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Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and I need it. I still haven’t recovered from San Diego Comic-Con. Here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

DC Women Kicking Ass – Stephanie Brown WASN’T Removed from Smallville Due to Iconism -This is what I’m hearing too.

IGN – Webb May Not Return for Amazing Spider-Man 2 -I’m kind of indifferent on this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Avengers Vs. X-Men #8

The Comics Journal – Batman: Earth One

CBR – Daredevil #15

Top Five Recently Canceled Series I Wish Were Still Being Published

Sorry haven’t posted in a while, but life has been getting in the way, but I should be back in the regular mix here at Graphic Policy from now on. My first post back is pretty straightforward, I’m going to take a look at five series that have ended recently that I wish were still going on. Not limited series, but ongoing series that have been canceled.

Honorable Mention: The Order, all of Marvel’s cosmic titles

OMAC 5. OMAC (8 issues, last in April 2012): OMAC wasn’t brilliant and it was, of course, little more than a tribute to Jack Kirby that hadn’t really been developed into anything of its own yet, but it had a lot of potential. Keith Giffen gave us art that was as true to Kirby as if Jack had done it himself. Dan DiDio was starting to establish an original character in Kevin Kho (the only Cambodian-American character in comics I know of) and there were a lot of Brother Eye stories to be told. Many crappier titles survived into the Second Wave of the New 52, hopefully we’ll see more from Kho, OMAC and Brother Eye again soon.

Heroes for Hire 4. Heroes for Hire (12 issues, last in November 2011): Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning showed us with this series that there are no small characters, just small stories and small writers. Misty Knight and Paladin were turned into compelling and entertaining characters in a way they rarely have been in the past. The first issue of this series, with its shout-out to The Warriors, remains one of the best first issues of any series I’ve ever read. Luckily we got to see the story continued in Spider Island and Villains for Hire, but with the team having no current home, I worry that we won’t be seeing them as much.

28 Days Later 3. 28 Days Later (24 issues, last in June 2011): In the days when zombie comics are rightfully dominated by The Walking Dead and wrongfully imitated by dozens of inferior titles, 28 Days Later was one of the few non-Robert Kirkman series that actually added something to the genre. Every issue started with a brilliant cover (most of the recent ones by Sean Phillips), continued with solid interior art by Alejandro Aragon and top-notch storytelling by Michael Alan Nelson. Following in the footsteps of the first movie, the series was always compelling and gave us a look at the aftermath of the British zombie outbreak that broke new ground in a well-worn genre. The comic did the same.

SWORD 2. SWORD (5 issues, last in March 2010): SWORD is exactly what I’m looking for when I pick up comics. It was one of the smartest comics on the shelf, fast-paced, funny, filled with references and jokes that you don’t need to know, but if you do they add layers to the story, action-packed, and consistently awesome. It featured a strong female lead who could’ve developed into one of Marvel’s better characters and introduced us to one of the more intriguing characters to come along in years in the Unit. Luckily, we’re still seeing flashes of these characters and SWORD in X-Men comics, but it’s sad, that from what I understand, the comic was never really given a chance. Keiron Gillen gets most of the credit for how great this comic was.

Secret Warriors 1. Secret Warriors (28 issues, last in September 2011): Secret Warriors beats out SWORD, to me, because, while SWORD is exactly what I come to comics to find, Secret Warriors consistently surprised me. It was way better than I expected and it brought to my attention things I wouldn’t have otherwise read or thought about. It also had better art than SWORD. Another series with consistently brilliant covers and superior art by the likes of Allesandro Viti and Stefano Caselli (among others), the comic clearly had its own visual style and it was better than most of what was on the market. On top of that, the writing was even better. Originally a Brian Michael Bendis project and later taken over by Jonathan Hickman, the comic delved into the espionage side of the Marvel Universe, particularly the ongoing tale of Nick Fury, better than it has been done in decades. I’m not even that big a fan of Fury and the espionage stuff. Well, I wasn’t until this series. The only thing that still touches on this stuff in a good way are the ongoing Captain America and Secret Avengers titles, but neither of them is as consistently good (and shocking) as Secret Warriors was.

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and C2E2 is over.  Any announcements folks are excited about?

Around the Blogs:

IGN – C2E2: Marvel Reveals Ultimate Universe Event - Should be interesting.

MTV Geek – C2E2 2012: Avengers Vs. X-Men Panel Brings The Fight To ChicagoDoesn’t this event cover all the cons?

MTV Geek – C2E2 2012: Did DC’s “All Access: Before Watchmen” Panel Have Fans Saying “Hurm,” or “Hurm!”Still not sure what to think.

CBR – C2E2: Jhonen Vasquez Talks Johnny, Zim & MoreI want more Johnny!

CBR – C2E2: Tom Morello on “Orchid,” Music & PoliticsOne of the people I’d love to interview.

Bleeding Cool – ComiXology At C2E2: Alex De Campi, A Digital PioneerSome good hints as to what to expect.

Comics Alliance – Marvel’s Sunday at C2E2: ‘Thor’ Crossover with ‘Journey into Mystery,’ McKelvie on ‘Defenders’ - Lots of Marvel news during this con.

The Death and Return of Superman

This got me laughing out loud and really does sum up the idiocy of the Death of Superman storyline.

The film by Max Landis also stars Elden Henson, Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Morgan Krantz and many more.

Around the Tubes

Did you stay up all night to watch the Iowa Caucus results!?  Ok, that might have just been me… well, here’s the comic book news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – The Goon Dies, Relaunches, Turns Gay, Racebends, Gets Religion And Goes Socialist In An Attempt To Get Your Hard Earned DollarToo funny not to link to.

The Beat – DC’s red hood lady gets a name: PandoraLike the music streaming service?

CBLDF – ACLU Asks Missouri Library to Stop Censoring Websites – Yay!

MTV Geek – B-List Breakouts: 12 Characters Primed for the Spotlight In 2012 – Not sure all these are really B-list.

The Wall Street Journal – Tibet Goes KABOOM! – An article covering the “Hero, Villain, Yeti” exhibit.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Swamp of Boredom – The Unwritten Volumes 2, 3 & 4

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic -DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups - The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups - Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups - Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day, what’s everyone getting?  It was pretty quiet around the tubes yesterday as we wind down the year.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – DC Books Return To Barnes & Noble’s ShelvesWell that was quick.

The Mary Sue – Mutant Rights: That Time the (Real) Federal Government Ruled On Whether The X-Men Were Human – I vaguely remember this.

Around the Tubes

It’s the last week of the year, here’s the news that plays this year off keyboard cat…

Around the Blogs:

eManga – Read Vampire Hunter D for free!

Bleeding Cool – Buy Los Angeles’ Golden Apple Comic Store For $679,000. Now.I’ve got $20, who else wants to go in with me.

Bleeding Cool – DC Entertainment Demands Removal Of Watchmen 2 Artwork, Bleeding Cool CompliesNow under SOPA…

CBLDF – There’s Still Time To Fight Censorship in 2011! Please Make A Tax-Deductible Donation Today! – Actually, my $20 will go to this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Birds of Prey #4

CBR – Incredible Hulk #3

CBR – Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #5

CBR – Uncanny X-Force #19

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and we’re closer to the holidays and new year!  There’s only a few more weeks until the best of 2011 is decided.  Who do you think will make it?  Think about that and while you do, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

DC Women Kicking Ass – First look at DC Superhero Lego ComicThe first look at a comic strip that’ll go along with the release of DC Universe Superhero Legos.

Kotaku – Sunday Comics: Oddman Out – Each week Kotaku highlights some great web comics.

Around the Tubes

It’s Wednesday and that means new comic book day!  It’s also the day before Thanksgiving… mmm, good food.  While you wait for the Turkey and gravy and stuffing and pie, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Publishers Weekly – Kickstarter for Retailers? “Ashes” Includes Comic Stores in Crowdfunding OfferingA great way to tie in retail stores with a Kickstarter project, but the article is incorrect that it’s a first.

Collider – SyFy Turning DC Comics BOOSTER GOLD into TV SeriesInteresting….

Examiner – Why comic books in the 1980s changed to a darker toneAnd that’s one take.

Comicvine – DC Launches New Storefront On Amazon Website – Mazel tov

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

LFPress – Code Word: Geronimo

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