Sunday, March 30, 2008

Captain America # 14: The Floppy Strikes Back!

I am here to report that people have lost their MFing MINDS over all the Brubaker Cap issues. I'm seeing increased interest and price spiking across the run. The big winners here are issues #1-5, and DEAR GOD is Captain America # 14 on fire.
What? The floppy is ablaze and not the TPB??? Yes, folks, news of the floppy's demise is greatly exaggerated.

Results are spotty, which is typical of all runs driven by madmen. This evening I saw an ungraded issue of Captain America # 14 sell for nearly $200. Don't believe me? I don't blame you. Check it out for yourself:

This book is barely two years old, a quintessential example of 21st century eBay insanity. This would never have happened even 5 years ago. And it is based entirely on bullshit. Let me explain.

I've seen this sort of behavior before, the most recent example that comes to mind is the big run we saw (and in diluted form still see) with Planetary # 19. Interest in a book picks up, and a certain issue gets a reputation as being "the tough one to get". Sometimes it's true. Sometimes I have to scratch my head. This is one of those times.

I'm the kind of sick human who keeps track of comic book sales data each month, so I happen to have good data on the relative scarcity of this "super rare" Cap issue.

Let's take a look at the issues that preceded and immediately followed the barn burning # 14 and see if this phenomenon makes any damn sense at all:

Oct 2005 .......Capt. America # 11 ......37.......60.67
Nov 2005 .......Capt. America # 12 ......36 ......64.60
Dec 2005........Capt. America # 13 ......42.......71.18
Feb 2006........Capt. America # 14.......37.......66.28
Feb 2006........Capt. America # 15.......38.......65.24

A few things worth noting here. One is the remarkable consistency of the book. It nearly always falls between # 36-38 on the top 300 list.

I don't have data for actual number of issues ordered here, because the Diamond Top 300 list is compiled by a sadistic retarded orangutan. And that orangutan thought that telling people the number of issues ordered was too confusing. Said orangutan thought it would be a much better idea to call DC's Batman the benchmark by which all other comics should be compared. So the index is a percentage of however many issues Batman sold in that particular month.(around 80,000 is a reasonably accurate guess) That orangutan better not meet me in a dark alley, by the by. But I digest.

The point of that chart is that it is very easy to see that Captain America # 14 is NOT in any way scarce. Only 36 comics in the world beat it that month. It wasn't even the most scarce Captain America comic released that month! If anything, the world should be on fire for issue 15.

What you need to understand is that the market is not ruled by reason. It is fully in the hands of hormone-charged maniacs who want the flavor of the month, and they want it RIGHT. GODDAMN. NOW. And they will pay any cost.

Moral of the story? If you have Captain America # 14, now is the time to dump it. Don't fret. This fever will not last. You can buy it back later for much, much, much less if you want it. Might be a good time to take a trip to the local comic shop and see what they have for Brubaker Cap stuff. Anything from# 1-15 at cover or less is an easy buy.

If this phenomenon continues, we may even see spiking in the trades, particularly Captain America: Winter Soldier Vol 2 which contains issues # 14. My sense is that those are still in print, though, and that Marvel will be able to fill whatever demand flows at it.
I think a tremendous sleeper book here is the Premeire HC edition of Winter Soldier V2. ISBN on that = 0785117083. If you find that sealed in your local shop, pounce on that mutha like it was a Cabbage Patch Doll in December 1983. There aint gon' be any more of those coming out.

Not a bad idea to pick up that Cap Omnibus, either. Just remember - when Marvel goes back to print, the profit go bye-bye. So be aware, and be smart.

Happy Hunting!

PS: Incidentally, you won't be getting this info from Wizard until it's too late, if at all. Sure you have to listen to me talk about the state of my testicles. (Feeling supple, thanks) But it pays to listen to the show and read the blog!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tricks of the Trades

There are a lot of tools available to the out-of-print book shopper. The one I use most often to search for trades is, mostly because it is so easy to interface with. And I can usually trust the results - if something appears as a hit on that site, the odds are good I'll be able to actually purchase the item at the listed price.

There are plenty of other options like available. Boofinder searches through far more sites, but the results are a bit dodgy. You're going to get results that aren't reliable. When you type in the title or ISBN of your latest TPB discovery, it will send you to sites where the book was once sold but isn't currently available.

It's going to show you sites from Timbuktu and tell you that they have a copy of Gambit: Hath No Fury for 7 gazelle pelts. I don't do business like that.

One sort of in-between site that I use sometimes is, because it searches quite a few databases including current eBay auctions. This is something that neither bookfinder nor cheapestbookprice offers.

It isn't as helpful as it could be, because booksellers on eBay are not usually savvy enough to add the ISBN number of their trade paperback on their listing. But you will find some bargains that way.

I think especially for the beginning TPB hunter, running your list through Deal Oz is a sound investment of your time. You're going to get results from all the old stand bys like Half and Amazon, plus some weird results, plus those current running auctions. It's an easy tool to master and great way to introduce yourself to the book trade.

Hidden Gem: Captain Marvel (Vol. 5) Marvel, 2002 - 2004

Peter David did what any writer would do with this character: give him god-like powers, cosmic awareness, and have him become so overwhelmed with these abilities that he goes stark raving nutters. Oh wait, that's right. Only Peter David would do that.

What a truly odd and wonderful journey this run turned out to be. Fans bristled at Genis's madness and ignored the book in droves, causing it's far too early demise with issue # 25. What a pity.

This series had ginormous brass balls, and it was unique. David was most interested in tackling the idea of predestination and determinism, but also delved fairly deeply into morality and religion as well. Not your typical funny book, to be sure.

Each issue had an increasingly more bent and more powerful Captain Marvel challenge every one of the readers assumptions about their relationship with God, the universe, and their ethics.

Occasionally preachy? Perhaps a bit, but nearly impossible to avoid given the subject matter. There is no agenda being crammed down the reader's throats, here, because Rick Jones acts as a buffer.

When the subject matter gets too heady and Captain Marvel threatens to spiral into an obtuse digression into metaphysics, earthy Rick is there to ground things and express the kind of disgust and bewilderment that the book's readers are apt to. I've never read anything quite like it.

If you like your comics to challenge your brain, I highly recommend picking up the run, currently available in 4 TPBs:

Captain Marvel Vol 1: Nothing to Lose

Captain Marvel Vol 2: Coven

Captain Marvel Vol 3: Crazy Like a Fox

Captain Marvel Vol 4: Odyssey

Right now Vol 1 is difficutl to find for under $30, and Vol 3 is starting to head that direction as well. It's quite possible that these are lying about your local comic shop at cover price, though. And if not, a little patience and diligence will usually produce a bargain. Happy hunting!

- Ryan

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Breast Whisperer

I admit it, I am a slight fan of this show so I was obviously drawn to this comic book cause of it's possible intelligent script. IDW's "The Ghost Whisperer" was written by Becca Smith and Carrie Smith, past episode writers for the show. What I actually found when reading this book was a terribly illustrated thin story with barely a moment of satisfaction. It all seemed rushed and too quick with a simple story line about a girl hit by a car after being tricked by 3 other girls into asking some guy out at his house. I know what I just wrote might sound childish and simple to almost anyone, but there's a good reason for that. IT IS CHILDISH AND SIMPLE.

They should have taken a risk with this comic book. They could have darkened it up. Lets face it the show, which is on CBS is geared towards a teen audience, and actually towards a teen girl audience. There is no chance in hell a teenage girl is going out to buy this comic at a comic book store. Teenage girls know better than to enter a nerd haven like that. They know they aren't safe around all those geeks. I'm sure they don't want to be the next nights masturbation material just so they can get the latest "Ghost Whisperer" comic.

What I would have done is get a better artist/illustrator and have more T&A laced in it's pages. I would have also included darker, more sinister themes. Then it would sell to the actual comic book enthusiast. Unfortunately they screwed the pooch and missed that boat. If you are a teenage girl fanatic of "The Ghost Whisperer" then you will love this book. It's just a weekly show in comic book form, but watch out at the comic book shops and dress accordingly, we don't need anymore children sacrificed in the name of the Breast Whisperer.

However if you are a normal comic book buying individual, a.k.a. a 18-35 year old male, then this book is a pile of feces and you should just watch the semi-crappy TV show. At least in the show you get to gaze upon Jennifer's ACTUAL breasts instead of poorly drawn ones in a two-dimensional comic book.

Art - 2 (terrible work with the art, on one page it looks like the artist forgot to draw the faces onto the characters in the background, it's pathetic)
Storyline - 2 1/2 (teenage girls would think it's a 4, but for me it was too simple and cheesy)

Overall the book is a definite, DO NOT BUY!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

The new show is finally ready for you to hear. is having troubles and it took me the longest time to figure out a different way to upload the show but it's now there and I can sleep at night. I worked on that for almost two days and after TRYING to contact someone at the site (which I never received an answer) I just tried and tried like the little engine that could. "I thought I could, I thought I could" and it happened.

Enough of my stupid limerick shit. The show's ready for you to hear and I hope we didn't run off all of our new listeners due to the time lapse between shows.

Next week is going to be sketchy with Ryan getting his wisdom teeth pulled so the show might not air on Tuesday. We might have to skip a week if Ryan is TOO medicated. However if he is just the right amount of medicated then we will plow through, warts and all. It's going to be interesting to listen to him try and talk with a mouthful of gauss and a bloodstream full of Vicadin. Stay tuned for further updates as the days go by.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tales of the Banal, Part 1

Well, I have nothing epic or groundbreaking to share, which is disconcerting. So rather than trot something out that pretends to be good, I thought I'd share a small handful of uninspiring tid-bits.

#1: Here's how you can be in Witchblade, as I promised on the show a bloody week ago.

#2: Penance: Relentless kicked serious, serious ass.

This mini-series has now officially landed on my List of Legends. I have a few arcs and minis that aren't really in the "comic book canon", but have left an indelible mark on me. Nicieza's Nomad mini, for one. The first six issues of Starlin's Dreadstar for another. People will not talk about them in the same breath as Dark Knight or Watchmen, and that's fine. To me, they are divine.

And I know I've been on this horse for awhile, but it still deserves mention because the ending could have refused to pay off and ruined the whole thing. But the ending rocked.

I don't know exactly how he pulled it off. Paul Jenkins took an unsympathetic character in a gimp suit and crafted a tigthly plotted, emotionally satisfying, continuity enriching psycho-drama.

If you're reading this, you probably either A) don't give a flying fig about Speedball/Penance or B) HATE Speedball/Penance. This proves your good mental health. I'm telling you, go out and order the trade regardless. You must see this to believe it.

#2: I was right about the X-23 stuff I was spouting about last week

You may recall that I tried to call my shot and predict that X-23 collections would be soon to spike. We're already seeing the evidence, friends.

How do I know the jump is coming? I tried to order two copies of NYX: Wannabe from Instocktrades and got denied on the second. That's right, beeyatches. I got the last copy of the book from instock, and the bloody thing is out of print.

That means it's pretty much officially in the hands of the secondary market now, and God help those who want this one a year from now. Your going to need $50 at least. You can still pick up Wannabe for $15-$20 if you really care to put the effort in, and I'm recommending you do buy them at those rates. With the understanding that the payoff is still in the future. Do you have the faith and patience?

Incidentally, I'm going to reiterate that the NYX/X-23 hardcover is the one you want. The one that collects Wannabe and Innocence Lost. Find them for $20 and quintuple your investment this time next year. It's coming.

#4: Young Liars review

I picked up David Lapham's Young Liars #1 mostly because I have a longstanding love affair with Pre-Unity Valiant. That love affair never got me to pick up a single issue of Stray Bullets for some reason, but I failed my save vs. Young Liars, I guess.

I can't give it an enthusiastic endorsement, because there is not one character in that book that I wouldn't like to put a bullet in. And it seems a bit...pretentious at times. I felt the same way about Veitch's Army At Love, actually.

I'm not afraid of different, believe me. I spend much of my day praying for it. But this is so intentionally and flamboyantly bizarre that it gets irritating. I'm trying to enjoy a comic, and it keeps shouting asinine things like:

"Look at how edgy I am! Dear God, can you even stand how much cooler I am than you? My comic has a transvestite and no superheroes in it, that makes me way better than Green Lantern, doesn't it?"

Actually, doesn't. I would rather a comic just shut up and tell me a story rather than rub my nose in how pedestrian I've become. Anywho.

Young Liars is the convoluted story of a group of friends caught up in the maelstrom that is Sadie Dawkins. She's the daughter of a retail mogul who accidentally gets a bullet in her brain that makes her the world's most obnoxious bitch imaginable.

The bullet is eventually going to kill her, and that might actually be enjoyable to read. In the interim, the premise seems to suggest that her irrational behavior is going to cause one catastrophic nugget of hijinx after another. Especially for the dumb ass who has had the poor fortune to fall in lust with this beast.

It's possible I will continue with the saga in the futile hope that it will turn into hidden adventures of Pre-Unity Harbinger. Or, I may kick its ass to the curb. Pretentious little bitch.
- Ryan

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mikes Birthday Special

Attention all listeners of the show. This Tuesday will be my 36th birthday special. This weeks show is going to be a little bit different than normal. Most weeks Ryan is the one that brings the goods to the show. He does the research, he gets the info, I just sit back and work the controls. Oh his birthday show he wrote ALL of the stuff, with maybe 5% input from me. I got to make up my own lines in most cases, but as for the rest it was pretty one-sided. That's what I wanted though.

This weeks show is written by both of us however. There are a few things that I either did on my own or I wrote, but for the most part it was an effort from the both of us. I just tell Ryan what I want in general and he riffs on it. He's really good when it comes to making shit up on the spot. I think one of our greatest strengths as a team is our ability to work off of each other. One person comes up with an idea and with the others help it inevitably gets better. This week is no different. Pretty much anything you hear Ryan say, he wrote or made up on the spot. Which is damn near everything. He's the one with the Master Degree so he should be the writer.

I basically sit behind the controls and make the skits and FX happen they way they should. One couldn't exist without the other and we work VERY WELL as a team. No bickering and arguing of any nature has really occurred in the past nine months. We have always been able to stand each others crazy ideas or insane outlooks on how something should go. I guess that would be called a gift by many and a curse by some. No conflict can sometimes lead to stagnant programming, but we surely have not suffered from that.

When you listen to the show, on normal weeks, realize that most of the writing is done by Ryan. He's the smart one, and the only one on the show that is literate. This week is a little different however. This week I would say the writing is nearly 50/50. I am not sure that Ryan would want to claim this as the truth, but I want to give credit where credit is due. Ryan does a lot of things that I should not get the credit for. I am his springboard, his companion in the insanity, some one that he can be honest and open with and I will tell him what I really think. He does the same for me and it works beautifully for the show.

I hope you enjoy this week, because I am putting a lot of myself into it. If you end up hating this week just know that every other week during the year is mostly written by Ryan and I only have this one week to control.

Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy the show.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Passing of a Giant

March 4th was truly a sad day for me. One of my childhood heroes had died. Gary Gygax age 69 died in Wisconsin on Tuesday, he was 69 years old. Along with co-creator David Arneson, Gary Gygax created a gaming system that has changed my life in so many ways.

I am at a loss for words as I write this. I never knew the man in anyway, except for the constant complaints I muttered under my breath as I searched through his rule books for some chart or table he created for EVERY situation.

He will be missed dearly, but mostly I am sadden for the loss of a man that created something so beautiful to generations of gamers and fantasy buffs. It's hard to find me in a serious state and into writing a seriously sad blog, but this has effected me in more ways than I thought it would.

Check out more of my thoughts about this and anything involving role-playing at: Role Playing 101 Feel free to comment or email me about anything you see on this blog. Yes I am pimping my blog on my blog. Sounds strange, well it is, but this blog is about my show, and that blog is about my pastime outside the show. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Gary, you will be missed. Rest in peace my friend, rest in peace.