Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chronic Insomnia Secret Formula!

What do you get when you mix the whacky Charles Nelson Reilly....

With the equally whacky Sally Jesse Raphael?

Click "read more" for the startling answer!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Market Spotlight: Halloween Edition!

Well, it's just about Halloween, which means it's about time to bust out that Crow DVD and see what Eric Draven is doing.  It can't rain all the time, I know that for sure.  Love that movie.  Love it!

You know what's better than a sack full of tiny Butterfinger bars?  Making some damn money off your horror trade paperbacks, that's what!

Dracula TPB
ISBN:  1883313007
SRP:     $13.95
Amazon min:    $15/$50

Once upon a time Topps made comic books, and as I recall the X-Files books were pretty darned good.  And they had Lady Rawhide in all her bondagey goodness, carrying a whip and what-not in case Zorro got out of line.  Those were the days.

They also adapted the Dracula movie starring Gary Oldman.  Don't ever say that guy can't act - he almost made us believe he was attracted to Winona Ryder, for crying out loud.  Roy Thomas did the adaptation, it was almost required in those days that if you had an adaptation, that you must shackle Thomas to it.  Which wasn't a bad idea, really.  The guy could write and that Star Wars thing worked out pretty well.

The point, finally, is that the collected edition is fairly scarce, particularly in nice condition.  I would pay up for a really nice copy, but I'm looking for 50% or more before I pull the trigger on something well loved.  There's money to be made there, though.  You have to be patient on a book like that, give it time to breathe and find a home.  The market is there, but it's niche.  There won't be 1,000 hooligans banging down your door for a twenty year old collected adaptation of a disappointing film.

Resident Evil: Collection One
ISBN:    1563895722
SRP:      $14.95
Amazon Min:    $33/$60

I've had a lot of success selling this book.  Flipped it about a half dozen times, and I don't think I ever got less than $50 for it.  Long ago there used to be a Resident Evil magazine, and this collection reprints stories from the first four issues.

It's one of those books that is legitimately scarce.  Resident Evil also has a more rabid and well-populated following than say, the Gary Oldman Dracula movie, which helps.  Apparently those video games are huge or something.

Not a great chance that it's sitting at your LCS, but I could definitely see somebody cycling this through Half Price books, and neither the customer nor the retailer will have a clue that their fingers are dancing on Gamer Gold.  I like this book at full retail in almost all conditions, and I'd be very surprised if it ever goes back to press.

Thing From Another World:  Climate of Fear
ISBN:  187857485X
SRP:      $15.95
Amazon min:     $87/$150

This one has cycled quite a bit in the past.  I've sold this book for as little as $15, and as high as $80.  Depending on condition, I think you could probably get closer to $100 for the book as I type this, and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that there's a new movie out prequelling The Thing.

This is a Dark Horse collected edition, I've read it, and it's actually kind of fun to see the further adventures of McReady.  I'll tell you one thing - it's tough to find a copy of this that hasn't been abused.  Certain books just don't lend themselves to NM, and I don't exactly know why all the time.  Like the Elfquest Reader's Collection series -what the hell happened to those?

At any rate.  I advocate picking up copies of this right now in almost any condition at full retail, and I advocate paying up for a copy if it's really shiny.  Remember, though, this one cycles.  That movie sheen is coming off sometime soon.  I think the book stays profitable, but not crazy profitable for much longer.

EC Archives:  Tales From The Crypt Vol 1
ISBN:    1888472553
SRP:       $49.99
Amazon Min:   $130/$185

Tales From the Crypt - how are you going to get any more Halloweeny than that?  This is a great series, and this is a great book, particularly if you can find it sealed.  Often times the big ticket hardcovers are very profitable, but they take longer to move.

Not so with this little beauty.  When I've found it new and sealed, I can't keep it in stock, even when the price tag eclipses $100.  I would say that over the last 5-10 years, the demand for the EC material has softened a little, but it's still incredibly strong.  This book is not going out of style, and an easy purchase even at the steeper investment rate.  The tough part is finding it.  Duh.

Cheaper Deeper Sleeper:  Faust Communion Edition Vol 1
ISBN:    N/A
SRP:      $12.95
Amazon min:  ???

Faust is an odd duck.  David Quinn and Tim Vigil self-published Faust at the tail end of Ye Olde Black & White Explosion, and it was part Wolverine, part Twin Peaks, part Ron Jeremy.  It was boobs and blood in an era where people could actually be titillated by such things.  Seems sort of precious now, with its adorable psychodrama cuttin' people up riffs.

Oh, and they made it into a completely intolerable film, too.  Do avoid that.

I'm probably being unduly unkind to the work, which was relevant and daring when it broke, and honestly ought to be remembered with fondness.  The "communion" editions are just TPBs, nothing more, nothing less.  The first edition collects the first three "acts" of Faust.  (do you see how precious it all was?)  They're quite difficult to find in any condition, and I've never laid eyes on one in near mint.

If you want to know just how scarce it is...try finding a good listing for it on Amazon.  I'm pretty good at this stuff, and I can't seem to find anything I trust.  eBay is not exactly a road map either.  Tough to find a listing that actually closes, and the few listings you do find are usually at price gouging rates.

It's a niche product, and the print runs make it pretty attractive.  If you have this laying around your LCS or find it at a convention, I bet you can get it for cover or less, and I certainly think it's worth that and then some.

- Ryan

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Thoughts On Watchmen 2!

Some Thoughts On Watchmen 2, And Other Irrelevancies I Probably Shouldn't Encourage With Further Analysis

Rich Johnston is really going pedal to the floor with the Watchmen 2 bit over on Bleeding Cool, which I have no issues with.  He's there to chase hits, he's not hurting anybody, and the damn story may end up being accurate on top of it.

My issue, if I have one, is that the whingers are going to come out in full force and be wrong about everything again.  And DC, being the new DC that pays attention to its constituents and sometimes makes decisions based upon their moronic peasant thinking, particularly if they look good in a Batgirl suit and publicly embarrass them, might actually enact changes based upon said whinging.

The principal objection will be that The Watchmen is far too pure and holy to be debauched by mortal sinners with supplemental material.

This is, of course, absolute rubbish.

Don't get me wrong, I adore The Watchmen, warts and all.  "Fearful Symmetry", in my opinion, is a tour de force in narration and structure that no comic book has surpassed before or since.  Yes, we have the Watchmen to thank for comics now able to concern themselves with whether or not a character's cock works.  Let no man claim that I don't give the work its due, and in fact, Quincy and I produced a low rent cable access program extolling the virtues of Watchmen when the movie came out.  I respect it, kay?  OK.

Let's be clear about this - there is no work so pure and holy that it can't be added to.  If that sort of thinking were valid, why did DC not put a cork in Batman after the Dark Knight Returns?  Equally lauded, and holding up as equally canonical.  You don't stop making Fantastic Four because they made "This Man, This Monster."  Thank all that is sublime they didn't!  A signature work or an inspired effort does not mandate retiring the concept.  Do you quit telling X-Men stories after Days of Future Past?  That's just silly.  You'd never know it to listen to the rank and file bitch about it, though.

If you think about it, there should be far more rancor over producing more Batman work post DKR than producing Watchmen work post-Alan Moore.  Break it down to its basic ingredients, and Watchmen is just a bunch of patently obvious analogs of throw-away-two-bit Charlton characters trapped in a story largely ripped from an episode of Outer Limits.  That's the pristine virgin we can't sully with prequels by Darwyn Cooke?  Save me the robe tearing, oh ye Pharisees.

The truth of the matter is that this is a corporate entity with a commercial product, and the only real question is why it hasn't been exploited prior to this.  Or rather, that's the obvious and wrong-headed question.

The real question is:  Why can't we seem to break out of this unhealthy and overblown infatuation with nostalgia?

My problem with Watchmen 2 isn't the idea the idea that DC would dare to "piss" on the Moore legacy.  Urinate away!  My problem is that they can't think of anything new to do.  We've 52 "new" books out now, and not one of them with a fresh character or concept.  It's all twists on crap we've seen before.  And yes, some of the twists are entertaining.  Fine.  Where's the new?

Part of the responsibility rests with us, the knobs.  We tend not to buy things we haven't seen a billion times before.  I think the larger share of responsibility rests with cowardly and greedy publishers, who are loathe to take a risk, and even more loathe to cough up a couple of extra pennies paying royalties on new creations.  Give Mark Millar a few points on his intellectual properties and see what he can do for you, will ya?  But no, Disney/Marvel and Warner/DC want it all.  So if you're a comic book writer or artist, what is your incentive to create the Next Big Thing?  You have none.

Or at least, you have none at Marvel or DC.  This is why you see a lot of juice and energy heading over to Image.  This is why you have Morning Glories, Last of the Greats, Echoes, Green Wake, Chew, Butcher Baker, Non Player (sort of), Who Killed Jake Ellis?, Skullkickers, and Witch Doctor turning heads over at Image. Did I miss any?  I bet missed more than a half dozen.

There is still inspiration over at the Big 2.  Hickman's Fantastic Four and Simone's Secret Six are achievements in storytelling.  But there is a disproportionate amount of creativity in the Image books, and I don't think you need an engineering degree to figure this shit out.  They have a financial incentive to innovate, and the creative freedom to make it happen.  Boom!  Magic.  I'm not suggesting that DC shelve whatever its doing in those "Panic Room" meetings and go with an Image style incentive program.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing?

But why is it unthinkable to allow a creative team to share 10% of profits on new properties, at least for purposes of licensing and multi-platform options?  I don't have a problem with comics companies going back to the well periodically to dust off an old favorite, but there is such a thing as the law of diminishing returns, and I'd say the sales data has been reflecting said law quite clearly.

If you want to go back to 1986, there is a diamond in that rough.  And it isn't Watchmen.  It's this:

Yeah, that piece of crap!  No, the answer isn't to relaunch Spitfire.  Leave all that shit alone.  Learn from the mistakes of The New Universe - it was underfunded, undertalented, and rushed.  Summon the testicles to keep the core tenet - let's try something we haven't seen yet.  Because we're so creatively inbred right now we're starting to produce little other than Wrong Turn babies.  I will not be purchasing or picketing Watchmen 2.  I'm just waiting for something that isn't steeped in the past. 

- Ryan

Friday, October 21, 2011

Market Spotlight!

Thank you, FallCon!

I posted that picture of Fantastic Four # 45 not because of some Market Spotlighty kind of called shot (although like most key silver age books, it's certainly not a bad investment) but because I picked this up at FallCon last weekend, and I'm absolutely in love with it.

Comic Conventions, even ones in Minnesota, are still great places to find crazy good deals if you have discipline and a plan.  I found this book in a dealers "Everything in this box 50% off!" box, and the comic itself is somewhere between Fine and Very Fine condition, leaning heavily toward Very Fine.  Current Overstreet value?  Somewhere between $100-$150, depending on what grade you actually decide the book is in.  I bought it for $35, and couldn't be happier.  It's a nice book, complete with that intoxicating "old comic book" smell. 

What else did I get that I adore from that trip?  I bought a copy of Batman # 244 in Fine condition for about market value, (I paid $26 for it) but to me that's still a steal.  It's my favorite of the Neal Adams Batman covers - how are you ever going to go wrong with shirtless Batman?  I also picked up a very well loved (I still put it at VG) copy of Detective Comics # 371.  I don't know why, but I'm suddenly interested in Batgirl and Supergirl.  I could not rationalize this if you gave me a week to think about it and a cash prize.  Sometimes these things just happen.

So at the moment, my new pet project is to score a copy of Detective Comics # 359 (Batgirl's first appearance) in around VF condition for something approximating current market value.  It's not as easy to do as you might think.  Old books, particularly old DC books, are exceptionally tough to find in even Very Fine.  And when somebody has a book like that, and they know they can't easily replace it, they charge a premium.  Some would say I have a skewed view of market value, and that I should just pay up for it.  Poppycock.  What I'm seeing is a lot of "Buy It Nows" priced over the moon, waiting for a sucker.  I'm not a sucker.  I will find that book at a reasonable price, because I always win in the end.  It just takes diligence and discipline.

So why Detective # 371? It's an early Batgirl cover, and what a delicious piece of Americana it is!  "I've got a bigger problem, gents, a run in my tights!"  Absolutely priceless.  If you just love comics, you can buy fantastic issues like this dirt cheap in lower grades.  I bought my copy of Detective 371 for $4.  That's a bargain, for sure.  There was a time when I would blanch at anything under VF and consider it roach.  These days, I don't mind as long as I'm not paying up for it.

I've even turned the corner on writing on books.  That used to be a deal breaker for me if the book was marked in any way.  Now it almost seems to add character if it's not overpowering.  Nah, these days my deal breakers are tears and books that are loose/detached at the staples.  If the book has been folded in half and creased all to hell, my finer sensibilities are not affected.  But if there's a 1/4" piece missing from the corner of the cover, or the comic is detached at the top staple, it no longer feels like a comic book to me.  I'm not saying it's rational, I'm just saying that's how my brain works at the moment.  Anywho.

What's drawn my attention this week? 

Catwoman Vol 2: Crooked Little Town
ISBN:   1401200087
SRP:       $14.95
Amazon Min:     $30/$57

I've been watching this simmer for some time now, and I'm not 100% sure that I trust it yet, never having made a profitable sale on it to this point.  But it's got a couple of things going for it, not the least of which are scripts by Ed Brubaker and pencils by Darwyn Cooke.  This book is never going out of style!

The character also has a little heat on it what with the oh so scandalous Bat-sex going on with the new 52 and all.  I don't think that's what is causing the book to pop, but it certainly isn't going to hurt it.  I would advocate picking up a copy in NM or better shape, even at full retail.  I'd be a little more leery of the gently used copies, and as always, watch for new editions to crush your profits instantly.  I could definitely see DC going back to press on this at some point.

Wonder Woman:  Warkiller
ISBN:    1401227791
SRP:       $14.99
Amazon Min:    $13/$30

This is what happens when absolutely everything goes into collected form.  Nothing wrong with Gail Simone's Wonder Woman, and there will always be a niche audience for any work, including this one.  But Wonder Woman was not exactly burning up the charts in floppy form, and needless to say the collection was not mega-ordered.  Or ordered at all in most cases.

The result is that while Warkiller looks less enticing on paper, I trust this more than I trust Crooked Little Town.  There are about twenty total copies of this available on Amazon, and the book is just over a year old.  I can't see DC going back to press on this, because I can't imagine it was much of a moneymaker the first time.  My guess is that this is a book relatively easy to sell at $50 by this time next year...if you can find it.

Sleeper:  Batwoman Elegy HC
ISBN:  1401226922
SRP:     $24.99
Amazon Min:  $22/$25

This one's not quite ripe yet, but I can see the kaboom coming and I wouldn't wait.  To be clear, we're talking about the deluxe hardcover edition, not the soft trade paperback.

It's sitting right at about retail these days, but the supply is drying up, and this has "major earner" stencilled on it in bold type.  Has any artist been as highly regarded as JH Williams?  Kirby for sure, maybe Neal Adams.  I just can't imagine a world in which this book isn't easy to sell at $60 or more in the next six months.

Pick it up when you can find it sealed, while you can.  I don't do called shots often, but I'm very comfortable with this pick.

Deeper Cheaper Sleeper:  Green Lanten # 54

Green Lantern # 54 is widely available in dollar boxes across this nation.  It's on my radar now because I think the concept of  "women in refrigerators" is (for better or worse) deeply ingrained in the comic book psyche, and it all started here, and I don't think the world at large has caught on about how historically important this comic really is.

Women in refrigerators is a buzz phrase, and a movement with plenty of traction in today's comics landscape.  The reason you hear as much whinging about the DCnU as you do is directly attributable to that concept, and it all started when poor Ron Marz thought he'd add some drama to GLs life having him stumble upon his girlfriend's corpse next to the milk.

Think about it - is this comic any less relevant than Iron Man # 128, "Demon in a Bottle"?  The cover is surely more memorable, but in terms of its impact on comics, I think Green Lantern # 54 has it crushed.  Is it worth picking up out of a dollar box?  Yeah, I'd say so.

- Ryan

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chronic Review: Monocyte # 1!

Monocyte # 1
Script:      Kasra Ghanbari/menton3
Pencils:     menton3

Monocyte is the best kind of abject failure; an ambitious one.  It's a futuristic world more concerned with the psychological landscape than the physical, and both are desolate.  You've got two camps of immortals - you've got your technologically created overlords called the Olignostics, and you've got your original and natural immortals called the Antedeluvians.  Both groups are parasitic bastards living off the regular chattel, namely you and me.  (Or would be you and me if we lived in the future)

Most of that back story is doled out in two text-heavy pages in the front 1/3 of the book.  It's slightly more decipherable than the attempt at poetry that dominates the rest of the comic...but still mostly inscrutable.  How does achieving absolute zero create immortality exactly? make a conduit, obviously.  Duh.  And feed people into it, I guess.  I don't know.  (and what's with the non sequitur medieval longbow lesson at the back?)

Mordare, circa 1993
Monocyte is the protagonist of the book.  In a world of unnatural stagnation, he represents death, or change, and that's a good thing.  The comic seems to suggest that he's the right hand man of the original antedeluvian, and probably the figure of Moses from the Old Testament.  He's also incredibly similar to Mordare from the early 90s book Eudaemon.  Similar to the point where one can't help but think the lawsuit should be just around the corner.

Here's the deal - Monocyte does have some real ideas.  I actually think the antedeluvian back story is kind of fun.  The idea that there are immortals shuffling about occasionally dispensing actual universal secrets to certain humans as a laugh is, well, a bit of a laugh.

Unfortunately, all of those ideas are well-coated in thick, rich, dollops of bullshit.  Some of the bullshit does make some kind of sense if you can care enough to stare at it long enough.  From page one:  "Long has this melancholy endured, buoyancy forming thoughts ripened to whispers becoming vice, idleness made kindle."  OK, fine.  These old fucks have sat stagnant for so long in direct opposition to everything natural, that the system is wired to implode, just to have a fresh go at it.  Sure, I guess I can see that.  I don't think I'd ever write it that way, but it can be parsed.

But a lot of this nonsense is just that, nonsense.  From page 17:  "....Your time is drawn, now.  Bleed the sting of fear again.  Construct wears veil to persist.  Tradition insists a fleeting prevail."  Obviously personal tastes will vary on this, but in my opinion that dreck crosses the line from "stylistic choice" to "pure bullshit".

I'm not sure if I've brought this up on the blog yet or not, but I've always adored a tagline on the back of Bloody Kisses by Type O Negative.  It declares in bold type "Don't Mistake Lack Of Talent For Genius".  Ah, the wisdom of Pete Steele.  You are missed, sir, you are missed.  Monocyte is exactly the type of of work Steele had in mind for that blast, methinks.

When I read this book I get the same feeling as listening to a Peter Murphy album, where I imagine the author desperately grasping for something properly confusing to add the illusion of depth.  "Surely if I can just arrange the proper mixture of letters found in the obscure parts of the dictionary, they will all finally love me."  Sad, and ineffective.

The juice is in the revealing, not the obscuring.  To write and write well is to show the audience something real.  And you can show them something they've never known before, or perhaps even higher magic, you can show them something they always knew but didn't realize. But there's no real art in showing off, because it isn't genuine.  Listen, I don't really know what's knocking around Kasra Ghanbari's skull.  It certainly appears that there are some genuine insights in there somewhere, but they're so covered in shit it hardly seems worth the bother to clean them off.

Monocyte attack!
I would also lift a wary eyebrow at anything calling itself "menton3", which fairly drips with pretense.  I'll say this - whatever a menton3 is, it certainly produces gorgeous (if drably colored) artwork.  When it isn't borrowing from Nelson's Eudaemon, it's borrowing from Ben Templesmith, but it certainly does it with beauty and skill.

What I like about Monocyte is that it appears to have outreached its grasp, and that demonstrates balls.  I like balls.  At this stage of my reading career, I think I prefer an inspired but failed attempt over a competent success, because it feels like I've seen it all.  If Monocyte fails, and I think it does, at least it shot for the moon.  I just wish it had done so with more authenticity and less dog-and-pony show.

- Ryan

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chronic Reviews: The Rundown!

My intention is to write a series of very brief reactions/criticisms to a bevy of stuff I've been reading lately, and by lately I mean the last 60 days or so.  The only text I want to cover in a little bit more depth is the first one.  So here goes...

A God Somewhere
I've been waiting to talk about this book for awhile now, because I keep waiting for it to settle into my brain at the "Eureka, I've got it!" level, and it's just never going to happen.  I don't know exactly how to feel about A God Somewhere, I don't think I ever will, and that's part of its achievement.

The quick capsule gist is that a regular Joe gets superpowers when a mysterious phenomenon hits his house, and the travails that causes the people around him.  That's the quick gist, but the text is really rather complex in its themes and philosophy.  The theme of "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is in there for sure.  It has something to say about religious zeal, and it isn't all positive, but neither is it ham handed.  It's odd.  A God Somewhere is about family, and letting yourself get caught up in how awesome you are, the value/danger of solving problems with violence, the ethics of power, and inexplicably, it's also about what it really means to be "black", I guess.

There is a message in the bottle, but I don't know that I have a lock on that, and I doubt that any two people will entirely agree on what said message is.  A God Somewhere knows where superhero books have been before, knows you know where they've been, knowingly leads you down those very familiar paths...and then punches you directly in the face.  Numerous times.  You know you know where the story is going.  But you don't.  This is not a "comfort" book.

A God Somewhere is exactly what indie comics should be.  The trouble with something like, Witchblade, as an example, is that it really isn't an alternative.  It's the same superheroics you've been reading all your life, only with characters you care less about.  I'm not suggesting that Witchblade is a bad comic.  I've read and enjoyed large chunks of the Marz run.  It's fine.  What I'm saying is, (finally!) is that Marvel or DC would never, ever, EVER do A God Somewhere with one of its characters.  It's too raw, and it's too challenging, and it has too much in the brass balls department.  That's what indie comics should do - what Marvel dare not, lest it sully the sales figures on that Spider-Man toothpaste it wants to sell. 

I haven't directly declared whether I like the book or not.  I surely did.  It's imperfect, but it might be genius. The story makes you turn the pages with intensity, then makes you wonder what the hell just happened to you when you're done.  Not very many comics do that any more.  I wish more comics had the audacity of A God Somewhere

DCnU Stuff!
I read some of the new 52, and like everybody else, I have an opinion.  Here's a very brief recounting of my experience tackling the soft reboot books:

Action Comics
My favorite of the new DC titles, and the best Superman story I've ever read.  Without question the most daring and fresh of the new 52.  I think the more vulnerable, human take on the character will make for the best Superman stories of my lifetime, and cause a lot of small minds to cringe.

Hard to believe the Perez Superman could have anything at all to do with Morrison's version, but I've given up on that.  I found it uninspired, but also warm and comforting - it reminds me of a bygone era I adore, when it took more than three minutes to read a book.

What more can I say about Scott Snyder's work on Batman?  It's a superlative blend of distinctive voices and characterizations, odd and surprising plot twists, and the atmosphere is always pitch perfect.  What you thought a Batman book should feel like?  That's what Snyder is doing.

Detective Comics
It certainly gets points for style and gusto.  If Batman is a fine single malt Scotch, Detective is a shot of sour mash.  It gets the job done, though, and I know plenty of people who prefer Jack to Glenlivet. 

I like the fact that Gail took a risk with the character and played up Barbara Gordon's vulnerabilities and fears.  Not enough to continue with the book, particularly since I find her roommate to be more grating than spunky.  But to me, the new 52 was supposed to be about taking chances and trying things, and Batgirl does those things.

Swamp Thing
One of the great objections I hear is that the DCnU urinates upon that which came before it, and you can make a case for that.  Swamp Thing, however, knows exactly where its been, apes it and advances it.  Maybe I'm just in love with Scott Snyder, but this was a smart horror book that I look forward to.

Animal Man
Speaking of smart horror books that lovingly know from whence they came - it's Animal Man!  Lemire's script was edgy, and this is a pure and classic Vertigo title without the label.  I find Travel Foreman difficult to digest, but there's enough Lemire sugar in it to get it down.

Resurrection Man
It's Abnett & Lanning.  You'll never be bored, and given enough time, it really seems like there's a deep "A" plot to dig into, and a lot of random "B" plot smashing and banging to keep you occupied in the interim.  So far good, with a fair to middlin' chance at being terrific somewhere down the road.

Wonder Woman
It's not the horror book that Azarello threatened in a recent interview, but this is not your father's Wonder Woman!  I don't know that I was in love with the first issue, but the visuals are striking enough and the mythological angle Azarello takes is so raw and novel that I appreciate it more as I digest it, and have decided to give it some time to develop

Really disappointing.  This might have been my most anticipated read of the lot, (weird but true) and one that really seemed to suffer under the Didio "ramp up the action" dictum.  The concept is still intact, and the hook is actually very strong, (what if everyone thought you were crazy because you were the only one who could see the real threat?) but the execution needs to get more clear and more clever.

This was a big fat mess, and I think largely dependent on two shaky foundations.  1) The idea that "big stuff" you can't possibly feel invested in is happening and 2) Martian Manhunter's "This is where I go to be a bad ass" line.  I wasn't impressed with either.

Justice League Dark
I think I said something like "this is close to a perfect comic" on the show a couple weeks ago, and after reading it  Not anywhere close to perfect.  But pretty darned good, and worth it for at least two reasons.  1)  Milligan doing Shade = magic.  2)  This is a REALLY pretty book.  I'm around for six issues at minimum to see if Milligan can make these characters live and breathe, instead of spout cryptic nonsense.

Green Lantern
It had a couple of "Aw, C'mon, man!" moments in it, but it was also energetic, fun, and set itself up to play Hal and Sinestro off each other in the most entertaining ways.  It may not be reinventing the wheel, but I wouldn't miss that Odd Couple taking it to the Guardians for anything.  Well played, Mr. Johns.

Fury of Firestorm
There's something of value in there somewhere, but it got lost for me in all the random, heavy-handed racial stuff.  I despised both of the main characters, so even if the the plot hammer was sublime, (it isn't) I'm not sure I could tolerate this as is.

Suicide Squad
Perhaps I was predisposed to object to this as a "replacement" to the incomparable Secret Six, but I found the characters to be less than refined and less than entertaining.  Skinny Waller doesn't bother me a lick, but this felt a little too "lowest common denominator".  Having said that, the cliffhanger had me desperately interested in looking over someone's shoulder as they crack the second issue.  Does that mean I actually liked it?

Thoughts on the reboot as a whole:

I consider it a success.  I enjoyed many of the books, and didn't get caught up in feeling betrayed, although I can understand it.  Carol Ferris pulls a complete about-face as a character in the GL reboot, and I don't think it was an improvement.  But you know what?  It's a do-over, and it was worth it.  For me, at any rate.

What's funny to me is that I'm hearing shots fired from all angles.  Some blister the books for not really doing anything new, (Batman just picked up where it left off!) while others blast the comics for destroying all that was once good and pure.  The Old Guard supposedly hates the changes, while the new readers supposedly won't be able to keep up with what's not been left behind.  Somewhere in all that rancor, nobody seems able to keep these books in stock!

If I were to be critical of the DCnU, I think the levelled charges of exploiting that which titillates is probably fair.  They probably catered a bit too much to the adolescent erection.  It doesn't offend me, and in fact I enjoy both sex and violence.  But you can have too much of a good thing, and the pendulum is swinging pretty far.  I  also don't think think there was very much actual "new" in the DCnU, either.  Lots of new paint on old toys.  I think they can do better, be more innovative.  When some of these first experiments hit the scrap heap, maybe we'll see some more creative projects.

Sure the reboot has some warts.  But this is exciting, we are seeing new people, and this is proving two axioms I've been banging on for years:

1)  People love comics.  When they see them, they buy them.  The hullaballoo is getting people to see the books, and they're buying them.
2)  Winnowing works

DC went with about thirty fewer titles this month, and did equivalent or better sales.  That's HUGE.  And that's healthier for everybody.

I'm tired now, so I'm going to bed. I might pick this up later and do more baby reviews.  Or maybe not. Good night!

- Ryan

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Market Spotlight!

It seems like about 12 seconds ago I posted the last Market Spotlight entry.  Since then I'm made sales on Secret Six: Depths, and I've made multiple sales on Doom Patrol Vol 2 and Invisibles Vol 2.  Sick of the Grant Morrison phenomenon yet?  Too bad, because here comes another...

Invisibles Vol 4:  Bloody Hell In America
ISBN:  1563894440
SRP:          $12.95
Amazon Min:    $30/$50

Now we're talkin', Gamers!  Invisibles Vol 4 appears to have all the selling strength of Apocalipstick, but your entry cost is 33% lower.  Now that sounds like an opportunity to me!

I've been banging this drum pretty hard lately, but I don't know why we'd stop at this point.  The thesis is golden, and the results (for me, at least) have been brisk and predictable.  As always, you need to exercise a little bit of restraint.  Surely DC cannot possibly let this go much longer, right?  These books will be going back to press sometime soon, at which time the profit faucet shuts off immediately.  But in the now, I certainly advocate picking up copies of this tome for full retail price.

DC Graphic Novel Vol 1:  Hunger Dogs
SRP:       $5.95
Amazon Min:   $13/$30

I've never tracked the DC graphic novels before, but I saw this one pop for $37 on eBay (listed as 9.2 condition) and the interest instantly perked.  This is Kirby Fourth World stuff, which means it will always have some emotional cache with the Old Guard, and that's a good thing.

Your entry cost is very low, it's difficult to imagine interest drying up.  I mean, they could come out with a new edition of something, but does that seem likely to you?  Even in garbage shape, getting your 3:1 margin doesn't seem too tough.  I actually wouldn't mind paying up for a really nice copy on something like this.  It was produced in 1985, which feels like it's fully inside the modern age, because it is.  It's also more than 25 years old.  Age conspires against condition, so if you find one that's particularly shiny, get yourself one of these.

Spider-Man: India
ISBN:    0785116400
SRP:  $9.99
Amazon Min:   $30/$40

Every once in awhile, I get to tell myself "I told you so".  About three years ago I just had a feeling about this one.  My rational thesis was that it was a Spider-Man book likely to be under-ordered, and eventually the completists would want this weird little collection and not be able to find it.  That was the thesis, but not a particularly strong one.  I just had one of those feelings.

Back then, I could have picked this up all day long in quantity for $2-$5.  It was everywhere.  Slashed prices at every convention I went to.  Remember the Torpedo site?  That was really nice when it was up and running.  You could have bought stacks of that book for $5.  Man, I wish I had done that!

I don't know if my theory proved correct, but I do know that it takes at least $30 to nab one of these on Amazon, $40 if you want it in nice shape.  It should prove to be a nice little earner if you can find one at your LCS or a con, and really, that doesn't seem that unlikely.  It's a really strong property, and the margins are perfect.  They would have been really perfect at $5 a copy - doh!

Atomic Robo Vol 1:  Atomic Robo & The Fightin' Scientist of Tesladyne
ISBN:  0980930200
SRP:      $18.95
Amazon Min:    $47+

I like this book, but you need to tread carefully.  Not long ago I saw a similar feeding frenzy with Atomic Robo Vol 2, and then Red 5 went back to press with due haste.  I got out with a tiny profit on my two copies, but just barely.

The good news is the Clevinger and company have built a very nice niche audience with the property.  Atomic Robo is not a flash in the pan, they've really captured something mixing sci-fi and humor, plus the folks at Red 5 make a really pretty product.  The bad news is that your entry cost on that pretty product is relatively steep, so there's more risk than I'm perfectly comfortable with at full retail.

I'll put a caveat on that, though.  The picture on the right is the cover for the first edition.  If you're looking long term, I wouldn't mind paying full retail for a copy of that, and I wouldn't mind holding on to it, either.  Second or later editions I'm looking to pay 50% of retail and focused on flipping it quick.

- Ryan

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chronic Mailbag!

Friend of the show Nick asks:

After reading FF # 8, I have to ask, in which order would you bang Black Bolt's five wives?

This is an important and excellent question, but a question which can only be answered in the hypothetical.  Not because these are fictional characters, because in infinite time/space, somewhere out there fiction is reality.  No, it must be answered in the hypothetical because a wise man does not tap the ass of any woman mixed up with a guy that can erase Europe by clearing his throat.  Not worth it.

But answering in the spirit in which the question was asked, here's your list, from least desirable to the most poundable of Black Bolt's five wives:

#5:   Kymelian First Chair Onomi Whitemane
There's a lot of problems here.  First Chair means she plays some kind of musical instrument at a high level.  Forget what you heard about band camp and the euphemistic allure of a woman with a flute in her mouth - when you're dealing with a first chair, you're dealing with a demure wallflower, not a bedroom wild cat.

Plus, too skinny.  Somebody get a feed bag on that girl!  Onomi needs some sugar cubes!  Look, I'm an out of the box guy, but if I'm going to go for an animal chick, I'm shooting straight past the horse chick, I'm passing up the dolphin girl, and throwing a skirt on Rocket Raccoon and drilling for the win.  The end.

#4:  Badoon Queen Aladi Ko Eke
We're moving up the chain of hurts-so-good possibilities now.  I like a woman to knock me around for a couple rounds before we get to the main event, and a Badoon dame is certainly up for that.  I'm not opposed to Aladi, per se, but she's not that hot, and she's got more hair on her arms than Robin Williams.

So as much as I like the sport, I still want a woman, you know.  Aladi Ko Eke is too much man for me.  If I wanted a man, I'd go find Jensen Ackles or something.

#3:  Centaurian Matriarch Oola Udonta
Now we're talking!  Oola is a Centaurian, so she's also tough as adamantium nails and ready to destroy me, but she's also all woman.  This is the best of all worlds, and I wouldn't mind wearing the bruises required to go a round or three with Ms. Udonta.  The only downside here is that I'm just not into the fin thing (sorry, dolphins) and she has no hair.  Speaking of hair...

# 2:   Inhuman Queen Medusa
Yeah, baby!  She's a hot piece of ace, but you still maintain the "outside of the species" forbidden pleasure thing.  Plus, she's absolutely got the desperate housewife ready to explode on some lucky bastard vibe going.  Black Bolt is not a doting husband, you know what I'm saying?  She's ready to give it up, hard.

She could still put me in check, which is nice, she's got access to Terrigen mists, who knows what that shit actually does?  Anything could happen.  And I don't know what she's capable of doing with that prehensile hair, but I'm not above finding out.

Small downside is that the same baggage that is likely to make her a maelstrom of sexual frustration uncoiled is also likely to make her want to sit around afterward and yap about feelings and crap.  Her husband literally doesn't talk.  She smells like a need bomb waiting to go off.  But strictly for the pop-pop-pop?  Medusa's a winner.  But she's not the winner.

# 1:  Dire Wraith Goddess Avoe
Don't underestimate the power of a shape-changing Dirty Girl.  Hey, I know that her arms look like 12 pounds of jello in a tiny little ziplock bag.  But listen - she can look like anything you can imagine.  The possibilities....are endless.

Plus, this is an out-of-the-box thinker who does black magic and worships a dark sun.  There is nothing you can suggest that is going to have Avoe back on her vestigial heels, and nothing her morphing body can't pull off.  You see a red demon...I see Kate Beckinsale daring me to the limits of each orifice in alphabetical order in the the name of science.  Crown her!

- Ryan

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Market Spotlight!

What's caught my attention this week?  Some really good stuff heating up, that's what...

Secret Six Vol 2:  Depths
DC Comics
ISBN:  1401225995
SRP:     $14.99
Amazon Min:   $35+

We've already seen the rise of Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation, and now demand for the second volume of the ongoing is outstripping the supply.  Secret Six is simply put one of the most entertaining narratives published in the last decade, and that's a good thing.  Even though the title wasn't carried over into the DCnU, (Suicide Squad is the closest incarnation, but no Gail means no Secret Six in truth) I don't see this comic losing steam in terms of its legend.

What that means is that the only thing going to stop this runaway train would be going back to press.  Which is always possible, and in fact likely at some point.  Until then, look for prices on Depths to rise, and look for other volumes in the series to pop further down the road.  I fully advocate paying full retail for Depths, for any reason.  Buy a truckload and pass them out to your friends.  Or turn a profit, up to you.

Invisibles Vol 2:  Apocalipstick
DC Comics
ISBN:  1563897024
SRP:        $19.99
Amazon Min:   $32/$40

Did Grant Morrison take a dump in somebody's pillowcase at DC?  First they let his Doom Patrol work slip out of print and into a mild feeding frenzy, and now I'm watching the second Invisibles volume creep well past cover price. 

This has exactly the same catalyst and activity as the Painting That Ate Paris phenomenon; it's top notch, well regarded comics work from an industry legend.  The Invisibles may not be a "hot" commodity at the moment, but it is fully vested with cult classic status, and as such should never be allowed to dry up as it has. 

Your SRP makes it a little pricey at current levels, but I still like it (until DC comes to it senses and goes back to press) because of its strong following.  I'll accept smaller margins if I think I can sell it.  And I think I can sell this.  A wise gamer will be keeping tabs on both Doom Patrol and the Invisibles as a whole, because other opportunities may be just around the corner.

The Goon:  Rough Stuff
ISBN:     Uknown
SRP:       $15.95
Amazon Min:   $40/$95

The Goon: Rough Stuff is another example of the Gamers wheelhouse scenario - quality material, well regarded, niche audience, low print run.  Since Dark Horse has picked up the property, they have provided an ample supply of this material.  You can get Rough Stuff on the cheap at will.

But there's only one first edition, and I can't imagine that Albatross produced a metric ton of these.  Is this something likely to be sitting around at your LCS?  Probably not.  But if it is, it's certainly worth buying at full retail.  It's absolutely something that might turn up at a local convention or a Half Price Books.

This is an example of  "next level" thinking in the Trade Game.  I would definitely pay up for a NM or better copy of this book, anticipating future demand as a bonafide scarce collectible.

Scott Snyder's Detective Comics Run
 I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating since the phenomenon is getting stronger and extending to pretty much Snyder's whole run on Detective Comics.  This is really good stuff, people are taking notice, and those back issues are very tricky to get hold of.

I'm seeing auction results like this one that are actually quite astonishing.  Not just because somebody paid more than $25 for a couple of Snyder Batman issues, although that would be newsworthy by itself.  Somebody paid more than $25 for a couple of Snyder Batman issues that were both described as having creases on the covers.  That's kinda crazy.

Detective Comics # 871 & #873 (the "white background" month cover) are the most desirable at the moment, but don't sleep on 880-881, either.  One features a joker cover, and the other closes out the original run of the series.  Listen, more than 200,000 people just bought Batman # 1, and many of them are about to fall in love with Scott Snyder's work on Batman.  When they realize the stories began with Detective # 871, some of them will be satisfied with a "Black Mirror" TPB, but many of them will start scrambling for the original floppies.  There's already a legitimate lack of supply on those issues - what do you think they'll look like in six months?

Anything from Detective Comics 871-881 at cover price or less is an insta-buy.

- Ryan

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fashion Files: The Thomas of Podcasting!

Now, this first shot is horrifying enough.  We've got a St. Cloud State University shirt with a University of MN hat?  No way.

I'm still trying to figure out the track pants.  Is the Thomas of Podcasting trying to demonstrate his athletic superiority?  Somewhere Ralph Lauren is crying, I know that.

But that's not the worst of it.  Almost exactly one hour later, the Thomas of Podcasting enters the same retail establishment again...wearing an entirely different track suit????

What the hell happened in 60 minutes that necessitated a wardrobe change?  It's like a Lady Gaga show, only with more femininity.  Now we've got a Batman shirt and different gray track pants???  I just can't wrap my brain around it.

He also refuses to stop swinging his keys around like a raging key fairy.  What's that all about?

So many questions.  Is there a legitimate excuse for this crime against fashion?  Tune into the latest episode of Chronic Insomnia to find out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Three 80s Cartoon Themes Of All Time!

What do you say we wash the horrible aftertaste of social commentary out of our brains with something important like...

The Top Three 1980s Cartoon Themes Of All Time!

The rules are pretty simple.  The cartoon has to have aired original episodes between 1/1/1980 and 12/31/1989.  We're talking about the theme song, mind you, and not factoring in the quality of the show.  If we factored the show's content, obviously Jem would be the easy winner.  Yeah, I can't even type that with a straight face.

For my purposes, I'm looking for an intro that vaguely captures the show in some way, but also encapsulates the decade that wrought it.  It should be completely processed, cheesy, and soulless.  There ought to be a lot of reverb on the vocals, and should probably remind one of Kenny Loggins.  Despite its complete lack of musical nutrition, the proper 80s cartoon theme should have you mindlessly humming it throughout the day despite yourself.

With those parameters in mind, let's get started!

80s Cartoon Theme # 3:  M.A.S.K 

Masked crusaders, working overtime
fighting crime - FIGHTING CRIME!
Secret raiders, who will neutralize
Soon as they arrive (at the site)

Trakker's gonna lead the mission
And Spectrum's got such super vision
M.A.S.K.! is the mighty power that can save the day 
M.A.S.K.!  No one knows what lies behind their masquerades!
Always riding on V.E.N.O.M.'s trail
Come see their laser rays
Fire away!

This is a quintessential 80s theme song, threatening to take over the top spot with it's mechanized "m-m-m-M.A.S.K." buried in there about 35 times.  It gets points for avoiding the lengthy voice over exposition that so many 80s tunes indulged in.  We get everything we need to know from the developmentally challenged lyrics - you've got guys with masks and lasers fighting against V.E.N.O.M.  They even incorporated a couple of main characters and told you the legally bare minimum about them.

It's a deceptively efficient musical vehicle, actually.  While the synthesizer is acceptably over-processed, cheesy, and simple to the point where DEVO thinks they could add some depth to it, there is a distinct lack of 80s guitar here that drags it down to # 3.

Honestly, if they would have added a little axe to this tune, this could be the king of all 80s cartoon themes.  The show is absolute rubbish. (It was a horribly derivative amalgam of the already wildly popular GI Joe and Transformers) I defy you to get this out of your head after a single spin, though.  You can't do it.  Also, I'm not 100% sure about the lyrics.  At the end, it almost sounds like the words are "no one knows what lies behind their M.A.S.K. charades", which would be even more asinine and probably make me feel more fondly yet.  If anyone has an opinion on what the lyrics actually are, feel free to chime in on the comments section.

80s Cartoon Theme # 2:  Galaxy Rangers!

Voice over:
In 2086, two peaceful aliens
journey to earth seeking our help

In return they gave us the plans
for our first hyper drive,
allowing mankind to open
the doors to the stars

We have assembled a team
of unique individuals
to protect earth and its allies -

Courageous individuals committed
to the highest ideals of justice
and dedicated to preserving law
and order across the new frontier!

These are the adventures of the Galaxy Rangers!

Somewhere in the future, far away from here
Trouble is waiting on the last frontier

Into these worlds of unknown danger they ride
They're the Galaxy Rangers - heroes in the sky!

No guts no glory, no pain no gain
Once for all, and all for one, riders on the range

No guts no glory, we're taking a stand
Ready to prove it again

No guts no glory!

Holy Chockatolleez, that is one badass 80s tune!  It's got all the cliched trappings of the Reagan Era; guts, glory, taking stands, proving that shit to whatever crosses your spurs - it's perfect!

Almost.  Almost perfect.  The actual cartoon intro is a little too voice over heavy, and they chop the actual complete theme into something less than savory when you watch the shows.  The outro is actually better than the intro, and just the theme song on its own is the absolute best.  If you listen to the Galaxy Rangers theme, you are going to want to strap a cap pistol to your waist and go kick some Cobra Kai ass.

The song is catchy, and it features a good amount of classic 80s guitar, supplemented with a dash of highly processed synthesizer.  The lyrics are dirt simple, convey the spirit of the show, and absolutely laden with the American monomyth spirit.  This is a song that you could easily jam out to on the ol' Walkman, and in fact is so delicious it is only surpassed by the most perfect mixture of 80s gestalt ever created....

80s Cartoon Theme # 1:  Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors!

Voice over:
Thundering across the stars
to save the universe from the Monster Minds,
Jayce searches for his father to unite
the magic root and lead his Lightning League to victory
over the changing form of Sawboss

Wheeled Warriors explode into battle!
Lightning strikes!

There's a power that comes
from deep inside of you
'Cause every day you're reaching toward the light

And you know there's a long,
long way ahead of you
But when your wheels get you there
things will turn out right

Just keep em' turning, don't stop rolling,
the fire is on!  (Wheeled Warriors!)
Battle drums burning - wheels movin'
Wheeled Warriors!  (Wheeled Warriors!)
Cause we can just keep 'em turning, don't stop rolling,
the fire is on! (Wheeled Warriors!)
Battle drums burning - wheels movin'
Wheeled Warriors!  (Wheeled Warriors!)

Oh MAN, this song could not be more awesomely 80s if it jammed a Rubik's cube up the ass of its pinned up pinstripe pants!

Wheeled Warriors has it all - it's got the 80s cartoon voice over, but it doesn't take up all the space, and it's really goddamn weird to boot.  Nobody could cap that with "lightning strikes!" except a 1980s voice over guy.  It sounds like the synthesizer and drums came from a Casio SK1, and the guitar is pure over-processed soulless garbage.  Love it!

Your best 80s cartoon theme should sound like Whitesnake actually wrote it, but was too embarrassed to own up.  Mission accomplished!  It almost sounds like Coverdale wailing that chorus, doesn't it?  Awesome.  Once again, you've got that 1980s "can do" American spirit going, where there's some shining star inside your chest that will surely prevail against against any foe, provided you just keep your damn wheels rolling.

I can't imagine a song that better captures the bizarre, catchy, aggressive, we're-not-taking-ourselves-incredibly-seriously-because-our-big-bad-is-named-Sawboss 1980s.  What you have to understand is that it isn't good music.  There's nothing nutritional about it.  This is the Twinkie of theme songs.  And yet, you will not be able to stop this tune from penetrating your every thought for the next fortnight.  You'll hate yourself for eating that Twinkie, but you can't deny it.

Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors:  the GREATEST cartoon theme song of the 1980s!

- Ryan

Honorable mentions:  Thundercats, Robotix, Inhumanoids, Defenders of the Earth

Monday, October 3, 2011

Can Someone Get Me Off This Planet, Please? Episode # 1,793: White Guilt

So, I don't even know why I do this any more, but I'm looking at CBR and see that Comics Should Be Good decided to review all 52 of the new DC books.  I decided to take a peek mostly because I'm leaning toward trying out Supergirl but I'd like a couple of outside opinions before I plunk down the money for it.  Fine.

Greg Burgas reviews the books, and then at the bottom of each review, and I swear to you I'm not making this up, he fucking counts speaking parts for minority characters.  As though that were something any healthy human would be interested in.  As though that were something anybody wanted, needed.  As though that were beneficial in any way. 

Someday you'll atone, Greg
And just so you know, a couple of minorities get top billing, and the rest of us can go fuck ourselves, I guess.  If you're black, or hispanic, or have a uterus, or you're known to be gay - than you ma'am, are a precious commodity.  You get your own count.  Now, I'm a white guy, so I'm tallied as well, but not for the same reasons.  As usual, I'm the unspoken but well understood evil mastermind holding the rest of you back, which is why the counting is necessary, right? 

I'm pretty used to that bullshit, by the way, so that's not really what has me upset.  I just don't understand what the Burgas agenda is.  Was it mandated that way from an editor?  I guess he thinks somewhere out there Immanuel Kant is collecting karma tokens for him, and maybe this will help pay off some of the evil he was saddled with when he had the audacity to be born white.  Who can say?

I don't know if he recognizes how pointless, counter-productive, and ridiculous it is to spotlight a couple of sects worthy of our current pity and attention, while the rest get prodded into the "other" cattle car.  If you're Jewish?  Fuck you, your pain don't rate.  You're in the "other" box.  American Indian?  Nah, that's old news.  The ol' Trail of Tears goes in the "other" crate, with the rest of the has-beens of Pity City. 

How about fat people?  Nope.  Fuck you, too.  We're hyper focused on race, sexuality, and gender at the moment, so if you'd just be a sweetie and park your fat ass in the "other" box for now?  If you can fit, I mean.  Thanks.  Thanks so much.  I doubt Burgas was even counting fat people when he did his charting.  He must be a raging Body Typist, (insert horror here!) and I a very holy figure for mentioning it.  Yes, that sounds right.

The whole thing is so ludicrous, and tired, and weak, and banal, and is it getting us anywhere?  I think I could live with being The Real Bad Guy every day of my life if I thought it might make a difference.

Not Super - DCs rampant glassesism!
How about people with glasses?  I don't remember too many of those in my new 52s.  I guess Clark Kent does, but when he goes Super, he's glasses free.  Shit.... I wear glasses.  Does that mean that I'm not super?  Is DC telling me that I'm not super in their super secret agenda of hate and intolerance? Am I under-represented as well?  Could I... please be a victim, too, huh? HUH?   Please?  Please?  PLEASE CAN I?  I'd like to paint myself as a victim like everybody else, that sounds ever so healthy.

Let me get this straight.  The operating philosophy is that we'd like to create a world which recognizes only the sublime ineffable special snowflake inside of us, and leave that extraneous and superfluous skin stuff behind.  How shall we create that world?  I know - lets hyper-obsess over the extraneous and superfluous skins stuff, and count speaking parts for a handful of Premier Gold Club minorities!  That should work, right?  I mean, we didn't completely subvert our entire philosophy by jamming attention into the exact area we claim to disavow, did we?  Oh...we did?  Ah.  Shit.

You can't do that chart right, folks.  In order to do it right, you have to shed your crocodile tears for all the minorities, and what will become painfully obvious in the process is that everybody is a fucking minority for some reason or another.  Life sucks.  Things are tough all over.  You don't like it?  Good!  That's called....wait for it....being human.  I'm human, too.  I know that's hard to recognize over my vitriol and the fact that you've been trained from the cradle to hate me, and I've been trained from the cradle to hate myself.

It's not helping.  White Guilt sounds awfully good until you get to the fine print where it doesn't work.  DC isn't keeping you down, folks.  Can we let that ridiculous fantasy go, please?  In 2011, DC will give you whatever you will buy, in whatever flavor.  That's the truth.  Buy the books you like and stop making check marks and putting people into stupid boxes, will you?  You're killing me over here.  Yeesh.   

- Ryan