Posts Tagged ‘Vertigo


Everything But Imaginary #443: Repopulating a Universe

With DC’s new National Comics presenting a chance to bring in lots of “dormant” characters, will the past performance of anthology comics stunt their growth? Let’s look at how National could help repopulate the New 52 Universe.

Everything But Imaginary #443: Repopulating a Universe


Classic EBI #69: Free Comics-You Know You Want’ Em

In this week’s Everything But Imaginary:  Yet another brilliant comic book, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, is getting canceled before its time. How do you stop books like this from suffering the same fate?

Everything But Imaginary #375: The Hammer Falls Again

In the classics, though, it’s time to rewind to June 30, 2004… a time before Free Comic Book Day was standardized as being the first Saturday in May. The week before FCBD #3, this is what I wrote to try to help fans do it the right way…

Classic Everything But Imaginary #69: Free Comics-You Know You Want ‘Em

Last December I was at one of the local big box bookstores in the New Orleans area. As I always do in these stores, I went to check out the graphic novel section, lamented the seventeen racks of Manga compared to one rack of American comics, and proceeded to flip around for something interesting.

Something interesting, as it turned out, came to me. Two women arrived at the graphic novel section, women older than myself — I’d place them in their late 50s, but it was hard to be sure because they were the sort that thought wearing enough makeup to qualify as Tammy Faye Baker’s stunt double made them look younger. I was surprised. The last time I’d seen anyone in this section that wasn’t part of my own demographic or a teenage girl looking at the Manga, it was when my buddies Chase and Mike dragged me halfway across that bookstore to ogle a cute female about our own age who was wearing a Green Lantern ring from DC Direct, making the three of us look like stalkers in the process.

I admit it, I’m more than just a people-watcher, I’m a people listener, and I wanted to know why these women were there. Hearing tidbits of their conversation, I discerned that one their grandsons had read a comic book he liked and they wanted to get him some more to encourage him to read more — a worthy cause if ever there was one. But as they flipped through a dozen Spider-Man and three dozen X-Men graphic novels, all with differing titles and number schemes, they were hopelessly lost.

So, overgrown Boy Scout that I am, I stepped in. I told them that I read comics frequently and offered to help them out. I explained that X-Treme X-Men and New X-Men featured different teams. I explained that the Ultimate books were geared for new readers. I explained that the Essential line reprinted classic stories. And when one of them was stunned that comic books cost $20 now, I explained that they still publish the magazines, but you can’t find them in many places outside of comic book shops anymore. The two ladies left with an Ultimate Spider-Man, an Ultimate X-Men, an Amazing Spider-Man and… most importantly… the directions to BSI Comics, just a few miles down the road, where I had been earlier that day.

These are the sort of people Free Comic Book Day is meant to help.

For the third year in a row, comic book shops across America this Saturday will offer free comic books to anyone who walks in the door. For we regular readers, this is great. If there’s anything better than a comic book, it’s a free comic book, and we should all take full advantage of it.

But let’s face it, guys. Free Comic Book Day isn’t for us. It’s for the kid who just saw Spider-Man 2 and is begging his dad for the action figures and breakfast cereals. It’s for the guy who loved comic books growing up but stopped reading them when he got to high school — about the same time that Jason Todd died. Its for the girl who loves fantasy but has already exhausted every L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien book in her school library.

Those of us who are out there every week, going into the comic shops, arguing about whether Captain America can beat Batman in a fight and berating the manager to order the new Family Guy T-shirts from Previews… we’re the lifeblood of the industry. We’re the people who keep Marvel and DC Comics in business, and FCBD is a nice little thank-you for us.

But without new blood, the comic book industry will eventually die out. Oh, the art form will never go away entirely. There have been comics in one form or another since Oog first painted that image of Unga getting trampled by a mastodon on the walls of his cave. (That cave, incidentally, was recently slabbed and sold on eBay for $15,745.) But the comic book as we know it could theoretically die out, and I don’t want that. I don’t want a world where there’s no Spider-Man or Captain America, where Blankets is just what you wrap yourself in to be warm at night, or where Maus is something you set traps to get rid of.

I don’t want a world without a Superman.

So here’s what you need to do my friends. This is the most important EBI assignment you’re ever going to get, so listen up. Tell people about FCBD. Post it on other internet message boards. Tell your friends and family. Give them the website and tell them to find the participating store nearest to them. Write a letter to the editor for the local newspaper. Do anything and everything you can to get people into the stores.

Then, once they’re there — be nice to them. Be friendly. Make them feel welcome. Someone wants to know who that girl in Robin’s costume is? Tell him. Someone remembers a comic they saw in college called Sandman and wants to know if they ever made any more? Show them the graphic novels. Someone is looking for comics for her 7-year-old and she picks up an issue of Barry Ween? Politely suggest that Powerpuff Girls or Uncle Scrooge may be a more appropriate choice.

Help them find comic books they will like. Don’t just start pointing to Watchmen and tell them it’s just, like, the greatest thing ev-er and they’ve just got to read it or they’ll, like, be so lame. Ask them what their tastes are and try to find books that will appeal to them. If they like science-fiction, show them Y: The Last Man. If they like fantasy, give them Fables. If they dig horror, point them towards 30 Days of Night. If they’re a fan of Star Wars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any television or movie property that has become a comic book, show them that comic book!

And it wouldn’t hurt to bring along a notepad to give people the addresses they need for the web. Let ‘em know comixtreme” is a good site for comic news and commentary.

That’s what the readers can do. The store owners can do some things as well. Mostly, all they have to do is be polite and helpful. It’s great for me to know that BSI Comics in Metairie, where I shop, is always friendly to new customers. I’ve been to comic stores where the windows are plastered over with 10-year-old posters, the merchandise is stacked in such a manner that it simply has to be a fire hazard, and if you don’t show up there every week the owner acts like you don’t even exist. Clean up your stores, guys. It’s your business that we’re trying to save.

Don’t gouge your customers, either. Comixtreme member Mr. 9.6 told us about a local store in his area that is only giving away the free comics with a $50 purchase. That’s ludicrous. That’s preposterous. That’s just downright crappy. (It’s worse than “crappy,” actually, but if I wrote the word I wanted to the website’s filter would just block it out.) The whole point of FCBD is to get new people into reading comics — you think you’re going to do that by making them pay fifty big ones to get one 32-page comic that they were told they could get for free? Store owners like that are the people that are killing the comic book industry.

You know how you beat comic shop owners like that? Don’t go to their store. I mean ever. No, I take that back — go one more time, on FCBD, and bring with you the location of the next closest store. Tell any customer you can that the other store is giving away the same product with no purchase necessary, inform the manager exactly why you’re not patronizing their store anymore, and walk out. And then come and post the names and locations of their shops right here in this column, because people like that should be ashamed of themselves and exposed to everyone who actually loves comic books and wants to see them grow.

How is Free Comic Book Day working so far? Honestly, I don’t know. I know the shop I go to has been nice and crowded the last two years, but I don’t know how many of those people turned into repeat customers.

But you know what? All it takes is a few. And then we get those people to get a few more people. And then those people. And so on, and so on, and so on. Comic books are an artform like no other, and right now, Free Comic Book Day is the best way we have to make people aware of that. So roll up your sleeves, friends, and let’s get to work.


And while you’re pointing out great comic books, don’t forget this week’s “Everything But Imaginary” Favorite of the Week. I hated to see John Romita Jr. leave Amazing Spider-Man, but just a week later he and Glen Brunswick served up a very good horror comic with The Gray Area #1. A cop with dirty hands is killed trying to avenge his family’s murder and winds up somewhere else, some in-between place. For an issue that was all set-up, it was very strong and very creepy. I can’t wait to see where this miniseries goes.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 180: San Diego 2010

Erin is back this week, joining Blake to talk about the news from Comic-Con 2010! In the news we’ve got the Avengers cast, the Chew TV show, the Young Justice cartoon, new Avengers, changes to the Batman family, the return of the Mickey Mouse comic strip, new announcements about a dozen different comics and creators, and more! In the picks, Erin recommends the book Stiff, and Blake loved the second issue of Darkwing Duck. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 180: San Diego 2010


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 134: Son of the Bride of the Return of the Showcase Tangent

Five weekends in August, five episodes in August, means week five is a Showcase Tangent! The guys answer your e-mails and cover any and all things in the world of pop culture — what Dark Horse comics are worth reading? What’s the greatest Darkseid story of all time? What do we think of the new Ultimate Universe? What’s the one toy that Chase plays with? What’s awesome at And listen for a big announcement from Blake concerning his podcasting future! In the picks this week, Chase gives us Ultimate Comics Avengers #1, Blake loved Superman Annual #14, and the graphic novel pick is the new Vertigo Crime volume Dark Entries Contact us with comments, suggestions, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at!

Episode 134: Son of the Bride of the Return of the Showcase Tangent
Inside This Episode:

PLUS! Quentin Tarentino has rewritten World War II and given us the number one movie in the country with Inglorious Basterds — but is it good enough for the Showcase boys? Chase and Blake give you their thoughts in this At the Movies episode!

At the Movies Episode 10: Inglorious Basterds


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 133: Preacher (Part One)

It’s been one of the most-requested comic title spotlights, and now, take our look at the first three volumes of the legendary Vertigo title Preacher. The boys delve into Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon‘s epic saga, including the origins of Jesse Custer and company, their first encounters with the Grail and Jesse’s family, and the birth of Arseface. In the picks this week, Blake loves G-Man: Cape Crisis #1, and Chase surprises even himself by picking Blackest Night: Superman #1. Contact us with comments, suggestions, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 133: Preacher (Part One)
Inside This Episode:

PLUS!A little movie comes out of nowhere and steals the thunder of some of the late summer’s blockbusters — but is District 9 worth your time as a moviegoer? Blake braves a sore throat this week to answer that question for you!

2 in 1 Showcase at the Movies Episode 9: District 9


Two signs of the Apocalypse

Today, on TV, I saw two almost certain signs of the apocalypse. First, a commercial for a new direct-to-DVD movie: Ace Ventura Jr. Seriously? Look, I know that there are no original ideas left in Hollywood. I know 75 percent of the films currently in production are remakes, prequels, or sequels. But honestly, was anybody really aching to see a kiddie version of a Jim Carrey movie from 15 years ago? Are these the same people who are shelling out money to see Space Buddies? Are they the ones I need to hit with the sack full of Mardi Gras beads Erin can’t fit into her suitcase for the trip home?

Second: the new TV Land original series, The Cougar. It’s a dating show (i.e., yet another Bachelor rip-off) about a 40-something woman trying to pick up a bunch of 20-something guys. Aside from just being basically offended that yet another TV network is ripping off a show as soulless as The Bachelor, as a male I’m offended by the double standard. If this was a show about a 40-something dude going after 20-year-old college girls, every member of NOW would be Googling his name to cross-reference him against databases of registered sex offenders and there would be picket lines from the front door of the network stretching out so far that someone would drown in the Hudson River. And that’s not even assuming the network headquarters is in New York.

In other news, Erin goes home tomorrow, which makes me sad. But she’s got a stack of graphic novels to read on the way, including Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman?; The Complete Bite Club, Superman For All Seasons, The Umbrella Academy and volume four of Strangers in Paraside. That should be enough to get her to her layover. I, meanwhile, picked up volume two of the Starman Omnibus to keep me company once she leaves.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 106: The Batman Family

With Bruce Wayne MIA (as opposed to RIP), Gotham City is descending into chaos. Soon, the Sons of the Bat will go head-to-head for the right to claim his mantle. Before that happens, though, Blake and Chase break down the Batman Family — the four sons, the assorted daughters, the fathers, the lovers, and the assorted hangers-on. The guys also discuss the eight Batman-family comics recently announced beginning after Battle For the Cowl ends, and they place their bets on who will be wearing each costume. But what are the stakes of their wager? That, friends, is where you come in. Also, in the picks this week, Blake bids farewell to Fables cover artist James Jean, and Chase is all about G.I. Joe #1. Write us with comments, suggestions, picks of the week, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 106: The Batman Family
Inside This Episode

PLUS: In your Week in Geek, the boys get together just seconds after the credits roll to discuss LOST episode 5-5: This Place is Death! Then they chat about recent episodes of Heroes and Battlestar Galactica, and talk over some recent announcements from the New York City Con, including Vertigo‘s $1 first issues and Brett Ratner‘s Youngblood: The Movie! (And why is Blake not as disgusted by the idea as you would think?)

Week in Geek #10: Lost, Heroes, Vertigo’s $1 #1s, and Youngblood: The Movie

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