Sunday, 6 May 2007

The Weekly Shop #9

None of the shops I checked yesterday had Ninjas v Pirates. No matter, I still managed to pick up a shitload of other titles on Free Comic Book day including Gumby, who (while not quite as awesome as a ninja) does take on some pirates...

I'll be passing Gumby and the other kid friendly comics onto a pal with children. Hopefully they'll hook his nippers on comics, thereby allowing me to feel I've done my little bit to ensure the survival of the medium.

Orbital had the free comic book day titles prominently displayed, but I was disappointed to see that the other three West End comic shops (Forbidden Planet, Gosh and Comicana) weren't making a big deal of the event.

Forbidden Planet's lack of publicity was particularly galling. The shop was full of kids buying Doctor Who goodies, yet no-one was handing out free comics. In fact I had to go to the comic book counter and ask if they were participating in Free Comic Book Day at all.

They were, but NONE of the free stuff had been put on display and only those people who asked for free comics got them. How stupid. Think how many of those kids buying their Cyber helmets and remote controlled daleks could've been plugged into comics with just a little bit of proactivity.

Gosh also had a box behind the counter. To be fair to them they don't have the floorspace that FP have so their lack of a display was more understandable.

At least they had some of the official free comics which is more than can be said for Comicana who had just put together some bags of shitty old stuff, one of which was being given to every customer who bought something. I got some tatty 90's crap and a four year old copy of Wizard. Woo fucking hoo. That little lot would be enough to turn any kid off comics for life.

Anyway forget the kids, what about me? Well Comicana's crappy offering aside, I managed to get myself a sweeeeeet free stash of funny books.

Haven't made much headway with it yet, but did read Kirkman's Wolf-Man straight off the bat. It's a solid first issue with some dynamic looking art from Jason Howard who has penciled, inked and coloured the book. Looks a lot like Invincible and, in common with that book, I get the feeling that it might take a little while to get going. It has potential though.

As nice as the free stuff is, the kids will eventually have to learn that real comic goodness still costs money. Of the stuff I bought one book stands head and shoulders above the rest: Midnighter #7

Finding out that Garth Ennis wasn't writing this issue was a bit of a shock, but hey if you're going to get a fill-in writer I suppose there are shabbier choices out there than Brian K Vaughan.

Ably assisted by Darick Robertson, Vaughan has penned a high octane one off story which gives us a glimpse into the world of The Midnighter (a man who knows what's coming next) by running his latest adventure backwards.

What we get is a cross between Time's Arrow and Die Hard. It works well and rewards a rapid reread from back to front.

Love Robertson's cyber goons, he's clearly used some of the early Dave Gibbons art from 2000AD's Harlem Heroes as an inspiration...

As a Harlem Heroes nut I appreciated the nod.

Detective comics #832 also has a fill-in writer on duty this month.

The oddly named Royal McGraw might not have the reputation of Vaughan or indeed the man he's covering for, Paul Dini. But I enjoyed his Return of Doctor Phosphorus story in #825 and his latest outing, (which has Batman hunting down a killer who has targeted old school villains and Dini favourites The Terrible Trio), is a a tightly wrapped little story from a writer who I'd be happy to see getting more regular work.

Checkmate#13 was another great issue. I listened to Greg Rucka being interviewed by John Siuntres on the excellent Wordballoon podcast the other night, a show in which Rucka revealed he doesn't bother looking at the falling sales figures on Checkmate anymore for fear that they would depress him into giving up.

While the crossover with the Outsiders which begins this issue is hardly likely to bring many new readers on board, I prey that something changes, because I'd be gutted to lose this book from my monthly shop.

As I've said before though, the fact that Forbidden Planet had knocked £2 off the price of the first trade within a week of its release does not bode well for the future.

Its doubtful whether the market could sustain a regular monthly Omega Flight book either, but I'm sure we'll make it to the end of the current five part mini-series. Issue 2 came out this week and must rank as one of the most sound-effect laden comics of all time. That's not a bad thing, it gives the comic a nice knockabout feel. There's nothing heavy or adult about this book, it's just an enjoyable piece of B list Superhero fun and I like it a lot.

Which is more than can be said for the latest issue of Ultimate Fantastic Four. I'm still struggling to enjoy this book since Mark Millar finished with it.

While the latest three part arc started off promisingly enough, it fizzled out pretty quickly and I speed read this month's conclusion. I'll probably pick up the next arc to see what Carey and Kolins do with the Ultimate Silver Surfer, but I might be dropping this book soon after.

British comics purchased this week (other than that huge and unnecessary run of 80's Eagle I mentioned yesterday) were 2000AD #1535 and Judge Dredd megazine #258.

Was somewhat baffled by the second parts of the Blood of Satanus and Judge Anderson stories in the megazine, but enjoyed Robbie Morrison's Judge Dredd meets The Wire story "Streetfighting man".

I'm a bit scared of artist Henry Flint's take on Judge Dredd's chin though...

Come on, that's not a chin its a goitre

The best thing about the megazine is the inclusion of two Angel Gang stories, the second of which features Mean Machine headbutting a surprised triceratops...

what with this and another alien dinosaur packed episode of Detonator X in 2000AD, I've had my fill of man v dinosaur action for the week, which is just as well as I was SORELY tempted to lash more of my hard earned on this...

"On an unnamed, uncharted Pacific island, dinosaurs continued to thrive while World War II raged across the globe. It's there that members of the U.S. Military found themselves armed only with standard-issue weapons against the deadliest predators ever to roam the Earth"

It's only a matter of time before I cave in on this one folks, only a matter of time.

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