The State of the (Comic) Union

This year I went to Emerald City Comicon, not as a fan or cosplayer, but as a writer for Going in this way, made me see things in a much different, and unfortunate, light.

Usually when I go, I’m trying to support my artist friends, cosplayers or just witness what new books are out, but, a lot has changed in a year. I was down to reading about 10 titles a month, then lower, then down to one. When that title ended, I was done. Not done with reading comics, thanks to DC reviving Wild Dog for Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye, but I have really decreased my time in reading monthly books, because of work, other projects and money, I just couldn’t fit them into a slice of my life, which I will admit, feels very, very odd. Now, most of the comics I read are in graphic novel form or collected, as it wasn’t worth it to me to pick up a $3.99 book I could read in 4 minutes.

That said, as I wandered around ECCC, I noticed something different.

The slow demise of single issue, monthly comics.

Many tables had books by artists who had collected their stories. Those booths that didn’t had boxes and boxes of single comics. I mean….BOXES. All at 50%-80% off. With the exception of course to the guy who’s still (not) selling his 30 copies of Star Wars #1 at $80.00 a piece. I know this, because I saw him pack all of them back away. “It’s only worth what people are willing to pay.” I whispered to myself as I walked by.

The demographic I saw for those digging and fingering their way through the dusty boxes were mainly males, from about 25 years and up. More women then last year, but they weren’t looking at DC or Marvel. They were picking through the Anime and Indy stuff.

Sadly, most single issues stayed in the boxes. Taped up in their slowly disintegrating bags, only to wait until the next Con to be sold at a much lower price.

Why is this happening? In my opinion, it’s because comics are not only expensive, but they just aren’t needed anymore.

Now before you slam your crayon to paper and write me a hugely worded, badly spelled hate letter, let me explain as I understand, you have skin in this game. It’s why your reading it. You care about comics still, and that’s great!

But you aren’t the majority of the public and you aren’t buying them all to help.

While comic movies make BILLIONS of dollars, not a single movie studio has really set aside some money or time to develop a comic book commercial in front of the movie that brought people to the seats in the first place. Think about it. There would be no Avengers movie without the Avengers comic, but when is the last time you saw a tv commercial about making people go read the Avengers monthly?

That’s why people don’t have to buy them either. Because most “fans” don’t need to know the history of Doctor Strange or Deadpool. They simply need to sit in front of a movie screen and have it fed to them in 2 hours. Also, nowadays, most people just don’t care.

Gone are the days of comic book store arguments about how many colors of Kryptonite there are, or how many Robins have been killed. When is the last time you were in a verbal argument, not over the internet because a monkey with a typewriter could fight over the internet, no I mean, verbally arguing over Wolverines correct origin story?

Congrats if you have, but I’m going to guarantee you were the only one in a million mile radius to do so.

Being “outside the box” at ECCC, I saw that the “norms” or the ones who were there to see the costumes, games, celebrities and panels about costumes, games and celebrities, don’t care that much.

When I was growing up, that’s all that mattered. Your knowledge of comics. All the knowledge you accrued through hours and hours of reading.

Now that knowledge is a Google search away and takes seconds.

As a guy who worked at a comic shop for about 20 years and an AM radio station for 8, let me tell you, I can see when things are being phased out, and single issue comics are going the way of the record store.

Speaking of which, while in Seattle, I visited a dimly lit record store in Pike Street Market. There were 4 people in there. One owner, one customer talking to the owner like they were friends and two girls, who didn’t even own a record player. They just wanted to see what records looked like.

That’s where I see single issues at.

Don’t believe me?

Go buy a brand new comic off the rack. Put it in a cardboard backer and bag. Now, wait one week and try to get all of your money back on eBay or Amazon.

Unless its the only copy in the World or signed by Stan Lee who happened to be at the store when you bought it, you’ll be lucky to get half your money back.

Gone are the days of “This’ll put my kid through college” books. Also, at $3.99 a book, gone are the days kids buying comics because they would rather buy a $3.00 App that will take up 4x the amount of time to finish it. Who can blame them? They can play most of these with their friends. There’s SO much entertainment out there and as a kid, its important to play what your friends are playing so you can talk about it. That’s what comics were, but with a thousand other things to do, read and play, its hard to get into reading a short story when your friends aren’t.

I take no joy in saying this, but I think it’s time to let go. It’s time to admit defeat. Single issues are bought as Xmas stocking fillers. As something a father buys his kid when they’re in the hospital, only because he doesn’t know what else to buy. Or as “I remember this” memory purchases, only to be put down 2 minutes after you bought it because things have changed so drastically, you have no idea whats going on.

Also, don’t get me started on hard to find titles, comic shops not ordering them or so many crossovers, you’d have to spend half your paycheck to keep up.

I’m not saying all single issues are bad. There’s some really great stories and art out there right now. I personally witnessed some outstanding and fun stories, some of the best since Dark Knight re-started the comic world, but let’s say I buy a #1 from someone at a Con. Then I go to the local comic store and ask, “Can you order this?” If the answer is yes, I might stay with it, but I’ve seen too many times, the comic was only fun in the purchasing, doesn’t live up to its promise and is left behind for the comic store owner to be stuck with…OR….the comic store owner won’t take the chance and order it.

The hard truth is, no one cares about monthly story lines anymore, and the ones that do, are a dying breed. For every new person to pick up a comic, two more leave for collected novels or not return at all, whether its because of money, lifestyle or just bored of them.

Unfortunately, comics did it to themselves. DC had balls to change all their books to the new DC52. They saw something drastic needed to be done and pulled the trigger, hoping to get new readers for new #1’s, but it turned off so many people, not even some of the most hardened DC fans came back for “Rebirth”. DC shouldn’t take all the blame though. I was working in a comic shop at the time and saw the downfall before then. Stories, crossovers and price were making people leave by the dozens and by the time the comic world decided something should be done, it was too late.

Marvel movies are spectacular and not miss events, but the last time a Marvel comic got any press, it was because Captain America may have been a Hydra agent all along and people who hadn’t picked up the book in decades, suddenly took to the internet to defend a character they hadn’t read since Bucky was still his sidekick. The buzz lasted about as long as issue #2. Now a comic only gets buzz for outing gay characters or making men into women (Thor), girls into men (Iron Man) or white into black (Ms. Marvel) and while that’s all well and good, would the changes have been made if the books weren’t failing and the Alt Right crowd weren’t so easily manipulated into false anger against “those liberal PC books”?

Did you know one Marvel movie can make about as much in a month what the entire comic industry can sell in about a year?

So where’s the advertising budget to get more readers into single issues?

Again, I’m not proud of these statements, but I think we need to face the facts. Single issue, monthly comics are the new Album-8 track-cassette-CD-DVD-computer tower of the new World and I mourn for them. We had some good times. Every month I remember rushing in to see if Booster and Beetle were going to get in trouble with Maxwell Lord again or if Batman could figure out Riddlers new crime spree. I’ll miss those days. Much like I still get melancholy over seeing an old Blockbuster building empty and remembering how fun it was to go pick out a movie. I can look at some of my comics and remember the place I bought them and sometimes, what the day was like outside.

But time moves on and we have to adapt. We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! But for now, we mourn the passing of our old dear friends.

Single, monthly comic issues….R.I.P. 1933 – 2017

It was a good run.


The Tick Is Back, But Is It Good?



I have always been a fan of The Tick. I’ve always loved the Superhero that wasn’t perfect.

Not flawed like, “My parents are dead” flawed, but just fun flawed. Like Mystery Men or Superior Foes of Spider Man.

Before you start screaming “REBOOT!! MY CHILDHOOD!!”, well, shut up and let me finish.

First off, Ben Edlund, the creator, is hands on for this new version. Even Patrick (The Original Tick) Warburton is on as a producer.

Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to like this at all. I loved the original version, though short lived. It was world I would have loved to live in. It was also responsible for one of the greatest superheroes of all time, Batmanual, played beautifully by Nestor Carbonell, who’s only weakness was “soccer moms”.

I will admit though that the older version was built to be cancelled. It was slow in spots, partly meant only for true comic geeks and at times, felt like it was trying too hard, or actually, not hard enough.

Now that’s not a bad thing. Patrick Warburton was spot on perfect and the series itself had some absolute great episodes, but like I said, there was no way it was going to play to a giant audience like Seinfeld or Friends. As an example, my wife, who is not a comic reader,  loved it, but wouldn’t go out of her way to watch it. So neither would other “norms”.

Though we’re in a different age now. An age where Netflix can release an entire season of Daredevil to a paying audience. Where Paramount can release a Pay For Channel and launch it with a new Star Trek series. Also, let’s face it, it’s a great time to be a nerd with shows like Flash, Agents of Shield, Arrow, Supergirl and more. Not to mention Marvels Civil War and Suicide Squad taking all your summer money.

So Amazon Prime is trying out the tight spandex one more time as a new actor squeezes into the big blue bug suit.

Peter Serafinowicz is the new Tick and you probably don’t know who that is. Look, I don’t blame you. It’s a tough name to remember, but what if I quoted two lines from two different movies he’s been in, I bet you’d know immediately who I was talking about.

  1. It’s four in the f###ing morning!”
  2.  “What a bunch of A-holes

Yep, THAT guy. Shaun of the Dead’s roommate and also part of the Nova Corp.

It’s hard to like the guy considering the characters he’s played,  but here he does a good job and well, grows on you.

My only two real complaints about him is, it’s hard to look the part after Warburton nailed it, what with his square jaw and deadpan voice. Though he doesn’t look exactly like Warburton did, it feels like I’m pairing Keaton and Kilmer for the same roll. Peter Serafinowicz does an excellent job and his voice will definitely start to sound “Tick-Like”.


The other is the suit. It’s too bumpy and almost looks alien. It’s obviously an Executive decision to make it look “busy”, much like the yellow hose from nowhere hooked to the Ghostbusters belt in the first movie. No real explanation, just make it look busy for the camera.

Where the original version was slow or deadpan, this new one suffers from “movie update”. Remember when Star Trek the Next Generation went to film and the bridge looked darker? Or how about the X-Men gear in the first movie? No yellow spandex there.

Also, the show is indeed updated for an older audience. There’s a couple of curse words and adult themes, like Arthur’s mental state. Without spoiling anything, there’s a reason Arthur wants to be a superhero and it’s a pretty gruesome story. In fact, it deals with another superhero group and ” weaponized syphilis”. Now, Arthur takes medicine and suffers from an eye twitch. He still tries to be a superhero, but in a Casey Jones without his bats kind of way.


While the dialogue is fun, there are some some jokes that fall flat and some lulls in the plot, but never, ever judge a show by its plot.

Like I said, I didn’t want to like this show. I didn’t like the fact Tick would be darker and so different, but in the end, I was enjoying it.

So after all that, I will admit, I’m in.

I can’t wait to see what else Edlund and Serafinowicz have to offer.











DC Rebirth – Here We Go Again Part 2


SUPERMAN returns this week and I really, really mean that. In fact, I can’t stress that enough. Superman returns.

Since I haven’t been keeping up with the DC52, I had a hard time figuring out what was going on, so understand, I’m reviewing these comics as a brand new reader. A “norm” who has just discovered comics.

Yes, I’m sure there is no end to the people who could help educate me on the history of the collared cape, but I don’t want it. In fact, I highly stress the fact that I do not want any help understanding what has happened. You see, this gives me a better opportunity to fully review these as a “n00b ” and see if DC is really writing these books for new readers or just the fans.

So, yes, Superman Rebirth had me scratching my head, but only for a bit. You see, the old Superman, BEFORE the big DC52 switch-over, has secretly been hanging out in that Universe, unbeknownst to New52 Superman, who has died from fighting Doomsday. So now, old Superman is “Only Superman” and struggles with the idea of how to get New52 Superman back to life and if he can’t, what should happen next? Because you see, NewSupes had a family. He’s married to Lois and they have a half human/half Kryptonian son. Sort of like the Superman Returns movie without the weird stalking vibe.

It’s nice to see Supes back in his original costume and not the Nazi collared jerk he appeared to be in the New52. I’ll be reading this for a while as it seems DC has old Supes feeling like an outsider, which is where he usually does his best work.


SUPERMAN #1 doesn’t quite continue where Superman: Rebirth leaves off, so again, there’s a little homework involved if you want to keep reading these titles. Basically, Clark is married and we find out his son (actually New52’s Superman’s son, but he was killed, so Clark is now an adoptive dad of sorts) has powers like his father. In fact, it’s a pretty shocking way how we find out about one of his powers.

The rest of the book deals with Clark and Lois trying to figure out how to deal with their sons gifts Nothing we haven’t seen in most story lines dealing with super powers and kids, but this has a strange feel of The Incredibles which struck a chord with me. The art is nice and neat, which makes it seem easier to get into. I have a soft spot for superhero families, like the FF, so I’ll definitely be sticking around a little longer to see how this plays out.


GREEN LANTERN REBIRTH tells us that between Hal Jordon, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner and John Stewart, Earth doesn’t have enough Green Lanterns.

We learn that the Universe is a big place though and it seems most of the GL’s are busy elsewhere, so Hal Jordon has an idea with the two newest rookie’s Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. He pairs them together like an 80’s cop movie, tying their rings to only one lantern, making them work together as a team to help protect the Earth.

There’s some problems going on with the Red Lanterns also, who seem to be on the verge of losing everything, so we can clearly see a fight on the horizon. I’ve never been a big GL reader, but I’m a sucker for new heroes learning the ropes, so again, I’ll be sticking around to see how it goes. The art is again, nice and simple and the dialogue stays away from cliched paired cop talk, but just barely. It may get a little old fast.


GREEN LANTERN #1 has our rookies Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, finding a serial killer of aliens on good ‘ol Earth. Something is making people go into rages and with no Hal Jordon to hold their hands, it’s up to LeBaz….no…..Craz?……..Jeson?    How about ZZ? Ah…its a work in progress.

Anyway,  Earth GL’s Cruz and  Baz go on the hunt for a killer. Like I said, the partner banter kind of gets old already, but the characters have enough background story to keep you interested in them. It should be a good title, but the whole “I don’t like the way she does this” and “I don’t like the way he does that” won’t last long with me.



DC has tried to resurrect and old, and I mean old, favorite. Like, I’m so old I didn’t see this in reruns as a kid, old. I saw these first run.

Man, I’m old.

Wacky Racers was a Hannah Barbarra cartoon where a bunch a wacky characters try and race from city to city. We’re never really sure what brought them together or really, what the prizes were, but it was silly and there was nothing else on.

In DC’s reboot, they take the sweet cartoon and turn it inside out. Then shove it down its own throat and pull it out its butthole, but not before pouring whiskey all over it and lighting it on fire.

Any similarities between the old Saturday cartoon and this comic are strictly nothing more than words on a page.

We see that most of the racers are being blackmailed in a way that forces them into racing and the characters read like extras in a Mad Max movie and the director just yelled at them to ad-lib their dialogue. There’s alcohol, swearing and plenty of violence, so I’m not sure who this comic is for. Purists will hate it, kids shouldn’t read it and adults who didn’t see the cartoon will be a little lost.

I’ll admit, bought it for the nostalgia, but that quickly went out the window around page 3. The dialogue reads like an un-produced movie sequel to Death Race and sometimes the action is really hard to follow as the art is pretty messy, but on purpose; to give you feel of the future, cars and violence.

I’ll at least pick up the 2nd issue to see where it goes, but as for buying it, we’ll see.


Stay tuned for DC Rebirth Part 3…

DC Rebirth – Here We Go Again Part 1

I have a Love/Hate relationship with DC comics.

When I was growing up, I read nothing but DC. I read one Marvel comic which was Amazing Spider-Man, but the rest were nothing but DC. All the Superman titles, all the Batman titles, Flash, Wonder Woman and especially Justice League International and America. I loved everything DC.

Then the writing staff of DC at the time, decided to throw away Maxwell Lord’s history and “change” him into a villain, making it the laziest and most pathetic choice ever.

Then they shot Blue Beetle, had Booster Gold leave the present, kill Rocket Red and basically destroy the league I loved.

I walked away and never looked back. I made my home in the house of Marvel after that for years.

Then the new DC52 came along and I gave it a shot. That didn’t last long either. The comics started out good, especially Aquaman, but later on, they gave the feeling that they should have been given away with action figures sold at Target. The art was more of a “house” feel, as all the titles seemed to have the same look without much originality.

So here we are again. REBIRTH is another try at boosting sales by returning their heroes to the universe they were originally in, with slight changes because that happens when you go through time and back.

This time? I may be back because they do show promise, so here’s my semi-non-spoiler review of some of the recent titles.


BATMAN starts out a little different then most times we’ve been welcomed back to Gotham. Have you ever seen the most cliched scene of Superman saving the city from a falling airliner? Ever wondered how Batman would do it?

Well here’s your chance because because due to some terrorist activities, an airliner is about to crash into a crowded park and it’s up to Batman (and Alfred) to save everyone. The comic gives a false sense of dread, because let’s face it, they aren’t going to kill off Batman in the first issue, but it ends with a mystery, which looks like it could put Batman back on the underdog list.

I thought it was a lot of fun as long as you don’t question the science of it too much. Just sit back and think, “It’s Batman, so of course he can do this”.

The strangest part of the comic, I thought, was if you look hard, you can see Gordon lighting a cigarette, something Marvel has even stopped doing. And don’t get me started on Constantine.


FLASH has always been a favorite of mine. It’s just so simple. A simple superpower, small cast,  easy to get into.

Though sadly, this didn’t do much for me. A lot goes on and it seems to be trying to tie up the DC52 Flashpoint stuff as well as whats going on now in the new Universe. There’s too much being thrown out to keep up. Maybe that’s the key that I missed. Everything feels rushed, like the writer himself is running out of time. Hopefully things slow down a little and start making sense, but I will say, if the art doesn’t get better, there’s really no reason to go back for me.



AQUAMAN has always had a small, but faithful following and he deserves it. There’s never been anything really wrong with Aquaman, but there’s not really been anything special about him either.

This time around, we see that he’s building a country of sorts in his kingdom as he has added a special building for missions along with a special forces brigade to help guard Atlantis. Mera plays a little bigger role this time around and we see that, everything Aquaman does, Mera merely puts up with. She’s not really excited to save the upper world, but will continue to do  so because her king thinks they should. A not-to-big-of-a -surprise ending with an overused villain, but all in all, a good read and exactly what I opened with. Nothing wrong, but nothing special.


GREEN ARROW seems to have the same type of following. Small but strong. I’ll admit I did not care for the New 52, younger Ollie. Here, Ollie is more middle aged and professional than before. He doesn’t seem to be as old as he was before the New 52, but he seems just the right age when he comes along a woman named Dinah Lance for the first time.

The story involves the selling of homeless women and children. A cliche used many times, but lets face it, it works. The killing of innocence and the overused power of the rich are touched on with a no holds barred story line with great, simple art and seeing Ollie searching for the bad guys with Dinah at his side feels fun and adventurous. I really hope they can keep this feel because it could be the break out title and gain Ollie some new fans.


WONDER WOMAN must hold the record for origin stories and this is no different. We see, again, life on the island, but this time, things may not be what they have seemed in her past. It’s hard to review without giving anything away, but what I can say is, if you’re willing to read a story with a slow burn, give it a shot.


Maxwell Lord Killed My Family

I read DC comics for years.

And when I say that, I mean, I ONLY read DC comics.

I read one marvel comic and that was Spider-Man.

I lived in the world of DC comics for years. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hitman, I read them all and working in a comic book store helped me read, literally, ALL of them.

I scoffed at Marvel comics. I didn’t know the history of the characters, except for Spider-Man, so I just didn’t bother learning them. I mean, why? DC comics were the best. The best stories, the best characters, the works.

Don’t believe me? I was reading them in the height of their greatness. Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke and more.

And then there was Justice League International.


I still own this poster like a family reunion photo

A friend of mine walked me into a comic book store one day and introduced me to the JLI, though then, they were just known as Justice League.

On the cover, was Shazam and J’ohnn J’onzz holding back a Green Lantern. Well, how ridiculous, I thought. These are two of the strongest people in the DC universe. Surely this is a joke.


It was and it was a darn good one. JLI showed me a different world. A world where superheroes had normal lives. They had bills to pay. Dating problems. Rent to find.

Oh sure, Peter Parker had the same problems, but these people belonged to the Justice League. Are you telling me the JL doesn’t pay well? I hadn’t even thought of that. I just assumed Clark Kent was one of the highest paid reporters ever, Bruce Wayne had everything paid for and perhaps Diana Prince was living off a government check.

These weren’t A listers. They were the B squad. The guys who helped the city out but it just took a little longer and created a little more damage than usual. This was a college dorm room of heroes.

And I loved ever minute of it.


I had never seen anything like this. The art was not only easy on the eyes but so comical and real. This was a sitcom come to life. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, bantering together like old chums. Guy Gardner hitting on Ice all the while Fire trying to get her modelling career going. These heroes had other lives besides fighting evil and not the simple drama of counting how many times Mary Jane left Peter or who was going to kidnap Lois Lane again, but real life problems. Like where to go for a first date with a super hero and what if, just what if, you were actually scared of the big bad guy coming your way. They were as real to me as anyone I’d met. The whole family was there. The dad, Batman, always stern. Your brothers, Booster and Beetle, the older uncle J’ohnn, the mom Black Canary, always giving the womens perspective.

Sure they had their fights, but even then, they were fun.


Then there was Maxwell Lord. The guy who brought it all together. The billionaire who could give Bruce a run for his money. No matter what kind of hi-jinks happened, Max was there to iron it out. Even when the League was in tatters, Max brought it all back.

In a flashback, we learned that Max wasn’t always the best guy in the world. He was a man lured by evil for money and fame, but he was trying to get over it. Trying to help and be a better man.

I loved Justice League International with all my heart.

Then came Infinite Crisis.


DC. Selling your soul for only $1

DC, for some reason thought, “You know all that fun we’ve been having? Well that’s going to change.”

It was the shot heard round the world of comics.

Maxwell Lord, the head of the JLI for years and the guy who you came to like, turned bad guy on a dime. Apparently he had been gathering information on all superheroes .  His whole life in the JLI was a lie.

Ted Kord, Blue Beetle, who he known for years, discovered a plot by Max and was going to turn him in.

And this happened.


All those years of fun and discovery were over. That bullet not only killed Ted Kord, but killed all the fun DC had created, never to get it back again.

After that shot, Max released the OMACS. Killer cyborgs who ended up having Rocket Red, the family man of the JLI,  sacrifice himself to save his friends. Fire almost dies in battle and Booster, having seen enough, decides to go back into the future, never to return.

Max also brainwashes Superman to kill Batman, until Wonder Woman, having no choice, snaps Lord’s neck and kills him.


Good times, am I right?

My family was destroyed. Ripped apart. Killed. The books I had, one of the best lines DC had created, was gone. In one fell swoop, they ruined a character for no good reason, destroyed a family and killed a fan favorite.


Now I’ve read many books where the villain fools everyone and destroys the good guys, yet here, it was different. It was a turn that made about as much sense as Han Solo shooting Luke and Leia for the reward money.

It wasn’t the New 52 that ruined DC. It was one bullet.

It was a cheap shock value story that not only devastated the DC universe, but a long time reader as well.

DC tried to bring them back in Generation Lost, which had it’s moments, especially a great storyline by the amazing Amanda Conner on Power Girl, but all in all, it was about as fun as watching After M.A.S.H.


DC tried again later with Justice League International in the New52, only to kill another Rocket Red and leaving Fire, Ice and Vixen, comatose from a bomb blast.


The line was cancelled and with good reason.

Recently, Booster and Beetle were revived again and while the characters were there, without the rest of the family, it seemed like a sad bar where the only thing your friends could do was talk about the old times.

Now before you say, “Well, you just want read about fun, so your story sucks“, well first, I’m not too surprised that my fellow nerds would take the chance to be negative about someone not liking certain comics, but also, I’d say you’re right. I have certain likes.

While I DO enjoy an occasional serious storyline, much like the 3 part Despero in JLI and certain Dark Knight stories, what I enjoy more is the fun of having superpowers.

I mean, you get to fly! You can turn invisible! You can change your size to an ant! Why are you so serious?


So now, thanks to DC, I’m a Marvel reader.

Deadpool, Hawkeye, Thor and Ant Man. These guys know how to have fun and though they’re not the family I grew up with, they’re my new family.


While I won’t say DC has a habit of killing off characters I come to love…..


Well, never mind.

So the next time you see me being negative about a certain DC comic, understand, I’m not someone who has always yelled MAKE MINE MARVEL! It’s just I’ve been on both sides of the argument.

I just decided to have more fun over at Marvel.