Tag Archives: ex machina

10 Comic Suggestions for Furloughed Government Workers

Government shutdown getting you down? While we wait to for our elected officials to do their job and act like adults, hundreds of thousands of individuals are sitting at home. Here’s our suggestions of ten comics, series, or graphic novels to pick up and read through while you await your return to working for the American people.

If you have suggestions, sound off in the comments with them and why you suggest them!

  • The Authority  After witnessing the demise of most of her StormWatch teammates, Jenny Sparks wants to create a new super hero team dedicated to protecting Earth against threats of a global scale. Joined by former StormWatch members Jack Hawksmoor and Shen Li-Min, Jenny recruits four new members, the Doctor, the Engineer, Apollo, and the Midnighter forming the ultra-powerful Authority. The praised series features many of the top creators over the years. A mix of heroes and politics, this is a modern classic.


  • DMZIt’s the second American Civil War that follows a journalist as he’s dropped in the middle of New York City, now a DMZ that separates the two warring sides. Initially starting as commentary about the Bush presidency the series quickly pivoted to comment on the hope and change that was promised with the election of Obama.


  • Ex MachinaSet in our modern-day real world, Ex Machina tells the story of civil engineer Mitchell Hundred, who becomes America’s first living, breathing superhero after a strange accident gives him amazing powers. Eventually tiring of risking his life merely to help maintain the status quo, Mitchell retires from masked crime-fighting and runs for Mayor of New York City, winning by a landslide! But Mayor Hundred has to worry about more than just budget problems and an antagonistic governor.



  • The Homeland Directive– As head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Laura Regan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on viral and bacteriological study. Having dedicated her career to halting the spread of infectious disease, she has always considered herself one of the good guys. But when her research partner is murdered and Laura is blamed for the crime, she finds herself at the heart of a vast and deadly conspiracy. Aided by three rogue federal agents who believe the government is behind the frame-up, Laura must evade law enforcement, mercenaries, and a team of cyber-detectives who know more about her life than she does – all while trying to expose a sinister plot that will impact the lives of every American. Set in the Orwellian present, The Homeland Directive is a modern-day political/medical thriller.


  • The Nightly News– As an act of violence spirals out of control to encompass the entirety of the news media, a cult has emerged from the errors and retractions that have ruined careers, marriages and even lives. Under direction from his cult master, The Hand leads an army of followers committed to revolution, willing to die for their cause.


  • Occupy Comics #1-3 – Occupy Comics brings together more than 50 comics pros to discuss and document the themes, goals, and ideals of the Occupy movement while also raising funds to support it. With a roster spanning from legends like Alan Moore and David Lloyd (V For Vendetta) to rising stars like Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) to icons like Art Spiegelman (Maus), Occupy Comics is a once-in-a-lifetime coalition of intelligent creatives using sequential art to record history as it’s being made.


  • Scarlet– Scarlet is the story of a woman pushed to the edge by all that is wrong with the world…A woman who will not back down…A woman who discovers within herself the power to start a modern American revolution!!


  • Transmetropolitan– After years of selfimposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job he hates and a city he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd century surroundings.


  • V for Vendetta– A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V For Vendetta takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet. In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.


Around the Tubes

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It’s a new week and yesterday’s news was short and pretty quiet. But, it’s Tuesday which means #comicmarket on Twitter. Hop onto the site and join in on the discussion.

Around the Blogs:

Examiner – ‘Twilight’ news wrap: ‘Graphic Novel: Volume 2’ release date announced – So happy this was announced, cause the first one was such high quality.

Con Coverage:

MTV Geek – Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con: A Look Back In Photos!

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Graphic Novel News – Ex Machina

Around the Tubes

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It’s a new week and today is #comicmarket on Twitter.  Come join the fun and see what stores across the country and others in the industry have to say about comic books.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – Mark Stafford’s Realism In ComicsSome pretty funny drawings.

Comicvine – The Avengers Movie Has Started ShootingI’m still waiting for my casting call.  It’s cool you’re waiting until the last minute, but if I don’t pick up, feel free to leave a message.

Comics Alliance – Parting Shot: Spider-Man the BallerinaAwesome art.

Robot 6 – Law & Order: Criminal Intent targets Spider-Man: Turn Off the DarkI’m sure it’ll be fair and shine a good light on the material, just like the episodes about video games.

The Republic – Mississippi collectors say comics used as education tools, make reading fun for childrenYes and yes.

The Beat – Hero Initiative and Marvel team to help Josh Medors – Do some good and help Medors out.

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Graphic Novel Resources – Ex Machina, Volume 1: The First Hundred Days

Comic Book Resources – Uncanny X-Force #8

Paste Magazine – Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up (4/22/11)

Martin’s View – Comic Books of the Week (4/20/11) part 2

Best Comic Books of 2010


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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 2010.  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 read.  We’ve added some new categories this year, but without further delay, here are the winners!

Best Super Hero Comic – The Invincible Iron Man

Invincible Iron Man #500.1Yes, this series won last year too, but writer Matt Fraction has kept up the excellence with an amazing plot mixing superhero heroics, politics, corporate rivalry and with the latest issue, we learn this is all the tip of the iceberg.

In single issues there’s usually some bigger worldly issue we’re presented with, great banter, often fantastic action and beautiful art.

This is a superhero comic for adults and one series I look forward to each month.

The upcoming Invincible Iron Man #500.1 is the perfect jumping on point to see what you’re missing.

Runner Ups – Secret Warriors, Uncanny X-Force

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.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Daytripper

DaytripperI’ve handed this comic off to so many people and not only sucked them into this series, but also got them to ask what else is out there?  This showed that comics aren’t about just spandex anymore.

There’s no other series out there that created such an emotional reaction each month.  I’m not embarrassed to admit there were numerous moments I broke down crying or teared up.  No other series has done that before to me.

It’s a shame it ended and hopefully we see more soon from the phenoms Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

Runner Ups – Killer: Modus Vivendi, Taskmaster, Velocity

Best Single Issue – Unknown Soldier #21 (New Category)

This series saw it’s conclusion this year but it also brought the best issue of any comic book during it’s end run.

This issue focused on the history of one Avtomat Kalashnikova rifle as it’s passed from one owner to another.  It’s a powerful issue looking at the mass distribution of a weapon that’s been a driver and common tool in today’s conflicts .

Powerful, heart wrenching, and an amazing political and historical statement, this issue is a must read for comic book fans and non-comic book readers.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Fantastic Four Annual #32 (New Category)

Three words as to why – Time. Travel. Abortion.

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Return of the Dapper Men

Return of the Dapper Men HCThere’s no other graphic novel that was more magical this year than Jim McCann‘s and Janet Lee‘s Return of the Dapper Men.

This is a magical world of wonder where time has stopped and adults have disappeared.  Neverland in a modern setting.

A modern classic is the only way I can describe this graphic novel that seems to evoke the best of those magical tales we read, watched and were told as kids.  This is a graphic novel parents will be sharing with their children for years to come.

Runner UpsHow to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Cuba: My Revolution, Revolver

Best Event of the Year – Artifacts

Artifacts #1 CoverThe first issue had me gasp “holy shit” out loud and the subsequent ones have just been setting up what will be a hell of a ride.

The public seems to have reacted well with issues going back for numerous printings.

All hell is about the break loose in the Top Cow universe and with Ron Marz‘s talented writing to drive it and some fantastic artists to back him up, there’s a chance this might be next year’s top event as well.

Best Genre of the Year – Zombie

The Walking Dead Zombie Teaser 2One thing makes zombies get the win here, The Walking Dead.  The comic book series continues it’s excellence and the television show had us wanting more after it’s first season’s six episode run.  There’s a reason it was one of the top rated cable series ever, it’s that damn good.  Evidence of it’s spread beyond the normal comic book reading public are the numerous people reading it on my daily commute and my non-comic book reading friends asking me about the series and comic.  I don’t see this type of legs with the big movie blockbusters.  Congrats to Robert Kirkman and AMC.

Runner Up – Noir

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year –Heroclix

Heroclix Web of Spider-manI’m a sucker for Heroclix and picked up the Blackest Night set at Gen Con this year.  I don’t play, but love looking at the detailed figures.  There’s something so much fun about it and I wish I had some local gamer friends that I can break out my figures once in a while and give me an excuse to get more.

With sets based off of Watchmen, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Jonah Hex, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the DC 75th Anniversary it’s impressive this was a game and company on the brink of collapse not too long ago.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys.

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Scott Pigrim vs. the World (New Category)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldIt’s been an up and down year for movies based off of comic books.  Next years crop of movies looks strong, but this year had one stand out and that was the kinetic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

This was a movie for the Nintendo generation with so much in there even our ADD generation missed some of the winks and nods littered throughout the film.

It holds up after multiple viewings and I know I left with a smile on my face.  Overall it was a year of weak competition but even in a strong year this would be a contender.

On an aside my favorite movies of 2010 were The Social Network, Black Swan, The Town and The Fighter.

Runner Up – The Losers

Best Series Finale of the Year – Ex Machina (New Category)

Ex MachinaI can’t think of a series which ended so perfectly.  To say more would give it all away, but I was beyond satisfied when I finished reading it and hoped for a second volume.

The finale of this superhero as Mayor series answered our questions, gave us some jaw dropping moments at the end and presented a Presidential ticket I might even vote for.

A lot of series left unanswered questions or gave us disappointing ones, but this one never seemed like a cop out and never treated us like children.

The ending was damn near perfect and the series one of the best of modern times.

Runner Up – Daytripper

Best Surprise of the Year – Killer: Modus Vivendi (New Category)

The Killer Modus Vivendi 006 CoverThis is a new category that I thought was appropriate to throw out there.  I look at this as comics you probably skipped in 2010, but you really should go back and check out. 

Killer: Modus Vivendi is the third volume for this character and saw him being manipulated by the CIA and Cubans in a tale about oil and spheres of influence.  Bond and Bourne, eat your heart out.

Not only do we have great action, some intense moments, but there’s also politics and a worldly view you don’t find out in too many other comics.  It’s the complete package in comics for adults.

Runner Up – Velocity, Kill Shakespeare

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Brightest Day and Heroic Age

Enter the Heroic AgeI “Entered the Heroic Age” and looked forward to tomorrow’s “Brightest Day” and can say “no thanks.”  Does no longer being dark and gritty also mean convoluted and boring?

Marvel and DC comics took a dip this year as they moved away from dark stories and attempted to hark back to the golden age of black and white heroes and villains.  We also got the return of the 90’s with the return of characters we thought and hoped were dead and stayed that way.

This all clearly isn’t lasting long as the Marvel event Fear Itself looms over 2011.  As a hole things just aren’t quite as exciting as they’ve been in years past.

Runner Up – Iron Man 2

Best Character – Killer

I’m so happy Archaia put Killer: Modus Vivendi in my hands.  With it I got one of the best politically charged noir comics on the market and a badass anti-hero in the man we only know as Killer.

He beds the hot chicks, assassinates people with a shot, causes revolutions and destabilizes regions. Bond and Bourne are wimps compared to writer Matz‘s creation.

We get to see politics and the world from outside of an “American” perspective and a cold unrepentant killer and assassin who it’s all a job to.

This was the third volume with more to come.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaSo where’d this company come from?  I don’t think there was one comic I read I was disappointed in or didn’t enjoy in some way.  The hardcovers are just high quality products and stories in between the covers reflect that.  The Killer, Mouse Guard, Cyclops, Critical Millennium and so many more are series you should be reading and if you’re not then you need to check them out.

Many of these series continue into 2011 and there’s many new ones to come.  When I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  So far they haven’t let me down.

Runner Ups – Top Cow, Marvel

The Comic Book Recycling Question

This post would have been more appropriate during last weeks Earth Week (or more appropriately on Earth Day), but after reading Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina Special #4 I have to ask,  why aren’t comics printed on recycled paper?

Searching the 4 major publishers I found no mention of recycling programs anywhere on their websites or anything they do for the environment.  To put it in even more perspective, and pointed out by the Ex Machina’s villain:

But comics are virgin paper going into virgin hands that tuck them away into poisonous plastic.  Forever.

And this brings up a major point, that on top of the paper we consume in the book itself, we also have the mylar bags to protect them, coated card board backing, and boxes to hold them all in.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this issue as Pop Syndicate’s Isaac Magana has also recently written on the subject.  Currently, unsold issues are either thrown out by stores or sit as back issues tucked away.  Here’s some interesting thoughts on the subject:

  • Can comics be recycled? – I don’t know the answer but don’t see why not at least some can.  They might not be as durable as the current format but, the possible issue of issues crumbling actually helps collectors in the long term.
  • Crumbling Comics is Good for Collectors – If recycled comics are less durable, over time, there will be less back issues available on the market increasing the value of older issues on the secondary market and giving a nice boost to the collector side of the hobby.
  • Let retailers return unsold issues! – Years ago, retailers could return unsold issues by ripping off the covers.  Allow retailers to do this again and recycle the issues into new comics or offer recycling programs to turn old issues into other products with some sort of incentive program.  Recycling potentially will lower costs of materials, lowering the recent hurt of increased cover costs.  Again, less overprints in the market, the higher the back issue values for collectors.
  • Used Graphic Novels Have Potential – Companies like Gamestop and FYE  have learned, there’s a hell of a market for used items like video games, movies, books, and music.  Why not purchase “used” graphic novels for low costs and resell them at a cheaper price than “new” product?  The mark up can be fantastic, allowing a more profitable margin for the ever shrinking specialty market.
  • Green Energy – Pledge to power your printing plants, offices, etc., with as much green power as possible.  Advertise this, people will eat it up.
  • Color Printing – Do I even want to know what chemicals are in the printing ink itself?
  • Encourage Green Habits for Customers – We’re not all lucky enough to have a shop around the corner, but give a way for individuals to get their weekly comics in the least impactful way possible.  Advertising mass transit options, offering recycled paper bags, plastic bag recycling (offer customers $), are simple and easy ways to make an impact as retailers.

I will put out fealers to the 4 major publishers, Dark Horse, DC, Image, and Marvel, to see if I can get any response at all to this issue.

Mayor Hundred the Original Obama?

In the latest issue of Ex Machina, a flashback is shown as the Great Machine decides to give up crimefighting for politics.

Effective immediately, I am retiring from volunteer community crimefighting.  And running as your independent candidate for Mayor of the great city of New York.  I’m hoping to be part of a truly grassroots campaign, one that will finally utilize the internet’s true potential to reach all voters.  Starting today, contributions as small as one dollar can be made directly to my new website at www.hundred4mayor.net.  That’s the word hundred and the number four, so please don’t–

The interesting part of the above quote is the focus on small contributions and the internet as a grassroots tool for campaigning.  Both show an understanding of the tool and the history of it’s evolution of use by the writer of the series.  What caught my attention was the use of a real world website (not sure if there’s an alternative like 555 for phone numbers on television).

With great dialogue showing an understanding of the internet by the writer of the comic book, it seems DC’s marketing team doesn’t quite have the same level of understanding.  DC and it’s parent company Warner Bros. dropped the ball on this one.  Having shown a brilliance for alternate reality games (arg) for the film the Dark Knight, including a fake campaign site for character Harvey Dent, one would think there was a possibility that they’d do a similar campaign for this comic book’s fake campaign (hell you could use the Dent site and change some text and graphics).

To my surprise, on a whim, I decided to see if the above web address and it’s .com equivalent were available.  To my shock, they were, and without missing a beat I purchased both (both are redirected to this site).  We’ll see and keep you updated as to the traffic lost through this slip up.

No malice is meant, just an interesting missed opportunity by DC I think (especially in this political season).

SPOILER – With the books hint at a Presidential run by Mayor Hundred I wonder if DC and Warner Bros. will take the opporunity for a real cool website tie in.