Thursday, 30 April 2009


Best take on constipation in a comic EVER!

Scans from Image's Viking #1, if you're interested. Beautiful looking comic by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein. It's $2.99 but has the production values of a $5.99 book. Be warned the story does take a bit of work on the part of the reader, but what's wrong with that? Everything about this comic is classy, it even smells wonderful. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Shopping list

Is it new comics day again? Christ, I've hardly had time to empty the contents of my nerd sack from last week. Tccch. Here's what I'll be wasting my money on tomorrow...

Conan #10
No false alarms, it's definitely out this week. I'm going to get myself in the mood by blasting Anvil of Crom at top volume on Spotify while drinking mead and whacking off over pictures of Hyperborean maidens

Final Crisis Legion of Three Worlds #4
Laughably late nonsense. I can't remember what happened in the previous three issues. I don't really care. The fact that I'm buying this is evidence of my weakness.

Green Lantern #40
Just rewatched 28 Days Later (This swine flu malarkey has me wanting to scare myself with apocalyptic virus-based nightmares) and it became obvious that the whole Red Lantern/Rage/Puking blood thing from GL is ripped off from the film. Given that the Orange Lantern (emotion: avarice) is basically a copy of golem from LOTR, I should be angry at Geoff Johns for filling my comics with derivative nonsense. Instead I love him for making an event comic that actually has me excited. This is by far and away the best mainstream superhero title on the stands at the moment and the one comic I couldn't do without.

Superman #687

Phonogram #2
Really? I'll believe it when I see it, which I probably won't as I doubt the new shop will get it in and I won't have time to get down to Gosh this week. 
Anyway, if you can get it then you should, as it's a clever, funny, lovely looking comic which will provide you with a much needed break from all that spandex based tomfoolery which you're too old to be reading anyway.

Astounding Wolf-Man #15
I'm a bit behind on this Kirkmanverse comic, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it. We've got to that stage which all Kirkman's books hit when everything you think you know turns out to be totally wrong and he flips the whole story on its head. Having read Invincible and Walking Dead, I know it's coming, but he's so good at it that I'm sure I'm still going to enjoy watching it happen. The art by Jason Howard has also got a lot better as the series has gone on.

Rasl #4
The new shop won't have this either, which is a shame as it's really good. If you see the oversized reprint of the first three issues anywhere pick it up. As long as you don't mind black and white comics (and to be frank if you do, then you're silly) I reckon you'll enjoy this intriguing tale of reality hopping. Be warned though, it's on a sloooow release schedule, and you'll probably be dead by the time it wraps up.

Sherlock Holmes #1
If this is in the shop I might buy it. No idea who it's by or if its any good, but I like the idea of a Sherlock Holmes comic, so I'll give it a go!

OMG! No Marvel titles. That can't be right. Can it?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

I've come as a blue Duncan Goodhew

On my travels around the internet this fine sunny morning, I stumbled on a rather nice set of pics from some comic convention or other. I'm a bit of a nut for cosplay shots, and these are the best I've seen for a while. My highlights...

Slouching Six in a Starbuck and Boomer sandwich

Marvel group shot gatecrashed by John Stewart, non-cosplayer and Anna Mercury drag act. Nightcrawler appears to be curling one out - BAMF!

"It ends with you in tears"

"I'm downstairs, next to the bird in the top hat and fishnets. Where are you?"

Follow THIS LINK for the full gallery (and tell me if I'm wrong to be turned on by the MILF Leia).

Monday, 27 April 2009

Seduction of the Innocent

My missus says she's worried that my comics are corrupting our toddler's mind. He likes to pull my graphic novels off the shelves and look at the pictures. I see no harm in this, and enjoy the fact that he seems to find them so fadscinating. She sees things differently though, and had a bit of a go when she caught him staring intently at this cover...

...which she feels is unsuitable for a 20-month-old to feast his innocent eyes upon. 

Bah! She doesn't bat an eyelid when he's pootling around the floor of museums merrily cooing over scenes of ancient warfare or mummified corpses. Truth is she just hates comics, well most comics. She's fairly happy for me to show him my old Asterix and Tintin stuff, but she's really anti-superhero. Hates the art (she thinks it's ALL dreadful, simplistic nonsense), hates the violence and sees American comics in general as an evil influence on the minds of young children. 

Clearly then, I've shacked up with the reincarnation of Frederic Wertham!

To be fair to her, she's got a point with some of it. He's very fond of Hack/Slash Volume #1 for example. Thinking on it, that's really not very suitable, so I will move it to a higher shelf. But I really don't see what damage Godland or John Byrne's Captain America could do to him. 

I suppose in 20 years time when he's running around the streets of London dressed in spandex beating up criminals, I'll be the one to blame.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Pretty Dredd flyer

This flyer caught my eye at the new shop this week...

Very nice I thought.
It's for a comic convention in Northern Ireland, you can find out more details here

Friday, 24 April 2009

Of comics and Codeine

Hello again imaginary web chums! Thanks to everyone who took the time out to wish me well, you're a lot kinder than some of my friends who reacted to my exit from Wembley in a wheelchair by nicknaming me Davros. Cunts.

My back still hurts like a fucker, but I'm able to sit in a chair without screaming now, which is nice. And, while I am muzzy from all the painkillers, I've been reading a LOT, which has left me eager to spunk my comics muck down your fronts! 

Where to begin? Well, I'm up to speed on Spider-Man, which, given how far behind I'd got on it, is no mean feat. I'm still not sure what I think about the book. It's OK, a pleasant caper filled distraction from the real world; I don't get the "I must read the next issue NOW!" vibe off it though. Part of that comes from the fact that I find it hard to get buzzed about any of the new villains. I understand why they're there, but I think for me to really enjoy Spider-Man, I need Doc Oc, The Lizard, Rhino, The Green Goblin, Kraven and The Vulture. There you go, Brand New Day is all very nice and all, but I've had enough of all these new baddies and I'm not interested enough in all the soap-opera and political gubbins to forget the fact that I haven't seen Spidey fight one of his old foes for ages. I'll still keep picking it up though, because I like reading Spider-Man comics.

Elsewhere, I picked up Exiles #1 on Neil's recommendation. I'd never read an issue in my life and have very little interest in Marvel's mutant books so didn't expect much, but this reboot is really good. Basically, you've got all these alternate versions of Marvel heroes from various realities who are brought together by some shape-changing chap acting on behalf of Marvel's version of the Time Lords or something. They are going to have to go off and put things right in the Marvel multiverse or it'll explode. It's a bit like Sliders meets Quantum Leap only with superheroes. Easy sell. Nice pictures from some fellah whose name escapes me and the kind of knowing, funny script from Jeff Parker that has become his trademark. Give it a go, there's a Hitler baby in it!

Green Lantern Corps#35 was a riot! The usual dose of alien on alien evisceration. Of particular note this issue were the Sinestro Corps members hanging around Daxam and acting like bored frat boys before being slaughtered by Sodam Yat. Really funny stuff. Sinestro pops up at the end too. Can't beat a bit of Sinestro.

Marvel Zombies 4 #1 was also very good, although I can't remember for the life of me what happened in it. I have vague recollections of zombie amphibians attacking a cruise liner, but that's it. The magic of strong codeine has made me forget the rest. 

Captain Britain's vampire story really got into its stride with the third installment, lots of cool vampire types, Spitfire's son dressed up as Baron Blood and a cameo from Quincy HarkerPaul Cornell is drawing heavily on Marvel's Bronze age vampire mythos now, which makes me very happy indeed. If he could persuade Marvel to commission a Gene Colan variant Dracula cover for one of the forthcoming issues, I think my life would be complete.

Monday, 20 April 2009


Went to the football at Wembley on Saturday where my back gave up on me. Ended up being taken out of the stadium in a wheelchair and am currently flat on my back typing this on a temperamental old laptop.

Reading a lot of comics, but am so jazzed on painkillers that I can't be arsed to write owt about them.

I'll be back when I can walk.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Thursday, 16 April 2009

A pitiful excuse for a blog post

Yes, well,  I'm going to use the old tired excuse again.
I'm tired.
There you go, I said it.

Honestly, I've had the boy all day today and he's been shitting for Britain. 
Toddler diarrhea, it saps my powers of comic appreciation, so it does.

Nothing from me then. Go and read Neil's latest round of short comic reviews instead.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Snatch Wars!

What if Brick from Snatch and Darth Vader from Star Wars were involved in some terrible Fly-like accident?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I'm tired

Jesus, is it Tuesday already? Sorry, got a bit caught up in the Easter work madness thing and failed to post any comic related gubbins for a couple of days. Ach well, the World 's still turning, so not to worry.

What to say? Well, I got woken up far too early this morning and lay in the dark watching Teletubbies with my son. A bit later I collapsed on the sofa shielding my eyes from the sun and watching The Justice League on Children's ITV. I've heard a lot about this cartoon as it's a big hit with the middle-aged men who produce the podcasts which I listen to. I thought it was OK. I take my hat off to the producers and writers for filling the show with obscure DC villains, but was less than enamoured by the animation (Batman's head is tiny, while Superman's shoulders are ridiculously broad). The voice acting was also pretty crummy, never have I heard so many superheroes sounding so bored. Still, it's not for me is it? I'm sure the kids love it.

Compiling my shopping list for this week, I see that 100 Bullets #100 is out. This means that the whole series will be available in trade soon, which is nice. I read the first nine in the series, but then gave up because I ended up forgetting too much between trades. It's such a complicated muddle of conspiracies and characters that losing track really screws up any chance the reader has of knowing what the hell is going on. Thus I will wait for the last trade and then read the whole story on some weekend where the missus and bubba are away and I have nothing to do. Bring it on.

As for what I'll be buying this week, well, here's my list

Action Comics #876
Amazing Spider-Man #591
Captain America #49
Conan The Cimmerian #10
Gigantic #4 (of 5)
Green Lantern Corps #35
Incognito #3
Phonogram #2
Rebels #3
Sub-Mariner 70th Anniversary one shot

Fuck me, 10 comics?! What a sick week. Plenty of good'uns though - Phonogram (at last!), Incognito, Green Lantern Corps (Alien squishing shenanigans. Yay!), Conan (which is on top, top form at the mo. The Tomas Giorello art is just beautiful and Conan as a bad-ass mercenary rocks!) and Gigantic (Rick Remender indie goodness. Get it while it lasts folks, he's signed an exclusive with Marvel which means we'll be getting no more Fear Agent, End League or Crawlspace for the forseeable future. Sucks balls doesn't it?).

UPDATE (1.45pm): Apparently neither Phonogram or Gigantic are out this week after all. Sorry if I got anyone's hopes up.

UPDATE (1.48pm): Hmm, might not be a new Conan either. There is a new Iron-Man though. What a mess of a shopping list, eh? Told you I was tired.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Tedious notes on Thursday - with links!

Nothing from me yesterday, too busy at work. "Good Friday? What's so fucking good about it?" as they say at the office. Anyway, had a nice day on Thursday, hitting the new shop where everything I'd ordered had come in. Yay! Also happened to be in at the same time as Bruce, so had a nice chat with him about comics 'n' stuff. 

From Finsbury Park to the West End, where I had planned to go and see the Kuniyoshi exhibition at The Royal Academy, but was quickly sidetracked by comic shops. First stop Orbital, which has really stepped up a gear since moving to the new premises. Vast amounts of small press comics, huge number of back issues and a few tempting boxes of 10p tat. There's also a little exhibition of Simon Bisley stuff going on in the back. All very clean and impressive.

From there through Covent Garden, via a diversion down Charing Cross Road to see if LLC's favourite antique dealing, MMA lovin', Hulk obsessed muscleman Big Dave F was about. Unfortunately he had the day off and was tucked away with his missus and the dogs in Lewisham. Another time.

So, on to Forbidden Planet where I bought myself Volume #1 of The Elephantmen, a very pretty work which is a bit light on words for my taste but works fairly well in trade format. After the usual nostalgic look through the roleplaying section I made my way over to Comicana where I had it in mind to pick up a few back issues of Hellblazer that have not been collected. Jesus, the shop was humming - not with life, but with the stink of sweat and maybe sewage, I'm not sure. There was a madman pacing up and down shouting questions at the staff about Walt Simonson's Thor. It was all like some horrible fever dream and, feeling oppressed, I quickly decided against thumbing through the back issues and headed for the altogether cleaner and more welcoming world of Gosh.

Mr Salmond was in attendance, but in full-on Thursday afternoon customer overload mode, so I left him in peace. Did take the time to check out the original pages of League of Extraordinary Gentleman 1910 that are currently lining the wall of the shop though. Wow! Every bit as fantastic as you'd expect. There's one particularly nice drawing of the Nautilus which would look very good on my wall. Ha, dream on fatty!

Thus, with my head full of nice Kevin O'Neill inspired pictures, I made my way home, where (still without missus and bubba) I settled down to a nice evening with the comics and the telly. Finished up the final season of Battlestar Galactica and found myself disappointed with the quasi-religious cop out ending. Oh well, I thought the final season was pretty weak to be honest, so it came as no surprise.

That's it! My exciting Thursday, (minus the supermarket and a very routine trip to my local for a couple of pints of overpriced Polish lager), all mapped and linked out! Exciting stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The hidden costs of comic production

Tucked away on the 11 o'clock comics forum is a gem from Athena Voltaire creator Steve Bryant. Someone posted looking for explanations for the rising price of comics, and Steve posted this amazing reply which gives a superb insight into the problems facing independent comic creators: 

Many costs go into the production of a mainstream comic. A few are:

• Freelance rate for writer, penciler, inker, colorist and letterer
• Salaries for editorial staff working on each book
• Salaries for production/design/pre-press people working on book
• Printing
• Shipping

Additional costs (invisible on a per book basis, but still factor into the overall costs) include:

• Office space rent
• Utilities
• Office supplies
• Computer hardware
• Software 
• Support staff salaries (warehouse, office, IP)
• 401k and benefits costs for all staff

Now, when you're talking about indie comics, that's a horse of a different color. Let's say you decide to publish an indie comic.

You write and draw it, color and letter it—break your back doing a 3-issue mini-series're done! Now the hard part begins.

You decide to publish your title with a $3 cover price, in an effort to be "competitive" with Marvel and DC.

You jump through all of Diamond's hoops and eventually get accepted and solicit your first issue. When the numbers come back, you're stunned to learn that you have 2,000 preorders—remarkable numbers for an indie book, but even more amazing because this is your first book. Many established indie creators don't do those kind of preorders numbers.

2,000 comics at $3 per book—you're going to make SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS! Right?


The quote from your printer is 1,000–2,999 copies will cost you .65/unit. The cost drops to .60/unit at 3,000. Since 2,000 of your books are presold, you opt to print 3,000 units to cover reorders, convention sales and review copies.

Still, $6,000 minus the $1,800 it costs to print means that you'll make $4,200. Awesome!

Wrong again. Diamond will buy your book for 35¢ on the dollar (65% discount), so you end up making $1.05 per comic. At 2,000 units presold, you'll make $2,100. However you need to ship the books from the printer to Diamond, so that means you'll probably be paying...what? Let's say 3¢ per comic, bringing your shipping costs to $63.

You're making $2,037 from Diamond on your 2,000 preorders. But there's that printing cost I mentioned earlier. That's $1,800.

Okay that brings us to $237. Congratulations! That's what you just cleared on your indie "success!"

Aren't you glad that you overprinted and have copies to sell at cons?

Speaking of cons—airfare, tables, hotels and meals aren't free...

(Did I mention that preorders on the second issue of a series drop and that the preorders on the third issue of a series drop even more?)

Okay, so we've published our first issue and made around $237 off of the preorders.

We also have 1,000 copies that we'll sell on reorders. Let's say that reorders come in at 10% of our preorders, so that's 200 units, not paying for printing because we're in the black now, gives us an additional $200 or so.

Let's say we sell 50 copies per show at 10 shows, so that's 500 units bringing us $1500.

Now we're getting a little closer to making some money.

Let's say that the con expenses were paid for with sketches (in my example, one guy did everything, so he can draw his way to breaking even at a show).

From issue #1, you have now made $1960.

You can see how this will play out with issues 2 and 3 now, right?

Let's say that, overall, you manage to make around $3,000 net after you finish your miniseries.

It's time to publish your trade.

Let's say your trade comes out to 96 pages. You'll want to price it around $13.95 I know it seems pricey. We'd all like to be Vertigo and price a trade at 10 bucks, but we just can't do it on this scale.

It's going to cost you around $2.95 per unit to print 2,000 books, so you need to come up with $5,900 to cover that.

What do your preorders look like? You can probably estimate 300–600, so let's call it 450. Remember, your distributer is getting a 65% discount, so you're getting $4.88 per trade.

Your preorders will then account for $2,196 of your $5,900 printing bill. You need another $3,704. Your floppies netted you an additional $3,000, so you only have to pay $704 out of pocket...add in shipping costs for the books and you're looking at paying a grand for your trades.


Remember the extra money we got from selling those books on reorder and at cons? All profit. That's what your trade will be. You're payed up now.

Taking your trade to shows and selling it at cover price will net you $13.95 per book. Selling 10 trades helps.

Why not go straight to trade? You'd have to come up with an additional $3000 to cover your printing. Ouch.

Granted, you'd be able to increase your numbers a bit if you were doing original material, instead of collecting an existing mini-series, but don't delude yourself into thinking it would cover that additional cost. As a consumer, how many interesting OGNs or one-shots have you passed on because the price tag seemed a little too steep to spend on a new character/series/creator?

The benefit of doing the floppies first are twofold: (1)The revenue generated can lay the groundwork for printing your reorderable evergreen products (trades) and (2) You give new readers a chance to test-drive you at $3 rather than $13.95. Trust me, that's huge.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


This is Solo...
(drawn by Erik Larsen, incidentally)

According to the Marvel Handbook, "Solo constantly employs an arsenal of portable conventional weaponry, including sub-machine guns, automatic rifles, automatic pistols, hand grenades, combat knives, etc., which he secures in various pouches lining his costume."

Employing all that weaponry constantly? Must be a nightmare to live with: "Solo, stop firing that machine gun I'm trying to watch the telly!".

Perhaps that's why he's called Solo.

Anyway, multiple weapons. Numerous pouches. Plenty o' knives. This has to be the 90s, right? Nope; Solo (catchphrase: "While I live, terror dies") first appeared in 1985 in the pages of Web of Spider-Man #19. He's a proto 90s man. Perhaps THE proto 90s man.

Apparently, his sole purpose in life is to kill terrorists. Handily, he can teleport, so he has no trouble infiltrating secret bases and stuff. I'd never heard of him before, but I find the fact that he was around before pouches and guns became de rigueur interesting. But then, I'm a saddo.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Two more from the stack

The missus and nipper have gone to see the mother-in-law for a few days, leaving me in London on my Jack. Marv. Obviously I have all sorts of grand plans to hack my way through the vast swathes of unread comics that clog up my life, but to date have managed to a) sleep in 'til 1pm b) listen to a bit of Velvet Underground on Spotify and c) realise that it's really about time I thought about going to work. Oh well, perhaps tomorrow, eh?
Actually I did read a couple of comics last night - Mark Waid's Irredeemable, which was fun, but at $3.99 one of those comics which is frankly too expensive for the 15 minutes it takes to read. Still, I enjoyed it enough to return for more. Basically, you've got a superhero who's gone bad and is killing everyone. Yay! I'm sure it'll end up being more complicated than that, but yeah, that's what it is at its most basic level, and basic levels are OK by me. I'm seeing Miracleman and Authority influences in issue #1, which is nice.

Also read Flash Rebirth #1, which was perfectly enjoyable fare. As ever, it's going to make absolutely no sense to anyone new to the DC Universe, but hey that's Geoff Johns for you isn't it? The man's an unashamed DCU slut who revels in dredging up stuff that gives fanboys the horn but leaves the casual reader scratching their heads. 

The Ethan Van Sciver art is ridiculously detailed. He must be a very focused man (for focused, read obsessional). There's a nice interview with him on Word Balloon at the mo. It's warts and all stuff from a fellah who isn't altogether likable, but who I do find compelling. He does have an arrogance about him, but it's been a long time since I laughed as hard as I did when he launched into a rant about what a ridiculous concept the Flash museum is: "I know, lets build a museum and fill it with waxworks of infamous mass murderers!" Brilliant. 

He still wants to think harder about what he calls his next sketchbook though.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Big Man Japan

I am so desperate to see this film...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Two to read

A brief couple of recommendations for you: Secret Warriors #3, in which a World-weary Nick Fury leads a team of super-powered greenhorns against the might of HYDRA. And Captain America Comics #1, a Marvel 70th Anniversary special which partly retells Cap's origin story.

Secret Warriors is ACE! A Marvel mash-up of classic super-team and espionage comics that manages to evoke the feel of the silver age Fury books, while at the same time being as innovative as a modern day Marvel comic can be.

Writer Jonathan Hickman is putting together a tight and intelligent story that hangs on a really big, fresh juicy idea. I don't want to spoil things by revealing his hook - suffice to say it's a proper universe changer!

All of which means that while Secret Warriors will work well in trade, it's important enough to the future of the Marvel U to merit a monthly audience. Of course, the fact that Hickman writes a mean single issue helps - there are no wasted words here, but there is still plenty of meat in those 22 pages to command more than the usual 10 minutes of attention that most comics take to read. 

Artist Stefano Caselli also deserves a lot of credit. He etches years of experience into Nick Fury's face, maintains a consistency of style that makes it easy to follow a large cast of characters, and draws some kinetically charged fight scenes that demonstrate a good understanding of visual storytelling. 

Mention must also go to colourist Daniele Rudoni, who gradually tones down the palette over the course of issue #3, until all colour disappears and we are left with a black and white comic which drives home Fury's increasing sense of urgency and focus. A top read and a proper, sharp Marvel comic - just like they should be.

Captain America Comics #1 is written by James Robinson. But while his story is every bit as readable as you'd expect it to be, the fact that we've already seen Cap's origins re-examined elsewhere (Mythos, The Ultimates) mean that it breaks little new ground. 

What makes this such a special comic is the art by Marcos Martin. It's not just the fact that he draws so well, it's the things that Martin does with his layouts that make him worthy of your attention. Right from the off here, he's playing with conventions, placing cap outside the panels on Page 1, using thought bubbles to draw the eye across the page on page two, and later,  in a beautiful double-page splash, walking Steve Rogers through a 40s street which stands frozen in time. It's beautiful stuff which channels the likes of Ditko, Eisner, Kirby and Cooke. 

It's so easy on the eye, that it seems almost effortless. But when you look at the vehicles, the buildings, the clothes and the hairstyles of the characters it's clear just how much research Martin has put into getting the look of the period right. Not only that, but he's drawn the weediest pre-super soldier serum Steve Rogers ever! The man is a genius. Best artist working in comics today. FACT!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Great Works of Comic Genius which I've Never Read

It dawned on me the other day that I still haven't read Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Given that it's supposedly one of the great works of comics genius or summat, this is a bit pants really. Still, it's not the only important comic I've failed to read. Here's a list of some of the others.

V for Vendetta: I've got the trade sitting on my shelf, but I've never got around to reading this. I've picked it up a few times, but something about it just makes me sigh and think: "another day". Odd really, given that I've devoured EVERYTHING else Alan Moore has ever written. I'm not sure the comic can tell me anything about Thatcherism that I haven't already read elsewhere though. Despite what most people thought, I quite enjoyed the film. 

Preacher: Not 100% accurate to say I haven't read this, because I have worked my way through the first couple of trades. They seemed enjoyable enough, but I never quite got round to reading the rest. I don't know, I must admit to having problems with Garth Ennis. Don't get me wrong, he's good and all, but I occasionally get hacked off with the whole uber sex and violence thing. This is where it all started though, so I should pretend I'm living in the 90s or something and be genuinely shocked (instead of bored) by all the fucking, disembowelment and blaspheming.

Maus: Nazi cats?! Bah! I like cats. If the cats were jews and the Nazis dogs, I'd give it a look.

Sin City: Oh, this just doesn't appeal to me. I feel like I really liked Frank Miller in the 80s but don't need to be reading anything he's written since then. This is totally unfair I know, but it's like The Rolling Stones in a way - they were fantastic back in the 60s, but I wouldn't listen to anything they've recorded since 1980. God, that's a woeful attitude isn't it? I'll read Sin City then. Sorry.

Love and Rockets: I have dim memories of being 13 and feeling that I should be reading this. My good friend Mr Wheatley (who can often be found lurking in the comments section of this blog) always used to bang on about how great it was when we were kids, but I just saw lesbian mechanics and, unable to comprehend why anyone would write a comic about something like that, retreated sheepishly into a corner with my X-Men. I still can't be arsed. Terrible really.

Walt Simonson's Thor: Now, I did read the odd issue of this when I were a lad, but it was never really a favourite and the newsagent didn't always have it in stock so I reckon it can go on this list. Over the last few years I've put together a full run from the 50p boxes at various comic marts, so I will sit down and go through it to see if it's as good as everyone says (one of these days).

Starman: I've got an excuse for this one; when it came out I was busy doing studenty stuff and pretending that I preferred sex and drugs to super-powered men in leotards. Young fool! Picked up the first omnibus edition and LOVED it, so this will soon be ticked off the list.

Akira: Another one which I felt I should be reading when I was a teenager. I didn't like the look of the art though so left it alone. I still have problems with manga, but have been giving it a go lately so might get round to Akira. I can still only manage Japanese comics in small doses I'm afraid (pitiful Westerner!), so this would take a very long time for me to get through.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

An Announcement

AF-1 says: "LLC does not really have a CGC copy of Bloodrayne or Magnus Robot Fighter #1. There is no Factory Planet, and our copy of Alpha Flight #1 is still daisy fresh. That is all."

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

My CGC comics

I like to be able to read my back issues, but there are a few special items in my collection which are frankly too precious to sully with human hands. That's where CGC comes in!

There's a lot of unnecessary snobbery in the comic community concerning slabbed books, and I have to admit that I used to be one of those bores who went around decrying the practice: "What's the point of entombing comics?" I'd whine "They're for reading".

Bah. What a cock!

It took a nasty accident with a cup of tea and my mint condition copy of Alpha Flight #1 to convince me that encasing the more valuable comics in my collection made sense. I'm still looking for an adequate replacement for my tea-stained treasure, I doubt I'll ever find one with the same sharp corners and snow-white pages :-(. Still, at least the experience persuaded me that I had to take action with some of my other high grade comics. I've had around 30 books graded and slabbed by CGC now, and I've been so satisfied with their service that I plan to send off more as soon as I can afford it.

The first book I ever submitted for grading was Magnus Robot Fighter #1, Jim Shooter's bold reboot of the old Gold Key property for Valiant comics...

It's a fantastic comic in which Magnus, the strongest man on Earth Colony 10, is kidnapped by the evil robot warlord AF-1 and forced to breed with the half robot half woman cyborgs of the factory planet Chroma. AF-1 hopes to produce a near indestructible race of super robots, but Magnus has other ideas and escapes the Chroma hatchery to embark on a revenge mission that plays out over the course of the next six issues.

The art by Bob Nichols and Bob Layton is sensational, while Shooter moves the story along at a cracking pace. It really is one of my favourite books from the early 90s and one which is becoming increasingly hard to find in high grade. I believe my copy, (which received a 9.8 from CGC), is the second highest graded copy in existence. It's worth around £3 ungraded, but I've seen a 9.5 go on ebay for $50 so I'm guessing mine could fetch around double that - not that I'd ever part with it.

Buoyed by the impressive marks for my Magnus, I submitted several other of the high grade books in my collection for grading and was delighted to find that not one came back any lower than 9.2! Sadly, none of my books received the elusive 10 out of 10 which I craved.

Being the fucknut that I am, this irked me slightly. To tell you the truth, I got mildly obsessional about owning a perfect 10 and, when it became clear that none of my books was ever going to receive this grade, I began trawling ebay for affordable copies of MINT CGC books. I almost bought a Civil War #1 10.0 for $500, but eventually settled on this Graham Crackers promotional copy of Bloodrayne #1...

Beautiful isn't it? Set me back $75 + shipping, and finally satisfied my itch for the perfect comic! I've yet to buy a reading copy of the book, although I understand from friends who know about these things that it's based on a popular video game of the same name. Not my cup of tea, but a solid investment nonetheless.

Hopefully it won't be the last perfect 10 in my collection. I'm hoping to do a deal with the man at the new shop for some of those Obama Spideys he has on his wall. I know I've said that I'm not a fan of all these Obama variants, but he reckons he can get a few 10.0s out of the ones he's got left, and that for a modest fee (£300) he can guarantee me one. If I take it and sit on it for a few years, I reckon I could make a killing on ebay. Happy days! GOD BLESS CGC!