The Adventures of Being Optimistic in The Land of Comic Book Internet

I’ve been in and around the Comic Internet scene for a long time now. I’ve lived and breathed comic books in one way or another for an eternity at this point. The thing is through it all I’ve never lost my inherent optimism for the comic book industry. I’ve seen pretty much everything and it takes a lot to really surprise me anymore and yet I am still hyper optimistic about comic books. I’ve seen people come and go, I’ve seen sites come and go, and seen many adventures along the way in Comic Book Internet. I’ve seen the skirmishes between people, the tweet battles, the back and forth, and ultimately the love that the Comic Book Internet land has to offer. I’ve seen people get into some of the most insane arguments online and yet find a way to become friends or at least agree to disagree. It’s interesting to watch as someone who’s been in and out of the Comic Internet adventures many times over. It’s why I’ve always remained optimistic about Comic Book Internet and where it can go in the future.

To me if you’re a blogger, writer for a site, or even just a fan, you’re part of Comic Book Internet and you’re all the more awesome for it. With any interaction I have online, with every piece I read about comic books and how to make them better, it makes me that much more happier in Comic Book Internet land. I see the fans uniting rather than dividing, I see people wanting to know more as to what they can do to make things better, and that excites me and yes, makes me more optimistic. I’ve never given up hope in the comic book internet scene, maybe I’ve gotten burnt out on occasion, but never stopped being optimistic about the scene. You’re all amazing people, you’re all awesome, and you all give me even more optimism than ever before.

It’s why as time goes forward I do want to find things that show my love of the medium and my level of optimism for it. Sure there’s things that need to improve but for the most part, we’re getting to place where things are getting awesome in comic books. The future looks bright, the future looks awesome, and that’s why my adventures in being optimistic in the land of Comic Book Internet will never stop being fun.

In conclusion: You are all amazing. Keep being awesome Comic Book Internet.

Catching up with Comic Books is Fun!

There’s a unique experience in playing catch up with a comic book backlog, it can be daunting but it can also be strangely fun. In my usage of a program called Habitica, (which by the way I wrote about), one of my goals outside of writing 1 hr a day and focusing on personal projects is reading one hour a day minimum. I apply that to cutting down on my comic book backlog and that’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been discovering new books, catching up on old ones, and I long finished my Goodreads reading challenge. Right now I just finished two volumes of Ales Kot’s Secret Avengers that he’s been doing with Michael Walsh and it is a joy to read. It has M.O.D.O.K. which is total love but also Vladimir the sentient bomb is one of my favorite things ever. I’ll end up talking more on Secret Avengers at some point but right now I am on happy reading mode along with writing thanks to all this. I’m backlogged on comic books and novels in general right now but at least I’m making more headway into it. In turn I’m having a blast with the whole process, I’m a strange dude in this case but hey I’m happy with being a little off the wall.

Now I’m back into a steady groove of writing, exercising, reading, and I’m all the happier for it. Organization is a beautiful thing right now and I’m catching up with all the things right now. I went off a little there but I’m letting you all know how much fun I am having with catching up with everything. It’s so weird that catching up with comic books and catching up with everything can be so much fun but it strangely is. Life is getting even better from here now and comic books again are a big part of why things are getting more awesome.

The DC Comics Rumors and You: Support Your Books!

You hear about DC Comics being on and in an instant it becomes time to get a little nervous on comics internet. When you start hearing the rumors about DC cancelling titles and going back to a quote “meat and potatoes” style of comics, I see why people get concerned. Comics are a weird beast and DC Comics lost money with Convergence as even in my own comic store they got stuck with a lot of books. Then DC revealed the DC You movement and it piqued interest initially. DC Comics has burned a lot of fans though as the DC 52 rolled on and Convergence did an even bigger number on fans. DC You though has created good buzz for most of the line and in reading them I find that they’re all solid to great books. Yet it is not translating to sales as I research into this further. You get a lot of interest in #1 then tumbling down brutally as #2 hits. Usually there’s always a slight drop with #2 with a book but this is brutal to behold, which makes me wonder, what the heck happened?

Well for a lot of people it is DC Comics burn out. In dealing with DC Comics you realize that many readers got battle scarred from what they’ve done. As they’re moving forward in an overall stronger direction I feel as though people are still gun shy about DC Comics. This is why I’m saying if you’re out there reading this, support your books now. If you got a series that you’re digging talk about it as much as humanly possible. Talk up those books that you’re digging and get people curious about them. If you’re wondering which books to check out and since it mirrors my list of books check out Comicosity’s list of DC You books. I would say most of the books I’m reading are on this list and they are books that I can easily tell you to support.

I’m linking the sales info below too as I want you all to see for yourselves why I’m posting this. The best way to understand a lot of these rumors and what’s going on further is to look at the sales. It’s a time at DC Comics where things could be on the verge of being pretty cool and I’d love it to stay that way. Check out the Comicosity list of books you might dig, see the sales, and talk up your favorite books. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments feel free to fire me a line below. Take care everyone and support your books!

Source for Sales info if you’re curious for July 2015: http://www.comicsbeat.com/dc-comics-month-to-month-sales-july-2015-life-the-universe-and-everything/

The Comic Catch Up Adventures: Divinity

As I hit my reading goal of 125 books for 2015 I realize there’s still a lot of reading left to do. So starts a new series here called The Comic Catch Up Adventures. Recently I read Gotham Academy vol. 1 that helped to get me caught up with that series. Now I finally read Divinity written by Matt Kindt, pencils by Trevor Hairsine, inks by Ryan Winn, and colored by David Baron, and released by Valiant Comics. I got this from my local library and it has been on my list of things to read for ages. Now that I have read Divinity, wow was it ever worth the wait. It’s one of the best examples of how to do a God-like character in a major universe. It dives into the history behind the character and why he is who he is. From point A to point B it all comes together and that’s pretty amazing to behold out of a comic. It also reads as a mini novel as the first two has it dives into the details of what makes our lead character tick and explains his powers. It’s all about the world building and Kindt knew he had a major concept to sell people on in the Valiant Universe and it was successful on every level.

Now why does the lead character work as well as he does? How is this different from all the other God-like mega powered characters done over the years? There’s humanity to the God. Abram Adams is such a fascinating study in character and how one who is so human becomes so powerful. From human to something entirely different, Kindt shows that evolution throughout the story. The best part being that throughout you have Trevor Hairsine unleashing art that shows how human he is and can show the power Adams unleashes once he hits full power. It’s extraordinary and compelling to see on the page. I fell for David Baron’s colors on this book too as I’ve always enjoyed Baron’s coloring but he outdid himself here.

Divinity is amazing and there’s a sequel coming out next year so look forward to that! As this is a spoiler free chat about it I have to say there is so much here that begs to be explored more. The trade is easy to get your hands on and likely even your local library probably has a copy ready to be checked out too. No matter what, go read Divinity and enjoy every last second of it.

My New Manga Addiction of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood

I’ve been getting back into Manga lately and I’ve had one series in particular recommended to me, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki. Right now Viz Media is releasing the series in gorgeous hardcover format. After buying the third volume of the hardcovers I’ve started reading the series, oh my goodness it is awesome. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure tells the story of Jonathan Joestar and his rise to awesomeness. Okay that’s a little too basic but it fits here. Another subtitle would be Dio Brando is a jerk but you know, that would reveal way too much of the story to come. Hirohiko Araki’s writing is pure unfiltered fun to match his exaggerated but amazing art style. Some might be thrown off by how exaggerated it is but this was done in the 80’s and Araki was going for that as that exaggeration matched the nature of action movies of that day. Then add in that exaggerated style and then Araki throws the madness and you will gobble it up and want more. That’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure as it stands in the Phantom Blood saga. I’m hooked, I’m so hooked you all have no idea. Of course if you follow me on twitter you know how hyper excited I’ve been over this right now. If you’ve made it this far in my ramble, onward to the rest of the show.

I’ve started on the second volume of Phantom Blood and it’s amazing where it has come from the first volume of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure saga. At first it starts off with a mild balance to it and then it grows into something completely different. You get a hint of it in a Stone Mask shown at the beginning of the first volume, that’s letting you know this is unlike anything you will ever see. It’s that electric energy of the Golden and Silver Age of comics into Manga and it is total bliss to read. The color work in the first volume by the way is gorgeous, the Stone Mask showcase has some awesome color in it. It’s so crazy to see how this series evolves in one volume and gets crazier from there. From a quiet beginning into the best kind of insanity, that’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure for me.

If you’ve been in a bookstore or wandered online and seen these hardcovers, get on the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure train. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has three volumes of Phantom Blood out already. You will enjoy yourself and you will have an amazing time in the world of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Own these for yourself and embrace the glory!

Comics I want to read: The Marvel WCW Comics

Back in the days of young me I was one of those kids on Saturday and Sunday consuming all things WCW. Watched it all, WCW Power Hour, WCW Main Event, and of course WCW Saturday Night.  I was a Sting fan, Steiner Brothers fan, Big Van Vader, and of course Jushin Liger fan. Needless to say that I somehow missed there was a WCW comic out there back then I was shocked. I remember the first time I ever saw an issue in some used book shop and was amazed at the discovery. It came out back in 1992 for goodness sake so how did I miss this? It was published by Marvel and seriously how in the world did I miss this? At that point I decided I must find the whole series and read it all. It was only 12 issues so I figured it would be relatively cheap to find. Boy was I wrong in that assumption.

In any eBay search you do somehow the WCW books in a full run will somehow run you find it run the gamut. Sometimes you’ll find a full run for if you’re lucky $30.00 and mostly it veers into the crazy $75.00 range. You can find single issues for reasonable rates but have fun with the last bit of the series. I’m almost thinking it was a situation of a low print run but come on the series can’t be that wildly sought after that it can demand that crazy of prices right? Then again I paid way more than I care to admit for a run of Automatic Kafka once so I can’t say too much. I’d love to read all of the WCW series one of these days if I can find it for a reasonable price.

I still hunt on eBay occasionally to see if I can find a reasonably priced run but to no avail. One day I shall own this run and it will be glorious I say, glorious. Early 90’s WCW is a fascinating thing to behold as it is and seeing it in comic book form will be absolutely priceless.

My Adventures within the 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge

You know there’s something fun and exciting about trying any kind of new challenge. When I was a kid I always enjoyed reading challenges and some sort of goal to beat or match. When I saw that Goodreads was doing a reading challenge for 2015 I decided, “Hey, this could be fun!” and I saw a few of my friends doing it so I figured I’d give it a go. I decided to add novels, graphic novels, and tpb’s to the list to discover new books and so forth. It’s been a blast as between my own buying and my local library I’m almost done with the challenge. I’ve discovered series I hadn’t read yet like Birthright, Ody-C, C.O.W.L. and so forth, mixed in with great graphic novels like The Sculptor. I’ve read some books that have been pretty blah and sometimes challenged myself with strange and fascinating reads. It’s been a cool ride and it’s almost over. I’ll do this again every year now as I really have enjoyed this challenge as it has kept me enjoying all sorts of great reading.  If you ever want to try out new books or challenge yourself I highly recommend doing the Goodreads challenge yourself.

Reading is fun and in turn a good challenge is a blast to keep the literature train rolling.

The GWL Trade Reviews: Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2: Cycle Of Violence

Recently my local libraries had a massive upgrade as to what books they carry graphic novel/tpb wise. I found a diverse and downright impressive collection of books. Hence starting a new series for me here on the blog. As I got a massive pile of books the first one I decided to read was Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2: Cycle of Violence. I read the first volume of this ages ago and it was okay. Outside of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman I’ve not read a lot of Batman’s New 52 adventures. Hence why I decided to grab Vol. 2 with Vol. 3 to see more of what I missed from Gregg Hurwitz on this series. Hurwitz’s run has gotten a bit of acclaim so as it is the library, why not give it a go?  There is nothing wrong in life with taking a chance on reading more of a series; especially from your local library. Anyway enough of the intro, let’s start up this Bat-tacular and see where it takes me.

Now Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2: Cycle of Violence is mostly stand alone from everything else. If you aren’t up to date on the Bat-Universe, this would be a story up your alley. I can appreciate the way Hurwitz did this story as it does require little to no previous Batman knowledge. Take note before diving into this, this is almost borderline mature readers territory. If you have a kid who may be wanting to read Batman, I wouldn’t recommend this. I give Hurwitz credit here as he pulled no punches with this story so for a teenager and on up; this is a perfect story. Hurwitz manages to write one of the creepier Scarecrow stories out there. There’s even rare moments where you can actually understand the Scarecrow. Hurwitz dives into the backstory of Scarecrow and managed to terrify me a couple times. Not easy to do by the way to actually make my eyes widen in shock, Hurwitz did this.

The Bruce Wayne segments with Natalya, Bruce’s girlfriend in this story, slow down the story a touch but they’re not bad either. They lead off to strong moments later on but they’re mostly tension break moments to balance the story. I do like the payoff of those scenes as they all contribute further into the focus of the story, fear in multiple forms. It’s a pretty multifaceted story diving into the fears of Batman and everyone in his life. Now that being said the fear exploration worked and didn’t work depending on the phase of the story.It’s also a vivid way to explore the Scarecrow and his alter ego Jonathan Crane. By the end of this story you’re going to understand the fears of our characters in ways you wish you didn’t know. As I said some fall flat but when they work, they’re haunting and beautifully done.

Here’s where things get more hit or miss with me, David Finch’s artwork here. In any sections where there was action involved, he was spot on. He’s great at translating the mood of Hurwitz’s scripts too. I loved his art on the Scarecrow, that was terrifying and the imagery involved won’t leave my head anytime soon. Overall Finch’s storytelling for The Dark Knight was solid. Just I learned that I am not big on how Finch draws his faces. If it’s Bruce Wayne, Batman, Gordon, and Scarecrow, the faces and designs look amazing. A lot of other characters suffer from stiff face syndrome as it looks as though all the life was drained from them. That bugged me more than anything else. Everything else art wise from Richard Friend’s inking to Sonia Obach’s coloring looks good overall. The curse of David Finch’s artwork as it does suffer from uneven moments but when it’s on, it looks great.

The #0 issue in the Cycle Violence collection is a different take on the Joe Chill and Bruce Wayne’s parents death story. It was a good way to place this story as it expands upon concepts Hurwitz brings up in his story. I found myself liking this story way more than I thought I would. The death of Bruce Wayne’s parents is one that’s been retold by many creators, this one is good though. Heartbreaking on the levels of Bruce Wayne’s suffering and also why their deaths happened in the first place. Hurwitz did a nice job conveying the absolute pain Bruce Wayne went through. I almost call it a mini version of Batman Begins. It didn’t hurt that Mico Suayan and Juan Jose Ryp did a good job art wise on this story. I would say #0 was a perfect way to close out this collection.

Now if Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 was in front of me to buy would I buy it? This would be one I could buy if it was at a discount somewhere. It was a good story but not so much that I’d go out of my way to own this collection. I will say if you’re huge into Batman, you may want to give this a shot. Especially if you’re curious about this take on the Scarecrow, it’s unlike anything else out there. If you’re at your local library and see this on your shelf, check it out. Uneven at times but I must say that this was a solid read.

Spoiler Filled Thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past

You know I never realized but I had the perfect title for my spoiler review series hidden in my blog files. Spoiler Filled Thoughts was initially used as an extension of my reviews. That didn’t work out as well as I would have liked. On movies though this may work, trying this out with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Enjoy being my guinea pigs as I revive this. If you want an actual review of X-Men: Days of Future Past, simple version is I liked it. It’s not perfect but I do consider this film to be The Avengers of the X-Men franchise. As clarifications, I don’t think it is as good as The Avengers but it is The Avengers for Fox’s X-Men franchise. After this the spoilers begin at full speed ahead. That’s right kids, no spoiler left unturned I am spoiling this movie so much right now. If you haven’t seen X-Men: Days of Future Past yet I wouldn’t recommend reading further. Now if you have seen it or don’t really care to see it, welcome aboard feel free to read onward. Let’s get the Spoiler Filled Thoughts out there to the world! Welcome to my Spoiler Filled Thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past.

(Extra Spoiler Barrier here just in case, you have been doubly warned in bold. As I am now going to bold this for extra effect.)

Okay, so everyone that’s still here now we can begin my Spoiler Filled Thoughts.

First off, as I mentioned on twitter but was I the only one who noticed the Future Sentinels were The Fury times infinity? Take a look at that design and then notice The Fury, that can’t be a coincidence. If you’re a reader of Secret Avengers, The Fury did just recently pop up in that series. Initially the Fury came out of Captain Britain as Alan Moore and Alan Davis created it for that series in the UK. The Fury is the ultimate weapon and I saw the Future Sentinels and thought about that one. Besides I love the concept of The Fury, so if the closest thing to The Fury is in X-Men: Days of Future Past, works for me.  Of course as I talk about The Fury I know at least a few of you have no idea what I’m going on about. Totally groovy, hunt down the Captain Britain material or early bit of Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men run in 2004. I recommend reading if you’re curious to know more.

Now as for the rest of this movie, I love how it eliminated all the less popular of the X-Films from the franchise. Now the series can be pushed onwards into X-Men: Apocalypse with at least less baggage involved now. Yes there are issues with the X-Men franchise at Fox still but it’s in a whole lot better shape than it was. This was the big send off for the original cast and when I saw Cyclops and Jean Grey pop up at the end I laughed. I loved those final two appearances as likely it’ll be the last time either James Marsden or Famke Janssen ever appear again. We’ll likely see Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman again but everyone else is easily up in the air. Outside of the First Class cast that’s still alive, Quicksilver, and hopefully other characters getting more screen time.

Note this too, I lost my mind at seeing En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse on that screen. As the crowd was chanting his name I about lost it, then the reveal of Apocalypse and pan over to the Four Horsemen. Good lord, X-Men: Apocalypse is already showing that this is going to be a massive epic in scale. The big part of seeing X-Men: Days of Future Past was seeing Bryan Singer to a full blown superhero mega fight at a large scale, it worked. This film was training for what X-Men: Apocalypse has in store for us. At least they can now get a strong focus on this film, the story is course corrected now we can move on. We have scale, we have story, now put it all together to make X-Men: Apocalypse the amazing film we all know it could be.

By the way, who didn’t love the line Quicksilver gave to Magneto about his Mom? That was hilarious, I still wish we could have gotten more Quicksilver in the movie but I’ll take what I can get. Who would have imagined that from that costume and goofy commercial, Quicksilver would turn out to be great? I was one of the doubters myself, in a big shiny way I was a doubter. Now I leave myself in the state of mind that dang it X-Men: Days of Future Past, your Quicksilver was amazing. I did love the slo-mo scene by the way, that turned out well in my opinion. Even better that Sanford and Son saved the world in a way, that cracked me up so much. The reactions of the security guards were priceless, especially one just getting into the show. Quicksilver and the entire Pentagon sequence was a major win.

The future is now X-Men Franchise, Fox is doing better with it than Sony is with Spider-Man right now that’s for sure. X-Men is primed and ready for the future of the franchise. X-Men: Days of Future Past was a better film than anyone imagined. At least Fox is showing that with the X-Men now, they know what they’re doing. Now anything can go haywire with this franchise there at any time, for right now we’re in good shape. Onwards to X-Men: Apocalypse and the hope that the movie turns out awesome.

DC’s Forever Evil Calls For A Crisis (Spoilers)

Brutal honesty moment here for you all, I only read one issue of Forever Evil. One single issue of Forever Evil was all I could handle because I did not like that book. As Forever Evil hit just after the Trinity War series I did for Comics Crux maybe I’d look into expanding into Forever Evil. Even Trinity War had managed to at least do enough to get me interested in reading more. After that one issue I just couldn’t read any further into the series. I kept loose tabs on Forever Evil but nothing more than that. Barely paid attention to the whole hooded prisoner or anything else involving the series. Forever Evil did a number in killing my interest in DC after the slight high I got after finding myself enjoying Trinity War by the end. Now I’m reading about the aftermath of Forever Evil #7 and you know DC may have more potential after the event than when it was happening.

)By the way I did spoil myself on this purposely but if anyone on here reads it or plans on reading the series later, here’s your spoiler warning. I start spoiling the heck out of Forever Evil #7 now. You have been warned in the best authoritative voice I can make.)

Let’s go for the fun appearances, Ted Kord officially in the New 52. Oh my sweet lord that made me smile. Any chance of me getting the Ted Kord Blue Beetle back and somehow Booster Gold in the picture again makes me smile. I’m an old school Justice League International fan and love the Blue and Gold combination of awesome. Even better that there’s the concept of Lex Luthor as a good guy in the picture. He’s learned Bruce Wayne is Batman. Yes, Lex Luthor knows Bruce Wayne is Batman in the New 52. That is crazy but cool at the same time. You may also be surprised to find out that I actually am hyped for the Grayson book, the concept intrigues me. Of course the one major piece of fallout from Forever Evil is what may get me checking DC Comics on a more regular basis, say hello to the Anti-Monitor.

People had been wondering what DC Comics was going to do next year for the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Bringing the Anti-Monitor back in play is a major push towards the future of the DC Universe. I don’t think that this is a sign that the old DCU is making a comeback, this is likely a setup for the Earth 2 weekly and Future’s End. Putting Anti-Monitor against Darkseid is an attention getter for me. For the first time in a long time I feel as though stuff is happening in the New 52. Not just here’s one event, here’s another event, oh look at that another event, and now an actual something to grasp onto. I’m amazed, I’m legit amazed that somehow in the midst of Forever Evil that DC is starting to find a groove.

If Forever Evil’s biggest success manages to create interest in the New 52, they may have succeeded. This is the first time in a long time I’ve actually been wanting to see more of DC Comics. All I can say for DC Comics going into the rest of this year into 2015, don’t screw this up. Keep up this wave of excitement and energy in your line. If you manage to screw this up, I don’t know what to tell you. Go big or go home DC Comics because at this point, The New 52 needs this spark of life in the worst way possible. Crisis in the New 52 has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

Update: If you want to know more of the beats of Forever Evil that I didn’t catch check out @Jawiin’s video he did on the event. He did a great job with it.

 

 

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