Sunday, November 13, 2011

This week's link post...following some more little girl art

The above was drawn by my littlest sister, Sister #3, Friday night. She's 8. She drew that at the same time Niece #1 drew that little comic strip about her dog going to a dog sleepover that I posted last night.

Both of them and Niece #2 and Sister #2 were there as well. Here's a drawing Niece #1 made of all the little girls:Niece #1 and Sister #3 both love to draw, and that's how they spent much of their time at my house. Niece #1 devised a sort of game where she would draw all four of the girls in various types of outfits, and then show the drawings to the other girls so they could vote on who had the best swimsuit or the best evening gown ("all gussied up," as she put it, actually). It was sort of a paper avatar beauty pageant by way of cartooning, I guess...?

Here, for example, is the swimwear round: My littlest sister then drew me "all gussied up" for the bearded men's competition, although I was given a more feminine name to go with my gown: Aren't I lovely?

But beauty pageants are competitive. In one drawing, you're the prettiest bearded man, and in the next, something like this could happen:Damn! The only thing worse than losing a beauty pageant? Losing it to a hobo.


Okay, now that I've shown you the artwork of my talented little relatives and relations, let's move on to talking about some things some of you might actually care about, shall we?

DC “won” October…? Huh. Everyone was expecting them to do so in September, but I thought with October the market would already be returning to its normal shape, as far as the DC vs. Marvel competition goes. That was probably naive thinking on my part though, as the way the comics direct market works, it can take months for sales to reflect real-world events.

At the end of the day, it’s not really that big a deal which of the Big Two is the biggest, and how much bigger it is than the other, but I suppose it must be to Marvel Entertainment, or at least a few key folks at Marvel, who have been crowing about their market share being larger than DC for as long as I’ve been paying attention to online comics coverage.


It seems to me like Slate has been noticeably increasing its comics coverage over the course of the last few weeks. At the very least, I’ve been copying and pasting more URLs of their articles into my Write About This On Sunday Afternoon file. Here’s a dumb article they did on New York Comic Con’s speed-dating event. I didn’t really understand the point of the article, since a lot of dating events are geared toward spoiling women with choice, as far back as the invention of ladies nights at local bars.

Oh well. Comics have almost totally, officially "made it," so of course there will continue to be a lot of mainstream press coverage of things comics and geek-related, and of course some of that coverage will be kind of lame.


Graeme McMillan has some “Random Thoughts on the Cancellation of Victor Von Doom,” the cancellation of which I lamented last week.

You know what else is weird about Marvel canceling the series on the eve of the first issue’s release?

Marvel recently released three issues of 15 Love, a YA-focused sports comic about a teenage girl who plays tennis, a series that’s been in a locked safety deposit box in the great vault of unpublished Marvel Comics in a cavern far below Manhattan for years now.

It’s a comic that no one at all anywhere in the world was particularly demanding Marvel release this year, and it seemed strange and alien in relation to the rest of their line, but they went ahead an published it anyway. Doom at least features a signature Marvel character in it…

I don't see how publishing Doom makes any less sense than not publishing it, given that they would have already paid the creators for their work. Is the cost of publication itself so high that Marvel wouldn't profit? How few copies would have to be ordered for that to actually be the case? 4,000...?

From what little I know of Big Two publishing, I can't make any sense of the decision at all.


Internet rumor-mongerer Rich Johnston apparently ran an unsourced piece in which Marvel lay the fault of the cancellation at artist Becky Cloonan’s feet, saying she hadn’t completed any of the art (Johnston since removed the article, as other un-shared sources told him his original un-named source wasn’t telling the truth).

If the first claim were true, that Cloonan hadn’t finished any art, that sure doesn’t make Marvel look any better. In fact, it makes Marvel look really, really fucking dumb for scheduling the comic in the fashion they did. It as a miniseries set in the past—why on earth would they solicit it ASAP, and before any of it was drawn? They could have waited until the entire series was in the can before soliciting it. HAD to be solicited ASAP, before it was drawn? You couldn't just wait until it was in the can?

Tangentially related is the way Johnston’s original story was received. I think everyone who go mad at Johnston for running it was more than justified in being mad at him for running such a negative story about a comics creator and citing only an anonymous source or sources (“Bleeding Cool understands that” is how he phrased it in the original, since-taken-down story; “Senior sources at Marvel,” is how he put it in an update). And it was apparently an anonymous source or sources that even he didn’t believe in enough to stand by.

That's gossip, not journalism (It’s been a while since I’ve read Johnston defending his work, but if I remember correctly, he generally refers to what he does himself as gossip). And comics needs more journalism and less gossip.

If I were Cloonan I’d be mighty pissed if someone ran gossip about me failing to meet my professional commitments. And if I were anyone who knew or respected Cloonan, I’d be awfully pissed too. Hell, I’ve never even met Cloonan, and I’m still pretty irritated that someone with Johnston’s platform used it to anonymously bash her.


Oh, so I guess the new policy at Marvel is to just cancel everything that seems even remotely awesome...?

Man, what is going on at Marvel these days…?


Well, here’s what Marvel was doing in September of this year, sale-wise.

Of note in this installment of Paul O’Brien’s monthly analyses is how Alpha Flight has been doing, since Marvel upgraded it from a miniseries to a monthly and then canceled it.

As O’Brien notes, the sales figures themselves didn’t seem to justify either the decision to upgrade the book to a monthly or the decision to cancel it, and they’ve been so steady that if it was an economic decision, the same set of data can’t possibly support both decisions, right?

Another question I had while reading through this installment—Is Brian Michael Bendis still popular?

Because “Bendis – Avengers” sure doesn't get big numbers. His Brilliant charted at #88 and had just under 29,000 units, while his Moon Knight followed at #90 and moved around 28,5000.

Even “Bendis + Avengers” isn’t that hot these days. His Avengers charted at #23 (no doubt pushed down the chart by the influx of DC #1s) with about 61,500 units, and his New Avengers double-shipped, landing at #26 and #37 with about 58,000 and 51,500 units, respectively.

Bendis’ biggest hit was Ultimate Spider-Man, which also double-shipped; #1 came in at #9 with 87, 200, and #35 with 52,500, but there was obviously a big push behind the new volume of USM that was likely to bring pretty big numbers in, no matter who was writing.

This was obviously an off month for Marvel in general, given it was the month DC finaly ate their lunch, so perhaps there’s not much to it, but I’ve been wondering about Bendis’ career at Marvel and with the Avengers for a while now, given how long he’s been steering the franchise for the publisher. Basically, they’re currently Marvel’s most popular characters (in large part because of Bendis’ work on them years ago, of course), and it seems like whoever Marvel hired to keep writing them would be able to get similar results to what Bendis is currently getting.


Here’s an announcement of the creative team for the Steel back-up that will be arriving in Action Comics shortly. (But still too late to justify that hefty $4 price-tag it’s bore for the first few issues!).

The writer? Sholly Fisch!

Fisch is a really, really, really good comics writer, and his All-New Batman: The Brave and The Bold has been consistently excellent since it launched last year or so. I think having him write the back-up is a wise choice and, more than that, an exciting choice, as he’s a writer with a pretty long track record of doing great work with DC superheroes, doing that work efficiently with smaller page-counts, and yet he’s a writer that hasn’t gotten to play much in the “real” DCU (The new DCU or the old DCU).

I'm not crazy about any alteration of Steel's origin, as it was and is such a perfect one.

The fact that Steel is debuting so relatively early in the new timeline also makes me wonder why he’s not in the JLA instead of Cyborg. Like Cyborg, he is apparently being shunted backwards into DC's new timeline.

Previously Steel didn't debut as a superhero until the tenth year or so of the DCU, whereas here he's debuting in the first year which would make him a first generation superhero, rather than a legacy one or latecomer, like, um...well, I don't know who would count as a legacy or even more recent hero in the new continuity: Kyle Rayner, all of the Robins save maybe Dick Grayson, and maybe Arsenal...?

A new origin story that puts him at the scene of Superman’s debut would also seem to make the Superman/Steel relationship a bit more like Captain America/The Falcon (two heroes of different races with distinct identities that began as something akin to partners) than like Iron Man/War Machine (two heroes of different races, the black one of which filled-in for the white one for a while before taking on a heroic identity inspired by the white one).


At last! The most exciting installment of Marc-Oliver Frisch’s monthly analysis of DC Comics’ sales! This is the installment dealing with DC’s September, the month in which 51 of their “New 52” books debuted.

They look pretty amazing over all, but they are stunt-driven sales and thus won’t stay as high for long. For example, once everyone who bought, say Green Arrow #1 and read it decides that it was kind of terrible and they don’t want to read #2, or when readers or decide which of the many Bat-books they like and which they don't and decide to drop four and stick with one, then they should plummet down to something that reflects the demand for the books themselves, not the response to the stunt.

I think the most substantial aspect of the analysis Frisch provides is highlighting how particular books did historically, so you can see the last time some of these characters and concepts were able to move as many units. For example, Aquaman and Flash were both more popular than they’ve been in recent memory, while Teen Titans did only about as well as it was doing during Geoff Johns’ run.

It was also interesting to see books that didn't do so hot. Like, even if the sales for Firestorm or Stormwatch or Green Arrow sales big sales for Firestorm or Stormwatch or Green Arrow, if this is their launch point, if this is what they sold with the benefit of a gigantic, unprecedented media pus that linked the entire DC line together, then one has to imagine they’re going to plummet out of sight pretty quickly.

I think Blue Beetle seems the most in trouble, based on its relatively low sales, it’s awful reviews, and the existence of a solid Blue Beetle backlist making new Jamie Reyes stories telling the same story more poorly redundant. Although there’s a pretty big grouping of some of the more random-looking “New 52” in the 31-40K unit range.

There’s a big question mark regarding cancellations in the future though, since DC promoted their line as a specific number of titles. Even if they decide to cancel a single series and replace it with another, keeping the number at 52, the cancelled one will be a brand New New 52 book, and thus upset the balance.

I’m really eager to see how DC will deal with cancellations, although we may be as far as a year or so away from anything being canceled, if even those in the 30K range can stop from shedding more than 10K more for a while…


This is pretty exciting news. I’m a big fan of Guillem March’s work, and I don’t think he’s gotten a terribly fair shake from U.S. super-comics readers, mostly because of the books he’s been assigned (The Paul Dini’s “Look at all these sexy ladies!” team-up book Gotham City Sirens, and the new Batman-fucking-Catwoman book).

I’m looking forward to seeing this, and I hope it helps dispel March’s reputation as the guy DC Comics hires to illustrate the fan-fiction-like sex fantasies of their writers.


These are awesome. I like the idea of it, and the illustrations and the various takes of the characters. Even though there are a surprising number of them that I don’t even know who they are.


Wow, Frank Miller really turned into a very old man all of a sudden this year, didn't he?

Miller’s rant is pretty weird in that it’s not really connected to or responding to anything in particular, it’s just a few paragraphs of random invective, of the kind you might find in a letter to the editor or, more likely, an anonymous message left on the website of a daily newspaper. Only all of the words are spelled right (I guess that's how you can tell Miller's a writer...?)

It’s bizarre Miller connects Wall Street and the fight against “a ruthless enemy” that he presumably means is Al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. Does the U.S. financial system prosecute what the Bush administration used to call The Global War on Terrorism? I thought that was more the Pentagon than Wall Street.

Is Frank Miller protesting the 2003 anti-war movement, conflating it with the Occupy movement…?

(By the way, Miller writes, “Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.” I never have heard the term “Islamicism,” and even now that I Google it, I see it’s a fairly controversial one).

Didn't understand the Oakland bit of Miller’s post. He wrote:
The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment.
Oakland police severely injured more than one Iraq veteran, one almost mortally so. Miller's all like everyone should join the army to fight the Islamicists instead of protesting the corrupt aspects of the U.S. financial system, but some them did join the army to fight Miller’s enemy (if you buy that the war in Iraq is part of the so-called “Global War On Terror,” as Miller probably does), and then they came back to stand by the folks Miller calls pond scum and louts.

I’m still looking forward to reading Frank Miller's #Occupy Empire City comic, though!

By the way, here’s Tom Spurgeon’s piece on Miller. It’s pretty funny.


Aki Alaraatikka said...

I didn`t know that you wear womens clothes and fight crime...But, because those are secrets, you must`ve hid those well.

the reason the Doom-book got cancelled, is that the editor of the series goed to retirement. Or something like that.

Bryce said...

Calebly... hehe... BEST POST EVER.

Eyz said...

Heck, I would have bought that new Blue Beetle book, considering my love for the series/legacy/and current character...but since it's starting all over, following the same's like a big rehash. Even worse, without Giffen on the story.

(instead of going in new direction like Dan Garrett did from Fox to Charlton Comics going from mystery man using super powered pills to man using powers of Egyptian gods or later on with Ted Kord as more Batman gadget-using hero)