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Sunday Roundtable: What black comics character would you like to see headline their own comic, why, and what would you like to see plotwise?

Sundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

In honor of Black History Month, what black comics character would you like to see headline their own comic, why, and what would you like to see plotwise in that comic?

Logan: Definitely Prodigy because he is one of the few male bisexual characters in the Marvel U. And with his abilities to absorb any mutants’ knowledge, I’d want him to be like a superhero consultant and travel the Marvel U pinch hitting on various teams.

Brett: That’d be a cool concept for him.

Logan: Tbh, I need to read more his of back appearances in New Mutants and X-Men. I just connected with him personally in Young Avengers, and he was fun in Ryan North’s Original Sins too.

Brett: I remember liking him back in the day, but I came in towards the end when he was a regular.

Paul: I like your idea for Prodigy, Logan. Just keep him away from Teddy and Billy…just saying tongue emoticon

Elana: Oh that’s such a cool use for him! And they definitely need to use him more. I’d love him written as being like 21. At this moment of “so I guess I’m an adult now? Ok let’s tackle this step by step”

Logan: I mean even if he doesn’t get his own solo title, I’d love for him to show up in Hellcat and help Patsy w/ her temp agency whilst romancing Ian Soo;)

Elana: Yes!!

Paul: I love that idea!

Troy: Wakanda has always resonated with me, mostly because it flouts most of the propaganda and history of Africa we see in our world. Having never been conquered by colonial interests and being a technological utopia in perfect balance with nature. Ever since the post AvX mutant revival I have always wanted to see a Wakandan team, something Alpha Flight-esque perhaps. There are quite a few interesting characters, out there, like Onome from the Future Foundation, and Nezhno the biracial new X-Man. I would love to see a a tittle dedicated to superhuman Wakandans, and see how Wakanda’s xenophobia and isolationism is explored in this context particularly with a disavowed former Mutant Queen. The politics and intrigue of such a story would be awesome.

Troy: Logan you should check out the Too Much Information New X-Men story arc which focuses solely on prodigy. They really gave him some solid character development, especially after losing his powers post M-Day, (although he had some residual carryover abilities due to the nature of his power set)

Brett: I loved the revival of Heroes for Hire with Misty Knight in charge. It riffed off of the Warriors which is a favorite film of mine. I’d like to revisit that but go hardcore in that 70s vibe. She’d either put together a different team for each arc to deal with an issue, or might be cooler in that there’d be villains trying to escape post heist and she’d be leading the team trying to catch them.

Elana: Anything with The Warriors and / or Misty Knight sounds amazing

Brett: I’m liking the idea more and more of having the villains being the ones trying to get somewhere and dealing with heroes Misty is throwing at them.

Alex: I’d like to see Shadowman headline a series again – although I’ll admit that my only exposure to him has been in the recent Ninjak comics and the N64 game I never played, so I really just want to read more about him.

Paul: I’d like to see Cloak and Dagger headline a book. Get back to their roots; street level book, dealing with drugs and runaways and homeless kids. Maybe have them more grown up, working as some sort of outreach organization who happen to be superheroes and uncover some sort of human trafficing ring/human smuggling, drug running something. Sorry, thoughts just coming out hehe

Alex: Other than Shadowman, though, I would be over the bloody moon to see Maggott return. I think he was killed off panel during Tieri’s Weapon X series, but y’know, comics. Seeing him return to the X-Men’s comics would seriously make me consider picking them up again.

A dude who’s mutant power is two external stomachs that eat anything and give him super strength? Aside from one of the most interesting mutant powers I read during the late 90’s, he was a character who I genuinely resonated with; he felt like an outsider among outsiders.

Paul: a thousand times yes!

Brett: Interesting pick with Maggot.

Alex: I can’t see him ever returning, honestly. He was very emblematic of the time I started branching out into more of the X-Books… I’ve always had a soft spot for Maggott and his stomachs.

Brett: I feel like there’s a metaphor waiting to happen with him and all of today’s various dietary things going on.

Alex: I think you’re absolutely right.

Alex: Also, I just found out Maggott isn’t dead – he was in Uncanny X-Men #600 (I never read the issue, meself).

Brett: Yup

Meghan: I’ll second Prodigy and Misty Knight. I also liked DeConnick’s guest-starring version of Monica Rambeau superhero-ing in New Orleans. A series like that could be pretty great. But she’s in space now, so… ?

Elana: Ooo a Monica: Superhero of New Orleans with gorgeous art would be to die for

Troy: Oh man Gabriele Del’otto would work wonders on that setting.

Elana: Marvel:
So glad that Luke Cage is back to co-lead his own series (he’s the best!)

– Storm needs her own book again. She is one of Marvel’s most high profile characters thanks to movies and cartoons and they continue to under-use her. I’d love either Storm: World Leader of Mutants. Or Storm doing things in Kenta and Egypt but it would NEED to be buy a writer from either of those countries. I don’t want another US perspective on African countries.

I really loved Pak’s Storm book. They could have her go back to Madripoor on “unfinished business”. Or have her try to work with the Morlocks.

Misty Knight needs her own book. I’d love a straight-up Brubaker-ish detective story staring her. One set today OR in the 70s would be amazing.

A Doctor Voodoo book rooted in Caribbean mysticism would be great in the right hands. Again, you’d need someone who understands that spiritual tradition though.

DC:
Thunder and her girlfriend Grace Choi fighting their way through a bushel of DC supervillians could be a lot of fun. Just humor and hitting people.

Bumblebee could be DC’s “college student/super hero with a sense of humor” book. They really don’t have anything like that. You could write some important things about her being a young black woman studying science. I would make it skew a bit older then Squirrel Girl does by having more romance. Then it would be a really unique book with a clear audience.

Alex: The Doctor Voodoo would be right up my alley, and I know somebody who would devour a Storm solo book

Logan: I know nothing about Bumblebee. (Except that she’s in the Superhero Girl toy line.) But I’d read that comic. Plus it could cross over with Batgirl of Burnside.

Ryan: John Shaft. And I’d like to see David Walker writing him. And I’d like it to be a gritty, hard-boiled, “street-level” crime drama than delves into Shaft’s past a bit more than the movies did. Oh, that’s right — that’s already been done, and the sequel comes out next week. Life is good. And yeah, Marvel, give Misty Knight her own series — preferably without that absurd costume you put on her in the last issue of “Captain America.” Just when you think the depiction of women in comics is getting better, along comes something like that to remind you that, hey, we still have a long way to go. Oh, and can I just add that now that the Wonder Woman/Superman romance is history (thank God!), he’d better get hopping and ask Lee Lambert on a date? She’d be the best love interest for Supes in decades.

Sunday Roundtable: How Do You Find Out About Comics?

JLA Roundtable new comicsSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

How do you find out about comics to read? And a slight twist to that, how would you actually like to find out?

Daphne: Ha. Great way to ask that question. Growing up, I found out about comics through reading comic strips – Calvin and Hobbes got me into Pogo and then I found out Jeff Smith considered Pogo to be a big inspiration, and that made me wonder who Jeff Smith was. His fantasy series, Bone, was my introduction to the world of comic books. After that the Batman/Superman animated series made me aware that superheroes were a thing, but I didn’t get into reading comics regularly until my early 20s. I started with things like Watchmen but when I began to branch out to follow series featuring characters I knew I liked, like Harley Quinn, I learned that being a girl who’s into comics means a major way you learn about new stuff is some dude telling you “that comic sucks, _____ is so much better”. That’s how I learned which comics to avoid more than anything else.

What I think I appreciate the most is when finding new comics happens organically: somebody who knows they like Harley could be reading a Harley comic and discover Power Girl, or Poison Ivy, or Etrigan, and then other plots and people referenced in those stories can also draw their interest to other franchises and characters. Seeing some background character in a movie or some cameo in an animated series is such a fun way to find new comics because then it feels like something you discovered and get to really explore for yourself.

Javier: That happened to me a lot with Batman. A lot of new/books characters ideas I read spun off batman. My favorite was Brubaker and Rucka’s Gotham Central.

Daphne: This has been your daily wall of text.

Alex: I used to use the Marvel Bulletin Board in the old Marvel comics, but I think that stopped being a thing around the early 2000’s. Around the same time I would cover browse – see what covers interested me and go from there (Maverick #4 had an awesome image of Wolverine attacking Maverick. Grabbed the comic, and Maverick swiftly became one of my favourite characters).

These days, I don’t cover browse in store as much…

Daphne: I never went to stores as a kid. I have vivid memories of finding a box of old Swamp Thing at a yard sale and being way into those until my parents took them away, but other than that everything I read came from the Internet, libraries, or trade paperbacks in bookstores. I learned not to go to comic book stores for my comics at a young age.

Alex: I’m a huge fan of visiting comic shops, especially ones I haven’t been to before, but then I think I’ve been lucky in that the shops I’ve been going too have been generally friendly (aside from one or two over the years).

Madison: When I started reading comics, it was because a friend recommended Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye to me. That was around the time Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, so I read all of Cap vol. 5 and then just read characters that interested me. I also took a class in my last semester of college that was solely about comics, where we read some of the “essential” comics like Watchmen, Black Hole, Fun Home, The Dark Knight Returns, Maus, Persepolis, etc.

Now I tend to read comics that have female characters as leads or stuff that’s written by female authors. I’m also still catching up on everything that happened before I cared about comics, so I also browse used bookstores a lot.

I wish there was an easier way to discover comics, like an app that a.) would help me to keep track of my pull list and b.) would recommend based on stuff that I read–like a genre-specific Goodreads.

Elana: I find out through Graphic Policy! (seriously that’s the point, right?) and through social media. The people at my local comics store are good too.

Madison: The guys who worked at the comic store I went to in college were awesome. It’s hard to get two words out of the people at the store I go to now. Luckily GP and Twitter keep me in the loop.

Elana: I have a few key trusted people there. Everyone is nice but only a few GET my taste.

Alex: My comic shop is pretty good for chatting about stuff, but for recommendations about series I should read that I haven’t been days I tend to listen to you guys. Phonogram is a great example of this (even if I haven’t started it yet, I will!)

Troy: I also find out via GP! Long before my stint as a contributor it was sites like GP where I got tips for what was coming out…and what was creating buzz. It’s really what got me wanting to join the discourse and write about comics. I really trust the judgement of my peers, and the model of social media. So I would really like see something akin to a Goodreads for comics. Goodreads has five star rating system, not unlike the one we use on our reviews. Hrmmm who knows how to code….lets slap something together!

Madison: Troy That’s what I’m saying! My pulls are a mix of physical and digital copies, so I tend to lose track of what’s coming out when and what I subscribe to. Goodreads for comics would be super helpful.

Alex: I have some friends that can code… but I imagine it’d be a hell of an undertaking.

Paul: When I started reading comics way back, and up to a few years ago, every Wednesday, without fail, I was at the comic shop. I would grab my go to titles and just browse the racks. Now, just like Elana *high five* Graphic Policy gives me my weekly update on what’s coming out.

Alex: I’ve noticed another thing I tend to do now is read the Dark Horse, Valiant and Archie emails we get through for reviews to see if the comics sound interesting.

Daphne: I do that too! But you don’t have to tell anybody if it’s a secret.

Logan: A few ways: talking to cool people on Twitter, talking to my various podcast co-hosts over the year, and also looking at the weekly comics listing on Midtown Comics that I use to email comics to review for the other site I run.

Basically, comics friends are the best.

Javier: Back in the day it was either the rack or the comic book shop. FPNYC in the 80s if I could make into the city, otherwise the smaller sketchy shops in Brooklyn. Nowadays it’s mainly online Twitter, Facebook, WordPress Sites, webcomics, etc… Today, even tho I have a pull list I still spend a good 15 minutes or so browsing when I pick up my books at Midtown. Old habit. Rarely happens now, but every now and then I do see something on the wall I didn’t hear about online.

Brett: I really miss spinner racks. When they started to go is when I think the comic industry started to have issues. I actually want to purchase a spinner rack when I eventually have a house.

Alex: I remember the first I went to Manhattan. I was so excited to stumble across Midtown.

Javier: Alex yeah they came much later for me, 1990s. But around that time was when I had to cut back and was buying more TPBs. I was an early adopter of Amazon because they had deep discounts on graphic novels. My email with them is still my old netzero.com account.

Ashley: I’m a more modern comics reader, so a lot of what I got into came from things I saw on social media and trusted friends. My shop is pretty great too and I sometimes pick up things I think look cool, though I’m more likely to do this when comiXology has one of their deep discount sales.

Logan: Those sales will be the death of my bank account. (Looks at full Alias collection.)

Ashley: Logan: I still have a bunch of indie comics that I haven’t read yet from one of their SXSW sales last year. It was a giant bundle for like $3.

Logan: Oh yeah. All those Marvel #1’s that I never got to

Elana: back before the internet was a thing people had at home, i read comics because friends loaned them to me.

Logan: I did that a decent amount in college. I had a big DC friend who got me into Blue Beetle and Starman.

But people also steal your signed Wonder Woman comics.

Joke’s on them because they were New 52.

Ashley: Me and all my weeabo friends in middle school basically had this unofficial manga circle where we would swap whatever we had back and forth for the others to read. This once lead to me super embarrassingly taking my copy of Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland back from my chorus teacher because Jennifer Stogner would not stop reading it in class, goddammit.

Elana: Wow what dolts! I think I only have like 1 comic that’s an ex’s. He knows what he did…. I was always super diligent about returning comics to friends. Right now one of the big reasons I buy floppies is to loan them out to friends. I actually have a list I keep on my phone of which comics I loaned to which people. At one point I had it printed it out and it was in my purse. My husband noticed it and asked what “Stuff I Leant” meant. Because I cannot spell. At all.

Oh and Brett I still do have Understanding Comics that was loaned to me by my high school friend that works with your wife. But I blame him because he totally vanished.

Ashley: I started taking pictures of friends who I loaned comics out to, though one of them isn’t allowed to borrow my comics anymore because she kept coming up with reasons of why she couldn’t give them back and didn’t get them to me until the day before I left for HeroesCon after borrowing them for five months.

Brett: Elana I totally forgot about that connection!

Madison: I do this with my friends now! I did lose my first two Saga trades this way and haven’t had the heart to replace them because I’m still hoping they’ll make their way back to me. My copy of Pretty Deadly has been been read by almost everyone I know, though.

Alex: I’ve never loaned a comic out. I’ve had one “borrowed without permission” before, and I’ve given a couple away, but never I haven’t ever willingly loaned them.

I think I’m too paranoid about condition.

Brett: Yeah, I freak out about loaning things too.

Madison: I buy a lot of trades, I don’t usually loan out individual comics out.

Ashley: I let my roommates borrow comics a lot since I know where they live. wink emoticon

Brett: Anyone “inherit” comics from older siblings or relatives?

Paul: Oh I wish. My dad tells me of all the ones he had..and dumped…and I tell him how I want to dump him…

Logan: Yeah. My dad gifted me his late Silver Age/early Bronze Age collection of comics. Actually the first ones I read. There are some great Kirby Captain Americas and Claremont Marvel Team-Ups in there (“Madbomb”), and even the first appearance of Hellcat, which made me squee hard.

Alex: A few old British war comics and anthologies from my dad, I think. Hotspur, mainly. I’m still partial to King Cobra, but finding his stories over here is like finding a diamond in a venus fly trap.

Daphne: If I’d gotten my way I would have! I read the entire Death of Superman arc on a visit to my aunt and uncle’s house as a kid, but my cousin wouldn’t let me keep them. tongue emoticon

Elana: The opposite is true of me. I started reading comics because my little brother brought them home. He’s 5 years younger then me so that means I didn’t start reading comics till junior high because when I was in Jr High he was finally old enough for comics.

Brett: I really need to go back through my collection. I remember lots of 70s and 80s Marvel and DC in the comics I got from my brothers, and remember loving them. Don’t remember what they were.

Elana: My parents weren’t comics readers and I’m female so it sort of makes sense that comics trickled UP to me via my younger brother. But I’m way more involved in comics then he is now so I tell him what to read.

Brett: Elana yeah, I should have just put sibling instead of older.

Elana: Brett no it makes sense! To this day I think I’m the only person who got in to comics from a significantly younger sibling. My origin story is interesting, dammit!

Ashley: Paul I have a very similar experience with a “friend” (aka someone in my mutual circles that I barely tolerate) of mine who lost a bunch of his comics that he was going to let me go through when he stopped paying for his storage unit. He apparently had a lot of New Mutants signed by the Simonsons, which he did not tell me before he lost them. I have never actively considered murder the way I did that day.

Paul: Oh I get ya…total siren blaring The Bride from Kill Bill moment….

Javier: Not me but my dad used to work in sanitation in NYC, and I gave him marching orders to bring home any thrown away comics. Nothing of real value, but a lot of old beat up marvel/dc

Elana: Thats so cool! also I always salute New York’s Strongest!

Logan: So cool. Sad for the folks who threw them away.

Brett: That’s actually really neat.

Javier: Logan courtesy of NYC sanitation, really bad condition so not worth much but still cool.

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Brett: A lot have said how the DO find out about comics, but how would you LIKE to. Facebook ads? Email lists? Shops doing better outreach?

Alex:  I’d rather word of mouth; I’m interested in reading Phonogram because Elana has been so passionate about the series, and it really makes me want to read it. I’m more likely to ignore an add, or a solicitation if there isn’t a personal touch to it, because it just feels like it is… pure promotion.

If somebody who’s opinion I trust and respect is telling me to pick up a book, I’m going to do it; Mr H and Batman: Europa, Elana and Phonogram… There’s a pretty extensive list I’ve got from you fine people, and the reviews and discussions we all have.

Elana: this is so true. and thank you!

Alex: No problem!

Daphne: I like finding out from my friends and peers. I think it’s a safe bet everybody here has a movie or tv show they hate that got massive praise from critics when it came out, and a movie or show they love that everybody else thinks is awful. So rather than go for only professional criticism when finding new comics, I prefer it when my friends or family – the people who know what I’m like and what I like to read – find something they really think I’d enjoy. That emotional connection to a new comic also makes me more likely to keep following it long-term.

Madison: Ads, to me, are way too annoying most of the time, and I find myself more likely to avoid the product rather than buy it. It might be nice to get an email or something with recommendations every so often, but I do like hearing about stuff from my friends because we have a good understanding of each other’s taste.

Alex: I think the word of mouth thing will always carry more weight than a publisher’s solicitations. It’s also why I tend to prefer previews that aren’t just carbon copies of the press release like some websites have been known to do.

But there’s a fine line there, too. I think that we, in the position we’re in at Graphic Policy, have to be cautious with just how enthusiastic (or not) we are when writing that kind of preview, because if we slam a book before it’s released and it’s actually good. Personally, I think we strike a good balance, but then I’m also slightly biased.

Brett: And that wraps up this week’s discussion! For those reading, sound off in the comments below!

Sunday Roundtable: Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe Doomed to Collapse?

Sundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

We discuss this article and ask if the Marvel Cinematic Universe doomed to collapse?

Daphne: It’s interesting but it doesn’t really discuss WHY the MCU is unsustainable or what people are saying that lead them to this conclusion. If it substantiated its argument with corresponding drops in ticket sales or negative movie reviews that’d be one thing. But I think the only real difference between the MCU and other movie franchises is how quickly new movies come out.

I could see Marvel scaling back to one movie a year for a while if they had to. But articles like this are a dime a dozen, it’s like somebody just swapped “the superhero genre” with the MCU. People were predicting the fall of comic book movies back in 2011 or so, after all.

Troy: That is true, and I find the comparison between the fall of shield and the upcoming civil war a bit of a stretch. (but this remains to be proven) That said I’ve had a longstanding concern about the narrative falling prey to the productive cycle of the studio. The best stories are well thought out and have a set terminus. What happens if we continue to get post credit stinger after post credit stinger? One thing I do agree on though is that whatever happens they’ll be sitting on a mountain of money

Daphne: I do feel like post-credit sequences should either have more context or be totally unrelated, but not mandatory for knowing what movie is up next. The number of people saying “who is that?” when we saw Thanos at the end of the first Avengers movie was way too high. Totally disconnected stingers like Howard the Duck work as fun in-jokes, so I don’t mind those, but when they confuse everyone (Thanos) or just make the audience mad (Ant-Man’s scene with the Wasp suit Janet should have had to become with) they probably should just be bonus features on a DVD or something.

Troy: LOL! Oh man, that made me feel so important though….I had like 7 people twist their necks looking at me, ready to ask who that was. I get your point though. I’d actually love to see an out of the blue post-credit.

Ryan: Bring on the demise — these flicks are dull, formulaic, and creatively bankrupt already. Then again, the “Big Two” publishers have been producing books that are all those things for three or four decades and, despite an ever-dwindling readership, they seem to show no signs of wanting, or even knowing how, to stop. Marvel’s flicks are a celluloid assembly-line product at this point, but if that’s what people want, then they’ll continue to be financially viable. I would expect that they probably plateaued with the fist Avengers movie, but even marginally less successful Marvel flicks like Ant-Man have turned a nice profit for Disney, so — much as I would celebrate the end of the MCU and dance (heck, maybe more than dance) on its grave, I think they’ve got another 10-15 years before the fumes sputter out completely.

Brett: My issue is the movies will run in to a continuity issue much like the comics. They’ll get weighed down in the myth and what’s come before. Unfortunately the only way to get around that is to make small groups of stories, but then that’d involve rebooting with new actors and we see the pushback about that with Spider-Man or Batman.

Madison: I think part of the problem they’re going to run into as well is that audiences aren’t going to wait around forever for movies to catch up with what they want. Obviously the movies shouldn’t turn into three hours of pandering, but waiting for a female superhero movie has been one long exercise in frustration. At risk of sounding like one of ~those~ articles, I actually wrote about this a while ago.

Daphne: Yeah, the MCU isn’t allowed to collapse until we actually see some decent female characters.

Brett: Amen. I’d love to see a spy flick with Black Widow.

Brett: I’m wondering if the smart move is to do more like Jessica Jones where it’s all set in the same world, but isn’t deeply connected, but has references and easter eggs for fans.

Troy: That’s the logical evolution I think…..Instead of the whole phase structure….think of it in multiple tracks…..Marvel Noir….Marvel Magic et cetera….

Brett: Blade!

As long as we get Blade back.

Alex: I’d love to see Moon Knight.

Troy: I’ll take Both!

Daphne: Speaking of, even if the MCU collapses Marvel is absolutely killing it with their miniseries. I can take or leave Age of Ultron (actually I’ll just leave it) but Jessica Jones and Daredevil have been phenomenal.

Madison: I would love more than anything for She-Hulk to show up in Daredevil.

Brett: Madison: She’d be awesome to see. Even as a wink in a case where she’s the opposing lawyer or something.

Madison: Ideally I’d love to see a full on Law & Order type procedural, but I’m not banking on it

Brett: That’d be the ideal, but I’m with you. I expect the next round of tv shows we’ll see Punisher, Moon Knight, Patsy Walker possibly.

Madison: Moon Knight and Hellcat would both be great.

Brett: I’m trying to think of some other cool noir street level like characters that’d be cool. I’d kill for a Heroes for Hire series with Misty Knight in charge. You could make it an anthology and have so many characters introduced.

Daphne: She-Hulk is my favorite and I really hope we at least get some references to her. She’d add so much to the new rounds of shows. I also really want to see Hellcat now that we’ve been getting hints of her.

I’m also hoping for Marvel to get so desperate for ideas a few years from now that we get an MCU-connected Squirrel Girl series. They could leverage her as a more kid-friendly Deadpool type in terms of comedic writing and make some serious bank.

Brett: I’d think Squirrel Girl would work so much better as an animated show. I just can’t imagine it looking decent live action, but I could be wrong. I have seen good cosplay of the character though.

Daphne: It’d be best as animation for sure.

Madison: Squirrel Girl is a gift to humanity and the team behind it is great.

Troy: Thinking about it now, cinematically Marvel’s strength in continuity becomes its weakness (progressively) in some respect. I think to DC Animation how they have free reign to crank out whatever stories they want, without the confines of continuity, and people still eat it up and enjoy it. Even their live action television adn movie productions can survive multiple iterations and versions because multiple worlds have always been a firm element in DC’s architecture. That freedom can be explained and explored within the rules of their own canon.

Brett: I really think if DC was smart that’s how they’d leap ahead of Marvel. You can have Supergirl, Arrow, the Flash, Gotham, Constantine, and also Man of Steel and the movie versions. They can all exist and come together in some Crisis film.

Troy: Oh man how epic would that be! That would set DC about for sure…just keep Ryan Reynolds away from the Green Lantern. And take that stupid gun away from Batman.

Brett: Troy, But you can have Ryan Reynolds too! Plus whomever is the new Green Lantern. And have Bale’s Batman and Keaton’s. Bring it all together!

Troy: Brett, this is true! can’t help but noticed the Clooney snub haha

Brett: And Clooney and Kilmer, hell both Reeves would be awesome, plus Smallville and Slater’s Supergirl. Bring it all in one epic film. Shit, if they’re feeling gutsy have animated versions too.

Troy: That would be bold for sure, of course most adaptations are constrained but i’d love to see whatever plot devices they use to explain all that. I read an article hinting that Dr. Strange will introduce time travel to the MCU. Perhaps that could stand to fix some of the things we’ve mentioned?

Brett: Would be one way to solve some issues. Then again time travel has only messed up the comics universe.

Troy: Fury’s Vibranium Cube….the Infinity Stones….I loves me a good plot generator

Troy: Brett, Keaton Batman would kick all subsequent Batmen’s behinds…….and say “I’M BATMAN” after each one. If this discussion inspires some creative Fan-Fic….I’d say we’ve done right

Alex: I’d love to see a movie Batman battle royal. That would be fantastic.

Troy: I remember rolling my eyes and groaning loudly during the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series when Agent May said telepaths don’t exist

Ryan: A big problem that I have with the MCU now is that they’ve achieved some sort of critical mass where the films themselves don’t even exist per se, they just spend equal amounts of time referring back to old shit and plugging the next three or four flicks. Can anyone name anything that happened in Age Of Ultron that wasn’t either a continuity reference or grist for the sequel mill?

Madison: Nothing happened in Age of Ultron other than bad characterization and about four half baked plot lines.

Daphne: Things happened in Age of Ultron?

Don’t get me wrong. I like a lot of MCU stuff but Ultron is not on that list.

Brett: Age of Ultron felt like all it was doing was setting up the next phase. It was the middle chapter that doesn’t stand on its own.

Alex: Honestly, both the Avengers movies had exactly what I expected n terms of characterization, but then I wasn’t really anticipating much.

Brett: Alright, great discussion folks and thank you Troy for posting the article and kicking it off. Now what do you readers have to say? Sound off in the comments below!

Sunday Roundtable: What are you looking forward to in comics and geekdom in 2016?

JLA Roundtable 2016Sundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

What are you looking forward to in comics and geekdom in 2016? What do you hope to see from comic publishers?

Alex: Less reboots and less relaunches.

Paul: Agreed!

Katherine: Marvel having an entire year without a Big Crossover Event. Sooner or later that will happen, right?

Brett: Too late…. already two events announced.

Alex: That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Katherine: IKR? I don’t think they’ve had a year without an Event since the 80s.

Alex: It’s not even that they have events an crossover – but don’ have them in the same books all the time! Cross Moon Knight and Howard the Duck over (it would be a train wreck, but it’s something different), but I’m tired of ignoring the same characters in yet another crossover.

Katherine: Better representation and diversity in comics. We already got a LOT of good stuff in 2015, which sold, so I’m hoping that publishers will pick up on that.

Brett: Anything specific you’d like to see?

Katherine: More trans characters, personally. I know that it’s been confirmed that there’s a trans character in Squirrel Girl, but it hasn’t been revealed who it is (but I have confidence that they’ll handle it well.) More Lumberjanes, natch, but the LJ movie has me worried, at best.

Daphne: I’m taking an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach to representation in comics. Just about all of it tends to be a big fuss and then an anticlimactic letdown when it actually happens. I could see the Squirrel Girl team getting it right, but it’s so incredibly easy for somebody to mess up in service of a dumb joke.

Katherine: I’m trying to be optimistic here.

Daphne: I want to be but it’s pretty difficult these days.

Brett: I think I feel that way any time there’s some announced thing related to diversity. I’m hoping to see more behind the scenes with creators, not just with characters.

Katherine: Lets keep our fingers crossed then. I think that the comics industry is (slowly) going in the right direction and the popularity of titles like Lumberjanes, Jem, etc. hopefully means that the Big 2 will take notice.

Daphne: I’m excited for Godzilla Resurgence (if that ends up being the official title) and hopefully actual progress made toward un-canceling Pacific Rim 2, and I’m hoping for more kaiju in American media. Pacific Rim and Godzilla 2014 did what Cloverfield tried to do and brought kaiju film and the genre as a whole a lot more attention, and I really want to see that trend continue. Hopefully I won’t have as many conflicted emotions about whatever Godzilla comics come out this year as I did Godzilla in Hell.

Brett: Cloverfield sequel announced!? Guess that teaser on their Facebook page wasn’t a fluke. Be interesting to see how it does and if it impacts the Pacific Rim sequel.

Daphne: I honestly did not expect to call that one.

Brett: While this doesn’t get posted to Sunday, one of yours is already a go!

Katherine: It doesn’t look like it’s a sequel, but more of a side story set in the same universe. Which is cool. I’d love to see an anthology horror/monster movies like what they tried to do with Halloween.

Brett: Katherine: That’s my initial take too.

Daphne: Yeah. JJ Abrams has been describing it as “a blood relative” of Cloverfield so I think it’ll be loosely related but probably not directly addressing the original film much, if at all.

Brett: I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the indie comic releases. There’s been some amazing releases the last few years, and I’m expecting even more timely work. I’d expect at least something with the Presidential election. Please someone do something smart and intelligent with that! I’m also fascinated to see how all of the comic movies and television shows do. This is a year we’ll see if there’s a point of too many.

Katherine: Never too many. Never.

Brett: We’ll find out!

Alex: While I’d love there to be more comic book movies and shows, I’m at the point where there’s only so many I can see, or DVR, before I run out of time and start becoming choosy.

I already gave up on Gotham

Brett: This coming week we get four days in a row. Soon we’ll have 5 days a week for part of the year. Plus all the movies.

Katherine: Honestly, for me? I’m like this

Katherine: Alex This is not a bad problem to have TBH.

Alex: No, it’s not, really. I do worry we’ll reach a saturation point where the market is more selective as to what they watch, causing some great shows to get cancelled after a season (or less, like Constantine)

Elana: should i post my list of most anticipated comics of 2016 here?

Most anticipated new comics of 2016:
Tie: Ron Wimberly’s Sunset Park and Slave Punk: White Coal for Image Comics
Tie: Ta-nahis Coates Black Panther
Runners up:
Faith from Valiant Comics will be the first plus-sized super hero gets a solo title and it looks fantastic. Jody Houser and artist Francis Portela with special art from the great Marguerite Sauvage. We interviewed the creative team on January 11th!
Gail Simone’s revamped Dynamite comics pulp hero properties like Dejah Thoris and especially Vampirella with Kate Leth at the helm.
Power Man and Iron Fist from David F Walker and Sanford Greene
Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat from Kate Leth and Brittney Williams
Over the Garden Wall (based on the cartoon and I believe from the creators) ongoing series at Boom comics

Ryan: I’m very much looking forward to Si Spurrier’s “Cry Havoc,” Dan Clowes’ “Patience,” Chester Brown’s new collection of Bible adaptations, Fantagraphics’ hardcover slipcase collection of the complete “Wimmen’s Comix,” and six more terrific issues of “Providence.” Beyond that, I’m struggling to think of anything the Big Two have announced that even interests, much less excites, me in the least.

Elana: Cry Havoc could be great. I’m usually not into war comics but Ryan Kelly is great as are lesbian werewolves

Alex: I’m curious about Old Man Logan, and I am hoping for more Moon Knight (the loss of that series because of Secret Wars still rankles). Other than that, there’s only Howard the Duck that has my Marvel interest these days.

Ryan: Elana, war comics are not usually my cup of tea, either, apart from the seminal works in the genre from Kutzman, Kubert, Glanzman, and Kirby, but 2015 actually saw two great war comics come our way in the form of Garth Ennis’ “War Stories” from Avatar and Paul Tucker and Paul Allor’s “Tet” from Comics Experience/IDW. I would rank both as among the very best war comics probably since Jack Kirby’s epic run on “The Losers” in the early ’70s. To Alex’s point, I gave the new “Howard” one issue, and that was enough to convince me once again that no one but Steve Gerber should ever touch the character. I like Zdarsky just fine, but Howard was always a stand-in for the obsessions, opinions, and commentary of his creator, and no one else has ever gotten his “voice” quite right simply because, well, they can’t.

Elana: I just noticed my comment is missing the word “not” yet you still caught my drift haha. Thanks for the tips!

Ryan: I’ve been on social media long enough to speak fluent typo.

Brett: I highly recommend Ennis’ Johnny Red. Really good war comic, and I’m not usually a fan of those.

Alex: I second Johnny Red, but it does fall victim to the double page spread issue you mentioned in GP Radio, Elana. That said, I’ve been rating the series highly in me reviews despite the PDF art issues (I did buy the actual comics, too, however, and the double page spreads are glorious).

Ryan, I never read any of the Gerber Howard the Duck, so I don’t have that basis for comparison, which is probably why I love it so much.

Ryan: You may want to keep it that way, then, since once you’ve read Gerber’s “Howard,” nothing else will do.

Alex: I may do that… I own the first issue of Gerber’s run (I love the cover, but still haven’t read it…), but I may just leave it at that, then.

Ryan: I would suggest, if you do go down that road, to grab the omnibus collection and read the whole Gerber run, because if you read just one issue, your reaction will probably be to immediately think “why can’t we have more Howard like this?,” and to immediately fall out of love with the current run. So, yeah, I think you’d be better off — and happier — just not even opening that particular can of worms.

Alex: Ryan I’m going to take your advice and leave it where it is until the current run gets cancelled. Then I’ll get the omnibus.

Ryan: How long did the last run last? Five or six issues?

Alex: Five, I think, before Secret Wars rebooted it. The current run is on the third issue (with Zdarksy more than willing to point out the two 1st issues in a year)

Madison: I’m excited for the Poe Dameron comic, mostly because I’ve missed Phil Noto’s art every month. Also looking forward to seeing where Bitch Planet goes, since there were only six issues last year. I want to hope that Marvel will take some risks with their content and characters, but I’m not banking on it.

Brett: Yes, more Bitch Planet! And agreed on the Dameron comic, Shattered Empire was clearly leading/hinting at something with his family.

Mr. H: I am excited for the return of Bruce and Clark to their proper roles. The story lines have run their current course. Also I can’t wait for Grant Morrisons take on Wonder Woman.

Alex: I’ve kept away from the solicitations, but I did hear that was coming – and holy crap am I glad. Robot Bunny Batman really doesn’t do it for me.

Mr. H: Alex: it’s a shame because Gordon in the suit is great but I’m sick of all this Mr. Bloom bs.

Alex: While I love the idea of Gordon in the suit, it’s that the suit is an ugly Iron Man wannabe and the whole back up team, military like operation that I’m not a fan of. I mean, I know Bruce is pretty damn capable, but the sheer number of people required to do what just he (and Alfred) for the most part did make him seem almost god like.

Mr. H: I hate the robo suit I like the inner suit underneath I meant, the black and yellow. Plus Gordon is representative of us as Batman which is great just the villains haven’t been compelling.

Alex: I agree with you there, actually; the undersuit is a cool design.

Ryan: I’d have to politely disagree with the idea that Superman is not in his “proper” role right now. In truth, while the current storyline in the main “Superman” book certainly does suck, the version of the character we’re seeing in “Action Comics” right now is much closer to the Siegel/Shuster original than anything we’ve seen in years. Their Superman was strong but not ridiculously so; leapt from building to building rather than flying; and, more importantly, was a champion of blue-collar, working class causes. Right now Superman has been fighting abusive cops and privacy-busting hackers to save his neighborhood, while Siegel and Shuster’s Superman took on slum landlords, Pinkertons, strike-breaking scabs, domestic abusers — shit, he even saved a death row convict, something later, decidedly more right-wing, iterations of the character would never do. We’ve all grown so accustomed to the idea of Superman as super-patriotic defender of the establishment that we assume that’s the way he always was — in truth, he was very much a populist, “man of the people” hero for his first several years, and only became a nationalist propaganda mascot when the former gangsters who owned DC swindled him away from his creators for the princely sum of $130 days just days before they were shipping out to serve in WWII and were desperate to leave some money behind for their wives and young children to survive on.

Mr. H: Oh absolutely but the writing is dreck. I love the original Superman who was champion of the downtrodden. In fact Grant Morrison did a great job at the beginning of the new 52. The outing of Clark Kent should have gave us fantastic story opportunities …See More

Alex: Oh man I loved the Morrison issues of Action at the start of the New 52.

Mr. H: Yes Alex and it declined quick, didn’t it?

Alex: As soon as he left. I dropped the book shortly after that.

Mr. H: Same here. I had to. Interested to see what he does with Wonder Woman. The Finches are ruining her right now.

Ryan: I think the current “Action” run is passable, but far from great. Kuder’s art is terrific and the neighborhood-vs.-the-cops storyline was fun for a few issues, but as soon as that cop Superman decked out turned out to be an alien shape-shifter, I knew …See More

Mr. H: Dude I agree so much. Kuder is great. Yes Wonder Woman/Superman’s relationship is garbage. Loving the revamp of Vandal Savage from the Annual #3 though.

Ryan: Yeah, I was totally taken aback by how much I enjoyed the annual — I damn near didn’t even pick it up simply because of the five dollar price tag — and I hate “comics-by committee” like a lot of these annuals are becoming with five writers and five pencillers and eight inkers and all that shit, but I’m glad I grabbed it, because it was certainly the most satisfying Superman story in quite some time.

Brett: I think Ryan is on point. I like the exploration of myth and the basics of Superman that they’re trying to do, and the “throwback” Superman, but the execution of both has been very off. I’m already looking for next.

Alright, I think that wraps up this week’s discussion. What about you readers? What are you looking forward to and hope to see in 2016? Sound off in the comments!

Sunday Roundtable: What do you think is the biggest story for comics or geekdom in 2015?

JLA Roundtable End of YearSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

Mr. H: I think without a doubt the anticipation and success of Star Wars was the biggest story of 2015. For 2016 I’m hoping for more cohesive runs for DC and Marvel and the continued success of the genre. However that latest Batman v Superman trailer did not instill me with the best confidence at the moment..

Brett: Yeah, this is definitely the year for Star Wars. Hell, the AP named it the Entertainer of the Year.

Elana: That’s all true Mr. H.

I think the other big story was this was a huge year for female protagonists even if Marvel and DC weren’t putting us on the big screen.

Alex: I agree with you there, Elana. I think that of the three mentioned in the Salon.com headline, Rey is by far the most important of the three; she starred in a more child friendly movie that has been blowing the records out of the water left and right and (if I could italicize here I would Brett can you do it when you compile the post?) she more than holds her own against some of the franchises biggest names.

Myself, I think that something that should at least be in the discussion of being big news for comics is Bill Finger finally getting his name in the “Batman Created By…” byline that you can find in any new comics, movies, and one would presume videogames that have been released since I believe around October.

Ever since I found out about Bill Finger, it’s something that I’ve been posting about on my own blog karcossa.wordpress.com (apologies for the shameless plug). That DC have finally taken a step in the right direction is fantastic.

Brett: Yeah, its taken a while, but some right has been done.

A big story I think is both Marvel and DC rebooting/relaunching and it being really mixed with what looks like pushback from readers. DC has gotten critical praise for a lot of books but mediocre sales, and generally Marvel’s relaunch hasn’t delivered a big sales boost. There’s a big gap out there for someone, but no one has filled it, which may be the story for 2016.

Alex: I’d love to see Valiant get more love next year. I’ve found myself drifting more toward them over the year and away from the Marvel and DC.

Paul: One thing I’ve noticed and seen mentioned, but not making major headlines, is Marvel/Disney cutting out their major female characters from marketing and merchandise. Like are you kidding me? Avengers: Age of Ultron comes along, and we see zero to little Black Widow merch? And now THE most anticipated movie of the year drops in The Force Awakens and where is Rey? One or two items MAYBE but come on, nowhere near seeing the love other characters are getting on the shelves. Very disappointed in Marvel and especially Disney for these moves. Sure, they have their princesses to cash in on…but when will they realize that not all little girls want to be under the sea or wearing glass slippers? Some of them want to be in Avengers tower or in a galaxy far far away…shame on you Marvel/Disney. HUGE opportunities missed here.

Brett: While I agree about Age of Ultron, I think the Rey stuff is very unfair and what’s going around is factually wrong. A lot has focused on toys and she’s actually represented a lot in the toys. Folks seem to ignore exclusives and how releases work with that as well as toys coming out in waves. This seemed to blow up due to a Target exclusive, ignoring Toys R Us had an exclusive figure that’d have factored in to it. I was at a store two weeks ago and there was a lot of stuff with Rey. That’s all a rant for another day.

Paul: I was only going by the things I had read; I’m glad to hear there is more out there. I stand corrected

Brett: That’s a whole discussion for another day, so we’ll shelve the discussion for now. Everyone has some great suggestions. What do you readers think is the biggest story? Sound off in the comments below!

Sunday Roundtable: What lessons can comic creators and publishers learn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

JLA Roundtable force awakensSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

What lessons can comic creators and publishers learn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Brett: First up, no spoilers, we’re talking big picture here.

Mr. H: That it is incredibly possible to make a continuation of a successful franchise without having to reboot it completely or slavish to the point where its pandering ala Superman Returns. New ideas do happen folks. Maybe they aren’t making any more land but new ideas are happening and some of them work!

Brett: To me the big thing I’ve noticed is its leads of Rey and Finn. A woman and a black male. My nieces all loved the film, and I’m convinced it was partially due to have a kick-ass woman on the screen. People have attached themselves to the characters I haven’t seen in pop culture characters in a long time.

I’d also say, we knew very little going into the movie. They did an impressive job of keeping the lid on things as opposed to comic stories being spoiled some times by the publishers themselves. Bring back the mystery!

Daphne: The biggest thing The Force Awakens accomplished was to make some sincere and respectful nods to the trilogy that came before it but also to usher in new plot threads and new characters who are just as interesting if not more so than those of the original films. They accomplished the feeling of passing the torch without going the route of either throwing out and ignoring all the original characters or piling Luke, Han, and Leia into the Falcon for One Last Adventure. It did a great job honoring the legacy that it builds off of and setting us up for new adventures. And it was actually fun and funny in a way the prequel trilogy never reached. It made me genuinely excited for Star Wars in a way I’ve never been before.

Alex: Pretty much what Mr H said, that you don’t need to reboot a franchise after a disastrous outing, whether it be a comic, movie or TV show, and you can continue the story in a way that brings a new life to a franchise. Hell, if you do make a Phantom Menace style miss step then don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith an continue the story. It might end up like The Force Awakens. I mean, honestly, can you tell me you won’t see that movie again?

Mr. H: Amen Alex thanks dude.

Brett: Straight and to the point. So what do you readers think? What lessons can be learned? Sound off in the comments below!

Sunday Roundtable: Does Cross Media Comic Promotions Help?

JLA Roundtable atlantisSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

Marvel has announced a new Apocalypse centered event, and the Avengers look to be dealing with Civil War II. Both events tie in to next year’s movies. Is cross media marketing a good idea? Will it help or hurt either medium? Does it get you interested more or less in any of it?

Mr. H: I particularly am not the biggest fan of it as I feel it’s shameless product placement to a certain degree. Also it places the books under a level of predictability which can hamper the creative teams on a roll or just stunt the current progress of a feature monthly title.

Elana: I’d be fine with product placement if it was actually going to be good reading. But this is just going to make things more convoluted.

Daphne: Feeling like I couldn’t understand current storylines unless I bought eighteen other books is exactly what kept me out of comics for such a long time, and what keeps newcomers away as well. Too much cross-promotion just undoes the MCU’s efforts to be (mostly) self-contained and accessible to new fans. If Marvel was using the Battleworlds/Secret Wars reboots as a way to fix the fact that their properties are collapsing under the weight of their own canon, promotions like these just sabotage those efforts. I’m probably going to skip all the event stuff and focus on self-contained stories like I did last year.

Alex: I doubt I’ll read Civil War II, to be honest. I’m more inclined to look at the Apocalypse story line but only because I’m reading Extraordinary X-Men, not because I’m looking forward to it.

But that’s more to do with my general unhappiness with Event and Crossover comics. Like Daphne, I’m going to stick to titles that are unrelated to the crossover/events, or save my money.

Troy: I’m going to be a mean girl for a moment and remark that we kind of already had Civil War II with the whole mess that was AXIS. In some ways cross media crossover, such as Cerebro taking after the cinematic version the comics are subtle and effective. Other examples like Nick Fury Jr’s and Coulson’s inclusion into the comic canon are hamfisted and required a significant degree of gymnastics narrative wise.

Civil War II (AKA III) In the comics feels like the obvious. A desperate plea to cash in on the movie counterpart. I’m really hoping I am proven wrong and that the story does it justice.

Troy: I have to agree Mr. H, above and beyond the predictability issue, I am really worried that a crossover is being announced so soon after a major relaunch. I fear also worry for the creative flow of the narrative. In a way, crossover have tended to hijack stories as of late. You could almost sense the writer’s reluctance or perhaps struggle to make it fit. The all Female X-title during Battle of the Atom comes to mind here. I think it’s safe to say that most if not all comic fans will see the corresponding summer blockbusters. But it’s not necessarily the case that the converse of that is true, particularly the casual movie goer.

Elana: YES the idea that they have to get COMICS readers excited to watch their new movies?!?! Dude, do they not notice that the movie viewership dwarfs the comics readership? Do they not know everyone who reads their comics is already going to see the movie?!? This is just insane

Alex: Even comics fans who don’t read those specific comics will see the movies. Unless it was Fantastic Four.

Brett: I actually have a question to add on top of that. We’ll be maybe 6 issues in to some books, some might be around issue 10 at most. Is that too soon for crossover events? I can name so many books that were killed by being part of an event too early and killing momentum.

Daphne: Oh, it’s way too soon. Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl, for example, only just came out and then immediately got rebooted and then ended up part of other people’s crossover events in the same issues they got relaunched. The cycle is just happening faster and faster.

Troy: I would say it depends on the writers, how they manouever with the mandate they are given. The AvX tie ins for Wolverine and the X-Men volume 1 started very early in my opinion. But they were among the best of the event. They were integrated perfectly into its own story. If I had a preference or a moratorium I would probably lean towards a 15-20 issue limit.

Alex: For tie ins or an event?

Brett: It’d be a tie in for an event or crossing over for some event like they’re doing

Alex: Right. I was thinking that’d be an astronomical number for an event.

Troy: Alex: For a tie in to an event

Alex: When it comes to the tie-ins, I’d rather see the Wolverine and the X-Men style AvX type; those that work without you really needing to read the main arc and don’t detract from the current series, regardless of the number. There’s nothing that makes me drop a book than a long, unrelated set of tie ins to an event I don’t care about.

To answer your question, Brett, I honestly think so, mate. I’m more likely to drop a title six to ten issues in if I have no interest in a crossover than I am after 20 or more (unless there’s only two parts to said crossover).

Mr. H: All great points guys. When promotions do this it just smacks of hack writing. They need to get the message that this isn’t best for their creations long-term regardless of the short term profit.

Alex: There’s a reason that most movie tie in comics are generally sub par (specifically those with “…The Movie” in the title, and not adaptations inspired by movies like Fight Club).

Elana: The idea is insane because what the SHOULD be doing is figuring ways to get the people who are excited about the movies that are coming up to go back and read the comics they are based on. That’s how you grow an audience. Asking your current, limited audience to buy more stuff that’s only going to muddy the plot and confuse things is going to make it worse.

I swear the original 52 thing back in 2006 was the last wonderful crossover. I just loaned it all to a friend who is new to DC comics and he LOVED it. He didn’t know the characters. Didn’t matter. It was nice and contained and a really fascinating concept. If the publishers aren’t going to do something that tight they need to not do it at all.

Paul: I am torn on this topic; I can see this working for the Apocalypse crossover simply because Apocalypse is a long time villain of the X-Men (now we have Archangel and Kid Apocalypse to throw into the mix) so sure we can have them turn up into the storyline. Sure, it’s clearly a ploy to coincide with the movie but if handled properly, could make for some great story telling, what with the time displaced X-Men and all. As for Civil War, well as Troy said, been there done that. I have hard time seeing the heroes of the Marvel U letting another civil war happen after the last time, I don’t care how many reboots the universe has gone through. That is nothing but a shameless cash grab to go along with the movie and readers will know it.

Brett: All great points folks. That wraps up this week’s roundtable. What do you readers think? Sound off in the comments below!

Sunday Roundtable: Does the end of Secret Wars still matter now that the All-New. All-Different Marvel relaunch is already several issues deep in some series?

JLA Roundtable secret warsSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

Does the end of Secret Wars still matter now that the All-New. All-Different Marvel relaunch is already several issues deep in some series?

Mr. H: I think it just serves as formality at this point. I still would like to see how the story ends as I’ve enjoyed it as a whole event. I just think the punch has been depowered thanks to the jump ahead in the rebooted err.. excuse me. All new universe.

Brett: The wind is definitely out of the sails at this point. The new series all jumped ahead 8 months, so it’s clear this would end anyways with a lot of mysteries. I wonder if the end of the series has been altered now because of this mess up.

secretwars001Alex: Honestly, I think the end only matters to those still reading the story, at this point. Like Mr. H said, it’s a formality; Marvel wouldn’t want to leave it unfinished.

That the series has suffered so many delays is a massive hit for Marvel’s relaunch now (but in a year it’ll become more of a joke).

Brett: The other thing, has there been a Marvel event that hasn’t suffered from delays for years now? It’s almost to be expected.

Alex: Aye – but I don’t think any of those events have been as integral to what comes next as Secret Wars.

Brett: Secret Invasion led to Dark Reign, and both of those shook up things pretty well after.

Alex: Fair point. I recall really enjoying Secret Invasion in trade format (never read it at the time).

Mr. H: Last good event they had was Civil War. #nuffsaid

Elana: there have been books within events that have been good. but those were books that were already good.

Alex: Was that delayed any?

Brett: Civil War was delayed.

Troy: Secret Wars was also massively delayed….(I think because of Gabrielle Delotto’s beautiful painting) I don’t think it hurt its critical reception though.

Secret_Wars_8_CoverAlex: You’d think, then, that by this point the Marvel higher ups would try and have a longer lead time for the creative team to get at least half the event comics done before the first issue was released.

Paul: At this point, I want to see the end just to see how it ends…but we’ve seen that 616 is back, tweaked with new teams and characters now in ‘our’ universe, and others are missing, so really the ending is just as mentioned previously, a formality. For me, only a couple of titles for ‘All-New, All-Different’ have lived up to this statement, and seeing as we’ve jumped ahead 8 months, without Secret Wars ending, somethings have been confusing and I feel I have missed things as I’m reading (the X titles have mentioned several times that Scott has done something….but what?). So yeah, I want to see the end just to see that it does end, but I think the delays and launches before the end has really messed this up.

Alex: I wonder if what Scott did would have been as big of a deal if we knew, or if the waiting to find out is part of the fun?

Paul: Definitely waiting and seeing it happen would have had more of an impact. Now it will be just be ‘ohhhh that’s what they were talking about’. Any shock or plot building from it has been lost

Alex: Ironically enough, there’s not much of a difference for me as I wasn’t reading Secret Wars until after it was collected, so I was always aware I’d be in this position. However, had I chosen to read Secret Wars, then I’d not want to read any of the post-Secret Wars stuff till it was over. Which, in the current situation, would suck.

Brett: And that wraps up this week’s discussion! What do you think readers? Sound off in the comments below.

Sunday Roundtable: What Comic Artist Made an Impact on You?

JLA Roundtable raw artSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

We all probably have characters we follow, but what about artists? Are there artists that have made an impression on you as comic readers and are there any that you follow around to different books?

Daphne: Jeff Smith. I’d follow him anywhere. After he wrote Bone, which is still my favorite comic series of all time, I went to read his Shazam series and his original comic RASL. I love his art style and his sense of humor.

Elana: I’m obviously massively obsessed with Jack Kirby but there are contemporary artists that I really love too. I buy pretty much everything that J.H Williams or Jamie McKelvie do. They have totally different aesthetics but they both do amazing things with panels and layout. They both make stunning art. Williams is probably the most revolutionary artist in the medium. McKelvie is one of the only straight male artists who actually understands clothing as part of character design. Every character has a unique face and body. Basically he defeats all of my nemeses in comics art. I think I’ve bought almost everything that Stephanie Hans has done — I realized that looking at her portfolio. I’m obsessive about Tom Neely‘s amazing work on The Humans and mean to get his back catalog. He’s a flawless craftsman, when it comes to sheer technique he is unbeatable. He does his own inks and lettering and it makes everyone else look bad by comparison because of how woven in it is.

I live for Kevin Wada covers. The only times I’ve spent extra money to buy a variant cover was his cover for A-Force with all the female heroes hanging in front of a brownstone. The other time was Ming Doyle‘s pin-up of John Constantine on issue 1. It was the most radical cover on the shelves in its brazen display of a male cheesecake. Wada and Doyle are both outstanding artists. Period. I always check out their stuff. Wada draws the most beautiful people. He really uses costuming well. His colors are amazing and he’s the king of cheeky. Doyle’s style is also unmistakable and moody. I can spot a Ming Doyle eye a mile away.

Katherine: Wait. Are we talking about art/drawing style artists, or artists in general? grin emoticon

Elana: Talking about comics pencilers (or painters in the case of like Hans or Ross).

And not just ones you like but ones who’s presence on a book is enough to make you buy it.

Katherine: Ooooooh. In that case Jack Kirby, Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz, whom I can never spell right.

Elana: Great choices! Each completely distinctive in style.

Katherine: To this day, Bill is the only person who can draw Marvel’s Warlock right.

I also follow Rob Liefeld, but that’s because I like watching a good trainwreck now and then.

Elana: Katherine that’s totally true re Warlock. The character is really a distillation of his look.

I basically kept reading Silver Surfer because of the work of team Allred. They do so many comics that I can’t actually buy them all but I will always check their work out. Super distinct. I love their Post Modern take on Silver Age art.

I don’t technically follow my favorite Silver Age and Bronze Age artists because there’s just so much out there. I could do a whole other roundtable about my favorite artists from earlier periods.

Katherine: A few. Jack Kirby will always be the measuring stick of any comic book artist, and with good reason but he’s not really active anymore, obviously. Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz are two from the 90s that I will always love, as well as Sam Keith and Michael Allred, now that I think about it. I used to follow Bill Willingham until he proved to be an utter choad, however.

Elana: People either love Allred or hate his style. I’m on team love. When I was first going in to comics shops his work was what really stood out to me.

I have a large tattoo based on Kirby designs. and I’ll be getting more.

Paul: Joe Madureira was IT for me for the longest time. I loved his work on Uncanny X-Men and his contributions to the original Age of Apocalypse were some of my favorite issues. I just loved the way he incorporated manga influences into his work and, for me anyways, brought something new to the X-Men that just made me a bigger fan. I also love Jimmy Cheung‘s work especially when Young Avengers jumped onto the scene. I was instantly hooked on that book because it had it all…great characters, writing and the art was just fantastic. To be honest, I don’t follow writers or artists like others do… I’m more into my books and characters. But seeing this new topic, I just had to mention these two artists that definitely left an impression on me.

Alex: Man I would drool over Mad’s Wolverine…

Katherine: Actually, now that I think about it, before I was really into comics I was into the Heavy Metal magazine, and I started noticing certain artists. Most notably Richard Corben and Moebius. I mean, a lot of the stuff that Corben was associated with was godawful (Den anybody?) but his art was brilliant. Moebius was just brilliant all around.

Alex: These days I don’t tend to pick up a book just because a specific artist is involved, but I will certainly pay more attention to a comic if Humberto Ramos, Richard Isanov or Robert Gill are involved. And Nick Bradshaw, too, but that’s more because he’s a local(ish) artist.

Paul: Ramos, yes!

Michael: J.H. Williams. He did and an amazing job with Batwoman that it had to read Sandman Overture. His art seriously haunts my soul wink emoticon

Elana: His style is unmistakable!

Brett: That wraps up this week’s discussion! What about you readers? Sound off in the comments below!

Sunday Roundtable: Does the shipping schedule of comics affect your purchases?

JLA Roundtable release scheduleSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

Does the shipping schedule of comics affect your purchases?

Katherine: Not for me since I usually wait to purchase the trade paperback. I have to be really thrifty with my comics purchases.

Alex: I tend to be thrifty, too. A comic released more than once a month means one less monthly I’ll pick up (usually).

Elana: When I learned I was getting two issues of All-New Wolverine this month it made me a little stressed out as a critic — because it means I have next to no time to write that review I was working on. But as a fan of this comic (and boy is it good) I don’t think I can complain.

That said, I really worry about how crazy schedules impact the quality of work and the quality of life of artists in particular.

Katherine: That’s a good point, actually.

Brett: Yeah, that’s something I worry about as well. Quality does seem to get impacted with quantity.

Ash: No not really I am sporadic and impulsive with my comic buying and my ‘proper’ collections are all trade paperback so that’s ok smile emoticon

Alex: I’ve actually avoided titles based on their schedules; I didn’t want to get Batman (and Robin) Eternal because of the weekly schedule. Mainly because I couldn’t justify paying $15-$20 a month for a single comic, but also because at the time I’d often go weeks without actually buying comics (honestly, if it wasn’t for the reviews I’d still do that… because my LCS is a two minute walk for me… and I’m lazy).

Brett: I find that when comes come out too often and I get behind, I find myself less likely to go back and catch up, and just drop the comics.

Well, that wraps up this week’s discussion. What do you readers think? Sound off in the comments below!

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