Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Interview with premier letterer Tom Orzechowski [Pulse]
More on the extinction of freelance hand lettering. Neilalien has always had neat handwriting, and considers comic book lettering to be a What If career of his life.

Comics pundits with end-of-year weigh-ins [Pulse]
A good list of the year's big stories. Interesting polarization of predictions: direct market turnaround/collapse, superhero movie success/failure, manga takeover/glut.

Pop comics and mad ideas vs. the gatekeepers from Hell; Pirates of the Caribbean vs. Return of the King; Persepolis vs. Blankets; John Romita Jr. art vs. Dr. Doom on an airliner [good Permanent Damage today]
JMS is a good writer, but besides that incident, he also had Doom cry on 9/11. He's whiffed on the Latverian tyrant.

Warren Ellis interview, 02004 his last year for American comics [Waiting For Tommy] [Newsarama coverage, discussion]
Looks like Neilalien's going to be waiting a much longer time for that dream Ellis run on a Dr. Strange book. Valid comment in the discussion, though:

Name me an Ellis creation that isn't a "Hard-bitten, cigarette smoking, take-no-shit, hard-talking, anti-hero?"

Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted 31 December 02003 - Permalink

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Andy Kuhn interview with six full pages of Young Ancient One [Comic Book Resources]

Young Ancient One Flash fun

Just in case you're a Doc fan and forgot to check YAO writer's Rob Worley's Thanator site for updates.

Severe woe to anyone who would actually seek these really bad issues out, but blogged for completeness: Siege of Darkness checklist [found on Usenet (Google Groups)]

Posted 30 December 02003 - Permalink

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Brian Hibbs on Marvel Class Action Settlement [ICv2]
24% for all those late books deemed balanced and fair.

02003's Lighthouse Awards [Ninth Art]
A good list of recommendations to check out. Props for retailers, Oni Press and Avi Arad, too.

Posted 29 December 02003 - Permalink

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Happy Birthday to Stan Lee!

The classic creator turns 81 today.

Posted 28 December 02003 - Permalink

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Daredevil #58 is Part 3 of "The King of Hell's Kitchen", a story arc that includes Dr. Strange [Marvel solicits for March 02004 on CBR]

Perfect example of Direct Market system disconnect [Fanboy Rampage; original Millarworld thread]
"Totally sold out" and headed-to-second-printing Wanted #1 is lying around all over the place. The retailers have bought all the copies- but can they sell them?

Hibbs v. Marvel settlement near [Newsarama]

Posted 24 December 02003 - Permalink

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Paul O'Brien surveys 02003 [Ninth Art]
Manga domination, Jemas kicked out, Marvel lurching back to its core, CrossGen crumbling.

The unavoidable lesson of this story is that American publishers are going very, very badly wrong somewhere. A ground-up rethink is required.

Horrible comic book from 01996 based on the Doom video game [Doomworld: intro, start] [via Boing Boing]
You were warned. Funny environmentalist angle though at one point when the character falls into radioactive waste.

Congrats to Neilalien fave blog LinkMachineGo for the Guardian's British blogs Special Judges award!

Posted 22 December 02003 - Permalink

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Michael San Giacomo discerns that cartoony/iconic/pop art is 'beneath/simpletonier/more childish than' realistic/detailed art [Newsarama]
This snoot is almost universally smacked-down in the discussion, as well it should be.

Neilalien's own likes and dislikes are all over McCloud's continuum. He loves the cartoony art in Invincible and Powers, but not in X-Statix. Jimmy Corrigan is beauty. Erik Larsen- a great cartoony but it depends on the mood. Alex Ross is awesome, but Neilalien could've used a less detailed approach in Thor: Vikings (but the gore was fun). Obviously there's more than just the iconic/realistic continuum going on here- he should think more and try to define why he likes one cartoony or detailed but not another. Anyway, just opinions and tastes- no silly snooty judgments here.

Posted 21 December 02003 - Permalink

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Julie Schwartz doing much better now [Harlan Ellison]

No Uncertain Terms: A Glossary of Comic Book Terms [Ninth Art]
A must-read. Too many perfect and hilarious definitions to quote.

Young Ancient One preview art is up [Thanator]

Let's pimp for YAO some more: Interview with Rob Worley [Fanboy Planet]

My Dinner With Stan [Fanboy Planet]

Marvel Raises Cover Prices For Newsstand Comics to $2.99 [ICv2]
New 'Kid' Line Only Newsstand Marvels at $2.25; No Overall Increases for Direct Titles [ICv2]
Three bucks seems like a lot, especially outside the safety of the direct market.

Marvel Acquires Cover Concepts, Aims at Younger Demographic [Newsarama]
Everything kids (and all of us) see nowadays is an ad- might as well be for Spidey.

Spider-Man templates for Blogger and LiveJournal [Sony via Blogger]

Manga Conquest: Tokyopop to have 500 releases in 02004 [ICv2]
Tokyopop Invades the Mass Market: First Manga in Wal-Mart [ICv2]
Archie's Sabrina to get big eyes, big teardrops, and show more panties [ICv2]
Maybe fucked by tentacles too.

Interesting reaction-overview to The Dark Knight Strikes Again [Attentiondeficitdisorderly]

Dave Sim Cerebus farewell essay [Previews via Tomb of Horrors]'s Andrew Arnold phones in another list of art comix again this year but Franklin has our backs
Warner owns both Time and DC- now a columnist disses Marvel's baby. Hmmm...

More blame on the people who actually buy comics for the comic book industry's downfall- wait-for-the-traders this time [Millarworld via Fanboy Rampage]
Sticky issue though, if low single sales mean no trade at all.

CrossGen at a Crossroads [Excerpted from The Comics Journal #257 via Fanboy Rampage]

(BTW, #258 is the All-Ditko Issue!)

The New Comic Book of Life [via Fanboy Rampage with the hat trick today]

Comic book writers, artists, editors and publishers will soon emerge as the Real Superheroes on the socio-political stage of world events... To this end, we the comic book creators - and you, the precious citizens of the world - must join hands together on this forum, in order to teach and thus remember what it takes to nourish the rose of hope from beneath the mudslides of futility which humanity has so bitterly sunken into.

Graphic novels get book world's respect and geeks - er, readers' - satisfaction [Cleveland Plain Dealer via Neil Gaiman, who laments the horrible title via Bookslut]

PETA comic book Your Mommy Kills Animals to shock and sicken the children of fur-wearers [A Small Victory via Pop Culture Gadabout]

Breathtaking JLA/Avengers #3 annotations [rec.arts.comics.marvel/dc.universe (Google Groups)]

Hey! How long has old Neilalien fave been back blogging?

Posted 19 December 02003 - Permalink

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Plenty of superheroes, but where is the sci-fi? [Franklin's Pulp Culture]

Please, Sir, I Want Some Moore: The lazy British genius who transformed American comics [Slate] [thanks to Temple Files for the FYI]
Is this a positive article? [Grotesque Anatomy w/comment thread]

The letters page for The Walking Dead #3 has a lot of people "commenting" that it's not in color. Now we're getting into one of the areas where even Neilalien is bothered by the "fanboy". Observations:

  1. While Neilalien admittedly will give something in black-and-white a quicker browse in the shop than something in color, and there's something "meta" to be said about color in comics- it should in no way invalidate a work.
  2. Maybe this kvetching means that this fine book is actually getting picked up by a wider audience of current comic buyers.
  3. People, people, this book basically *is* in color. The grey tones are amazing and very effective- and it takes work.
  4. Letters pages need to be in comic books.

Posted 18 December 02003 - Permalink

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Sad day: Julie Schwartz hospitalized [Pulse] [look for updates on his condition via Harlan Ellison]

Sad day: Lots of comics about to be destroyed because of the government for no good reason; warning to shops that use cash accounting [Bloggity]

Looking at the Numbers; or, a Little Holiday Cheer [A Thousand Flowers]
Warning: Numbers! Sales of singles (Diamond Top 300) steady (or flat?) at approximately $19 million/month (or $228/million year), with an uptick in units sold. All the TPB's (or manga) not even included in those numbers either. A warning about the returnable book market. "Rap is the music industry's superheroes."

Monitor Duty responds to the "more competition for kids' time and money" yarn. People just can't find comics anymore.

Neilalien was curious so he tried to find out the size of other industries. In 02001 movies did a record $8.35 billion box office in the US (so the whole industry is at least double that with int'l box office, DVD sales, etc.). The current recording industry at over $14 billion/year (3.6 * 4). In 02000 the book market was $23 billion/year (2.3 * 10). Tried to find something entertainment-related with revenues or a market size of $250 million/year to compare to comic books. Online personals have probably already boomed past comics. One casino in Joliet. Oof.

Update: More Numbers: Video games are $10.2 billion/year [Simply Comics]

Posted 16 December 02003 - Permalink

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Corner Comics: IRS wins, retailers applaud [Journalista]
Retailers say that what Corner Comics was doing was IRS-attention-worthy- Journalista defends. The CBIA also takes some lumps.

Neilalien would like to thank Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog and Journalista for their efforts devoted to this story.

FYI to all webloggers who are interested in keeping this IRS/Corner Comics incident as a working part of their permanent blog record: You'll have to go back and edit your Bloggity permalinks to link to anchors on this page.

Posted 15 December 02003 - Permalink

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IRS-besieged Corner Comics Speaks [Bloggity] [update] [shredding company contacted]

Young, But Ancient: Rob Worley on Young Ancient One [Newsarama]
Thought Balloons questions the concept, but has good advice for people who don't: buy the damn book.
Update: Read the discussion in the Newsarama thread above. Some wonderful "Where's Doc?" venting, but more importantly: Strange Magic, which is also included in the Epic Anthology, might have more to do with Dr. Strange than we think...? Spoiler warning. [thanks Pmpknface!]

Far From Fading: Talking to Myatt Murphy [Newsarama]

New graphic novel publisher Reed Graphica to jump in [ICv2]

CrossGen books probably failed because they didn't satisfy any unsatisfied demands [Mark Evanier]

A vast untapped child market for comics is not the Holy Grail- give me rich smart adults! [Brian Wood Delphi Forum]

Posted 12 December 02003 - Permalink

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Scary: IRS goes after comic shop backstock [Bloggity] [update]

Must buy for all Dr. Strange fans: The new Alter Ego #31 has lots of info about the prototypes of Marvel heroes, including a whole section on Dr. Strange! There are some items here to add to Neilalien's Origins of Doctor Strange page. Mucho thanks to Howard Hallis for emailing the FYI.

New Doctor Droom info page [Don Markstein's Toonopedia]
Neilalien's Origins of Doctor Strange page touches on this "first Marvel superhero" by Lee and Kirby (and inked by Ditko)- the character that eventually became Dr. Druid (and ignominiously killed off by Warren Ellis in his Druid miniseries). Mucho thanks to Wake Up Screaming for writing in with the link.

Idea: Online in-shop comic book card catalog [Permanent Damage]

Ban Comics [Waiting For Tommy via Monitor Duty]
A new ad campaign for comics. Forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.

We Read Comics Blogs So You Don't Have To! [Legomancer via Attentiondeficitdisorderly]

Posted 11 December 02003 - Permalink

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On Blaming The Direct Market Superhero Customer

"You can't miss what you can't measure": The current superhero comics reader is ultimately to blame for the sucking Direct Market? Fanboy heal thyself? [Journalista]

A fascinating and depressing description of the withering monogenre-ism of the Direct Market. But when Journalista (1) assigns the blame for the bad situation on the DM superhero customer, and (2) calls on them to buy something nonsuperhero to shape and prepare the way for a more diverse rescued-from-death DM with activist wallets, Neilalien strongly disagrees: (1a) the blame is more correctly placed at the feet of the Marvel/DC/Diamond/DM monopoly, and (2a) such activist calls are an ineffective and misguided use of energy, mainly because the DM superhero customer is simply acting like a hardcore fan of something.

Imagine an automobile industry that only made red sporty convertibles. Only that color, only two seaters, not even cars with tops at all. The automakers only make red sporty convertibles, their network of showrooms only sells red sporty convertibles, and everything they do caters to the hardcore red sporty convertible fan. Now imagine that because of this odd situation, the automakers and dealerships are going out of business. Easy to imagine that, since the red sporty convertible market is so tiny, and no attempt is made to satisfy any other market, niche or need, no grey family minivans in sight, not even a pink sporty convertible. Sound like any other witheringly monogenre industry we know?

So the question is: In that scenario, is it the fault, blame or responsibility of the hardcore red sporty convertible fan, the only people who would patronize such a dealership? Of course not.

Journalista's history is that the DM began as a small network of shops catering to hardcore superhero comic readers from the get-go, at first was more diverse and an incubator, but then 'collector's mentality' took hold, and DM superhero customers pushed out other kinds of comics and now dictatorially rule the DM. But there are other descriptions of what happened, other chickens and eggs. What happened is that DM hardcore superhero comic readers proved to be the most profitable segment of the DM- they were virtually the only comics fans who could have possibly thrived in that environment, the only ones left who were dedicated enough to go to a destination-purchase specialty location (as opposed to once ubiquitous spinner racks and newsstands), buy and collect monthly serialized books and back issues, buy books that satisfied the Comics Code, pay increasing prices, etc.- which in turn motivates business-people thinking about myopic safe short-term cash-ins versus longer-term success. The 'collector's mentality' that took hold here is not the fan's desire to collect Rom #1, but the Marvel/DC/Diamond/retailer's desire to collect as much money from the Marvel/DC hardcore fan as possible.

Who is making the decisions in the Marvel/DC/Diamond/DM monopoly to only make and sell superhero comics, to go out of business doing it, to cater only to one tiny aging group of hardcore fans, to demand ever more hardcoreness out of them, to squeeze every dollar out of them with silver foil covers and collector's editions and Infinity-Gauntlet buy-every-book crossovers, catering to speculators, to stick with what's known and safe, to make books that require encyclopedic knowledge of the previous books, to set up a system that creates niche boutiques and makes it difficult to buy books from other companies of other types of comics, to set up nonreturnability and undercapitalized shops, to make the trees increasingly sootier so only the darkest moths are naturally selected to survive until only the worst Android's-Dungeon-eist long-necked specialized-beak freak has evolved, etc.? In most analyses, these companies and shops are dooming themselves catering to only a very tiny aging market. Who is making these lousy capitalist decisions to meet the happy needs of only one tiny aging population? Most successful businesses Neilalien's heard of take risks, try to sell their product to as many people as possible, diversify their offerings so it appeals to as many people as possible, make and sell all kinds and colors of cars, adapt to market changes, etc. Place the blame where it belongs, at the feet of the monopoly CEOs and editors, and the DM retailers, etc.

DM superhero customers are not 'helpless victims' of anything- and there are feedback loops- they may even be 'willing willful co-conspirators' if they get their jollies being geek-expert clubhouse insiders, etc. But mostly, they just happen to be the last customers left of a system that has largely abandoned everyone else. The Direct Market's environment of erosive forces have scraped away everyone else except the hardest rock. The red sporty convertible fan goes to the red sporty convertible dealership to buy one- it's not his decision or fault if said dealership is going out of business catering only to him. If superfanboys are a Frankenstein's monster who won't even buy a spy comic with superhero elements like Sleeper, but only superhero comics with spy elements like a Nick Fury book, they are the symptom of the current state of the DM, not the Dr.-Frankenstein cause of it. And not being the cause, they are not the solution. Journalista sees a bottom-up process, Neilalien sees a top-down one.

The first crux of Journalista's piece seems to be the classic, simple, irrefutable, capitalist concept of consumer sovereignty in markets. "He who pays the piper calls the tune." The customer is always right, they have the money purchasing power, their wants and demands are the market, they tell suppliers what to produce- and if capitalists, corporations and suppliers want to make a profit, they are dependent, they had better adapt and provide, and at the best price. When the question is phrased, 'Are the customers primarily responsible for what the DM sells, or is the DM primarily responsible for what the customers buy?', Journalista and consumer sovereignty dictate the former: "the Direct Market can't make you buy different kinds of comics; they can only put them in front of you." For Journalista, the blame lies not with Marvel/DC or Diamond or retailers, but with the customer. The buck, and the analysis, stops there.

The first refutation of this seems to be- and alas, Neilalien isn't expert enough to be making any fancy references to Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations- that most economists believe that consumer sovereignty is an ideal that doesn't often exist in reality, because an absolutely free market doesn't often exist in reality, because of things like government interference and market failures. Monopoly is a kind of market failure, and the Marvel/DC/Diamond/DM system is a monopoly that nukes and warps consumer sovereignty and choice. Does the Direct Market shop you patronize really 'put different kinds of comics in front of you'? Didn't think so. No customer has ever created a monopoly.

The second refutation is that while there is indeed a true consumer-sovereignty tyrant in our situation, Journalista has misplaced it. The market tyrant 'piper calling the tune' crushing the Direct Market with its cold demands is not 260,000 hardcore superhero customers within the DM. The sovereign is the 260 million 'mainstream' potential customers who ignore the DM, crying out that it wants more than superheroes in its comics, but instead the DM system dies refusing to meet that demand. Businesses that do not cater to the demands of the market die. Businesses that cater to only one micropopulation's narrow tastes die. The answer, and the blame, is then firmly back on the publishers, Diamond and retailers, the monopoly, and the environment they have created, their business decisions. The entities making, distributing and selling comic books have to decide that they don't want to go out of business, and instead want to satisfy more varied demands and get more income- that's the level where the blame and decision squarely lies.

The second crux of Journalista's piece seems to be that if shopowners are to begin marketing different kinds of comics to new readers, and bring in new blood to buy more different genres of comics and save the entire enterprise, there must first be a bottom-up demand for such comics by their present clientele. Buy Something Else. Now Journalista's lecturing on market capitalism magically disappears. People are being called upon to buy things they do not want, and capitalism's lessons are harsh when this happens.

It would be awesome if activism filled the heart of the DM superhero customer, if they would heed Journalista's call, and the call of many past similar manifestos to 'buy something else', who saw comics as an entire medium, who like Spock saw infinite diversity in infinite combinations as a value, start a revolution. Neilalien wishes it could be so.

But that's as unlikely to happen as trying to get gun control by changing the mind of the NRA. Such calls are ineffective, and a waste of energy. Nor should such activism be expected or needed to happen. You don't get gun control by changing the mind of the NRA, you get it by increasing the population arrayed to vote for it to counter the NRA's votes.

These calls and manifestos from Journalista, Savant, Ninth Art, Warren Ellis, etc., have many basic non-starters. Superhero fans are a happy serviced population, and these texts never really address how the problems of the Direct Market directly affect them in their own terms. These texts aren't being read by superhero fans. They're not reading Journalista, etc.,- the attitude there has long nuked any credibility or good will. These texts are always couched in derision, blame, finger-pointing, chastising, purity tests, etc. That does nothing to persuade people. You catch more flies with honey. These calls come from superhero-hostile 'snobcamp' people whom superhero fans have long stopped reading if they ever did, and live on websites that superhero fans have long stopped reading if they ever did. And then, such calls are rarely for people to buy the closely-related indie "genre" work like sci-fi that the superhero clan might actually like, but to buy art comix. The snob camp sets up the micro-population of the thirty-something internet-message-board fatty who lives at home and picks up Spandexola and smells of cat piss with father-figure issues as the all-convenient scapegoat/strawman- it must feel really good to bash that pinata- and then tries with a kinder, patronizing tone to convince it to "save" the storytelling medium and buy the precious white suburban male whine of Optic Nerve or Blankets as if those books hold any appeal for why the superhero clan are into comics, or as if those precious books are really any less micropopulation-serving than X-Men.

These hardcore DM superhero customers are simply acting like hardcore fans of something! Do you know any hardcore Red Sox fans who would buy Yankees jerseys to 'save baseball'? Didn't think so. The DM environment and forge have set it up so only the hardcorest are left.

If Victoria's Secret, to stave off bankruptcy, were to expand to sell both lingerie and auto parts, there would never be any reasonable expectation that the auto part sales would first have to come from the lingerie buyers, and never a call on the lingerie folks to try/buy an oil filter. It is highly unlikely that the lingerists would want to buy such things, so such a call would be a very ineffective strategy. Neilalien might be resorting to a rhetorical device where the difference between superhero comics and crime comics are inflated to be like the difference between lingerie and auto parts- but apparently, going by sales, in the mind of the hardcorest superhero fan remaining in the DM, they are that different. The solution is not to convince the current clientele of lingerists to buy auto parts, but for Victoria's Secret to get the new outside blood of new auto-parts buyers into the shops, advertising that says 'auto parts are here', etc., to add a second clientele.

Comics shops are making these kinds of expansion decisions- just not the way we comics pundits would prefer. Comic shops aren't expanding to sell manga or crime comics or art comix, but t-shirts, action figures, collectible card games, etc., still mostly catered to the superhero nerd. Indie comics publishers seem to be reacting by going after the bookstore market instead. Look at the comic shops hailed as models for the future- they are not based or reliant on superhero folks buying anything other than superhero. They are about being a store with an open atmosphere and a diverse selection so that nonsuperhero folks can join in too- in fact they relegate the superhero genre to a smaller absolute percentage of comics. We don't need superhero hardcore fans to buy things they don't want, and spread their closed sum of money around- what we really desperately need is a break in the Diamond monopoly somehow, and more comics shops (and an entire system behind them) that sell a more diverse selection of comics than what superhero hardcore fans want.

Is activism possible to create a more diverse DM? Is there an effective inside-the-system bottom-up way to break the monopolists? Neilalien sure hopes so. But it involves working to get more new people in the shops buying nonsuperhero. Everyone should be buying the books they want from the shops that suit them. Let's pimp great nonsuperhero books on our blogs. Let's have superhero blogs that kindly educate superhero readers on the realities of the DM. Let's put an indie-comic info table in front of Macy's. The effective bottom-up tactic is to bring in new nonsuperhero customers into the DM shops impressing new capitalist/market demands from outside, not try to change change-resistant old superhero customers. But ultimately, sadly, the only thing that's likely to force the monopoly to change their ways is when they realize the long-term economic unsustainability of catering to a micropopulation as they die off. Pray it's not too late for comic books by then.

Neilalien would even go one step further: instead of being blamed for it, instead of being called the disease- the loyal DM superhero customer should be THANKED for being the loyal passionate backbone foundation that's keeping the whole damn thing alive on life-support through this massive industry blunder! People who are already addicted to comics just ain't the problem!

But hey, we're all in the same leaky boat. Journalista wants the people currently in comicdom to see the part they play in the whole, try different books, try anything dammit to make it easier for those other 260 million Americans to vote by making the voting place more appealing to the folks beyond the 260,000, and give the Direct Market a little wiggle room. Neilalien is absolutely not against any of that. Who could be against it? It's a lot of what his own weblog humbly attempts to be about. That's got to be the bottom line. How do we get there? Journalista's blame, and call that hardcore superhero fans try buying something else, sounds like an ineffective way today to ultimately create change.

Posted 10 December 02003 - Permalink

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According to The Abyss, JMS said on 30 November:

The first issue of the Doc Strange mini is nearly done.

Interview with Andy Diggle [Ninth Art]

There's too much of a gulf in comics between cheesy pulp on the one hand and worthy-but-dull, highbrow 'indie' stuff on the other.

Icons R Us [John Byrne]
Interesting article about What Gets Carved In Stone. May and Ben's gift, or the microscope? Us Doc lovers might have to keep this stuff in mind when JMS gets to his "re-imagining".

Powers Vol. 2 in March [Newsarama]
Neilalien's been kind of over Powers for the last couple story arcs, but he's definitely still suck-in-able.

Yowza: A fansite dedicated to one issue: Marvel Two-In-One #76 [via Motime]

Posted 8 December 02003 - Permalink

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Mad grab to recapture relevance with big comics issue [Newsarama] [Pulse]

How to sell your comics: Pimping To The Pimp [Comic Book Resources]
Intro paragraph:

For years some comic fans, journalists and creators have been proclaiming the downfall of the direct market and predicting the end of the road for direct market comic book stores. Personally, I believe that these doomsayers are prematurely pissing on the direct market's parade and they lack the vision to see the potential of the classic comic book store to evolve. Comics are a creative medium with a fan base populated with out-of-the-box mad thinkers and it is from within our own ranks that the wellspring of innovation any industry would be thankful for lies... and those same fans are exactly where the comic retailers of tomorrow are coming from. We've only begun to scratch the surface of what comic stores are and can be as a retail environment, as a promotional tool for the artform, and as a cultural oasis... But that's a column for another day.

Neilalien wants to see that column!

Alien Legion creator Carl Potts interviewed [Titan Books via All The Rage]

Wizard World: Ancient Egypt [Silver Bullet Comics]

What makes Neilalien feel old? "Early-days-of-the-web icons" Jennicam closing down and Robot Wisdom's Jorn getting away from it all.

Posted 7 December 02003 - Permalink

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Fascinating interview with Jim Valentino re: how Image does business [Newsarama]

Neat interview with Andi Watson re: how Marvel does business [Comic Book Resources]

Included in Motime Like The Present's Yule Blogging (a pathetic attempt to reconcile how both of the mutually-exclusive entities Punk Rock and Christmas show up in his list of interests- but we've tabled that discussion offline for now :) ) is a treatment of Doctor Strange #180

Update: Motime moved to defend :) but the initial Emerson consistency response would have been acceptable:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,
adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

Or Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Hilarious: Superheroes at their day jobs [Fark; long slow download]

Need more risk-taking publishers [Ninth Art]

Steven Grant's Mortal Souls optioned [ICv2]
He just asked for some help a week or so ago. It's darkest right before the light...

Posted 5 December 02003 - Permalink

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Secret Defenders #1 gets the It Came From The Quarter Bin treatment [Newsarama]
Astonishingly, the review of the book is positive.

Bill Jemas cashing in/out, catching the first plane the hell out of Dodge [Marvel insider actions on Yahoo Biz; Journalista spotted it]
If you owned a lot of Marvel stock, thought the price was a little toppy, saw the shorts circling overhead, and just "voluntarily" watched the company put all your pet projects to pasture, you'd probably lock in your profits now as well.

Who hit the reset button at Marvel? [Thought Balloons]
In case you were wondering about the post-Jemas era. Maybe it's: Take no risk that reduces the movie-bility of a property, and attempt to recapture the pre-Crash "good ol' days" safety-womb and boom-numbers by putting out similar to what was coming out at that time? Eek.
Update: Alpha Flight by Lobdell is returning as well [Pulse also via Thought Balloons]

Hear the soothing voice of reason re: singles/TPBs/GNs, superhero/art comics, either/or [Breakdowns]

New web-based journal to advance the academic study of comic books, comic strips, and animated cartoons [ImageTexT via The Comics Burrito]

1602's cover man Scott McKowen had never heard of Dr. Strange before getting the gig [Newsarama]

Good reading at Sequential Tart this month (er, as usual, of course!), including:

Posted 4 December 02003 - Permalink

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Want to blog today... can't... fumes... from Wanted #1... making Neilalien... dizzy... And just as the fumes from his Essential Dr. Strange were dissipating... What are you Earthlings doing to yourselves?

Can Marvel keep up its heroic performance? [Barron's at via WFC News]
Barron's Wonders- Can Marvel Keep Growing? [ICv2]
Marvel stock starting to get heavily shorted. Investors are thinking what goes up must come down.

Marvel Opens Toy Biz Books, Reveals Licensing, Service Relationships [ICv2]

Young Ancient One gets a press hit at Kung Fu Cult Cinema

Tony Isabella: Black Thought [Silver Bullet Comics via Alan David Doane]

[W]hen a super-hero book with a white lead fails, they DON'T say "oh, there's no market for white super-heroes," and when a super-hero book with a black lead fails, they DO say "oh, there's no market for black super-heroes."

The problem with "wait for the trade" is that if the singles don't sell, you may never get a trade [Joe Casey on the Andy Diggle Delphi Forum via Fanboy Rampage]

When did "genre" become a dirty word? And when did "literature/art" necessarily mean "not crap"? [Trickle of Consciousness]

A call to stop screwing up the Marvel Masterworks [Pop Culture Gadabout]
Mmm... delicious Ditko masterpiece Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2.

Dynamic Forces is selling new comic books CGC-slabbed 9.6 or better for $70 [Pulse]
Neilalien asks again: What are you Earthlings doing to yourselves?!

Posted 3 December 02003 - Permalink

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Singer, songwriter, author of Oh My Goth!, and Chi-Chian creator Voltaire announced on his site that he is the model for a new Dr. Strange action figure [The Lair of Voltaire, look for 23 November news; Voltaire pic; via a reader of this humble blog]

"Remember in the last newsletter, when I mentioned that Marvel had called me and asked me to model for the new Dr. Strange action figure?????
Well I DID!
A couple of weeks later, the sculptor showed me his work. The face looked JUST like me!!!!! But I would have to spend the REST of my life at the gym to resemble the rest of the figure!!! He didn't even have a neck! It was a straight line from his ears to his shoulders!
When did Dr. Strange get pelted with Gamma rays????
Anyway, I was talking on the phone with Marvel the other day and they say, "thanks for modeling for the figure.... it looks great. Even though we had to take all of the facial hair off."
"WHATTTTT????". I cry....."WHY?"
They insisted that he has no facial hair.
Now that IS strange!"

Posted 2 December 02003 - Permalink

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Neilalien notices that many in the "comics blogosphere" are using the I tag to italicize titles of comic books. Maybe this will sound like "rules-schmules" (do you include the issue number or not?) or maybe you think the Semantic Web is a lot of hooey, or maybe you're no HTML guru. But if you are aware and interested enough to italicize such things, please consider using the CITE tag instead. Using more descriptive content tags instead of just formatting tags (i.e. telling computers that it's a citation, not just a chunk of italicized text) might make the comics blogosphere's content more powerful and searchable in the future if not already. Most browsers automatically italicize CITE tag content- or use CSS. Quickie search for supporting texts: [HTML: The Definitive Guide: Content-Style Tags] [Slashdot Book Review Guidelines]

Doctor-Strange-esque form in the background of DC's Legion #26 Dr. Strange's legacy continues on in the books of other companies. The Defenders Message Board has spotted this image from the background of last month's Legion #26. Very Doc-like Cloak and amulet, no? Speculation is that it's Krugarr, the Sorcerer Supreme of Marvel's alternate far future- but it's obviously just a mannequin in a superhero-costumer's shop window.

Doc basically a no-show in the Thor: Vikings #5 finale. Bummer. Guess that answers the question why it wasn't titled Thor/Dr. Strange: Vikings after all. However, Thor does punch a guy into orbit. Now that's a fun mini-series.

Epic Anthology #1 coming out 11 February with Young Ancient One [Thanator]

Another press hit for Stan Lee and Hef's Super Bunnies [AP via WFC News and Comics Burrito]

Why why why do books like Sleeper and Top 10 have to end while other books reach 500 issues or more? Ah well, better to leave 'em wanting more, go out on top. At least we've been getting the excellent Smax.

Didn't pick up Amazing Spider-Man #501. Doesn't look like we'll see anymore Dr. Strange there for a while, and buying anything past #500 would have been 'habitual', as Warren Ellis used to say. (Eh- Neilalien's just talking tough. He read it in the store. It was pretty good. He'll keep buying this book until JMS and Romita Jr. end their classic run.)

Neilalien can buy Queen & Country with #21 again. That art and lettering that was totally not working for him is gone now.

The Walking Dead has been added to the pull list. With Invincible, it's a Robert-Kirkman one-two punch of entertainment.

An Interview with Jonathan Lethem, writer of Fortress of Solitude [Ninth Art]

Totally Awesome: Totally Grant Morrison [Pulse]
A very quotable interview, no?- and Motime also spies:

Captain Marvel Jnr. was just one of those names in a list of characters I have "interesting" takes on. I also have equally good ideas for Doctor Strange, Moon Knight, and a bunch of others.

"If you like this comic, you are objectively wrong." [funny Paul O'Brien takedown of Uncanny X-Men #433 plot hole via Attentiondeficitdisorderly]
Neilalien's smiling re: O'Brien still gave the book a D grade, not an F. Now that's a fan.

Great big Gutters today, including Havok pissing Iceman a new body!? [Comic Book Resources]

Pop Culture Stores Report Solid Sales On Black Friday [ICv2]

Posted 1 December 02003 - Permalink

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