Posts Tagged ‘Robert Kirkman

28
Nov
12

Everything But Imaginary #470: Point of No Return

Inspired by a conversation with Adam from the Graphic Panels podcast, this week I take a look at the notion that there are some lines in comics that should not be crossed, some changes that should not be made, but also what happens when the creators are afraid to even try.

Everything But Imaginary #470: Point of No Return

25
Nov
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 278: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Still stuffed from a particularly exciting Thanksgiving week, Blake and Erin sit down to talk about things from across the Geek landscape. They review the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, talk with much spoiler-tude about recent events in The Walking Dead (both comic and TV show), and dish on the Batman crossover Death of the Family, the resurrected Amethyst in DC’s Sword of Sorcery, and the big twist in Amazing Spider-Man #698. Oh, and they’ve got a little something personal to share with you guys, too. In the picks, Erin recommends the Walking Dead novels Rise of the Governor and The Road to Woodbury, and Blake picks the Marvel Now! reboot of Deadpool. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 278: Thanksgiving Leftovers

16
Jul
12

Some (non-plot related) thoughts about The Walking Dead #100

Amidst all the joy and chaos of Comic-Con last week, there was a bit of news that should be of interesting to anyone who, like myself, spends time thinking about the health and future of the comic book  industry as a whole. The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman‘s little zombie comic book that turned into a massive hit and a gargantuan TV show watched by millions of people who have no idea it’s based on a comic book, hit issue #100 last week. In the current marketplace, where the two largest publishers restart comics that have been around since the 30s with a new #1 every time the main character changes his socks, hitting 100 issues in and of itself is pretty impressive. It’s even more impressive when you consider that this is a black-and-white character drama disguised as horror, rather than the four-color superhero comic that has dominated the industry since the 60s. And most impressive of all were the sales numbers — over 380,000 individual units sold. To put this in perspective, this is the best-selling single comic book (not counting reprints) since 1997, and we currently live in an era when a single comic book hitting 100,000 is something to be celebrated.

All this is great news, and I don’t for a moment want to diminish the accomplishment of Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard in the slightest. I do, however, want to think a little bit about what this actually means in terms of the industry. According to Diamond Distribution last month’s issue, The Walking Dead #99, sold 55,712 units. That’s a leap of nearly 330,000 in one month. When you see a number that huge, it’s hard to think of it as anything but an anomaly. Let’s look at all the factors here — issue 100 was released with thirteen different covers, including several by some of the hottest artists in the industry. A lot of people who don’t read the comic but collect anything by, say, Todd McFarlane, would seek out his cover. A lot of people who are completists would buy 13 copies of the same book just to make sure they have one of every cover. A lot of people who speculate on such things snagged copies merely because it was issue #100 and they think that it will be valuable someday. (Hint: it won’t. The value of comic books is based on scarcity and demand. By definition, no comic book that sells this many copies will ever be scarce. I’m not saying you may not be able to sell some of these books for more than cover price a few months from now, but nobody’s ever going to put their kids through college with one.)

And finally, there’s the question of the TV audience — how many people who started in with The Walking Dead as a TV show have migrated to comic books? Statistically, there really hasn’t been any significant, long-term sales bumps for any comics that have movie or TV adaptations in the last few decades. The Walking Dead has been an exception, though. Comic shop owners have reported increased sales on the trade paperbacks of this title since the show launched, and they’ve continually grown higher and higher, along with sales of the monthly comic book. Is this huge #100 bump helped by TV viewers who are using it as a jumping-on point, or who have caught up in the trades?

Any comic book selling that many copies in the current marketplace, for any reason, is good news. But I think it’s going to be a lot more interesting to see how many copies issue #101 sells. This isn’t the end of the story, friends. Hopefully, it’s just the beginning.

09
Jan
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 204: 2010-The Year in Review

A little later than they would have liked, but Blake and Kenny are coming at you this week with their look back at 2010 in comics and geek culture. In this mammoth episode, the guys dish on big events for the publishers, the characters, the multimedia properties, and take a look ahead into 2011. It’s the biggest Showcase of the year! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by the Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 204: 2010-The Year in Review

01
Aug
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 181: Inception, Under the Red Hood, and Ranting!

Finishing up a summertime holiday, Blake and Erin sit down and give their thoughts on Christopher Nolan‘s Inception and the new DC Universe animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood. They cover some leftover news from Comicon, then answer your e-mails! In the picks, Erin is reading Mary Roach‘s Bonk, and Blake picks Penny Arcade Vol. 6: The Halls Below. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 181: Inception, Under the Hood, and Ranting!

03
Jul
10

Recent Roundup: Heroes, Robots, and Something Screwy

Continuing my look at some comics that have hit the stands lately that I think are worth talking about…

Avengers Academy #1: Marvel relaunched their Avengers franchise with a new first issue… heh, just kidding. That’s FOUR new first issues. Actually, six if you want to include miniseries. But I digress. I decided to sample each of the new ongoings to see which, if any, I would want to continue reading. Not surprisingly, the one I enjoyed the most was the one written by my favorite writer in the group: Avengers Academy by Christos Gage. With the Initiative camp shut down, a group of Avengers is given the job of training superpowered teens that were recruited under Norman Osborne’s regime. In the first issue we’re introduced to our core group of six young would-be heroes and the team of Avengers responsible for their training. There’s a lot to like about this issue — the inclusion of Speedball among the trainers not the least of those things. I absolutely despised it when he became “Penance” after Civil War, and bringing him back into the fold this way is keeping true to who the character really is without just ignoring that part of his continuity. The six new characters are well-shaped, well-developed, and each with their own distinct personality. Gage also finishes off the book with a pretty stunning revelation about our young cast. It’s a nice surprise, one that reminds me of the classic reveal at the end of Thunderbolts #1. (It’s not the same reveal, that wasn’t a spoiler, it just gave me the same sort of jolt.) This title has a wealth of potential, and I can’t wait to see what Gage does with it.

Rating: 4.5/5

Batman Beyond #1: Ever since the Batman Beyond TV show went off the air, fans of the character have been waiting to see him get some love in the DC Universe. A couple of years ago, we did get a glimpse of one of DC’s 52 Earths where he seemed to exist. Finally, after a tease in Superman/Batman Annual #4, Terry McGinnis is back in his own miniseries. If you didn’t watch the show back in the day, the premise is simple. We’re in the Gotham City of the future, a “Neo-Gotham,” where Bruce Wayne has gotten too old to continue the fight as Batman. Terry is the heir to the throne, a young man Bruce is training as he once trained his Robins, only this young man has taken on the mantle of the bat. In this first issue, someone has murdered one of Bruce’s old enemies, and as Terry races to save another, it turns out the perpetrator may be someone no one would ever have suspected. The last-page cliffhanger here is fantastic. Adam Beechen has plucked Batman’s most potentially dangerous adversary (even more than the Joker) and put him front and center here. It’s also nice to see a nod to the TV show, with Micron of the new Justice League again trying to get Terry to join up. I hope to see more of those characters as the series continues. Ryan Benjamin‘s style is interesting. It’s not a dark, gritty sci-fi comic, but it doesn’t have the animated feel that the original series did either. It exists somewhere in an in-between place that helps to ease the story into the DC Universe. Great first issue. I can’t wait for the rest of this arc.

Rating: 4.5/5

Fantastic Four #580: Also part of Marvel’s Heroic Age soft reboot, Jonathan Hickman‘s Fantastic Four has become probably their best ongoing title again (as it should be). Reed Richards has assembled a group of child geniuses to be his new apprentices, a group that includes his daughter Valeria, but doesn’t include his son Franklin. (Frank is potentially the most powerful mutant in existence, but doesn’t share Dad’s genius. Johnny Storm instead takes Franklin and his pal Leech to a toy store, where they encounter a pair of old adversaries — the mischievous Impossible Man and the murderous Arcade. Franklin and Johnny’s story makes up most of this issue, and it’s a good one, but what really knocks this issue out of the park is the conclusion, where Reed’s young geniuses decide on a class project, something they can do to help the world. What they decide on is something totally unexpected, something that can actually have a permanent effect on one of the members on the team. There’s something wonderful and brilliant about it. This has always been the book that housed my favorite Marvel characters. I’m really glad that, with Hickman writing it, it’s also a book that finally lives up to the name “The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine.”

Rating: 5/5

Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark #1: Sometimes it’s worth it to just do something silly. Artists Ryan Ottley and Jason Howard, best known for their collaborations with writer Robert Kirkman on Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man (respectively), were at a convention last year, throwing around some crazy ideas. One of those ideas, the idea of a bear and a shark getting “mixed up,” somehow stuck and turned into this one-shot. In Howard’s Sea Bear story, we watch as a young man undergoes terrible personal sacrifice to destroy the ferocious sea beast that killed his family. Grizzly Shark, on the other hand, follow a group of hunters that delve deep into the forest to try to hunt down the ferocious killer. Both stories are bizarre, crazy, and bloody as hell. They’re also a lot of fun. The stories themselves are somewhat ridiculous, and the one-page origin tale written by Kirkman to explain just how “they got mixed up” is even sillier. But it’s an awful lot of fun. The giant-sized book gives you two complete, full-length comic book stories for your money, and you’d be hard-pressed to find two crazier, more enjoyable stories on the shelves of recent comic books.

Rating: 4/5

Wall-E #7: This issue wraps up the “Out There” story arc, in which an astronaut named Andy (a nice little nod to Toy Story, I imagine) has returned to Earth to find it empty of human life, including his wife and children. With Wall-E’s help, Andy has been trying to repair his spacecraft, and he just may be on the verge of doing it. This was kind of a low-key ending to this arc… kind of quiet, even a little anticlimactic, but it actually sort of fits in with Wall-E and the desolate world he inhabited before the events of the movie. It’s a bittersweet story, and a highly appropriate one for this title. Bryce Carlson and Morgan Luthi have done a good job with this arc. Carlson’s story is sad, but hopeful, while Luthi’s artwork is a little grimy and dirty, which is absolutely perfect for a story set on the BNL-ruined world that we met in the motion picture. Whether or not the next arc (or any future arcs) will be set after the movie, I don’t know, but I hope they get to that part of the timeline sooner or later. I think there’s a lot of potential there for different kinds of stories than we’ve gotten in this comic so far.

Rating: 4/5

Wonder Woman #600: The 600th issue of Wonder Woman’s title (if you add up the three volumes) arrives with a bang. Outgoing writer Gail Simone and legendary Wonder Woman artist George Perez start off with a tale about an invasion force that only has the power to control men. Diana’s solution? Round up a team of DC’s greatest female fighters to take them out. This story really does the job of showing the position that Diana holds in the DC Universe — who she is and what she means to the other female heroes. There’s also a much more personal half to the story, where we catch up on a forgotten member of Wonder Woman’s supporting cast, someone who first showed up in George Perez’s legendary run on the title. In the second story, Amanda Conner writes and draws a team-up between Diana and Power Girl (with a little Batgirl thrown in). It’s a nice “girl’s night” story that’s very cute, but actually seems to fit in more as a chapter of the Power Girl title Conner recently left than a Wonder Woman story. Louise Simonson and Eduardo Pansica give us a Wonder Woman/Superman team-up, which isn’t bad, but is fairly generic.

The last two parts of the issue get more into the real meat. Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins (doing some work that’s very different than his usual style, but in a good way) provide a story that delves a bit into who Wonder Woman is and how people don’t realize her importance. This serves as a sort of prologue to the last part of the story, the beginning of writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Don Kramer‘s Odyssey storyline, in which Wonder Woman finds herself in an alternate reality where Paradise Island is in ruins and she never became the warrior we know her to be. This is also the story that introduces Wonder Woman’s much-publicized new Costume. I actually rather like the new look (although, like many others have said, I don’t care for the leather jacket), but I also recognize that it’s most likely a temporary change. Even if it doesn’t go back when Wonder Woman inevitably succeeds in restoring the original timeline, she’ll go back to the classic costume sooner or later. It’s an interesting starting point for a story, and I sincerely hope it does the job it promises to do — show people why Wonder Woman is so important, not just to the DC Universe, but to the culture of comic books in general. She’s been severely undervalued as a character for years. I don’t know if Straczynski is the man to change that, but I’m willing to give him a chance.

In addition to the stories, the book has an introduction by TV’s Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, a cover by Perez, and an avalanche of pin-up pages by the likes of Adam Hughes, Nicola Scott, Ivan Reis, Greg Horn, Francis Manpul and many more. Some of these are just okay, but many of them are great. It’s a solid issue, and a fitting anniversary for comics’ first female.

Rating: 4/5

29
Jun
10

What I’m Reading: Haunt Vol. 1

A couple of years ago, Robert Kirkman famously called out Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane on his lack of production of new comics in recent years. This was before Kirkman was made an Image partner himself, by the way. The end result of that confrontation was a Kirkman/McFarlane collaboration, a new series called Haunt. Being a fan of Kirkman, I immediately wanted to sample it. Not really being a fan of McFarlane, however, I was skeptical. I decided to split the difference and wait for the trade paperback of the first story arc.

In Haunt Vol. 1 we’re introduced to Daniel Kilgore, a priest who has little faith and less conviction. Daniel has a deep anger against his brother, Kurt, a special ops agent who comes to Daniel frequently to confess his many, bloody sins. When Kurt is killed in action, his ghost is anchored to Daniel, and together they begin to manifest a terrible power.

Haunt’s main problem, frankly, is the lack of originality. From a power standpoint, he comes across as a mixture of Spider-Man and Spawn (the two characters McFarlane is most associated with). He’s even got a weird sort of ectoplasmic webbing that he uses the same way Peter Parker uses his own webs. Kirkman has done fine with with archetypes before — his own Invincible started off with the basic premise of what would it be like to have Superman as a father, after all. But with that book, he took a familiar starting point and went somewhere new. Everything in this book feels like it’s been cobbled together from other sources, even the “brother’s ghost” bit feels like it was cribbed from Marvel’s Brother Voodoo.

The book isn’t a total loss, fortunately. Kirkman is the writer on the project, and he’s very good at establishing and explaining his characters right away. He gives Daniel a real, legitimate motivation for hating his brother the way he does, and he’s set up a pretty extensive supporting cast in the course of five issues. There’s certainly potential here. It’s all going to depend on the direction the story goes.

The artwork, like the story, feels like a patchwork. We’ve got Greg Capullo doing layouts, Ryan Ottley doing the finished pencils, and McFarlane inking the whole thing. The assembly line process may be the only way the book is going to be released without massive delays (anybody still waiting for McFarlane to finish his parts of Image United #3?) and as the whole point of this was to get him out there creating comics again, it would be rather pointless to do the book without him.

I’m not totally sold on this series yet, but I’ll probably give volume two a try, if for no other reason than to see if Kirkman manages to get to those unusual places he so often finds a way to reach.

03
Jan
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 152: The Decade in Review

All good things must come to an end… Chase comes back one last time as regular co-host of the Showcase to join Blake for the decade in review. The guys talk about the movies, television shows, comic books and creators that shaped the past ten years. The guys answer one last round of Ask Chase Anything, and at long last, the question is answered… Why does Chase hate Firestorm? Chase is leaving, but the Showcase is sticking around. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Episode 152: The Decade in Review
Inside This Episode:

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19
Jul
09

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 128: Spotlight on Robert Kirkman

It’s time once again for a creator spotlight! This week, Mike sits quietly while Blake and Chase talk about his work from Battle Pope through Invincible, zombies from Marvel Zombies and The Walking Dead, his work at Marvel and how the gauntlet he threw down as an Image partner has helped generate at least one of the best new comics of the year. In the picks this week, Chase loved Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #1, Mike goes with Batman #688 and Blake plays the music for The Muppet Show #4. This week’s graphic novel pick is the new hardcover edition of Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?. Don’t forget our “Give Mike a Title” contest! Contact us with comments, suggestions, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at showcase@comixtreme.com!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 128: Spotlight on Robert Kirkman
Inside This Episode:

Plus: In your Week in Geek, the guys discuss the current state of magazines about comics and the second episode of Warehouse 13. Yeah, that’s it. Oh yeah — and they go beat-by-beat in their discussion and review of the first issue of DC’s most anticipated event in years, Blackest Night. Spoilers abound, so if you haven’t read the issue yet, wait to listen to this episode! Also, stay tuned to the end of the episode to find out how you can submit your original horror movie to the second annual Drunken Zombie Film Festival at http://www.drunkenzombie.com!

Week in Geek #26: Blackest Night Begins




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