below.
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click the link below.
The news broke yesterday that Axel Alonso will take over as editor-in-chief of Marvel Entertainment, following Joe Quesada’s shift in focus to Marvel’s multimedia initiatives. Here’s a few reactions over the last couple days from various folks around the industry:
Tom Spurgeon: “I don’t know Alonso at all, not even a little bit, but he strikes me as a comics-first guy in a period in comics history where Marvel as a publishing company could use every bit of close attention that comes with having a savvy, comics-first guy in that position. That’s not in any way implied commentary on Joe Quesada, I swear. I’m comparing Alonso to other people that might hold that position in this day and age, not to his predecessor. Quesada’s run would have to be termed a big success. Moreover, he leaves that historical position I believe still generally well-liked and certainly widely admired, which is sort of astonishing given the decisions that job calls for over time.”
Tom Brevoort: “This is Axel’s moment. He shouldn’t have to share the spotlight. He well deserves it.”
Jason Aaron: “My bold prediction: the Axel Alonso era at Marvel will be just as exciting and groundbreaking as the Joe Q one, only with more cursing.”
Every Spider-Man fan knows that with great power comes great responsibility. I don’t know if the ability to make your voice heard on a message board counts as “great power,” but surely there’s some responsibility attached to that, too. A recent run-in between Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and a CBR message-board user named lejayjay serves as an object lesson on this point, and who you think abused their power-responsibility balance the worst may well reveal a lot about you as a fan and consumer of comics and art.
In a thread called “How long do you expect Dan Slott to be the lead/ sole writer of Amazing Spider-Man?”, lejayjay posted a comment seemingly deriding Slott as a fair-weather comics writer who would likely depart for a more lucrative field. Though the comment eventually spun off into facetiously hyperbolic territory, it began by directly attacking Slott’s motives for writing ASM at all:
It is jus a paycheck for Slott anyway. He’s not a real fan.
Happy post-Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope we all find ourselves a little fat and happy today as some will be enjoying a four-day weekend and others will be battling the hordes in the shopping megaplexes for the best deals and bargains for this now official holiday season. Before we begin here, I just wanted to note that my shop, Metro Entertainment has never reported any sort of ‘record sales’ on Black Friday, so please don’t forget to visit your local comic shop while you’re out shopping today! Drop by, say Hi, pick up a trade and don’t forget about the tiny shops in your big shopping adventures. Might I interest you in one of our reasonably displayed Lantern power rings?
Anyhow, Thanksgiving has come and gone and hopefully instilled we celebrators with a sense of family, community and unity. Whether you spent it with the family, your football watching buddies or at a local shelter making sure people had a hot meal on a holiday, Thanksgiving is not just about the thanks, but the giving. Mix the two and suddenly you got yourself a season! This of course, makes me think of the Avengers. Most things make me think of the Avengers, but let’s not dwell on that.
In any case, the original continuity created for Thanksgiving (before the retcons and corrected histories) was that some Pilgrims couldn’t farm, some Native Americans could, they got together and shared and then had a big old dinner to celebrate. I know! It’s like Stan and Jack cribbed notes for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Incredible. These days, what with every flavor of five or so guys standing together calling themselves ‘Avengers’, it might be hard to see this. Plus, the general nature of the super-hero rarely allows for such simple ideas of community. What if the Pilgrims and Indians had to slog through a three-issue misunderstanding fight before they combined their efforts against their true enemy, corn? Add to this the never-ending villainy that our heroes battle, the in0fighting that naturally occurs when people of strong personalities get together in one room, court-martials, break-ups, Disassembling…
This year, I’m thankful for Dan Slott. Mr. Slott has taken the Mighty Avengers and really made them Marvel’s premiere team book in my humble opinion (I know! Bendis even stuffed the ballot!). He acknowledges all of the above problems (maybe not the corn threat) and yet, for all the difficulty there is in assembling, we are still given a united front of heroes, bound together to stop a titanic threat to the Earth, who will succeed through perseverance, teamwork, intelligence and maybe a little luck for kicks.
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Multiple cities | Watchmen returns to theaters with additional footage for a limited run in Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas and Minneapolis. Details can be found here.
Baltimore | Geppi’s Entertainment Museum hosts Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology editor Keith Chow, art director Jerry Ma, artist Alex Tarampi and writer Larry Hama from noon to 4p.m. for a presentation, discussion and signing.
Portland | Cosmic Monkey Comics hosts a 24-hour zine challenge beginning at 10 a.m. and ending, naturally, at 10 a.m. the next day.
Puyallup, Wash. | Comic Evolution will host a March of Dimes benefit that includes a silent auction and several artists doing sketches for donations, including Paul Gulacy, Clayton Crain and many more.
San Francisco | Isotope Comics hosts a signing and party for Geoff Johns, writer of Blackest Night, Green Lantern and various other titles. They’ll have free buttons and a selection of Lantern Corps. cocktails. The signing begins at 4 p.m. and the 21+ party begins at 7 p.m.
They’re Mighty, they’re New, they’re Young, they’re Dark, they have their own Initiative and, if you want to get technical, they even have their own Marvel Adventures. The Avengers are in high demand in the MU and not as Earth’s defenders but as something even more important to one and all. Back in the day, the Avengers had a huge rotating roster, now they have their own specialized teams to tell specialized stories. Think of them less as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and more like… Earth’s Mightiest Plot Device.
And really, what’s wrong with that? Pick up a Marvel book at the start of the alphabet and you can get an incredible snapshot of the entire Universe in your own favorite flavor! Want to know what’s going on with the cool kids? Read New Avengers and get headliners and raucous rebels. Want to know what villainy is afoot? Go for an issue of Dark Avengers and watch the current status quo come alive in various shades of sinister. I’m looking for a book about the foundations of a team and focused character development, so I read Mighty Avengers and find myself satisfied. But are you, dear reader? Are we really getting what we paid for? After all, that’s what the cover is there for: to judge the book. So are these Avengers stories or something more?
Continuing with the “show must go on” theme of the last few weeks, The Hero Initiative’s Jim McLauchlin interviews writer Dan Slott over at MySpace, talking to him about Mighty Avengers, Spider-Man, Ren & Stimpy, continuity and taking the “fun” out of comics: