Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Comic Books and Cats 50th Post Anniversary Issue

Spiderman 50

Hey there True Believers.  This very post marks my 50th post on this blog so I’d thought I’d take a minute to rundown my 5 most popular blog posts so far.  Before that a little shameless self promotion here.  I started a Facebook Fan Page for the blog (you get find it here) where I’ll be putting in all my blog posts.  I’ll also be posting other comic book related videos, news, and articles so go ahead and give it a like.

1) Netflix PSA December 2014

2) Netflix PSA March 2015

3) Top 8 Cat Moments in Comic Books

4) Shock-tober! DC Comics Monster Variant Covers

5) New Comic Book TV Part I: Gotham


Secret Wars Game Plan

Secret Wars

I decided to really jump right into the deep end with this summer’s Secret Wars event so it’ll mean buying a lot of comics and spending a lot of money.  I’m not planning on going overboard and buying all the tie-in issues, so far I’m looking to spend between 60 to 100 dollars total for the whole event out of pocket.  This means if the rest of the main series Secret Wars issues cost 3.99 just the main series will cost 34 dollars which leaves 26 to 66 dollars for tie-in issues which is approximately 9 to 22 issues.

Here is my plan of attack.  I’m going to start by picking up the new Secret Wars main series and read them as they come out.  That will give me the primary (convoluted as it is) story along with little glimpses of what is going on in the different Battle Worlds. So if they mention a Battle World that seems interesting I’ll pick up its tie-in issue.  But if a particular Battle Work seems lame or covers something I don’t care about, I won’t pick up their tie-in issues.

There are some tie-in issues I’ve pre-ordered because I liked their original story (House of M, Civil War, Old Man Logan, etc.) and are already on my pull list.

Secret Wars 1

I’m going to also read the original 1985 Secret Wars as homework along with Marvel’s “True Believers” first issues of tie-in books (some I have already read but it would be a good refresher) which include (which you can get on Comixology for 99 cents here):

  • Infinity Gauntlet 1
  • Marvel Zombies 1
  • X-Men Alpha 1
  • Civil War 1
  • Planet Hulk 1
  • Civil War 1
  • House of M 1
  • Wolverine 66
  • Iron Man 225
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2011) 1
  • Age of Ultron 1

If by the end of its first issue I like the story I’ll read the rest of that story arc, and if I really like it I will possibly pick up the new Secret Wars tie-in issues.  The new Secret Wars tie-in story arcs I am on the fence for or not interested in I’ll wait 6 months and read when they come out on Marvel Digital Unlimited.

The best way to go about reading these back issues is through Marvel Digital Unlimited, its 60 dollars a year or 10 dollars a month and has most back issues up until about 6 months ago.  Marvel Digital Unlimited is like Netflix in that its an all you can read streaming service.  There are apps for Android and iOS for the service and these apps are really the way this service is meant to be used.  Marvel Digital Unlimited has a large back catalog so it includes the complete event and tie in’s for almost every Battle World in the new Secret Wars so you aren’t breaking the bank to buy them all.

I’m also going to attempt to read some of the recent Robert Hickman issues of Avengers that he’s been doing for the last 3 years that lead up to Secret Wars.  All of these Avengers issues I’ll be reading on Marvel Digital Unlimited and so there will be a 6 month gap which I’ll just read them as they come out on MDU (Marvel Digital Unlimited).

We’ll see how this goes.  I’ll post again at the release of issue 4 of Secret Wars which will be the halfway point and see if my plan worked and how I feel about the event in general.


Complete Gwen Stacy June Marvel Variants

It’s no secret that I have been a fan of Spider-Gwen going all they way back to the release of Edge of Spider-verse 2.  Well I am not alone.  The people have gotten a taste of Spider-Gwen and the people have spoken, more Gwen!  So in celebration of everyone’s favorite webslinger Marvel is release 20 Gwen-spired variant covers across all it’s lines in the month of June.  Here is the complete list of comics followed by their covers:

  • 1602 Witch Hunter Angela #1 by John Tyler Christopher
  • Armor Wars #1 by David Lafuente
  • Black Widow #19 by Dan Hipp
  • Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #9 by Jake Wyatt
  • Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 by Chris Bachalo
  • Future Imperfect #1 by Nick Bradshaw
  • Groot #1 by Giuseppe Camuncoli
  • Guardians of Knowhere #1 by Rob Guillory
  • Howard The Duck #4 by Jason Latour
  • Inhumans: Attilan Rising #2 by James Stokoe
  • Magneto #19 by Declan Shalvey
  • Old Man Logan #3 by Chris Samnee
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. #7 by Robbi Rodriguez
  • Secret Wars #3 by Nick Bradshaw
  • Secret Wars #4 by Chris Samnee
  • Secret Wars 2099 #2 by Jason Latour
  • Squadron Sinister #1 by Greg Smallwood
  • Thors #1 by Kris Anka
  • Ultimate End #2 by Chip Zdarsky
  • X-Men ’92 #1 by Ryan Stegman

Reading Digital Comics

IMG_20150324_193333 (2)

Being a 21th century digital boy in a 21st century digital world I do a lot of my comic book reading on tablets.  I was thinking about it realized my indecision/obsession with Tablets has landed me in the position of having used Windows, Android, and iOS.  My plan is to have a future post where all three duke it out but before that I thought I should talk about Digital Comics in general.

The first question one might ask is why read comics digitally at all?  Comic books are traditionally read in print and its a medium that has worked well for over 100 years, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?  Well fuck all that noise.  We live in the future and aren’t going to waste all the great advances in technology just because its scary and different.  Here is my list of reasons going digital is awesome.

Your Whole Library With You On the Go

Pile of Books

I can not express how awesome it is to be able read anything in your library at any time on a whim.  I travel a lot for work which means I don’t have the majority of my collection at any given time.  The great part about digital comics is I don’t have to chose what I want to read ahead time, I just head out and then on the plane can cycle through my collection and pick what I want to read.  Even if you don’t travel its extremely convenient to just dig through your digital collection to find the book you want to read whenever you want.  I have a decent collection of floppies (monthly books) and the truth is that once I’ve read a book and put it in a long box it has all most no chance of my pulling it back out to read.  I’ve gotten better about going back to my print collection since I decided not to bag and board any more but I still have to be pretty motivated to dig through my boxes to find an issue.  With Digital I just have to do a quick search and download the issue if its not on my device all ready, and when I’m done I can just delete it and re-download whenever I want.

Digital Comics Don’t Take Up Space

Pile of Books 2

Since I graduated high school, I’ve moved 8 times.  Each of those 8 times there is at least 4 or 5 moving boxes full of books I’ve packed up and moved every single time.  I have a copy of Fight Club I’ve put in boxes and unpacked and put on my bookshelf 8 times having never opened it up and read it after the first time I read it in high school  Books are heavy y’all.  Books take up a lot of space.  Books are kind of a pain in the ass.  My comic book collection consists of 2 long boxes, 4 short boxes and one full book shelf of trades.  I like the physical copies I have of things but if I’m being honest I know that 75% of those books will stay in their box / shelf until years from now they go back in a moving box and are moved again.

I’ve managed to sell off and keep my book collection to one bookshelf that is fairly full.  I work on a blood in blood out system that if I get a new book something else has to be sold or given away.  This could have meant a lot less reading for me but its actually been the opposite.  I’m reading now more than I have since I was in high school and not filling up my house with books I’ll never read again.

Digital Comics Look Better

When they print comic books they are generally trying to print that book as cheaply as possible in order to maximize profits.  These days they still look pretty good and the pages are glossy and high resolution, though the paper may be thin.  However if you are reading older comics that were printed on a non-glossy paper chances are they look pretty bad these days.  The paper may yellow and the ink might settle.  Digital comics don’t damage with age.  They are 100% consistent in their looks and it doesn’t matter if its the first or hundredth time you’ve read them they will be identical quality.

Batgirl Special in Print

Batgirl Special in Print

Batgirl Special Digital

Batgirl Special Digital

Older Comics are Actually Cheaper

Action Comics 1

Lets say you want to simply read Action Comics 1, the first appearance of Superman.  Now you could spend 3.1 million dollars for a near mint copy at auction for the cleanest possible issue.  Or you could spend 99 cents on comiXology and get the comic in HD.  Yes I am aware this is an extreme case but Marvel and DC are on their way to digitizing their entire back catalog and if you want key issues from the golden and silver age you can get them for between 1 to 2 dollars.  There are lots of time I don’t want to spend the money or time searching for a key issue but just want to read it and digital comics is the only way to do that.

Digital Comics are Constantly on Sale

Comic Sale (2)

I’ll get into this more below when I discuss the ways to get digital comics but one of the great parts about digital books is there is all ways a sale to be had.  Marvel has 99 cent comic book sales every Monday and Friday and DC generally has week long theme sales of 99 cent books.  Not only are there 99 comic book sales but I have also gotten graphic novels and trade collections for pennies on the dollar of retail price.  I was able to get the Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 which normally sells for 59.99 retail for 4.99.  You are able to get most trades daily for 10-15 dollars and they are often on sale for 5 dollars.  Not only are there great sales to be had but there are also tons of books you can get for free.  If I were to guess I’d say 2/3rds of my comiXology collection is entirely made

Digital Comics Can Include Features Print Can’t

batman 66 issue 1

There are a lot of cool features that can be done in digital comics that can’t be reproduced in print.  DC comics has several series of digital first comics like Batman ’66 which have cool features and tricks that can’t be done else where.  Marvel similarly has a series called Marvel Infinite comics that are digital only and contain special features.

Most pay for digital comics have a version of comixology’s “guided view” that will allow you to read the comic panel by panel instead of through the entire page.  This feature is great for new comers who have trouble following the direction of the comic panels across the page.  I find it also helps to focus your reading and prevents spoiling reveals that occur at the bottom of the page.  When I read Catwoman 1 through guided view I couldn’t see her apartment blew up at the bottom of the page.  It was a genuine surprise for me that I wouldn’t have had if I was reading normally.

Now that we are all on board for the awesomeness that is digital comics lets talk about how to get them.  There are really five main ways that a person can read comic digitally.

1) ComiXology

ComiXology-Logo-Main

Comixology is the bread and butter of digital comics.  They are the standard and the best anology is they are to digital comics as itunes is to music.  They carry all of the major brands with Dark Horse being the only exception.  In fact when you are on Android or iOS the official Marvel and DC Comics app are created from comiXology.

Comixology has apps on all major platforms, Windows, iOS (Apple Devices), Android, and Kindle Fire.  You can also access and read comics from comiXology through any major web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari).  Comixology is a buy once read anywhere platform.  Once you purchase a comic book you can read it on any app and download and delete it as many times as you like.  Your purchased comics are part of your library and stay in the cloud.

Comixology has also began releasing comics in HD.  At first these were only available on Apple devices but now you can get the HD versions of comic books on capable Android and Kindle Fires.  HD comic books do not cost any more and if you have bought a comic book in the past it doesn’t cost more to get it in HD.  If it is all ready downloaded on your device you will be prompted to re-download the book once it is available in HD.  You can also choose in the settings to not download books in HD if you would like to save space, as HD comics take up more.

Comixology is constantly having sales.  Marvel comics has sales every Monday and Friday for 99 cent single issue comics.  These sales generally have a theme, they may be 100 or so issues in a certain run of X-Men, or maybe issues that revolve around Hawkeye.  DC Comics generally has weeklong sales that start every Tuesday.  These don’t occur every week and also generally have a theme.  The theme will usually coincide with a TV, or movie event, so when Man of Steel came out there were hundreds of Superman comics on sale the week before.  There are also random sales from all other publishers occurring regularly.

Along with comic books on sale there are also a lot of free issues availible as well.  Image comics generally gives away all first issues of series for free.  DC has a set of key issues like Detective Comics 27 that are free.  Marvel does their free books a little oddly.  They give out a set of about 5 comics free every month but its not on a regular schedule and they don’t make it very obvious when they do.  The only way to know is to go to the free comic section in comiXology regularly and eventually these new marvel books show up.

Comixology has collected editions (trade paperbacks) and also single issue comics.  Single issue comics are released the same day on Comixology as they are in print at around 8 AM Central Time Wednesday morning.

2) Comic Reader Apps

Screenshot (25)

Did you know that Comic Books have their own file extension type?  Word Documents are .docx, PowerPoints are .pptx, and Excel files are .xlsx, and Comic Books are either .cbr or .cbz.  These files are more or less a modified version of a zip file that only contain picture files.  Windows and Apple can’t natively read these files but there are lots of programs available to do just that.  Every major operating system of tablet has a decent reader you can purchase or get for free.  Below is my opinion of the best reader for each.

Operating System

Reader Price

iOS (iPad)

Comic Zeal

$4.99

Android

ComicRack

$7.99

Windows 8.1 (Surface)

Cover

$2.99

Kindle Fire ComicCat

$2.99

So let’s not beat around the bush here.  If you are using a comic book reader app like this you are doing so to read pirated comic books.  I’m not totally against this but lets not kid ourselves into believing this is totally legal behavior.  You really should pay for your comic books if you can but there are some times when I can understand why one might let their morality slide and get pirated comic books.  First, if there isn’t a digital version of the comic book and you simply want to read it.  There are a lot of old comic books that would be too expensive or difficult to find that you just want to read.  In these cases pirating the comic book may be the only way to actually read it.  Secondly is to get back ups of comic books you have all ready purchased in print.  In this case you could technically scan the book yourself and create your own digital version of the book… Or maybe just use the version someone else made.   I’m not going to get into detail on how to get pirated comic books so you are on your own there.

3) Kindle Books

amazon-kindle-logo

The kindle fire has made a real dent in the tablet market and since its initial release made it self one of the major players in the game.  I’m a big fan of Amazon in general so I preordered and bought a 1st generation kindle fire the day they went on sale.  While there were a lot of features to like my main selling point was that there would be full color graphic novels on sale.  Initially kindle was the only place you were able to buy DC Comics Graphic novels but now there are several options including iTunes and Google Play Store.  However, Kindle is still by far the best place to buy graphic novels.

Kindle prices are all most always the best.  Most graphic novels are between 10 and 15 dollars and sometimes less than 10.  This is pretty much across the board and kindle will generally be anywhere from a couple of dollars to as much as 10 dollars less than iTunes of Google Play.

Kindle apps are available on all major operating systems.  You can read your kindle graphic novels on iPad, Android Tablet, Windows Tablet, or Kindle Fires.  If you are buying on iTunes you are stuck in Apple-land, along with buying on Google Play.  The only other place you can buy graphic novels that works across all operating systems is on comixology, which when they are not on sale generally go for retail print price.

There are some downsides to graphic novels on kindle.

First they are not in HD and look grainy and bad especially on larger tablets.  The initial set of graphic novels released for kindle were made for a smaller, non-HD 7 inch screen.  They have not gone back and updated the resolution on those files so some of the graphic novels look pretty poor.  This is a weird problem they have and it seems to be on a book by book basis.  Some graphic novels I have for kindle look fine while others are at a distracting level of poor resolution.

Second there is no pinch and zoom on kindle graphic novels.  They have a “smart panel” view in which you can view the books panel by panel but that is the only way to get a closer look.  I know some people love this type of view but I don’t.  Most the time it is not a big deal but if its a two page spread it would be nice to pinch and zoom so I could read the dialogue without going into smart panel mode.

Lastly the kindle special features don’t work on graphic novels.  You can bookmark pages but that is about it.  The graphic novels don’t have real page numbers or features like highlighting, x-ray, and hyper-linked table of contents.  I get why highlighting and x-ray aren’t available but it would be nice if i could skip to a specific issue in the graphic novel with out digging around.

Overall these downsides are annoying but not so much a hindrance that I don’t use kindle for graphic novels.

4) Marvel Comics Digital Unlimited

Marvel_Unlimited_Logo-790x790

You may notice that single issue comic books and graphic novels are pretty expensive.  You may have even said to your self, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a Netflix style streaming option that I could pay monthly and read the comics i could dream of?”  Well tiger, you just hit the jackpot.  Marvel Comics has just that service available and the good news is that its actually a pretty good deal.  Marvel Comics Digital Unlimited gives you access to over 15,000 comic books with new books added every Monday.

The selection is surprisingly very good.  The back catalog isn’t complete but for a lot of series it gets pretty close.  There are nearly complete runs of books like Amazing Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men, and The Avengers.  As for new comics there is a 6 month waiting period after the book is originally published before it is released on Marvel Comics Digital Unlimited.  As far as I can tell this is for every thing that came out that week six months ago which can be 25 to 30 new books released each week.  If you can wait six months after release to read your comics you can read every book marvel puts out for pennys on the dollar.

Screenshot (27)

There are three options as far as payment goes for a subscription.  You can pay monthly for 10 dollars a month which you can cancel any time.  You can pay for a year’s subscription for 70 dollars for the year (50 dollars less a year than paying monthly).  Lastly, you can buy the Annual Plus membership for 100 dollars a year (still 20 less a year than paying monthly).  The Annual Plus membership gives you a lot of perks but the only ones that really matter are an exclusive figure (this year its a marvel legends rocket raccoon), two exclusive variant cover comics, and 15% off all digital comics from marvel.com.  Now if you really want to save some money and don’t care about the variant cover comics this could be your cheapest option.  Right now both variant cover comics go for 20 each on ebay.  The Rocket Raccoon figure is also selling for between 20 and 50 on ebay right now.  So if you pay 100 dollars upfront for the year and sell all three bonus items you can potentially net 70 to 90 dollars back bringing the yearly cost down to 10 to 30 dollars.

The Marvel Comic Digital Unlimited app is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, so Windows 8.1 users are shit out of luck.  You can technically read comics through any major web browser but app is how this service is meant to be used.  If you have a kindle fire you can side load the app using the OneMarket appstore or finding the APK online.  My experience in side-loading on kindle fire was so-so.  Sometimes it worked fine and others weird things happened like the comic wouldn’t fill up the entire screen and i had to constantly pinch and zoom to read, so I’d try a trial membership first before getting a yearly if you are planning on using it only on a kindle fire.

There are a couple of other subscription type comic book services out there but they are all fairly shitty.  Scribd is the best competitor out there but they do not have DC or Image and their marvel selection is a lot less than MCDU.  Comicfix has a similar catalog as Scribd and also noticeably missing Marvel, DC, and Image.  They have some good reads and are worth checking out but in my eyes aren’t ready for the big leagues until they have both the big two (Marvel and DC) in their catalog.

5) Other

You can now buy single issue comics and graphic novels from Google Play, the Apple App Store, and the Nook bookstore.  If you are really invested in these operating system ecosystems it may be worth your while to buy from these places rather than the kindle store or comixology.  However you really wind up getting stuck with that type of device and it makes it harder and harder to switch over in the future if you would like.  You may be ride or die Apple right now but who knows maybe you become android curious in a couple of years.  The thing is there is just too much benefit in getting your books on a cross platform app like kindle or comixology vs. straight from iTunes.  Not only are you giving your self the ability to read on other devices but the price is fairly consistantly cheaper on comixology and kindle no matter what it is you are buying.

There are also certain comic books that you can buy that also come with a digital copy as well.  Marvel comics gives away digital codes in all comic books that are 3.99 and higher (which is most at this point) that can be redeemed on comixology.  DC Comics used to sell digital combo versions of a lot of certain series that would cost a dollar more than the normal print version.  However very recently they killed this off due to low sales and lower redemption numbers of the comics.  Apparently people were just buying the combo packs just to get a version of the comic in a plastic bag… DC has mentioned possibly just giving the codes for free the same way Marvel does so let’s cross our fingers and hope they do.

The Downside of Digital Comics

iphone fire

Ok lets be fair here, not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the land of digital. so let’s go over a few of the downsides of digital comics.

You Can’t Re-sell Digital Comic Books

Your digital copy of Action Comics 1 isn’t going to someday be worth 3 million dollars. If you look at comic books as an investment than digital comic books are going to give you a 0% return on investment. Now some may take that to mean that because they can’t be sold your digital comic books are worthless but that isn’t true. If you are buying comic books because you like to read them, and reading them gives you joy, then digital comic books do in fact have worth.

The fact is that at the end of the day the vast majority of modern comic books are not worth much of anything at all. When we see a story on the news of someone finding a pristine copy of Detective Comics 27 and retiring off the millions they make does not translate to your copy of 1991’s X-Men 1 is going to be your life on easy street in a 20-30 years.

Comic books gain value based on two things, availability, and desire to own. Action Comics 1 can sell for upwards of 3 million because it’s desire is extremely high and it is extremely rare. There are only two known CGC 9.0 graded copies of Action Comics 1, which are over 75 years old, and have arguably the most recognizable comic book character of all time. The comic book speculation game is a crap shoot and the truth is that if you are trying to make money off of comic books you are much more likely to be sorely disappointed. There are, however, a few high value modern books that appear every now and then. A first print copy of Walking Dead 1 goes for upwards of 9 thousand dollars (mostly because it had a initial print run of only 7,000 copies). Saga number 1 sells for around 100 dollars, New Mutants 98 sells for 300 dollars. I even have a couple of these in my own collection, Batgirl 13 goes for 22 dollars and Edge of Spider-verse 2 is currently going for a ridiculous 75 dollars.   These are nice little surprises but at the end of the day are just blimps in a sea of comic books I own that are worth little to nothing.

You Don’t Actually Own Your Digital Comic Books

Remember reading through iOS 8’s terms of service? No? Just clicked agree? Well buried deep terms and conditions of your digital comic book transaction it will say that you are not paying for ownership of the digital comic book but for a license that gives you the ability to read that comic book. Yes you don’t actually own that comic book that you paid for.

I’ll give you the nightmare scenario. Something happens to comixology and it goes out of business. You go to log in and get a website error and are suddenly locked out. All the comic you spent years paying for have suddenly vanished and you have nothing to show for it.

Now Comixology could go out of business. Along with comic books I have a decent online streaming collection of movies. Some of these I bought from Target Ticket when they were on sale and a month ago I got a notice that Target Ticket was shutting its doors. I wasn’t left screwed over and without any of the movies I bought. The movies I bought were ultraviolet and part of my digital locker so they were still available on several other apps. Target Ticket also gave me the ability to transfer all my purchases to a rival service, Cinemanow free of charge.  This seems more like what would happen if Comixology went under, I believe it is likely they would allow us to download our comics we own and transfer what we have to another service.

Image comics has actually taken action in preventing this from happening by allowing users to download DRM free back up versions of all their comics you by from Comixology.  If you buy digital comics from the Image website they come completely DRM free PDF’s that you can download as many times as you want.  I don’t suspect that DC and Marvel will follow suit but you never know.  I would have never imagined iTunes would go DRM free but they have been DRM free for years now.

Should you even be worried about this?  The truth is that digital goods is still a new frontier, we don’t really know what long term effects will be.  Buying into digital is a little bit of a gamble.  You are putting your money into a platform entrusting that it will be around for a very long time.  But let me give you the other nightmare scenario.  There is a fire in your house and all of your print comics are lost.  Maybe its not a fire, maybe your house is broken into, maybe your comics get infested with silverfish or bugs.  The fact is that as much as digital comics are a gamble print comics can be just as much of a gamble.

No matter how future proof you think things are they can quickly become obsolete or destroyed.  There is a decent amount of CD’s I bought in high school that have CD rot and parts of them are unplayable.

Final Thought

jerry final thought

In the last few years it feels like I can’t go a whole week without seeing a digital vs. print article that waxes poetic about how print is dying and everything is terrible.  Here’s the thing.  It doesn’t have to be either or.  You can actually like reading things digitally and like getting them in print as well.  I know that at the end of the day I’m more likely to read and re-read the material I get digitally yet I still have a pretty hefty collection of print comics.  I still have a pull list at my local comic book shop and I still get some books in physical trade paperback.  I like collecting comics.  I like going to new shops when I travel and I like the digging through bargain bins and finding treasure.  Just because I like print comics doesn’t mean I then must also hate digital comics.  We don’t have to be binary, its possible to like two things at the same time!

If you are die hard print give digital a try, see if you like it and at the very least just create a comixology account and get something for free.  Who knows you may wind up loving it…


Mystery Comic 2: Fantastic Four 383

Comic (2)

This week’s comic is a classic example of the early 90’s. There is a ton of shit going on and every one is saying out thinking out loud everything that is happening around them. So this comic starts off with a sub note that Reed Richards is dead. Now in the comic world a death is held with a grain of salt. Jean Grey has been known to die at least 20 different times, so we won’t take his death too seriously. Even this comic doesn’t seem to bother with taking his death seriously, this is the first page.

Comic 2 - 1 - Crop

“The apparent death of their leader, Reed Richards”. I mean come on at least pretend to commit to this!

Any ways this is my first Fantastic Four comic that I have ever read. I am some what familiar with the characters in that I have watched both of the shitty movies they released in the 2000’s. I don’t know why the thing is wearing a helmet the entire time though and I can’t explain Sue Storms weird boob window in her costume.

Boob Window Crop - Skitch

“The apparent death of their leader, Reed Richards”. I mean come on at least pretend to commit to this!

Any ways this is my first Fantastic Four comic that I have ever read. I am some what familiar with the characters in that I have watched both of the shitty movies they released in the 2000’s. I don’t know why the thing is wearing a helmet the entire time though and I can’t explain Sue Storms weird boob window in her costume.

Comic 2 - 2 Skitch

At first I was going to let this slide, since I don’t know what is going on and what the Skrull are and what they have done. But then I thought about it and this guy’s name is Devastator and he flies around in the Death Cruiser, not exactly a name you use if your mission is peace. He says in another panel that his “scared duty is to eliminate any life form capable of waging war”. Wait what? CAPABLE of waging war? So basically any civilization capable of hurting one another. Any ways this side story goes on the entire comic. This all occurs on the same planet that the Fantastic Four are on so you are probably assuming that they will get involved in this in some way but they don’t. This story ends with Paibok, who is the king of the skrulls beating out Devastator and saving the planet (yay!). While this sounds well and good who really gives a shit, this has nothing to do with the Fantastic Four who are spending the entire book trying to leave the planet.

So I guess the main story is that of the Fantastic Four trying to escape imprisonment. It’s not really clear why they are imprison but for whatever reason it seems that it occurred around the same time Reed Richards “apparent” death. So it’s the Thing, Sue Storm, and The Human Torch along with female Skrull who probably fucked the Torch (I’m not making that up they infer that they boned). So that’s straightforward enough right? Wrong. The skrull woman is also preggers and apparently skrulls are only able to have a baby with the assistance of some device. So after they break out of prison they have to break into a hospital to get said device.

Comic 2 - 8 - Skitch Edit

So after helping the skrull woman get the birthing device they grab a space ship and GTFO. That’s pretty much the end of the Fantastic Four side of the story. I did very much enjoy the hilarious references to pop culture that the Thing makes. I made up a montage of them.

Collage

That brings us to the last part of our story which is probably the strangest. Which is the fight between Franklin Richards and Huntra. They don’t tell you who either of them are or where/when any of this is taking place. So checking on comicvine Franklin is Richard and Sue Storm’s child and is a omega level mutant. I think it’s still taking place in the future since he appears to be grown and the Fantastic Four don’t seem to be that old, I have no idea though, this is just a guess. Any ways they are fighting off and on throughout the entire book for no explained reason. It ends with a cliffhanger that apparently Franklin Richards has to kill his own mother for some unexplained reason.

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And that’s pretty much the comic!

There was one strange thing I noticed in the letters section in the back and that is that on the letters they had the full address of every one who sent in a letter. Which is a pretty terrible decision on Marvel’s part seeing as they are pretty much all from kids.

And to end our report we have my favorite ads from the 90’s which include LCD video games, Huffy bike, and some Sega video games.

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Comic 2 - 12

Comic 2 - 3


Mystery Comics Project: The Arrival!

I know that I only posted about this a couple of days ago but in reality it’s been close to two weeks for the comics to get here.  Now I know this is just me being spoiled from using amazon prime but seriously two weeks to ship something is ridiculous.  I love me some woot and have gotten some great deals from it in the past but don’t ever order anything from them you might need quickly.  So up top are scans of all the covers that I took last night.  I was actually pretty surprised by the quality of the comics that I got.  They were pretty diverse selection some going back to 1990 and some from as recent as 2012.  Also there was a lot more number 1 issues that I could have hoped for.  This will certainly make reading these a little easier and prevent me from being completely lost.

One minor gripe was that included in these comics was the following issue of Batman.  It is was a free preview version of the graphic novel Batman: Earth One that was released last year to coincide with the release of The Dark Knight Rises.  It’s not really a comic book and it was a free give away so it’s a bit of a cop out from original description of the order I made.  I was pretty annoyed initially but the quality of the other comics is better than I expected so I’m going to let it slide.  However as far as this project goes I am going to switch it out with another book.  I had picked up a bunch of random comics while I was at the local comic book convention and am going to a random issue of Detective Comics from 1999 (Detective Comics 734) instead.  Since I was promised a Batman comic if feels like a solid replacement.

Batman Earth One: Special Preview Edition

 

So here is the complete list of the comics that I got.

  • Detective Comics: Batman – 734
    July 1999 – DC Comics
    $1.99
  • Fantastic Four – 383
    December 1993 – Marvel
    $1.25
  • War Heroes – 1 of 6
    July 2008 – Image
    $2.99
  • Wonder Woman – 178
    March 2002 – DC Comics
    $2.25
  • Catwoman – 1
    August 1993 – DC Comics
    $1.95
  • Hammer of God – 2 of 2
    1991 – First Publishing
    $4.95
  • Squalor – 4 of 4
    August 1990 – First Publishing
    $2.75
  • Blackest Night R.E.B.E.L.S. – 10
    January 2010 – DC Comics
    $3.99
  • Day of Vengeance – 1
    June 2005 – DC Comics
    $2.50
  • Wolverine – 27
    June 2005 – Marvel Comics
    $2.25
  • Secret Avengers – 1
    July 2010 – Marvel
    $3.99
  • House of M – 1 of 8
    August 2005 – Marvel
    $2.99
  • Exiles – 48
    August 2004 – Marvel
    $2.99
  • X-Men – 27
    June 2012 – Marvel
    $3.99
  • Ultimate Spider-man – 78
    August 2005 – Marvel
    $2.50
  • X-Patrol – 1
    April 1996 – Amalgam
    $1.95
  • Zorro – 6
    October 2005 – Papercut
    $2.95
  • Hercules: The Knives of Kush – 3 of 5
    October 2009 – Radical Comics
    $2.99
  • Bullets and Bracelets – 1
    April 1996 – Amalgam
    $1.95
  • Adventure Comics – 504
    October 2009 – DC Comics
    $3.99
  • Wrath – 1
    January 1994 – Malibu Comics
    $1.95
  • Wrath – 6
    June 1994 – Malibu Comics
    $1.95
  • Deadman – 6
    July 2002 – DC Comics
    $2.50
  • Negation – 9
    September 2002 – Crossgen Comics
    $2.95
  • Transformers: Generations – 1
    March 2006 – IDW
    $1.99

Along with these comics I also got 10 packs of random non-sports cards.  Five unopened packs of Pukeymon Cards and 5 unopened packs of Johnny Quest Cards.  I also got random assortment of opened Desert Storm cards as well.

They are pretty fantastic as well and don’t worry I’ll make a special blog post just about them.

The total retail cost of the comics would have been $68.50 and the retail cost of the cards would have been $19.90 bringing the total value of the package at $88.40 retail.  I paid 14.99 which is 17% of retail value.  The most valuable comic of the bunch is Catwoman 1 which goes for $5.00 today which is 2.56 times its original cost.


Mystery Comic Book Project

Woot Picture

Full disclosure this and a few posts related to this were actually written on another blog that I do that is dedicated to Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.  “Well that’s a weird thing to post on a blog about Pride and Prejudice?”  It doesn’t!  Which is why I am moving these posts over here to Comic Books and Cats!  So basically what has started as an impulse purchase will now be a new project for the website.

Here is what was listed on the website of what my mystery comics will include:

Every bundle is guaranteed to include, among the 25, at least:

  • 1 Avengers book
  • 1 Batman book
  • 1 Fantastic Four book
  • 1 Spiderman book
  • 1 Wolverine book
  • And 1 X-Men book

You will receive vintage comics, and some that may have high value!

Includes Marvel, DC, Dark Horse comics and more

Also Includes a BONUS of 10 unopened packs of non-sport collector cards that just might include DC, Marvel and/or Star Wars.

If the picture is any indication it looks like all stuff from the 90’s during the big speculation boom. Those comics are generally worth very little since they printed so many in those days but they also happen to be the comics of my formative years. The plan will be to read all of them and write short reviews along with pictures and scans of what some of the “collector’s cards” are. I’ll make another post when it arrives that details what all I winded up getting. Hopefully they come in the next few days, I love woot but they are terrible when it comes to delivering things and it usually takes at least 2-3 weeks. Any ways stay tuned and I hope you are as excited as I am (which I doubt you are).


Movie Reading Guide: Avengers – Age of Ultron

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We are still a couple months away from the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and the third trailer just dropped last week (see it here) and you may be asking your self, what the hell is an Ultron?  Why does Kick-Ass have white hair?  What was that pink thing at the end?  Well fear not true believers, I’ve put together a list of required reading so when May comes along you’ll have the privilege of being able to freak out at the post credits scene while every one else is confused.

The Ultimates and The Ultimates 2 by Mark Millar with Art by Bryan Hitch

Ultimates Vol. 1Ultimates Vol. 2Ultimates 2 vol. 1Ultimates 2 Vol. 2

Let’s go back to the simpler days of 2002.  Nelly’s Hot in Herre was number one on the charts, we had just crowned our first American Idol and Marvel launch its ultimate line of comics.  The Ultimate line of comics had two purposes.  The first was to give writers a chance to work with their favorite characters without the burden of 70 years of canon.  Some characters like Spider-man started back from square one and got a new and updated origin story.  Others like the X-men got face lifts and had major changes made to its canon.  The idea was that this new universe would allow for writers to tell interesting stories without screwing up the main marvel canon while at the same time giving the stories weight.  If a character died in the ultimate universe they really died, they may not ever come back like they might in the main marvel universe.  So the second goal was to create stories that would make good transitions to film or TV.  Mark Millar had this in mind when he wrote the Ultimates and wrote the book with TV and film in mind.  While neither of these story arcs are going to be about Ultron they will give you a good foundation of who the avengers are and serve as a introduction to characters we haven’t met yet.  The books are very accessible and don’t require prior knowledge to read.  While the stories are ridiculous and over the top they are grounded and take place in a more realistic world than normal marvel universe.

There is a third volume, Ultimates 3, but I don’t suggest that.  These two tell a pretty complete story and again, a little over the top, but will give you a good foundation of marvel.

Age of Ultron by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch

Age of Ultron

I know this one seems like a no brainer and should be the first thing on the list, I mean this literally has the title of the movie in its name.  The problem is that while Age of Ultron is a good story there is actually not a ton of Ultron stuff in it.  Are you scratching your head in confusion?  The story takes place in an alternative future where Ultron has all ready taken over the planet.  The remains of the marvel heroes send Wolverine back in time in order to kill Hank Pym in order to prevent him from creating Ultron in the first place.  Most of the story takes place in the past before Ultron is created and really centered around the ethics of committing a murder in order to save millions.  Again its a good read but will have nothing to do with the actual movie coming out this summer.

The Avengers 54-58: First Appearance of Ultron by Roy Thomas and John Buscema

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This is the first story with Ultron.  I wouldn’t really bother, its from the 60’s and is confusing mess.  It seems counter intuitive that you would want to skip the origin comic of a character but with these characters being around since the 60’s they are fairly irrelevant at this point.

The Mighty Avengers 1-6 – The Ultron Initiative by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho 

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This story is definitely a lot newer and while its still a little complicated will be a better read.  There is a lot of Ultron in this story but Ultron appears as a half woman half robot hybrid this time around.

Annihilation: Conquest By Various Authors and Artists

Annihilation Conquest

This story is sort of a sequel to the Ultron Initiative and involves the cosmic characters of the Marvel universe instead of our typical crew of Avengers.  I’d generally not suggest this since the cosmic characters go pretty deep in the line up of known characters but with Groot being a first name character for kids across the country I full support this book to read now.

Avengers 19-22 Ultron Unlimited – by Kurt Busiek and George Perez

Screenshot_2015-03-13-16-05-03

This is an older comic but generally considered the best Ultron story there is.  Ultron is a real threat in this story line and poses a real challenge for the Avengers.  Not only that but there is a lot of collateral damage and will likely be on par with the scale we’ll see in Age of Ultron this summer.  The art is great, George Perez is a legend, however it is a little 80’s.

Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin and George Perez / Ron Lim

Infinity Gauntlet

There’s no Ultron in this book but you are going to need to read this book any way for Phase 3 so you mine as well start now.  The after credits scene in Avengers Age of Ultron can be over several things.  It can be a clue to Ant Man which will come later this year or possibly a lead up to Captain America 3: Civil War.  But if I were a betting man I would guess the teaser will be for the entire Phase 3 which will center around Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

Where to Get These Books?

If you want to read any of these books there are a few options, you can go to your local comic book store or book store and they are likely to have some, however this option will likely be fairly expensive.  Use the Comic Book Shop Finder to find the closest shop to you (click here).

Second you can buy any of these on Comixology (click here) digitally which will cost some what less and the most convenient.  The best part about Comixology is they are constantly having sales so if you keep an eye out you can get some of these books on the cheap.  Marvel has sales every Monday and Friday and will periodically have sales in between.

You can get a subscription to Marvel Comics Unlimited (click here) which has all of these books and costs 60 dollars for a years subscription or 10 dollars a month (you can cancel whenever you want).

Last and cheapest would be to go to your local library and check out the books.  Libraries are getting hip these days and might have some of the more popular books on hand, however you may need to ask to see if they can special order some of the more obscure books.


Spider-Gwen

Spider-Gwen 1

The first issue of Spider-Gwen finally came out as part of its own new on going series this past Wednesday.  Now you might remember Spider-Gwen from her first appearance in Edge of Spider-verse 2.

Let’s back it up a little further.  Over the last couple of months there has been a spider-line wide crossover event at Marvel called Spider-verse.  The core series of Spider-verse takes place in Amazing Spider-man Issues 9-15, however it spans across every spider-man related book that is out right now in Marvel (Superior Spider-Man, Spider-man 2099, Scarlet Spiders, Spider-verse Team Up, Spider-woman, Spider-verse, Edge of Spider-verse).  I think

I’ll write a separate blog post just about the Spider-verse but the long and short of it is the Inheritors are killing Spider-men across every parallel universe and in order to stop them a team of Spider-men from across the multiverse team up.  So because this event involves many different versions of Spider-man Marvel released a five part series to re-introduce and in some cases introduce for the first time, some different versions of Spider-man.

Issue 2 of the Spider-verse introduced the world to Spider-Gwen.  It’s been the break out issue of the series.  As of right now it is entering it’s fifth print run and on Ebay 1st print run issues of Edge of Spider-verse 2 are going for as much as $150.  So it was no surprise that Marvel decided to spin out a on going series based on Spider-Gwen.  The series is written by Jason Latour with art by Robbi Rodriguez, who were the team that wrote and drew the Edge of Spider-verse issue 2.  So before we talk about Spider-Gwen let’s catch up, and they even provide us with a foundation of her on the first page of Edge of Spider-verse 2.

Edge of Spider-verse Previously On

So in this universe our Spider-gwen is thought to be responsible for the death of Peter Parker.  She is actually thought of as a villain, all though she is actively helping people out.  Because of this Kingpin sent out a goon to help recruit Gwen to join his forces.  A fight ensued and Gwen was forced to reveal her Identity to her dad.

The Mary Janes

Not only does this world’s Gwen have spider powers but she is also in a rock band “The Mary Janes” which has a hit single “Face it Tiger”, which is the most adorable thing ever.  The first issue of Spider-Gwen picks up right where Edge of Spider-verse 2 left off.  Gwen is trying to prove to her New York that she is a hero not a villain while trying to balance life as a teenager.  The art is fantastic and makes a lot of use of the secondary color pallet.  The sound description words have a cool stylization and make the pages really pop.  We get a lot of interesting stories threads in this issue, we get the one going struggle with Gwen and her dad, the infighting between Gwen and the band, a new threat of the Vulture, and ongoing thread of the King Pin.  The first issue was really fantastic and keeps the spirit of what they started in Edge of Spider-verse 2 and the lightness and fun that makes Spider-man such an enjoyable character.  Spider-Gwen is on my pull list and I can’t wait to get the next issue.  If you would like to buy a copy go to your local comic book shop (soon it’ll sell out) or pick it up here at Comixology.

As a little added bonus I tracked down all the variant covers I could find.  I’m still finding variant issues as there were a lot of retailer specific ones out there I didn’t know about.  I’ll update this as I find them.


Marvel’s Run the Jewels Variant Covers

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In the summer of 2006 I spent a summer doing an internship out of town in which I rented a room in a house that I found on craiglist.  It winded up being ok but the house was in a sketchy part of town and every morning I expected my car not to be there when I drove to work.  The upside was that the house was very close to the concert venues in town and I went to quite a few shows that summer.  The one that sticks out to me the most was when I saw a rapper named El-P.  It was as a very small venue and it was raining.  I remember it was raining because the roof was leaking and there were buckets all over the floor.  I got to the show an hour after doors open and it was another hour before the first group went on and at least 12:30 before El-P took the stage.  I thought about leaving several times before he got on but for some reason stuck it out.  I am really glad I did because to this day it was the greatest concert I’ve ever been to in my life.

So I’m a pretty big fan of El-P and when he teamed up with Killer Mike to form Run the Jewels I was on board.  The group just recently released their sophomore album titles Run the Jewels 2.  It was financed through kickstarter and you can get the entire album free from their site Right Here.

Well it looks like there are some folks at Marvel that are as big of fans as the rest of us and they have announced two Run the Jewels Variant Covers.

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Deadpool Issue 45

 

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Howard the Duck Issue 2

Hopefully these aren’t retailer incentive issues and I’ll be able to pick them both up at a reasonable price.  Click here to see the original article by the Rolling Stone.  And here is the video for Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry).


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