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Shang-Chi Takes the Box Office with a Labor Day Record but Short of Black Widow’s Debut

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings easily took the weekend box office setting a Labor Day weekend record… but all is not perfect. The film earned an estimated $75.4 million over the three day weekend and is projected to earn between $83 and $90 million over the four days. The previous weekend best was Rob Zombie’s Halloween which earned $30.5 million in 2007. The film also earned $56.2 million internationally for a worldwide debut of $127.6 million.

Where things can be debated is whether the “theater only” strategy paid off for Disney and Marvel Studios.

In July, Black Widow debuted with $80.4 million domestically and $78 million internationally. In both of those measurements that film did better than Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings but it also debuted on Disney+ for an extra $30 plus subscriptions and reportedly generated an additional $60 million. That offer wasn’t available for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. So, did the film miss out on revenue?

What can be argued is that the lack of a Disney+ didn’t boost box office receipts like theaters might have expected. Black Widow so far is the top opening film of the year and Shang-Chi is second beating F9 by about $1 million. Theater owners will argue the lack of digital release did help to boost Shang-Chi‘s debut due to the record setting weekend. But, when it comes to “origin” films, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is on the lower end of Marvel Cinematic Universe debut earnings with only The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor lower. And, when adjusted for inflation only Ant-Man is lower with The Incredible Hulk being close with $70.3 million. Disney likely lost out on money by not releasing the film on Disney+.

What really needs to be watched is the film’s second weekend and if it sees a massive drop-off like Black Widow though the two are very different in reviews with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings receiving much higher reviews from both critics and the audience. It’s possible a positive word of mouth will soften the second weekend drop. What’s clear is that audiences are being picky about what they see in theaters in the age of COVID. Studios need to be much more strategic for the next year in deciding what to release only in theaters and what to dual release on-demand.

In second place was Candyman which dropped 52% from its debut weekend. The film earned an estimated $10.6 million to bring its domestic total to $39.1 million. Internationally, the film earned about $5.7 million over the week to bring that to $10.9 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed a little over $50 million after two weeks.

Free Guy slipped one spot to third earning an estimated $8.7 million. Domestically, the film has grossed $91.9 million after four weeks. Over the week the film added an impressive $47.1 million to bring that to $147.4 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $239.3 million.

PAW Patrol: The Movie grossed an estimated $4 million to bring its domestic total to $30.3 million. $12.5 million was added to its international total over the week to bring that to $50.3 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $80.6 million.

Rounding out the top five was Jungle Cruise which added a little under $4 million to its domestic total. It now has grossed $105.6 million. Its international total stands at $86.9 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $192.5 million.

In comic films…

The Suicide Squad came in at #8 with an estimated $905,000. Domestically, the film has grossed $54.4 million. The film added $16 million to its international gross to bring that to $108.1 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $162.5 million.

Black Widow came in at #9 with an estimated $748,000. Domestically, the film has grossed $182.5 million. The international total has held steady at $189.6 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $372.1 million.

Old was #12 with an estimated $470,000. Domestically, the film has grossed $47.3 million. Internationally, the film added about $500,000 to its total over the week to bring that to $38 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $85.3 million.

Initial numbers have 45 films earning $110,438,478 from 30,852 theaters. That’s around $45 million more than last weekend’s 51 films which earned $61,351,651 from 37,222 theaters. The average earning was $3,579.62 this past weekend, over double the previous weekend’s $1,648.26.

Mondo Delivers 8 New 1000-piece Puzzles to Pass the Time

Mondo, producers of some of the most sought after collectible posters in the world, is thrilled to now offer fans a second chance at owning some of their favorites in the form of premium 1000-piece puzzles.

Mondo’s new “Puzzle Party” collection — 8 brand new puzzles featuring artist-created posters — are available for pre-order now at MondoShop.com along with Mondo’s previous selection of games and puzzles which are available for immediate shipping. Each of the 8 puzzles retail for $20.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER / art by Rory Kurtz

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER / art by Rory Kurtz

DIE HARD / art by 100% Soft

DIE HARD / art by 100% Soft

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS / featuring iconic art from the D&D archives

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS / featuring iconic art from the D&D archives

G.I. JOE: COBRA WANTS YOU! / art by Jason Edmiston

G.I. JOE: COBRA WANTS YOU! / art by Jason Edmiston

GREMLINS / art by Matt Ryan Tobin

GREMLINS / art by Matt Ryan Tobin

HOME ALONE / art by DKNG

HOME ALONE / art by DKNG

JURASSIC PARK / art by Francesco Francavilla

JURASSIC PARK / art by Francesco Francavilla

THE IRON GIANT / art by DKNG

THE IRON GIANT / art by DKNG

Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years Prints from Mondo on Sale this Tuesday

This Tuesday, Mondo will have the first round of online releases with posters including Captain America: The First Avenger by Francesco Francavilla, The Avengers (Regular and Variant) by Amien Juugo, Iron Man (Regular and Variant) by Chris Koehler, Thor by Becky Cloonan and finally Spider-Man: Homecoming by Sara Deck!

The posters will be available at a random time on Tuesday (10/23). Follow Mondo on Twitter for the on sale announcement.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER by Francesco Francavilla. 24″x36″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 375. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in November 2018. Ships to US Addresses Only. $55

THE AVENGERS by Amien Juugo. 24″x36″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 300. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in November 2018. Ships to US Addresses Only. $50

THE AVENGERS (Variant) by Amien Juugo. 24″x36″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 150. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in November 2018. Ships to US Addresses Only. $75

IRON MAN by Chris Koehler. 24″x36″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 225. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in November 2018. Ships to US Addresses Only. $50

IRON MAN (Variant) by Chris Koehler. 24″x36″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 125. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Ships to US Addresses OnlyExpected to Ship in November 2018. $75

THOR by Becky Cloonan. 18″x24″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 250. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in November 2018. Ships to US Addresses Only. $50

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING by Sara Deck. 24″x36″ screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 375. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in November 2018. Ships to US Addresses Only. $55

New Frontiers: A Dialogical Analysis of Steven Rogers Part 1 – Captain America: The First Avenger

“You better get cleaned up” – Bucky Barnes

“Why where are we going” – Steve Rogers

“The Future!” – Bucky

Captain America First Avenger PosterThe next installment of Captain America has hit theaters. With five movies strong, Captain America’s character has become a pillar within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) much like his canonical comic counterpart. This pillar is about to have its mettle tested as the seismic Civil War adaptation is on our horizon. Steve Rogers is a very compelling character, in some ways (pre-serum) the everyman emblematic of our desire to reach our heroic potential and in most respects (post serum) A towering hero, symbol and example. Through and through Steve Rogers is a character who exemplifies not just his time, as well as change but a conversation, or dialogue between the two. Of all the characters I have observed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Steve Rogers embodies not just the process but the tensions within globalization. This is evidenced quite firmly across the spate of movies he has been in. I have been doing some reading on Dialogical Self Theory (DST) in the context of globalization. DST explores the positioning and counter-positioning that takes place within the self in reaction to change, difference and uncertainty. DST in a way accounts for our perennial negotiation with the various aspects of our core self, imagined others, as well as the countervailing or complimentary narratives that they bring to bear. Having watched several of the MCU movies involving Captain America’s character, I would like to show how Captain America’s vantage point and dilemmas are the perfect means to address some of these dialogical themes.  This article will explore those themes as found in Captain America: The First Avenger (CA: TFA)

Central to DST is the concept of the traditional, modern and postmodern self. These aspects of the self are atemporal stages, that relate to our various positions, and narratives given particular contexts. These aspects coexist, and at times negotiate depending on the particular dilemma at hand. (I.e. we maintain our traditional self despite having a modern and postmodern one)  Each aspect of the self has benefit or a disadvantage (shadow).

Steve Rogers & The Traditional Self

531115The traditional self is what governs our view of the world in terms of totality, unity and purpose. The traditional self, adheres to hierarchical and fosters obedience. The primary benefit of the traditional self is that it provides for us a meaningfully ordered cosmos, where one’s position and purpose are clearly defined.  The drawback or shadow side to the traditional self is found in the blind adherence and deference to authority that it inculcates. At times this can come at expense to the individual as it is poised to choke their potential.

In CA:TFA we see the traditional Steve Rogers, as a scrawny Brooklynite yearning to find his place in the world and contribute his fair share to the war effort. Due to unfortunate life circumstance of a series of ailments he finds himself an outcast, relegated to the world outside meaningful order and purpose as he understands it. Here Rogers is not just outcast forbidden from the rank and file of the conventional war effort, he is a patriot unable to serve his country in the means he sees required. His yearning for purpose and place is shown in the following exchange with his best friend Bucky Barnes

“There are men laying down their lives…I have no right to do any less than them, that’s what you don’t understand. This isn’t about me” – Steve Rogers

His physique and fitness notwithstanding it is Rogers’ sense of duty, character and determination to serve which catches the eye of Dr. Erskine, who is looking for characteristics “beyond the physical” to compliment the super soldier serum.  This takes our budding hero into the ambit of the strategic scientific reserve, and his progression into his modern self.

The Star Spangled Man & The Modern Self

The modern self is where justification is found within its own ground. In philosophical terms the modern self has been described as a “Sovereign Self” (Richardson et al. 1988) The modern aspect of the self is where ones autonomy is expressed however, its shadow/disadvantage is a risk of considerable alienation from the social and natural environment, emotional isolation, loneliness and excessive competition. A hallmark of the Modern Self is its advancement in the context of industry.

Captain-America-trailer-screencaps-the-first-avenger-captain-america-19929974-1920-800In CA: TFA this is exemplified perfectly by super soldier program and strategic scientific reserve. Steve Rogers is able to become his ideal self through the scientific integration and innovation on the part of the SSR and Howard Stark. Competition through espionage  with HYDRA however, results in the success of the super soldier program being rendered a one off. Instead of Steve becoming the first in an Army he is once more a minority and outcast. Albeit a particularly buff one.

I asked for an Army and  all I got was you. You are not enough” -General Phillips

We find Steven Rogers, here as an oddity. An outlier at odds with the system of command  that he respect so much. Despite his transition into a super soldier the program is deemed a de facto failure.  When given the opportunity to “serve” Steve is relegated to moral boosting pageantry as the “Star Spangled Man” naturally this rouses the ire of his brothers in arms who have to risk life and limb, without his abilities.  Once more competitiveness albiet an internecine variety is a driver for Steve’s alienation, and his yearning to be more than just a show puppet. A yearning which brings conflict between his Modern and Tradition self ultimately setting the stage for his Post-Modern emergence. Steve is now caught in the dilemma of just following orders, or fulfilling what he feels he was meant to.

“You were meant for more than this you know” – Peggy Carter

*The symbolism of Steve on the stage taking out a superficial threat (Adolf Hitler) while later encountering the true threat (Johan Schmidt)  is significant here.  Setting the stage for his development and autonomy and cementing his place as a leader of men.

Captain America & The Postmodern Self

cap1The Hallmark of the postmodern self is the end of truth pretension. Here the self comes to terms with the protean nature of “truth”, recognizing that what is understood as such is firmly influenced by systems and institutions. In addition to the movement away from universalistic truth notions and hegemonic narratives, the postmodern self is informed strongly by the dissolution of hierarchies, as well as an emphasis for difference, otherness, and local knowledge. In the Postmodern self, truth, meaning and value are self-derived.

Steve’s initiation to post-modernity and ultimately Captain America occurs when he breaks orders in order to rescue a regiment of soldiers that Bucky is part of. Steve is operating outside the military’s sanction, and without their faith in his abilities. This is of no consequence to Steve as he now has faith in himself. This defining infraction has a few outcomes that are notable, it earns him the respect of his superiors, it earns him the respect of his peers and it leads to the encounter with the true threat, Johann Schmidt and the opportunity to study his weaponry (The Tessaract). After Steve asserts himself and the value of his abilities, he transitions into the leader the SSR needs to counter the threat of HYDRA.

“I am assembling the best men.” – General Phillips

“With all due respect sir, so am I” – Steve Rogers

The shadow aspect of the self, results from a form of nihilism born the recognized pliability of the truth. This can lead to a view of the other in the self which known as the abject self. The abject-self houses a contempt for others borne from a sense of superiority and a lust for domination.  In the search for meaning one can revile the otherness they encounter.  Though it can be argued that Steve Rogers does not experience this shadow. I would say it is exemplified perfectly Johann Schmidt. In many ways Steve Rogers and Johann Schmidt are equal opposites, where Steve’s leadership serves as integrative and unifying Johann’s variety is oriented towards fear, domination and fragmentation a natural offshoot of Nazi ideology. It also involves the seizure of power it cannot control nor completely understand. His adherence to myth and legend is rooted in his desire to be godlike.  Rogers on the other hand does not forget his humble beginnings. After being questioned about what makes him so special, Rogers quips.

“Nothing…I’m just a kid from Brooklyn”  – Steve Rogers

This speaks to the heart of Rogers leadership style, he doesn’t just lead he inspires. Steve Rogers doesn’t just become the super soldier, he becomes a catalyst who recognizes virtue in others and fosters that to its highest potential

It is not just Steve’s ability to unify his peers, his country and integrate his various selves that set him apart, but also his ability to lead through challenge and uncertainty. As I will show in the next part this positions him perfectly as the leader of SHIELD’s most uncertain heroes, the Avengers. Steve Rogers meets the future.

Captain America: Civil War Off to Great Start with $14.9 Million

Captain America Civil WarWhile the film doesn’t start to role out in the United States until May 5, Captain America: Civil War opened Wednesday in 15 territories with $14.9 million so far. That’s just behind Avengers: Age of Ultron last year.

The film earned $2.4 million in France, $1.1 million in Hong Kong, $1.5 million in the Philippines, $4.3 million in South Korea, $1.4 million in Taiwan, and $1.1 million in Thailand. The film earned the top opening day in 2016 so far in France.

When the weekend is up the film will have opened in 63% of the foreign marketplace and is expected to earn about $200 million overseas. Avengers: Age of Ultron earned $201.2 million in 44 markets when it opened.

Avengers: Age of Ultron went on to earn $1.4 billion, while Captain America: The First Avenger earned $370.6 million and Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $714.4 million. On average the Marvel Cinematic films have earned $757 million worldwide during their theatrical runs.

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier dominated the box office this past weekend and we’re again given the opportunity to compare the demographics on Facebook with what we know was the audience of the film.

According to reports the film was 65% male. I’ll first compare the gender breakdown with that of Facebook fans and expect an update later with the age breakdown as well.

The fans of the specific term for the film are overwhelmingly male, 86.54% right now. But, when you include the second film and Captain America, that percentage drops to about 70.37%. That’s pretty close to who saw the film.

winter soldier gender 4.7.14

 

 

Hugo Weaving Says Playing Red Skull Isn’t Something He’d Want to Do Again

While touring for the release of Cloud Atlas, Hugo Weaving was chatting with Collider in which they asked about his possible return to play the Red Skull, a character he brought to life in Captain America: The First Avenger. It seems the experience didn’t leave that great of an impression for Weaving.

Since Marvel makes everyone sign multi-picture deals, did you have to sign one when you did Captain America?  Could they ask you to do Captain America 2 of The Avengers 2?

WEAVING:  I did that for Captain America.  I think the tendency, with those films, would be to probably not bring a villain back.  They might for The Avengers, but I didn’t think I’d be in Captain America 2 or 3.  I don’t think Red Skull will be there.  And it’s not something I would want to do again.  I’m glad I did it.  I did sign up for a number of pictures and I suppose, contractually, I would be obliged to, if they forced me to, but they wouldn’t want to force someone to do it, if they didn’t want to.  I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film.  It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by.  As an actor, to do all sorts of different films is great.  It stretches you in different ways.  But, I increasingly like to go back to what I used to always do, which is to get involved with projects that I really have a personal affiliation with.

Captain America: The First Avenger Auction Brings in the Dollars

This past weekend’s Profiles in History auction for memorabilia from the hit movie Captain America: The First Avenger at the Chicago Entertainment and Comic Expo (C2E2) was a huge success.  With over 200 people attending the live auction, sales grossed $1.1 million.  Of the 219 lots for sale, 217 sold which is an impressive 99% sell through.

The Captain America costume which is just awesome sold for $228,000.  That costume was used in most of the graphic advertising and promotional materials for the film.  The original full-scale screen-used Mark II “Autopsy” suit from Iron Man 2 went for $132,000.

Profiles In HistoryTo Give Away Prop Captain America #1 Comic Book

PROFILES IN HISTORY SET TO GIVE AWAY TWO CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 PROP COMIC BOOKS JUST BEFORE THE CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER AUCTION AT C2E2
AUCTION WILL BE HELD IN CHICAGO ON APRIL 14

LOS ANGELES- April 2, 2012 – Profiles in History, run by Joe Maddalena, will be holding two separate raffles to give away two original prop Captain America Comics #1 made for the film production of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger. Each prop comic book has been certified and given a 9.4 grade by the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC). The comic book is pictured left. CGC is the first and most trusted independent, impartial, third-party grading service for collectible comic books.

One prop comic book will be raffled off at the Chicago Entertainment and Comic Expo (C2E2). For those not attending C2E2, Profiles will raffle off the other prop comic book via Facebook. Winners will be announced on April 14, at 5:30pm CDT, just before the Captain America: The First Avenger auction at 6pm CDT. Details for both contests are below.

The hero Captain America shield encased in “ice” resin, pictured below, will be part of the auction. The first time we ever see Captain America’s ultimate hero shield is in the opening scene of the film where an expedition of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the Arctic investigates the wreckage of the Suborbital Bomber. Entering the hull of the frozen ship, the explorers discover the iconic red, white and blue shield frozen solid in a block of ice. This prop is composed of a distressed, metallic Captain America shield suspended in a solid block of clear resin, a one-of-a-kind, significant piece. It is expected to fetch $4,000 – $6,000.

For images or more information about the auction, contact details are below.

Details for the contest:
At C2E2, fans will be able to pick up a raffle ticket at the Profiles in History booth (#609) starting Friday, April 13, 2012 at 10:00am. It is a one entry per person limit. Profiles will announce the winner on April 14 by random drawing at approximately 5:30pm CDT, just before the Captain America: The First Avenger Auction at 6pm in room S404abc at McCormick Place 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60616 .

Fans can enter the online raffle by visting Profiles in History’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ProfilesInHistory), click on the “contest” tab and follow the on-screen instructions to fully complete and submit the entry form (a valid email address will be required). The raffle begins at 6:00 a.m. PDT on Monday, April 2, 2012 and ends at 3:30 pm PDT/5:30 pm CDT on Saturday, April 14, 2012. The winner of the online raffle will be selected by random drawing from all eligible entries on April 14, 2012. The winner will be notified by email and identified on Profiles in History’s website and Facebook page on April 16, 2012. The online raffle is also one entry per person.

No purchase is necessary for either raffles. Fans should go to Profiles in History’s website: www.profilesinhistory.com or Facebook page: (http://www.facebook.com/ProfilesInHistory) for complete official rules.

ABOUT PROFILES IN HISTORY
Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the nation’s leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.  Born into a family of antiques dealers in Rhode Island, Joseph “Joe” Maddalena learned early on how to turn his passion of collecting historical autographs into a career. Needing to support himself, Joe turned to his hobby of buying and selling historical documents as a potential way to earn revenue. On weekends he scoured old Hollywood bookstores for letters and rare books. Upon graduation from Pepperdine, Joe pursued his passion to become a full-time dealer of historical documents, and opened his first office in 1985. A lifetime member of the Manuscript Society, Joe is widely recognized as the nation’s leading authority on entertainment memorabilia and historical documents. Profiles in History has established itself as the world’s largest auctioneer of original Hollywood memorabilia, having held some of the most prestigious and successful auctions of Hollywood memorabilia and owning virtually every Guinness Book record prices for original screen-used memorabilia. With an extensive network of dealers, collectors, and institutions, Profiles in History is proud to play an important role in the preservation of motion picture history. Prior Profiles in History Hollywood auctions highlights include the “Cowardly Lion” costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); Steve McQueen’s “Michael Delaney” racing suit from Le Mans ($960,000); a Panavision motion picture camera used by George Lucas to film Star Wars ($624,000); a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); Marilyn Monroe’s platinum & diamond wedding band from her marriage to Joe DiMaggio ($504,000); Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds” dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ($356,500); a King Kong 1933 six-sheet movie poster ($345,000); Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Star Wars ($240,000); Margaret Hamilton’s “Wicked Witch” hat from The Wizard Of Oz ($230,000); and The Invisible Man 1933 one-sheet movie poster ($230,000). Most recently from the history-making Debbie Reynolds Auction in June 2011, Profiles in History sold the Marilyn Monroe “Subway” Dress from The Seven Year Itch for $5.52M, the Marilyn Monroe signature red-sequined showgirl gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for $1.44M and the Audrey Hepburn Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady for $4.44M. In addition, Joe Maddalena is the star of SyFy’s hit show, Hollywood Treasure. With already 24 episodes aired, Hollywood Treasure is gearing up for an exciting return on May 22, 2012 at 10pm (ET/PT) taking viewers into the fascinating world of showbiz and pop culture memorabilia.

Best Comics of 2011

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

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

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

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

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

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

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

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

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

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

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

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

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

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

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

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

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

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

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

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

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

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

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

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

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

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

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

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

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

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

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

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

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

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

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

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

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

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

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

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

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

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

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

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

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

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

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Almost American
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