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Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

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Underrated: A System to Organize your comics

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  A system to organize your comics.


Okay, bear with me. A lot of the comic readers I chat with at my LCS fall into one of three categories; those using an app to track their comics, those with an eidetic memory or those who just do the best to remember what they have generally but buy based on a specific want list. I tend to fall into the latter category; I’ve a list of the books I’m hunting on my phone, but when it comes to the books I already have, I’m less prepared. I tend to rely on what isn’t on my list and memory… which is fine when I’m looking at comic runs that I know I’ve finished, but less ideal when I come across a book I’m not sure if I have and am not actively collecting.

So what are my options to help me file and organize my books?

An excel or google doc spreadsheet is one of the simpler and less flashy methods, but also one of the most effective if you’re just listing which issues you do and don’t have. The more comfortable with spreadsheets then the more you’ll be able to customize how much information about each comic you want to put in, but at the end of the day it’s all reliant on what you put in.

Of course there’s comic book collecting apps designed to help you organize your books such as CLZ that for $14.99 a year allows you to track your books with a barcode scanner or the Comic Book Collector’s Database. I can’t honestly give you much information about the apps because I don’t use them (and never have), but they’re an excellent option for those who want a little more of a user experience than a basic list or spreadsheet.

You could also probably pay someone to catalogue your books but why waste the money on that when you can buy more comics?

Ultimately how you track your books is entirely up to you; but if you’re new to the comic collecting and reading community then eventually you’re going to want to track your collection somehow because unless you’re really good at remembering what you have (I’m not) then you’ll probably end up with a couple doubles of books you probably don’t need doubles of (I’m looking at you Wolverine #36).


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Join Our Team!

Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

Please fill out the form below and let us know more about you, and what you’d like to write about and cover.






Underrated: X-Cutioner’s Song

The cover of the trade I don’t own.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the multi-part crossover event X-Cutioner’s Song.


The first chapter of X-Cutioner’s Song was published in November 1992 in Uncanny X-Men #294, with subsequent eleven parts coming in issues of X-Factor, X-Men, X-Force and Uncanny X-Men. With the series being billed as revealing the origin of Cable (it didn’t – that came in 1994), there was significant hype and buzz around the comics when they were hitting the shelves nearly thirty years ago, but because I wasn’t into comics at the time, I never heard any of it.

Instead, I noticed a cover when restocking the boxes at my LCS and decided to pick up the arc after the shop owner gave it a quick recommendation. Fortunately, we had a full set (or seven) in stock, so I grabbed the individual issues rather than hunting down a collected edition (partly because I am also building an X-Men and Uncanny X-Men collection, but also because I wanted to read it as it was originally presented in comic form. Complete with the polybags still sealed for some off the comics (I won’t lie, I was tempted to leave them sealed, but at only a couple bucks a comic it didn’t seem worth it.

Plus, I wanted the feeling of cracking those bags and getting to be the first person reading these comics.

I forget sometimes how much dialogue and text there used to be on pages in comics.

Without question, comics from this era were technically published before I started buying single issues, but that doesn’t mean that these issues didn’t kickstart a sense of nostalgia for the old UK reprint magazines that I first came across this arc in. The first issue felt oddly familiar, but beyond that…? It was pure 90’s joy.

After all, 90’s comics aren’t bad. There’s just a huge number of them in longboxes across the country because so many were printed. That just makes them worth less than the comics from the 70’s and 80’s, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading.

“If mankind waited for the ‘right time’ to address the winds of change it’s unlikely we’d ever have crawled from the primordial ooze.”

Scott Lobdell, Uncanny X-Men #294

I don’t know if I had forgotten about the amount of times characters within X-Men comics in the 90’s spouted pearls of wisdom, but I was less than halfway through this first part of X-Cutioners Song and I already had enough one liners to make me sound like I a semi professional couch philosopher thanks entirely to the less than subtle messaging. Messaging that seems just as relevant today as it ever did (and I’m sure we’d all hoped that would be different).

The main plot of X-Cutioner’s Song isn’t fully revealed in the first issue, but there is more than enough information here to reel you in hook line and sinker. The crossover cost me less than $20 to put together, and it was worth every penny to do so – not only because of the nostalgia factor, but primarily because this is a damn good story that holds up today (even the funky fashion choices for the street clothes the X-Men wear don’t detract too much).

With any story crossing over four series, the creative team is, as expected, pretty hefty. There are names that at the time were relatively new faces to the X-Men, but now… well now we consider them as creators who have made significant contributions to the comicsphere, frequently drawing large crowds at conventions;

  • Writers: Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza and Peter David.
  • Pencillers: Brandon Peterson, Andy Kubert, Jae Lee and Greg Capullo
  • Inkers: Terry Austin, Mark Pennington, Al Milgrom and Harry Candelario
  • Colorists: Mike Thomas, Marie Javins, Glynis Oliver, Joe Rosas and Steve Buccellato.

But despite the big names, the characters and import associated with the story, it’s an arc that can easily get overlooked when when you’re looking in the longboxes because the story came in the early 90’s, before the big bust in the comics market. Despite having heard a little about it over the years, largely through comments in UK reprints, I had never actually read the book before. Something I was more than happy to do with a story that is far more Underrated than I ever expected.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: The Joker #5

The Joker #5

The Joker so far has been a very enjoyable and quite surprising comic series. When first announced, I was a bit turned off about a series that would put in the spotlight an “edgelord”, making the Joker “fun” instead of the unrepentant vile force of nature he is. Instead, we got a story about a man full of regrets and unaccomplished goals. The series isn’t about the Joker, it’s about James Gordon and his unfulfilled mission to stop the Joker once and for all. The Joker #5 takes us into the past exploring the dance between these two and their earliest of years.

Matthew Rosenberg and James Tynion IV team up for an interesting “year one” type story. It gives us some of the earliest years of the two’s dance. Arkham Asylum wasn’t yet the facility it is now and Gotham’s crime bosses’ still ruled. What we’re presented is the beginning of a man’s obsession and the Joker’s torment. There’s a Moby Dick aspect to it all and it delivers even more depth to not just Gordon but the Joker.

What’s interesting is that Rosenberg and Tynion show how forward-thinking Gordon is. While others are focused on the likes of Falcone, Gordon sees the new threat that Joker represents. We also see how his obsession splits his focus and ability to be effective. While the Joker has killed, Gordon’s obsession with the Joker has as well.

Francesco Francavilla steps in on art and color and his style is as fantastic as expected. With lettering by Tom Napolitano, the issue has both a horror and noir style about it. It’s fantastic to look at and even simple scenes like sitting in a chair deliver tension and fear. The art nails the mood and feel of the issue perfectly.

The issue also continues Punchline’s story both in prison and outside. We see how the character is still sowing chaos. Writers Sam Johns and James Tynion IV deliver a chapter that feels a bit like a bridge to the next arc for the character after the initial setup. Sweeney Boo‘s art pops as expected with a great style and beautiful neon colors. Ariana Maher‘s lettering emphasizes the interesting back and forth between characters.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg, James Tynion IV, Sam Johns Art: Francesco Francavilla, Sweeney Boo
Color: Francesco Francavilla Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Ariana Maher
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Join Our Team!

Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

Please fill out the form below and let us know more about you, and what you’d like to write about and cover.






Underrated: Black Beetle: No Way Out

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Black Beetle: No Way Out


Another week, and yet another case of “Alex bought something for Underrated without knowing anything about it beforehand.” This week we’re looking at the first volume of Francisco Francavilla‘s Black Beetle: No Way Outanother book that I found at a thrift store for an absolute bargain price. Actually, bargain is understating things. I paid $1 for this book (technically $1.25, but at but 4 get 1 free it works out to a dollar). Which is an absolute steal of a deal for a hardcover trade.

Black Beetle: No Way Out is published by  Dark Horse, written and drawn by Francavilla, and takes the form of a modern reinterpretation of the old pulp novels of the 30’s and 40’s, with all the semi futuristic-steampunk technology and sleek lines that includes.

This throwback feeling permeates the entire graphic novel, genuinely allowing it to read as a pulp novel from a bygone era – but one with the tonal sensitivities of today. It’s within this area that Francavilla tells the story of a vigilante who is equal parts the Shadow, the Spider and the Black Bat – and though comparisons to Batman will be made, the only similarity there is that Batman is more prevalent in the cultural awareness of our medium than the other three characters previously mentioned. I’m not saying the comparisons are unfair, but that the similarities are more in line with the characters Batman took inspiration from rather than Bruce Wayne himself.

The story, then, that is told within No Way Out is very reflective of those pulp novels, especially the original covers that are used as story breaks between the individual issues. Francavilla’s artistic approach is very evocative of the art styles of the time – simple colours, thick lines and a sense of foreboding. With Francavilla handling both the writing and the art duties in the book, we’re given a tour-de-force of a creative offering as he delivers an incredible experience.

And that, ultimately, is why I loved this book so much. It’s an incredibly fun pulp story, a classic hero romp with a hero who in’t shy about using his guns. Of course that does leave a little room for folks to be concerned about a lack of substance in the plot, but I think for the most part that is a concern that can be put aside by the artistic offering.

This is a book that’s absolutely worth a read.

Yes, I only paid $1 for it, and yes, I only bought it because it was in a thrit store, but I am so glad that I did. Black Beetle: No Way Out is easily the best thing I have read all week – including the four other books I picked up – and I am frankly astounded that I had never read this before. I’m equally as astounded that I’d never even heard of the book before.  Consequently, this is a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Hellboy And The B.P.R.D.: The Secret Of Chesbro House #1 (of 2)

Hellboy And The B.P.R.D.: The Secret Of Chesbro House #1

Hellboy returns in Hellboy And The B.P.R.D.: The Secret Of Chesbro House #1, the start of a 2-issue mini-series as he is brought into the Chesbro house to take on the supernatural aspects of it. The Chesbro house in itself is a place of mystery and lore, with stories of sex rituals, disappearances, and secret rooms that no one can find. The heirs would like to sell it but it must be rid of the evil presence. Once they make contact with the dead spirits do they truly get a sense of what evil resides within the walls of the Chesbro house.

I think one of the great things about a character like Hellboy is that you can place him in a story like this, one that’s not necessarily that original, and just by what he is and what the B.P.R.D. are about and it truly elevates the storytelling to another level. We’ve all read or heard stories of haunted houses and even the basics of the Chesbro house aren’t original. The teens who want to have nothing to do with it or the creepy caretaker who runs the place but Mignola and Golden, just by having their own supernatural avenger, make the story feel really fresh and exciting. It did feel just a hair too long to get to the exciting and then that felt a bit short-lived but Hellboy And The B.P.R.D.: The Secret Of Chesbro House #1 already feels like another great Hellboy story.

There’s not a bad panel in this entire issue. Shawn McManus, Dave Stewart, and Clem Robins unleash a spectacular-looking issue. McManus’s style is so clean and stylish with the right amount of detail added, his art pops in this issue. Illustrating a haunted house would lead to some difficulties for some and the amount of detail thrown into The Secret Of Chesbro House might have slowed some. There are full backgrounds throughout the issue and I think many a reader will appreciate that extra bit of detail thrown in. There’s nothing bad you could probably ever say about Dave Stewart’s colors and I couldn’t imagine too many people doing a better job with the material. Clem Robins is at the top of her game on an issue like this, as I can’t imagine trying to put words on this level of art an easy task.

Part one of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.’s adventures with a haunted house might seem like a bit of overkill for the characters involved but with great storytelling and art that matches the quality, readers should get a lot of enjoyment out of this story. I’ve been a Hellboy/B.P.R.D. fan for many years and I’m always appreciative of the fact that Mignola and company continue to craft such interesting tales with Hellboy. The Secret of Chesbro House is yet another quality adventure in the Mignolaverse.

Story: Mike Mignola with Christopher Golden Art: Shawn McManus
Colors: Dave Stewart Letters: Clem Robins
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Today’s New Digital Releases Include DC, Kodansha, VIZ Media, and More!

Justice League Infinity #1

It’s one of two new comic book days this week and comiXology has your digital needs covered. You can start shopping now or check out the new releases by the publisher below.

comiXology Originals

DC Comics

Harlequin

Irodori Comics

Kodansha

la Boîte à Bulles

Legendary

Marvel

Scholastic Graphix

Seven Seas

SOZO Comics

Vertical

VIZ Media


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Join Our Team!

Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

Please fill out the form below and let us know more about you, and what you’d like to write about and cover.






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