Sunday, December 18, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
My love for comics is beyond just sitting down and reading the latest issue. I love the culture and history that has grown out of comics as well. I recall as a young teen just getting into the X-Men, and not being able to afford to buy all the back issues I wanted, so I'd scour multiple libraries to find something, anything to scratch my comic book itch. This was before trades and graphic novels were common so most of what the library had to offer was books on the history of comics and I think that is what cemented me as a comic fan for life. It expanded my enjoyment beyond “What happens to Cyclops next?”
I'm older now, and it's been a long while since I've gone out of my way to read up on the history of comics. I mean... I know it all, right? Yellow Kid, Siegel & Shuster, EC Comics, Wertham, etc etc. It's all been pretty well covered. Or so I thought...
Well I received the tingle of nostalgia when I received a copy of the final issue of writer Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey's “Comic Book Comics.” Now I've not read any of the previous issues Comic Book Comics, though I was aware of it and I was hoping to check it out at some point. Luckily this issue requires absolutely no prior reading of the series. So if what I am about to describe sounds interesting, I say do try to get your hands on the comic.
So, what is Comic Book Comics? Well if the build up and title weren't obvious enough, it's a comic about comics, or more specifically the history of comics. From what I can gather, each issue touched on different subjects and periods. The cover of this says “Comics of the Future” but really isn't about that as much as you might think. Instead it touches upon the rise of graphic novels, the history of manga, the collectors market bubble burst of the 90s and the rise of comic piracy. At the end Van Lente and Dunlavey do speculate about how the industry might be able to rise from its current niche market, but it is a fairly minor part of the book.
That is not to say that the bulk of it isn't worth your time. As I said, I am more than a bit familiar with the history of comics as a medium and yet this taught me several aspects that I had never even known about. And even some of the things I'm really familiar with such as the market crash of the 90s, because I lived through it and lost a few good comic stores, painted things in a new light for me. I learned more than what happened, but also was given a lot more context as to why things happened. You start to see the dominoes laid out and can see how one event would cause another to happen which then caused another to happen.
The history is told through narration boxes and selected quotes, and Dunlavey's art. The art is cartoonish, but not in a negative way, it's not there to wow you with highly detailed portraits but help give a visual representation of the events Van Lente's words are discussing.
I will say that while I found most of the history discussed here fascinating, it can feel a bit dry at times in certain parts. You might recall my video review for Van Lente's co-written “Incredible Hercules” series where I emphasized the humor is one of the core assets of the title, and I've read enough from him to know that Van Lente can be hilarious when he wants to be, but this is a history book first and foremost. Both writer and artist do through in some great gags but if you're coming here strictly for laughs, you may be disappointed.
All in all I found Comic Book Comics an enjoyable, worthwhile read. The print version retails for $3.95 (I think, based on what I can dig up on past issues, as my copy didn't list the retail price) which might seem a bit pricey, but it is 40 pages long, pretty much double the length of an average comic, and you can get each issue on Comixology for a $0.99 which makes it a great deal even for the mildly curious. I can see some people who are not very invested in comics might not getting much out of this, but if you've ever wondered about the nuts and bolts of how we've reached the point we're at in the industry today, I recommend this comic to you.
And as always, remember that comics are awesome, and we're going to get the word out!
(Note: A review copy of this comic was provided for this writing.)
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I'm not embedding this video onto the blog just so that no one confuses it with a regular episode.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
I was originally pretty laissez-faire towards the whole thing. DC has done this sort of thing before. Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis to a lesser extent. DC has messed with its own timeline and continuity whenever it saw fit. And the occasional shakeup is not a bad thing. I like continuity, I like it when they reference it, it seems like a reward to fans and I think it's less of a barrier to new fans as some make it out to be. That said, this kind of sucks.
As more news leaks, the less this seems as a shakeup, and more as DC giving the loyal fans the bird. Great titles like Batgirl by Bryan Q. Miller being replaced with the return of Barbara Gordon to the role, written by Gail Simone. Now I like Gail. She's a fantastic writer and seems like one of the nicest people in comics, but I have no desire to see Barbara become Batgirl again. She's far more interesting as Oracle, the wheelchair-bound computer goddess to the superhero community. Also Miller has state that he's not been asked to write any of the 52 new titles coming out this September. The man is a fantastic writer and I fully intend to do a Stephanie Brown Batgirl CAA at some point. DC, if you're not taking advantage of him then you're wasting his potential.
I dunno. this coupled with 52 titles flooding the market place seems like an invitation for retailers to either not carry certain titles or carrying less of each meaning that if you go to your local store and they didn't order any copies of Mr. Terrific or sold out of JLA than you have to go somewhere else. Luckily DC is offering same-day digital delivery. Now I'm all for digital distribution, those of you who saw my Digital Comics editorial will know that, but the cynical side of me sees DC taking out the knees of the retail market, and I think if they're not careful, taking out the brick and mortar stores before the digital readership is firmly established might do serious damage to the industry.
I dunno folks. This might work. There are some books I'm curious to see and maybe DC has some further surprises for us in store, but either way I think we've hit a pivotal point in comic book history, one that will alter the playing field forever.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Awesome Off the Presses, a new feature of Comics Are Awesome, is going to be a way for me to look solely at stuff that has been released more recently. Leave a comment and let me know what you guys think!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
I did want to update something real quick in that I met a really nice lady from Seattle who co-runs a comic and gaming store with her husband. She was my line buddy for the Maskerade and unfortunately never got any contact information for her, and I'm absolutely awful with names, but I did bring up my website and she did write it down. So if you are that person and you're reading this please get a hold of me, you seemed very cool and I want to keep in touch, if nothing else so that we can arrange time to hang out next year.
You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Just a quick update on the Captain Britain & MI13 review. I realized a couple days after I posted it that I had segment that was missing a page of art, resulting in me talking over a black screen for a bit (shame on all of you for not pointing it out... awww I can't stay mad at you!). I have since re-rendered and re-uploaded a corrected version.
Also because I have hollow, Hollywood-like pretension, I did a commentary on this episode. I won't embed it here on the site just to avoid anyone getting it confused with the actual review, but if you want to waste another 20 minutes you can find it here!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
This is the longest review (not counting the vlogs) that I've done yet, as well as the biggest bear trying to get video to render properly, but it's also one of the ones I'm most happy with as a whole. Please comment!!
Now with commentary!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
I kind of want to address a small change I made to this blog. I've added links from Amazon to my reviews. I'm kind of two minds on this.
This show is first and foremost a hobby. I have no plans of getting rich off this, or even becoming even significantly less poor. But I would like to improve Comics Are Awesome as much as I can. And this is a theoretical way to supplement the costs involved in doing that, lights, newer software, props, etc. While I do get revenue from Blip from the ads that run before the videos, it's pretty small and requires a lot more views before I'll see anything from them.
And since I partially started this show as a way to encourage people to read more and better comics. So this could be viewed as simply providing a reminder for that, to help encourage people who are interested possibly giving the comic a shot. So it's win/win right?
But it could also be viewed in a negative light. First off I don't want to come off as begging. This isn't me asking for a handout. I don't want anyone to buy any book I link to from this site out of pity. I also don't want to undermine local comic shops. Amazon, online comic retailers like DCBS, digital comics, etc they're all great resources, but local comic shops are currently the major venue for comics. If they all disappear the comic industry, as it stands right now, will be left hurting in a bad way. So not only do I not want pity purchases but I want to encourage you to go to your local comic store if you have one available to you.
Right now the plan is to leave the links there. I've tried to make them small and relatively unobtrusive as much as Amazon allows. If I get a lot of complaints about them, I will take them off, simple as that.
I hope this all makes sense. I feel borderline uncomfortable discussing money, especially at this time when the economy is maybe just starting to get itself out of the dumps. So again, do not feel compelled to click on anything you don't want to. If you do, that's great, but just don't put yourself out to do so.
Thanks all, and I hope this new year sees CAA reach bigger and better heights, and I wouldn't have made it past that first episode without your help, support and constructive comments!