Other than the occasional review at Amazon — or even less frequently, at PopCultureShock — it’s been a while since I’ve written about comics. After 2.5 years of being ankle-deep in the industry, writing reviews, interviews, commentary and the occasional news piece, I really don’t miss it at all. While I’m still reading comics, my weekly trips to Midtown Comics have become monthly trips, at best, and my pull list has shrunk considerably to the point where I barely meet their 10-title minimum. Last time I was there, right before New Year’s Eve, I picked up six weeks worth of comics, including the Satchel Paige graphic novel (review coming soon), and spent less than $25 with my discount, which my wallet definitely appreciated. (My liver, which is bearing the brunt of that redistributed cash flow, not so much.)
One thing I really don’t miss is tracking the 150+ comic book websites and blogs I used to read regularly to stay in the loop. Some of the best/worst highlights were the times when comics “professionals” would get caught up in some ridiculous flame war with a fan or pundit, usually over something incredibly petty and stupid. For instance, the apparently revived and reconceived MurderShow.net, tipped me off to a post at NEWSarama where notoriously thin-skinned Marvel Comics writer Dan Slott reveals he has a bit too much time on his hands.
As these things typically go, it’s a relatively minor dust-up, but it’s the kind of thing that certainly doesn’t win a creator any new fans and could prove off-putting to existing fans who are already frustrated with Marvel for myriad reasons. It’s also not the best approach for a B-list writer like Slott who has a small, rabidly loyal fanbase but is still looking for a breakout run on a top-selling series to push him onto the A-list. The thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man will presumably offer him that chance, but as one of four B-list writers who’ll be churning out editorially mandated storylines, partnering with much higher profile artists, that’s not really the best recipe for a breakout performance.
Other random thoughts on comic-related stuff:
- With Hasbro soliciting proposals for the revitalized GI Joe license, Devil’s Due is chugging along with their highly entertaining “World War III” storyline that will either serve as an excellent end to their 8-year run of shepherding the brand if they lose out on renewing the license, or a perfect rebooting point that could allow them to tie in to the movie that’s tentatively scheduled for a 2009 release.
- Devil’s Due’s Storm Shadow is one of the best comics spin-offs I’ve seen in a long time, establishing its own identity right from the start and offering some great storytelling from Larry Hama.
- I’m really looking forward to seeing Persepolis sometime soon. The books were great and everything I’ve read about the movie suggests they did a good job bringing it to the screen.
- Not specifically comics, but thanks to my kids, I’ve rediscovered the joys of Pokémon. India loves the cartoon and the characters, and after Xmas has a posse of stuffed animals that take up half of her bed. Isaac loves playing the video game and begged for months for me to teach him how to play the TCG and I resisted for a while because it can be a complex game, especially for a 7-year old, but I gave in over the Xmas holidays and he picked up the basics pretty quickly. He doesn’t really get strategy yet and tends to favor specific Pokémon, often to his detriment, so after a couple of more games I think I’ll help him build a power deck that’s all about offense.
- Also via my kids, I’ve discovered and am now hooked on Storm Hawks, a new Cartoon Network show that’s kind of a mix of Teen Titans and Battle of the Planets. Great characters and setting, distinctive animation, catchy soundtrack. We were in Target a week or two ago and came across some of their action figures and bought Aerrow and Junko as well as Aerrow’s Air Skimmer III Ultra flying bike. For Isaac, of course! 😉
- Housekeeping note: With the relaunch of loudpoet.com, I imported all of my old blog posts, including the old Comic Book Commentary archives, most of which can be found in the “Comic Books” category, as well as on the Blogspot archive.