Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Google Tsunami Relief Page

Why comics? Because we see them as important and exciting [The Hurting]

How to Get Ahead in Comics Publishing [Franklin's Findings]
Excellent 12-point list.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund reflects on the challenges of the past eventful year [Newsarama]

Where does accessiblity of a work end and reader effort begin? [Ringwood]

Marvel to publish indie Jeffrey Brown's Wolverine story Dying Time [Silver Bullet Comics]

02004 in review: Manga, kids, media-darlingness up- don't screw it up [The Beat]
Superheroes and their boutiques down. The 10,000 more people buying Powers now since it went from Image to Marvel seen as a telling item.

Back in October Marvel tapped Tokyopop talent Mark Paniccia as Senior Editor, talent recruiter, original graphic novel developer [Newsarama]
A big move to tap into manga's format and content success.

Posted 31 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Comicdomnewsblogopunditry looks in mirror, finds itself lacking once again, sees dearth of Manga/Diverse Coverage

Are we treating manga as Not Comics? [Comics Reporter] [reader responds]

What is newsworthy in the comics realm? Who does the news selecting? Huge manga news relegated to sidebar while Marvel/DC press releases of 'sellouts' at 30,000 get front page; world diversifying but tribes compartmentalizing [The Beat]
Comics Reporter Comment: It's nerd-focus disease; never mind huge manga news, even huge Calvin & Hobbes news is ignored by comicdom.

Point made?: Manga is the big news in comics for the past three years and only now Comic Book Resources launches a manga column

Few are willing or able to engage entire medium of comics; Time's Best Comix of 02004 List lies waiting to be ignored or reviled by superhero pundits and blogs []
Can't claim 'All Comics/Sequential Art' and only talk about North American Marvel/DC Superheroes, and not talk about manga, genre, altcomix, art comics, editorial cartoons, newspaper strips, webcomics, etc. []
Comics Reporter Comment: "I wouldn't read anything deeper into what people cover other than that's what they want to cover."
Update: Howling Curmudgeons: Comics are too big to require talking about all of it; if one only enjoys/talks about X while another only enjoys/talks about Y, it's not like we're in a three-legged race holding each other back.

Are meaningful comics-news-promotion-trees falling in the forest, and if yes, is anyone listening? Are non-buzz comics messages getting out? So much is ignored; comics blogs are low-traffic mainstream affairs [Warren Ellis' Bad Signal, quoted at Fanboy Rampage]

One fine blog's New Year's Resolutions: Less Big-Two solicitation snark, wider horizons, more original and non-superhero content [Gutterninja]

Looks like it's Neilalien fave Paul O'Brien's turn in the barrel: used as an example of mainstream punditry and a boundary for 'where the real work of progressives begins'; bemusement here for his X-Men-centric overview of comics 02004

Coming soon from Neilalien: His fifth annual end-of-year Dr.-Strange-centric overview of comics, baby! Happy New Year to all!

Posted 30 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

The Defenders by Kevin Maguire The Best Defense: Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire take on "The Defenders" [Comic Book Resources]
Quoted at length; still more at article:

Many super hero teams bicker and fight, but in the end the usually make up and remain a tight family like unit. The Defenders, however, have a very unique group dynamic. "The Defenders are the group that if they seem like they don't like one another, they don't!" Giffen explained, "The Defenders hate one another. They've been thrown together and despise it. There's no love lost between these guys..."
Giffen and DeMatteis's original pitch for Defenders was not used, but it did highlight the group's relationships with each other. "I said we want to play the Hulk like Bluto Blutarsky," Giffen told CBR News. "Prince Namor like Niles Crane by way of Jack Benny and Dr. Stange by way of Bob Newhart. We're going to lock them all in a room and watch them meltdown..."
Dr. Strange is the one who assembles The Defenders although he does so very reluctantly. He guides them and holds them together. "Dr. Stange is always the central figure throughout most Defenders stories. He's the most level headed of the crew. Strange is kind of pragmatic. It's kind of ironic the guy who is most steeped in other worldly sorcery is the most level headed realist..."
Some die-hard Marvel fans might take issue with Giffen and DeMatteis's portrayal of these characters. They might feel that the two writers are trying to mock and humiliate their favorite characters. Which Giffen said is untrue. "When we go into a project like this and we're going to apply our little 'nyuk, nyuk' we don't take that approach to characters or books we don't like," Giffen explained. "All during our run on 'Justice League,' no matter how goofy we got, we had a genuine fondness for these characters. I don't consider what we do humiliating a character. I think what we do is showing you that some of these characters would be okay to have a beer with..."
The Defenders are some of Marvel's most powerful characters and Giffen and DeMatteis have crafted a story where they are pushed to their limits. "Dormammu and Umar have teamed up to finally get it right. The two most powerful pan-dimesional beings are coming gunning for our reality and they win..."
As for the man behind the artists chores on the book, Giffen offered high praise for Kevin Maguire's work on Defenders. "I'd like to go on record as saying Kevin Maguire draws the best Dormammu I've ever seen. And I'm including Ditko in the mix. Sacrilege, but its that good..."
"The Defenders" is a four-issue mini-series that launches in June, but if it sells well the book could continue as a monthly series, which Giffen hopes will happen. "I can close my eyes and see the first two years," Giffen said "I'd like to introduce a new villain that could eventually become their main Dr. Doom kind of threat because I really believe in putting characters into the old communal pot and contributing to the universe. I'd like to see some lesser-known characters show up and start populating the book. I'd like to get into why people who so intensely dislike one another are constantly working together."

Posted 28 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Happy Birthday to Stan Lee today!

Get well soon: Legend Will Eisner recovering after quadruple bypass surgery [Comics Reporter]

Doctor Strange Watch: Strange #3 scheduled this week; Ultimate Spider-Man #70 came out last week

JMS Watch: On Fantastic Four; Franklin will not be revealed as Namor's child [Newsarama]

The widespread view of Rorschach-as-nutjob holds a true-to-Ditko Question back today [The Hurting]

Complete Calvin & Hobbes on the way! [Andrews McMeel Publishing] [via Comics Reporter]

Superheroes in Hollywood: Packing A Punch [Wired]
Marvel Comics publisher Dan Buckley: "This is the healthiest I've seen the comics industry." Well, it's the healthiest he's ever seen Marvel, anyway.
Comic-inspired cinema: A new wave of movies derive their inspiration from comic book conventions but create universes that have never existed in a comic book imprint [Hollywood Reporter]
Via Hollywood to Comics: drop dead [The Beat]
Animation: the common-ground bridge between comics and live action [Ninth Art]
Re: The Incredibles: The most successful original superhero story of the year didn't come from comics; renders a Fantastic Four movie irrelevant.

File-sharer relates Marvel threatened legal action for comic PDF [Fanboy Rampage quotes post/responses from reg req'd forum]

Martian Manhunter Need Not Apply [E! Online]
It's hard to write a compelling story about a superhero vulnerable to a lit match.

Kentucky pastor has written a book about the virtues and vices of superheroes [Waterbury, CT Republican-American] [via Thought Balloons]
Who Needs A Superhero? Finding Virtue, Vice and What's Holy in the Comics sees religious overtones in comic book storylines. Heck, comics have almost as much sex and violence as the Bible does.

Identity Crisis Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly [Near Mint Heroes]
A review of Identity Crisis #7, or, how I got screwed out of $3.95 by Brad Meltzer [Spatula Forum]

Wally Wood, "Disneyland Memorial Orgy", Poster, 01967, published in The Realist [Illegal Art] [via Comics Reporter]

The ever-quotable Grant Morrison with insights into Superman, and the comics industry [Newsarama]

One gets DC to the masses by putting these books in manga format and making them available in every cinema, record store and bookshop. That's not my job, however. All I can do is make the stories as good as I can. All Frank can do is draw as well as he can. If we still can't sell well-written, well-drawn books at a time when everybody in the world is watching superhero movies and eating superhero cereals, it's because the pricing, format, promotion and availability of comic books is preventing us from cracking the glass ceiling. Comics used to be available everywhere.
...I just read - yesterday in fact - the story 'Superman's New Power' which appeared in Superman #125 from November 1958. And guess what Superman's new power was in the 'conservative' '50s. That's right - it's a teeny-tiny little Superman who shoots out from the palm of the big Superman's hand and does everything better than Superman himself, leaving the full-size Superman feeling redundant and worthless. Holy analysis, Batman! It's mindbending, brilliant and eerie work. This is what it would be like if Charlie Kaufmann wrote and directed the Superman movie and it's far from goofy or childish, it's genuinely affecting and slightly disturbing to read Superman saying stuff like 'Everyone's impressed except ME! Don't they understand how I feel -- playing second fiddle to a miniature duplicate of myself...a sort of SUPER-IMP?' And people think I'M weird ? I %$%$^ wish I was weird like this! I wish pop comics today had the balls to be as poetic and poignant and truly 'all-ages' again, and a little less self-conscious. I feel a little ashamed for not even daring to think of a magnificent tiny Superman who makes the real Superman feel inadequate every time he springs from his hand. Those kinds of stories were like weird fever dreams and they sold millions and millions of copies every month. So, I'm still not sure about 'realistic' comics...

Posted 28 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

"Looks like Keith Giffen is writing 'The Defenders' for Marvel again." [Lying In The Gutters]

Graphic Indifference [BookLust] [via with more: and the midlist needs more attention]
Neilalien says, "Huzzah and Hallelujah": The alt/artcomix graphic novel genre: missing basic human connection and emotion; dark, bleak, depressing, navel-gazing elitist; needs humor. If only Comics could fill that vast middle chasm between Iron-Man-for-40-year-olds and all these "works of delicate depression"...

Todd McFarlane Productions files for bankruptcy [Comic Book Resources] [Newsarama analysis] [Comics Reporter] [The Beat makes sense of it all]
Protecting those home-run baseballs from that Twist guy.

It's Spring for new publishers: Alias Enterprises to throw hat in ring with something for everyone [Pulse] [Comic Book Resources]
But isn't 12 titles in one month a glut? [retailer at ICv2]

Horse race time
Top 300 Comics Actual- November 02004 [ICv2]
Sales Still Sliding on Top Comics- But Cover Prices Up [ICv2]
Comic Sales Up 2% in November- Floppies up, TPBs down [ICv2]
Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual- November 02004 [ICv2]

Marvel's no-overprint policy is dumb dumb dumb [Brian Hibbs' Tilting At Windmills]

The problem of course is that it shifted the burden of inventory-management from those most able to afford it (the publisher) to those least able to do so (the retailer), and it limits the supply of a given work to the confidence and capitalization of the retailer.

Also: 33 out of 70 comics offered by Marvel for March are issue #4 or below.

Paul O'Brien looks back at the events of 02004 [Ninth Art]
Manga. Bookstores. Another crazy new publisher (CrossGen) fails to find a way onto the Marvel/DC Titanic and drowns in the moat surrounding the direct market. Identity Crisis sucked. Post-Jemas Marvel sucked. Marvel hasn't created a new enduringly popular superhero with mass appeal in over 20 years.

The Ups, Downs, Ins, & Outs of Opening a Comics Shop [Newsarama]

Harvey Comics characters like Casper, Richie Rich, and Hot Stuff coming back [ICv2]

The Super-Pets Page [Super Stupid Super Pets defended at Comics Reporter] [you just know Progressive Ruin's behind this somehow]

Posted 21 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Dr. Strange by Eddy Newell

Fucking great Dr. Strange sketch by comic book artist Eddy Newell [image brazenly stolen from his official website]

Posted 20 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Pixies! Awesome show at the Hammerstein Ballroom last night! Woo hoo! Neilalien wishes that he had something more rational to say about it, but it was a suprarational experience.

Posted 19 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Stan Lee to spawn more feature films, videogames, apparel, publishing, and other products [ICv2]
POW Entertainment, Inc. and Celebrities in Action, Inc. announced that they will be collaborating on an animated series in which celebrities will compete with characters from other worlds.

New weblog challenges marketing similar product to both children and adults, labeling system; will measure sex and depravity in comics [Dead Chicks & Mayhem]
Maybe a, don't make a kid's toy about a superhero in a rape story, don't put out a Spidey Super Stories in the same month as an Amazing Spider-Man with Harry zonked on drugs, kind of thing.
Response: For the Luvva God, Please Stop Thinkin' of the Children! [Motime Like The Present; read the comments too about watering down all entertainment for the wee ones, appropriate trade dress, etc.]

Plea: Spend the money you would spend on a variant cover on another comic [] [via Comic Book Galaxy's Blog]
Spread that cash around for a healthier, less speculator, less top-heavy medium. Kids love comics too.

Invincible and She-Hulk get major press hit, "show how diverse stories with the cape-and-cowl set can be" [New York Times]

Why do people keep going to see the Circus of Crime to get robbed via Ringmaster's mesmerizing hat? Because they don't call themselves "The Circus of Crime" nor the same name twice, duh! [Not The Beastmaster] [Marvel Directory entry]
Neilalien wondered about that.

Identity Crisis, proving once again that the only two purposes women serve in action stories are to be tied to the tracks or to drive the train.

Posted 16 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Doc fans: Marvel Team-Up #3 with Dr. Strange and the Fantastic Four written by Robert Kirkman on shelves today

The Best Webcomics of 02004 [Webcomics Examiner]

The Future of Webcomics [Webcomics Examiner]

25 People in Webcomics for 02004 [Comixpedia]

Posted 15 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Are modern superhero comicbooks simply too self-conscious to be the kind of fun they should be? [The Basement Tapes]

Superhero Gaming: Mforma and Marvel deal []
Marvel licensing behemoth rolls on. "On Monday, mobile game maker Mforma Group announced a deal with Marvel Enterprises to license its catalog of characters for use in mobile phone content... like custom ring tones, screensavers and games... Mforma will also create and host Marvel Mobile, a site accessible via phones and the Internet that will have links to Marvel content."

Graphic novels making kids voracious when once they were disinterested in reading; GN's constitute less than 1% of library but half of the books students check out [] [via Popp'd]

The tide turns for graphic novels: Why comics are enjoying a new wave of readership [San Antonio Current] [via Thought Balloons]
Credited: Bookstores, libraries, manga, and childhood comics fans who have grown up to become book-critic comics champions in Big Media. Not mentioned: Repackaged Ultimatized Marvel/DC Universe superheroes for the over-30 crowd in direct market shops.

David Goyer: Writer who keeps 'Blade' films on the cutting edge [Washington Times] [via Franklin's Findings]

Current state of the comic-book industry: I think a lot people perceive the comic-book industry as a farm team for movies, and I know that Warner Bros. treats DC Comics as almost an idea lab. Comic books themselves are not a big business anymore, and it is very hard to make a profit just with comic books. Comic books largely exist now as a means to springboard into other ancillary forms of income. Create a character and then do merchandise, video games and movies. Because of that element, they will always exist.

Neilalien's scanners indicate that the December 02004 issue of Playboy has an article by Glen David Gold called, "The Incredible Adventures of the Collector", about collecting original comic art. Bonus: the issue's got Denise Richards nekkid.

Posted 14 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

NYC Action Alert: 25% off everything in the store today Monday 13 December 02004 at world-famous comics shop Jim Hanley's Universe (not Jim Henley's Universe, silly!)
See you there on the lunch break, Neilalienistas!

Et tu, Marvel? by Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation [Law Technology News] [via Boing Boing]

So let's recognize Marvel's lawsuit for what it is -- not just a tussle between competing corporations, but as an assault on the basic expressive rights of the fans that have supported the comic book industry for decades. Be prepared when your children, heading out into the virtual backyard of the future, ask "Mom, I want to play Spider-Man with my friends today. Did we pay for the Marvel license this month?"

Posted 13 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

New Kandora Publishing to launch four Direct Market non-superhero genre monthlies in March [Newsarama] [Pulse] [ICv2] [Comic Book Resources]

Writer C. Edward Sellner on Kandora Launch: a new chance at market diversity without CrossGen's kool-aid and other mistakes [ICv2]

$3.50 cover price is for 32 pages, not 22 like Marvel/DC; if fans want it they'll find the money like they do for $150 statues; some retailers moan about high cover prices while others want profitable shelf space [ICv2]

Good luck to Kandora: The path they dare to tread is blocked with mindboggling obstacles, charred with negativity, littered with a lot of awful comics, and paved with the corpses of their predecessors.

Neilalien should probably mention Kandora's Barbarossa and the Lost Corsairs, since he got so much mileage out of El Cazador for tickling his soft spot for (a) pirates, and (b) any genre desperately-needed in comics besides superhero- but what put El Cazador's appeal into the Buy range was that it was non-fantasy- so we will have to see.

PS: Ugh, enough with the "Kandora's Box" quips already. Targeting orbital lasers...

- -

Superheroes Minus Masks: the boundaries that separate our hidden and public selves are shifting [LA Times] [via Thought Balloons]
Gerard Jones, author of Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book, explores how our changing attitudes about what's public, what's private, and what's a big deal are affecting the secret identity. See Spider-Man 2 for more.

The thing is, the Thing is Jewish: Recent revelation of the Thing's religion was a rare moment for pop culture [Dallas Morning News' Jeffrey Weiss reprinted at Blue Corn Comics] [via LinkMachineGo]

Stripperella- Season 1 Uncensored DVD set out in February []
A gift for, as noted by Thought Balloons, that Stan Lee completist in your life. Mentioning Pamela Anderson, who voices Erotica Jones in the cartoon, is good for blog traffic, too.

Democrats advised to find an 'unlikely hero' like Peter Parker to lead them [Jamal Simmons Op-Ed item] [via Memeorandum (great name!)]

Posted 8 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

Factsheet 5 relaunching! [Press Action] [via Bookslut]
Yay! This is great big fantastic news! Neilalien was very much into zines for years, lots of great punk rock, mini-comic, alt-politics, alt-spiritual, alt-sex, fanzines, sci-fi, alt-alien, alt-whatever stuff. He's snail-mailed quite a few dollar bills discreetly in envelopes out into the ether over the years. But after the one-two-three-four punch of the internet/weblog revolution, ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers), the ending of such a vital directory as Factsheet 5 in 01998, and starting up this zine-like Neilalien object himself (which could have easily went in a Factsheet-5-esque direction at one time until the comicbook topic asserted itself above all others), he's mostly moved on from those cash-mailin' days. But now Your Guide to Zines and Independent Media is coming back. And looking for contributors... Gears starting to spin...
More: Mike Gunderloy's Factsheet Five epitaph on his Larkfarm site

Update: Not so fast- Factsheet 5 resurrection-wolf gets cried every six months [alt.zines (Google Groups)]

Comics' unspoken inferiority complex becomes spoken when Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, J. Michael Straczynski billed as "real writers" [Ninth Art]

"I hope Steve Ditko is past caring what happens to The Question" [Franklin's Findings reviews the miniseries so far]
Franklin also shares how he would've done it.

Bad news: Top Shelf parody comics Stripburger (includes Richie Bush) seized by Customs for "clearly piratical copies" of registered and recorded copyrights [Newsarama] [Pulse]
Messageboarders muse that Customs was most likely tipped off by the Bush Administration or the Schulz estate... Comics Reporter is on the case with lots more. (That Stripburger site even uses the old Commodore logo for their website's favicon! Nothing is sacred to those folks!)

Sean Phillips talks Sleeper [ADD 5Q at Newsarama]

Moby now a Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art trustee [The Beat]

Happy one-year blogiversary to good blog Progressive Ruin

Always a good feeling: Neilalien pimpage for good book Runners snags a john [Gutterninja]

Viva l'internet!: BoomNation has a Jennifer Garner weblog [yummy red Elektra pic]

Ed Brubaker has become one of Neilalien's fave quotables [Millarworld MB] [via Fanboy Rampage]

The fact is, the Direct Market is not that accurate a reflection of what the buyer wants. It's a reflection of what the retailers on the whole are willing to carry. When stores carry a wider variety of product, the way bookstores usually do, the non-superhero stuff generally sells better -- look at stores like the Isotope or the Beguiling, who carry the full range of genres, they sell as many Eightballs as they do X-Men. Saying the Direct Market reflects what the buyers want is like saying the sales at Mystery Bookstores prove that no one wants to read anything but mysteries. The point being that the majority of comic stores have basically become Super-hero boutiques, not even racking anything outside the top 20 or 30 books, with the rest left to subscription services only. It's a sad situation for those of us who want to see a more diverse market for the medium, such as they have in Europe and Asia. Thankfully, TPBs are starting to have more of an impact through bookstores, and as I said, when presented with more options, buyers are choosing to try more diverse material.

Posted 6 December 02004 - Permalink

- -

McSweeney's Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., a tutoring center by the McSweeney's/826NYC folks. A pic of this great storefront has been on Neilalien's to-do list for months, but obviously, he can't get off his ass and literally walk down the street to take the pic, so you get this perfectly fine pic found on Flickr. Click on the image for a larger version to read more of the details. [Source: Schlomo Rabinowitz, Flickr]

Posted 1 December 02004 - Permalink

- -