Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chronic Guest Review: Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes!

And now, may I present the Honorable Miracle Keith, who will be reviewing a very froofy text whilst engaging in as little actual froofery as possible.....

Review of Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes
By Bryan & Mary Talbot

Published by Dark Horse

     There’s been a nearly endless amount of academic papers, biographies and even entire college courses devoted to author James Joyce; heck, my wife took a course covering just one book (Ulysees) and though she got a lot of enjoyment out of it, the book is so densely packed with ideas/allusions/cultural idioms that nobody can fully understand it but Joyce himself, and he’s kinda dead.  In this review, I’m not going to pretend like I’m some expert on Joyce (far from it).  I’m just going to bring you my reaction with the understanding that I’m a woefully uneducated, underachieving fan of the graphic novel art form.
  The book delivers the parallel stories of Mary Atherton/Lucia Joyce, both daughters of highly regarded but difficult men.  Joyce is raised in the shadow of her father’s literary fame during the roaring 1920s/30s in Europe, while Atherton is raised in middle class Britain of the ‘50s/’60s.  The book opens with Mar’s seemingly innocuous discovery of an old passport photo, setting up the framing sequence and beginning the tales of two iives in flashback.  In Mary’s case, her father was renowned Joycean scholar James Atherton, an Englishman who rules over his daughter’s life with an iron hand.  A perfectionist who dictates his daughter’s every academic step, his brief displays of affection are entirely conditional; her very existence seems to annoy and anger him.  The Joyce family is modestly wealthy but itinerant.  Lucia falls in love with dancing as a little girl, but James Joyce is an easily distracted, somewhat indifferent father and his wife Nora is an emotionally abusive mother, who vocally dislikes her daughter’s greatest dreams of becoming a professional dancer/dance instructor.
  The artwork changes as the story jumps from Mary’s life to Lucia’s – the former is done in Talbot’s beautiful, modestly detailed style;  lightly colored, elegant drawings that add a deeper layer of tragedy to the more violent scenes of child abuse.  Lucia’s life is illustrated in deep blue-washed ink and watercolor; an appropriate contrast between the biographical/autobiographical stories (and by the time Lucia’s story concludes, the color blue seems most appropriate -those who know about Lucia’s fate can attest).
     If I have one complaint about this book, it’s fairly small: the dialogue spoken by the Joyce family is sometimes over-expository.  Obviously, there’s a great deal of historical record about what Joyce did and his novels are still in print; however, the way his daughter spoke is not documented, so the writer (Mary) is left to make up her dialogue with a “best guess”, which unfortunately contains a lot of gems like:

Lucia:  Margaret Morris is on at the Comedie!  Oh, Babbo, let’s go and see her!
James Joyce:  Oh, you mean William Morris’s granddaughter?  Didn’t she marry a Scotsman?  That Fauvist fellow I used to know, Fergusson.
Lucia:  How should I know?  She’s an expressive dancer – she’s famous!

Yikes.  There’s no easy way to get around that dilemma, and it ends up being this book’s only flaw.  The scenes with Mary and her father are excellent, brief scenes of tension and sometimes terror, as she negotiates her life under the control of her asshole father.

 Talbot is a highly underrated illustrator in the comics industry, though he has worked on high profile titles like Sandman and Fables.  I would personally recommend his graphic novel The Tale of One Bad Rat (also published by Dark Horse), with the caution that its plot does involve child sexual abuse (no graphic depcitions, but still…).

All in all, this is a recommended work for those who need a break from the tights n’ capes variety of story.  An excellent reminder of the power of the comic book medium and an emotionally charged examination of what it means to live with both an artist of great insight into the human condition (but woefully little compassion for the real people in his life) and an academic who writes critically lauded analysis of said artist’s works (also unable to love unconditionally).

- Miracle Keith

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Jouney Into Journey Into Mystery!

I wanted to spend a few moments diving into Journey Into Mystery, because it deserves it.  It deserves it, and it doesn't get but a sliver of the recognition due.  There are bad books, and meh books, and good books, and great books, and then there are a very select handful of "special" books.  These are books that not only demonstrate quality, but also exude a sense of inspired singularity...a sense while reading it that "this author is doing their best work right here."  Take that scribe off the book and it isn't the same animal.  Take that scribe and put them on another set of characters and it might be good...but not this.  Journey Into Mystery, or "JIM" as Kieron Gillen is fond of calling it, is one of those books. 

Here's how it works.

Take the latest installment, Journey Into Mystery # 635.  In some ways it might seem like a bad place to do a primer on the series being that it's the third chapter of the four part "Terrorism Myth" arc.  It's also got that ugly "Shattered Heroes" banner on it, which lets you know that it's representing itself as post Fear Itself nonsense, and instantly wants to make you sad.

Forget all of that.  You should never be afraid of picking up Journey Into Mystery at any point, for a couple of reasons.  First of all, Gillen will catch you up before you start.  In this case, he has "Cadaver Thor" relate recent events while breaking the fourth wall and also loudly announcing the anachronistic "wink nudge" humor that permeates the rest of the series as well.

This kind of thing isn't unprecedented.  Peter David often throws some extra panache into his intros as well.  The point is that it shows craft and caring.  Before you've hit page one of the narrative you have the basic necessary facts packed into your brain kit, and you've got the irreverent tone of the thing to prime you for what's to follow.  You probably already laughed once, too.  "Cadaver Thor is dead, too, and he's all about positivity."  It's completely absurd, and wonderful. 

This is the product of somebody that gave a shit about what he was doing.  Recap page?  Could be a throw-away pain in the ass.  Gillen uses it as an opportunity to encapsulate the JIM experience into a delicious little fun size morsel. 

The plot does follow in the wake of Fear Itself in meaningful ways, so no cheat there.  In fact, I would say that JIM # 635 does what it does more meaningfully than the main event is allowed to be.  The crux of the action is about Nightmare gestating little lethal fear bubbles in people's brains, looking to harvest them into a crown of power.  It's silly in the ways that superhero comics are almost obliged to be.

But where Fear Itself is all about the NSF check that says "Everything Changes Here - BBBBOOOOOMM!" and then forgets that it happened to itself, JIM takes on the real drama that frankly ought to unfold in the event that preceded it.

I'm talking specifically about the little Victim Vignettes of the fear bubble patients, locked in their own personal comas, all born from happenings in Fear Itself, all overlooked and made trivial by Fear Itself.

Before I go on, let me just say that I'm not specifically taking shots at Matt Fraction with that assessment.  If the event books took the time to actually delve into these things properly, they'd run 1,000 issues and we'd never be done with them.  Truthfully, the event book's purpose isn't to tell stories - it's there to move copies.  Event books are designed to have big splashy pages and characters behaving oddly because the point isn't to make sense, but to create mindless buzz and feign elevated importance.

So you get a scenario where the world is supposedly on the brink of madness, and half of France gets turned into statues, and it simply gets waved away in Fear Itself # 7.4653, and a month later nobody knows, cares, or remembers what happened, because goddamnit, something's coming from space and the Avengers and X-Men definitely need to fight about it in a manner that will be cleared up neatly in Avengers Vs. X-Men: Spider-Man's lament: Healing Heroes # 4.86594. 

Or you could read Journey Into Mystery and get a peek about how that might actually play out in a way that feels satisfying, and at a pace that doesn't make you want to pluck your own eyes out to make it stop.  You could read Journey Into Mystery and get a peek at Leslie, Lucas, Luiz, Deborah, and Molly, and say to yourself "Holy Crap, living in a world where Fear Itself occurred would be quite a trip, and maybe there's more to this universe than just ciphers moving the plot along."  Because in Kieron Gillen's book, there are things like vulnerable human beings that lose, and consequences.  Can you even imagine?

Journey Into Mystery fills those gaping potholes that the thundering moron books leave in their wake.  It does so with humor and grace, and it does it every month.

I'll never get over the anachronistic tightrope that Gillen jumps on every month, either.  "You know, Leah, when you get past the urge to retch, these energy drinks are delightfully addictive."  JIM contains all the stilted and elevated Asgardian trappings as previous Thor books, and then it tosses them into Angry Birds America.  Somehow it works.  Somehow it makes me laugh, every time.

And while the tone is irreverent and playful, it would be inaccurate to call JIM fluff.  One of the great triumphs of the book is that Gillen

  • Loki is a villain, or at best a tragic hero
  • Loki is a liar and a trickster
  • Loki is a genius on the path to global level mastermind

Gillen's Loki is as ethically complicated as James Robinson's Shade, and that's as high praise as I know to give.  Young Loki has magic, and allies, and power, but mostly he uses his tongue and his scheming abilities to leverage his situation.  Without giving the entirety of the plot away, he averts disaster in this issue (at least temporarily) by halting his ineffectual heroic efforts and recalibrating mid-stream to give the tyrant what he wants!  You simply don't see this in Marvel books.  Gillen is off the reservation and doing something different.

Nobody seems to notice or care, mind you.  The latest numbers show Journey Into Mystery coming in at # 91 with a barely sustainable 22,000+ copies sold.  This is the part that always confuses me.  I guess I just don't understand why Secret Six wasn't a top 10 comic, and I don't understand why we can't sell 50-100 copies of this at every retailer.  Do people not like good stories at certain shops?  In the age of Twitterbook, do they not know that JIM is elite?

Apparently, they don't.   So I'm telling you.  Spread the word.  Get on Paul Revere's horse and bark to the masses that there is a tiny mystical dog named Thori in this book that grumbles death threats to any poor bastard that stops to converse with it.  Tell them that it's still possible to read a Marvel book that understands scope and stakes without sacrificing all manner of reason and sanity.  Tell them that Journey Into Mystery is the best comic they're not reading, because it's true.

- Ryan

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Market Spotlight!

Some stuff I've tripped over lately....

Orc Stain
ISBN:  160706295X
SRP:     $17.99
Amazon Min:  $75+

James Stokoe is a special talent, and Orc Stain is a special book.  It's really hard to pin down exactly what this book is "about", but mostly its an examination of orc culture as created by Stokoe from mostly whole cloth.  Obviously there are influences, from Tolkein to....I don't know, Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China?  But mostly this is James Stokoe running wild with a very potent imagination.  Orcs don't have names, and spend a good portion of their day collecting orc penises, seeing as how that's the prevailing currency.  That kind of imagination.

More importantly, Orc Stain contains some of the most singularly stunning images in the medium.  I don't know anything about art, and I can see that.  If you did know something about art, Orc Stain might melt your face off.  You could profitably spend an afternoon just picking out all the little details. It's crazy.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I can really see this pulling in some long term interest and developing a legitimate cult following.  Stokoe might go back to press at any moment, but I don't really see that happening immediately.  I don't know if the book actually trades at the $75 mark, but it is exceptionally difficult to find, and I can see a segment of the population that simply HAS to have this book.  It's a winner.  Easy decision to buy whatever you find, even at full retail.

52 Volume 4
ISBN:  140121486X
SRP:  $19.99
Amazon Min:  $20/$50

This was kind of a surprise for me.  I considered it a weird thing to dry up, but then again, it's about 6 years old now, and does anybody really want to go back to this stuff now that it's largely old news?

Apparently somebody wants this stuff, because it's trading at pretty lofty levels, and it's pretty tough to find.  I looked for it at four comic shops this week and couldn't scare up a copy.  Matter of fact, of the four volumes I found zero copies of the first volume, one copy of the second, three of the third volume, and no copies of volume four.  If you look on Amazon right now, even volume one is about set to dry up.  The whole series is primed to blow.

It's an interesting phenomenon on price, though, and I'm seeing this more and more.  Back in the day, trades retailed for $10-$15, and I would wait for the books to hit $30 and worst I was 2:1.  That's not the case any more.  I'm still selling most of my books in that $25-$40 sweet spot....but the newer books are now retailing at $18-$30.  And now you've got a situation where the best you're looking at is 2:1, where before that was the bare minimum.  Bigger risks for smaller returns....yechh.

Of course there are other ways to get books than to pay full retail.  I do it every day.  But the game....she's getting tougher.  C'est la vie.

Gotham City Sirens Vol 1:  Union
ISBN:  1401225713
SRP:    $17.99
Amazon Min:   $44/$27  (no, that's not a can get a new copy for less than a used one currently)

This just in, folks - Harley Quinn is the real deal.  Harley Quinn is DCs version of Deadpool in terms of hardcore obsessive interest, only she's better.  She's better because she isn't nearly as overexposed, and because she does better with the ladies than she does with the men. 

Ms. Quinn is a member of the Sirens, of course, and I can't prove this scientifically, but that's why this is popping.  The HC version of Union made it to the audio podcast Market Spotlight ages ago, and is still doing quite well.  Better now then when I first recommended it, actually.

Now the softcover trade is climbing toward profitability as well.  If you can snap up a copy at less than retail, it's already profitable.  And yeah, eventually I expect DC will go back to press and ruin this party.  But before that, I expect this book to continue to climb.  Cuz Harley Quinn is the real deal.

Suicide Squad # 6
SRP:  $2.99

Hey, remember that Harley Quinn chick?  Suicide Squad # 6 begins the New 52 retelling of her origin story, and it was severely under-ordered.  A second print is coming down the pipe, but collectors are going to want the first print, and I really like the short term on this comic, and sorta like the long term.  If Wizard was still doing their thing, this would have made the Top 10 hot books, that's for sure.

It's not trading at crazy levels yet, ($6-$10) and may never do so.  But if you've got copies available at your LCS, I would grab a couple and wait for the fireworks. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chronic Reviews!

Oh, MAN do I love Saucer Country!

Let's do a series of rapid-fire reviews, shall we?  If I start running long, somebody do swat me.

Today was "Saga Day" in my head and in a lot of other comic fans' heads.  And for good reason.  Like Ron Burgundy, he's kind of a big deal in a niche market that could really use some big deals.  (Is it scary that I still think that way just six months after the New 52 launch?  I think it is, but I'm not going to revert back into Chicken Little mode just yet)  Matter of fact, I should just skip to it...

Saga # 1
Image comics
Bryan K Vauhan/Fiona Staples
44 pages for $2.99

Firstly, welcome back to Mr. Vaughan, you were greatly missed and we're glad to have you.  Thank you also for PACKING this book with content and selling it for $2.99, because bargains are hard to find in this industry presently.  This book is without question great value.

I was worried about the horn head/wing back/racism bit coming off preachy and tiresome.  It's not.  I was not worried about Vaughan scoring hits with the narrative.  And now I am.

Something is....not quite right with the blend.  Alana is bawdy and gets the Chronic stamp of approval.  She's fun.  As we meet her, she's equating her ongoing childbirth with taking a massive dump.  I should be in love, yes?

Marko is a little more centered, and likeable, and the "couple" aspect of the book is more of a focal point then in any comic I can think of.  I kinda like that, actually.  Vaughan implies a world with depth, and it's loaded with unexpected little charicatures, and I'm wondering if that's where it's losing me.

I'm thinking of the robots especially and the little alligator guy....taking in Saga is a little like mixing chocolate milk and Jameson.  That's a little unfair, because that concoction would be hideously terrible.  Saga is not hideously terrible.

It didn't land for me, though.  The mix is a little off.  Honestly, if this were a different writer, I'm not sure I'd give it much time.  Because it's BKV, I think he's got six issues minimum.  Is that wrong?

PS:  The book is currently sold out at Lone Star, which is insane.  It's already trading for $10+ on Ebay, which is equally insane.  All good things, incidentally.  Go, Saga!  We need a buzz book.  I just happen to think it should be Saucer Country more than this one.

Green Lantern # 7
DC Comics
Geoff Johns/Dough Mahnke
20 pages for $2.99

Every time I think I might be done with this book, I get all Godfather 3'd and it pulls me back in.  Or maybe I'm getting Brokebacked, and I just can't quit it.

Point being, Johns always seems able to spur a little life in the ol' girl with his characters, and putting his characters in forward motion.  On the one hand, yes, it does seem a little silly that Sinestro is back 12 seconds later for more Odd Couple hijinx.  On the other hand, I adore the Old Couple hijinx.

Do I really care about The Guardians new plan and the reverberations of great feigned import on the history of The Corps?  Certainly not.  But I liked watching Carol throw that ring on and hit the fray, I think the Indigo folks are a curious catalyst and curious about how/why they were chosen, and there will be plenty of ripe scenarios coming down the pipe for these characters to strut their Johnsian stuff around in.

I like it.  So sue me.

Batgirl # 7
DC Comics
Gail Simone/Ardian Syaf
20 pages for $2.99

I bought this because I was curious about the solicitation, which inferred that there might be some fleshing out on the whole "Barbara gets shot in the Killing Joke" thing.  I can't pretend to know how this issue will work for you if you care about that sort of thing.

I can tell you that it's in there - they didn't dodge, shirk, or wuss out.  I found myself caring not so much about all that, and began pining in earnest for Secret Six, a book that I desperately miss, because there was a little of it in Batgirl in the form of Grotesque, the Big Bad.

Obviously Gail can't do Secret Six in Batgirl.  She's within sattelite range of a major lunchbox property, so there's naturally a governer attached to the motor.  And Barbara Gordon is not damned, so it can't be The Six.  But there's just a taste of it in most everything Gail writes, and I can't decide if that taste hurts more than it pleases.

I think if I was down on books and looking to add, I could see myself reading Batgirl.  I tend to have the exact opposite problem, however.

Crossed: Badlands # 1
Avatar Comics
Garth Ennis/Jacen Burrows
22 pages for $3.99

I have adored this series, but approach Badlands with some wariness.  You can only "push the envelope" so far before your story ends up about pushing envelopes in the most predictable and boring manner possible.  Also not a fan of double shipping, and that's the plan for Crossed: Badlands.  You're getting two per month, and if you want to keep up?  That'll be $8, please.

The original crew gets the first arc before Ennis hands off the writing reins to Hellblazer legend Jamie Delano with # 4, and I'm semi-pleased to report that this is the most reserved/refined issue of the series to date.  There is an infant tossing incident in the middle thrown in for obligatory reasons, but I honestly think it's in there just to pacify the mindless portion of the mob.  I don't think his heart is in the shock shit any more, and frankly, that's a good thing.

No, this is a subtler Crossed, with a better set of characters than the original arc, truth be told.  Harry is a trip, you want my opinion.  I was almost hoping this fell flat, because it would make my decision to cut a double-shipper very easy.  No such luck.  I like this story, and I'm on for the rest of the Ennis stuff at the bare minimum.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode # 6
Image Comics
Justin Jordan/Trad Moore
25 pages + some pinups for $2.99

What a revelation this series has been, and I think it paid off handsomely.  Oh, I can hear the critics spouting nonsense in the background about how Jordan took the "lazy" road with Pete, and that there was too much fighting in the resolution, and that the fighting was too gory and sensationalistic, and that the ending was too cliched.

Fuck all that rot.  The juice is in the execution, and everything about Luther Strode has been pitch perfect from "go" to the end.  The story as presented answers enough questions to be satisfying, but didn't over-explain in the third act and kill future arcs.  This is the kind of pacing, dialogue, structure, and craft I would expect from talented veterans in their primes.    Where did these guys come from?

The final issue is a kinetic emotional bomb, and I will be intentionally seeking out work from both Jordan and Moore in the future.  Rabid dogs will not keep me from the next Strode series.

Thief of Thieves # 2
Image Comics
Robert Kirkman/Nick Spencer/Shawn Martinbrough
20 pages for $2.99

This was of course created by Robert Kirkman as kind of a television "writer room" collaborative experiment, and it plays as what I expect would be a fantastic television series and a nearly fantastic comic.

The problem, of course, is that Nick Spencer is already geared toward directing pages full of three panels worth of facial expressions and splash pages of characters looking very earnestly at old photos.  You push him toward a television script?  You get nothing but.

To be fair, in the hands of Shawn Martinbrough is looks so good it hurts at times.  Some of those panels, particularly some of the Audrey panels,they look less detailed and a little uneven.  But when Martinbrough is on....look out, brother.  That is some wicked good shit.

As per usual, Spencer is absolutely terrific at creating moments and absolutely dreadful at creating comic book value.  You'll be done with this thing inside of three minutes, even if you do linger on the Martinbrough goodness.  I recommend you do.  

Saucer Country # 1
DC/Vertigo Comics
Paul Cornell/Ryan Kelly

 Oh, MAN, do I love this issue.  I like layers, and mysteries, and deep worlds, and established themes, and Saucer Country is serving them all up, my friend.  I like unreliable narrators, too.  They abound in this book.

I hesitate to say overmuch and ruin anything for the uninitiated.  Here's the gist - Arizona governor Arcadia Alvarado is thinking about running for president.  She's got ex-husband trouble, and she's got alien trouble.  Is she even fit for office?  Could be she's a total nutjob.  But if she's right, can the nation, hell, the planet survive without her?  If she is right, is she actually fighting the extraterrestrials, or are they controlling her?  Who the hell knows?  It's BRILLIANT!

Super strong hook, and I was surprisingly taken with Arcadia and her supporting cast.  The implied depth is off the charts, and I think Paul Cornell is good for it.  It works as a creepy sci-fi drama, it works as a character study, and I think it might be one of the few comics that can tie into the zeitgeist of its political day without distracting from the narrative flow or sacrificing its replay value.

I've been this excited by first issues before only to be woefully disappointed later,  (see:  Scarlet, Bendis) but I was exceptionally impressed with Saucer Country.  PS:  Ryan Kelly's work is phenomenal.  Just phenomenal.  I'm in love!

This was supposed to be Image's big day to pound us in the face with Saga.  I think I'm going to remember this as the day that Saucer Country hit, instead.

-  Ryan

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Slaughter Lake!

That's me on the cover!  (the jerk with the innertube, not the facemask)

Slaughter Lake by the diabolical talents of Josh Rodgers is now available in print from Indy Planet!  It's the story of psychotic killer Mason Bowers and his murderous romp through the horny campgrounds of Laughter Lake.

If you enjoyed the Friday the 13th films, this is a love letter you can get on board with.  And it features characters based upon The Chronic Crew and the folks at Where Monsters Dwell as well.  If you've ever wanted to see any of us get what's's your chance!

Hey, who is that in the background?  It's Quincy, doing what he does best

 I had been following Slaughter Lake online, but I have to say that holding the print book in my hands brought a whole new perspective.  Josh has come quite a ways in terms of craft and storytelling ability with his pencils, and If you ever saw his Haunt entry in that contest McFarlane held a while back, you don't need me to tell you that.  He's good and getting better.

But having the book and setting it next to the other comics in my collection, that apples-to-apples comparison made it clear to me that Josh is ready for prime time.  He's doing pro work, and everything about this one-shot from Mushface Comics  screams quality - from the finish on the cover, to the coloring, to the paper.

Slaughter Lake is available for $3.99 plus shipping from Indy Planet.  Worth the price of admission just to see Monster Mike and Remy get dismembered, don't you think?  Or is it Quincy sitting on the jailhouse can?  I'll let you decide  what's more rewarding.

Crossover Done Right!

I do a lot of bitching about Event Fatigue and Crossoveritis, which is a real thing.  I'm afflicted with acute cases of both, and I think it's worth complaining about.

Of course the only thing better than complaining is highlighting a positive, a signpost to point at and say "this is how things ought to be done".  Mark Waid's run on Daredevil is a how-to clinic on how superhero comics ought to be done - with an infatuation for the character and the genre.

Hack Slash # 13 hit the racks just the other day, and I was pleasantly shocked to find none other then Victor Morrow making a guest appearance!

Happy day, for lots of reasons.  Off the top of my head, I think the element that created the most novelty was the surprise - this was not in the solicitation, and I didn't hear anything about it from Seeley, Seifert, or Ketner in the usual spots.  That isn't to say that something wasn't announced, but I travel in the usual circles for these kinds of press releases and didn't bump into anything.  It was....a surprise, and in 2012, that's saying something.

More importantly, it makes a lot of sense.  If plopped into the same world, The Witch Doctor would absolutely be interested in Slashers as a treatable disease.  And yes, he would equally be interested in Vlad and Cassie, either as mutations or, I don't know, lymphic adaptations in the cosmological scheme.  Yup, the smart ass doctor should fit in quite nicely with the plot and the tone of the series.  Wonderful.  Absolutely wonderful.

Infinitely more enjoyable than Avengers Vs. X-Men, which won't see a dime of my money.  I have less than zero interest in that book.  After 1,000 NSF checks, who could possibly believe that this one won't bounce?  All you're getting with AvX is a giant expensive commercial for the next "Big Thing" that won't pay off.

Or you can read Hack Slash, which engages in clever, funny world-building on a monthly basis, with two leads that you can't help but fall in love with.  And when that book crosses over with something, it makes sense and enhances the experience, and does not require an ugly banner at the top of the book or an extra 37 disappointing tie-ins to purchase.

Hack Slash # 13....that's how you do a crossover.  Also, be reading Witch Doctor, too.  It's ridiculously good.