Thursday, June 30, 2005

Choose Your Poison.


Black Lightning
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Would you pay $2.50 to read the exploits of Black Lightning? How about The Red Tornado? Are you simply happy seeing them guest star in other characters' title?

If you're a DC Comics fan, more than likely you have a "guilty pleasure" hero. A character you know will probably NEVER headline his or her own title but one that you'd support financially just to keep it in print.

Who would my character be? I used to think it would be The Creeper but in the wake of a lackluster 90's series and a dumbfounding Vertigo-izing of the character concept last year, I'm just not so sure anymore. These days, I find myself practiacally wanting to give my eyeteeth for a Question series more in the vein of The Question of "Justice League Unlimited."

So, my question to you is this: Which character is your poison of choice? Answer as you see fit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"What The Hell Am I Doing Here? I Don't Belong Here."


The Creeper
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I simply ADORE The Creeper. ADORE HIM, but alas, after talking to Scip of "The Absorbascon" fame, I just may have to concede to the fact that The Creeper, as a character, isn't strong enough to carry his own title.

I look into those crazy Creeper eyes and like a mother gazing at her child, see all kinds of potential in one of The DC Universe's least favored of greenheaded stepchildren.

Scip seems to think The Creeper works best as a "guest star" in other people's books. Y'know someone who comes in and livens things up in an A-lister's title, only to escape back to limbo with the next month's Diamond solicitations.

Has DC really created a universe of "guest stars," destined to play bit roles, cogs in the "deus ex machina" DC machine?

Does something like Grant Morrison's "7 Soldiers of Victory" dispel the notion of the "guest star" or propagate it by placing seven disparate DC characters under one banner?

Are there truly no small parts, just small actors? I'm curious as to what you all think.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Lois Lane's Elseworlds Vol. 1


Girl Power!
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
In DC Comics' "Elseworlds" Universe, DC Universe characters were presented in stories that took place outside of DC continuity. We, at "Seven Hells!" thought it would be an interesting idea to take some wonderful "Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane" covers and subject them to a "Seven Hells!" Elseworlds treatment.

We will burn in Hell later.

Man, that'sa one spicy meatball!

Lois is lookin' kinda sexy, huh? Miniskirt, go-go boots and soccer mom hair-do and ready to walk out on her cape-wearin' ex, the limp-noodled, Superman.

It truly does look like "Splitsville" for The Man of Steel and his perennial "girlfriend," Lois Lane.

What could have caused this split between "America's Sweethearts?" Read on...

Lois Lane's Elseworlds Vol. 2


Leave His Ass, Girlfriend!.
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Superman wanted to take a little vacation with Lois. A vacation on Paradise Island, where they tie up women, left and right!

...and, he brought the whole damned Justice League along just for kicks.

Leave his ass, girlfriend!

Lois Lane's Elseworlds Vol.3


Leave His Ass, Girlfriend!
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
The streets of Metropolis in ruins?
Superman, passed out?
Lois Lane, again...in bondage?

"Seven Hells!" knows a drunken Superman when he sees it...and he's got her convinced it's her fault, again.

That's no way to treat a lady, dammit! I hope Lois finds someone to treat her like the queen she is.

Lois Lane's Elseworlds Vol. 4

Many things could have precipatated the break-up, among them Superman's newfound interest in Supergirl's horse, Comet.

The superhero community spoke of Superman's "ways" in hushed whispers but it was on a fateful June day that Lois Lane turned up with a horse's ass.

The JLA's resident magician, Zatanna had crossed yet another line.

Lois Lane's Elseworlds Vol. 5

This is, perhaps, one of the most infamous and HI-larious covers in comic book history. Not surprisingly, the comic "Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane" had many more covers just as HI-larious, if not infamous.

Just how curious IS Lois Lane about (Black)?

Supes, you're about to find out.

Lois Lane's Elseworlds Vol. 6


Curious...No More.
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
After being "Black" and "curious" for twenty-four hours, Lois dumps her "boyfriend," leaves America, goes elsewhere and is worshipped like a queen.

Lois Lane has tasted "the dark berry" and is curious... no more.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Whatever Happened To...Jonni Thunder?


Jonni Thunder
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I remember, as a kid, being mezmerized by this comic. It had a bunch of things going for it. Words penned by All-Star Squadron writer, Roy Thomas. Gorgeous art by comics legend Dick Giordano.

Though similarly named after All-Star Squadron member, Johhny Thunder, from what I can remember the 1985 comic "Jonni Thunder AKA Thunderbolt" treated this as mere coincidence.

(I could be wrong.)

I was thirteen when this was released and 20 years on, the Giordano imagery still looks great to me. How could you go wrong with a pretty blonde and her butt-naked golden "genie" from Mr. Myxyzptlk's Fifth Dimesion? Oh, yeah. I seem to remember that my 13 year old eyes noted that Giordano drew the decidedly female Thunderbolt in a constant state of...excitement.

I vaguely remember seeing a DC house ad for Infinity Inc. #1 that included The Silver Scarab (Now Dr. Fate), Fury, Nuklon, Brainwave, Jr., Northwind, The Huntress, The Star-Spangled Kid and Power Girl and Jonni Thunder as its' founding members. Alas, with Infinity Inc's first issue, Jonni was nowhere to be found.

Was Jonni Thunder AKA Thunderbolt a victim of "Crisis Continuity," a newly designed square peg for DC Comics' newly re-imagined square holes?

If so, too bad. This character seemed to have a good bit of story to tell. With her long absence from The DC Universe, she just may have some new and very interesting stories to tell.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Seven Hells' Washington Post

Earlier this week I was interviewed for The Washington Post "Business" section.

In the article, my opinion is sandwiched behind some guys named Brad Meltzer, Avi Arad and Chuck Dixon and rightly, I get the last word.

The Post knows "the closer" when they see it.

*wink*

The Untold Legend of Adam Strange Vol. 2


Young Adam
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Adam Strange, as a child, cruel to animals.

Rann, THIS is your savior.

Hawkman would NEVER hurt an iguana so.

The Untold Legend Of Adam Strange


Adam Strange
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
"Seven Hells!" has uncovered the SHOCKING reason behind the impotence of Rann's male population.

Robby Reed of Dial "B" For Blog could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lest We Forget...Sean Fahey


Steve Rude's The Moth
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
He's 6'4", a father and husband and I think fights crime on the High Seas and no, he's not Aquaman.

No, he's Sean Fahey, friend, former customer of my comic shop, Beyond Comics 2 AND currently, my editor at CHUD's "Thor's Comic Column."

He also happens to be a pretty good writer, as well.

What makes him so special, you ask? He also wrote a fine introduction to the just-shipped trade paperback, STEVE RUDE's THE MOTH!

Check out the trade (In stores now.) and while you're at it go to the links and click onto "Thor's Comic Column" link to find out why more people than just his mother love this guy so much.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Jem and She-Ra Are SO Hatin' Right Now.


Amethyst
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
After gaining the number one spot, units sold and dollar-wise, what's there left for DC Comics to do?

Yes, we all know that DC does superheroes and that they do them well, over the years they let us forget that they do other thing, so...

ripe with power, DC Comics seems to be embracing its' rich, diverse history.

They're bringing back war comics with the criminally long cancelled Sgt. Rock written and drawn by comics legend, Joe Kubert.

Returned home from Vertigo: Jonah Hex written by Hawkman's Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.

2005 also sees the return of sword-and-sorcery comics with The Warlord by Bruce Jones and Bart Sears.

War, westerns, sword-and-sorcery, sounds like the comics I was reading in the 80's.

To DC Comics, I issue a challenge....

Are you feeling brave? Are you feeling bold after your little market share victory?

Prove it by re-introducing your all-ages, girl-friendly series, AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD to an all-new audience and dang it, do it big with a big-time writer and artists. Dang it, do it right!

AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD focuses on the adventures of Amy Winston, who on her 13th birthday discovers that she was a princess from a far-away mystical land. Did I mention that when in The Gemworld she turns into a 20 year old woman, fighting injustice in a miniskirt, swinging a sword, while riding a winged unicorn?

Grant Morrison NEEDS to write this comic.

We haven't seen Amethyst for years but we HAVE seen writers as great as Neil Gaiman and Geoff Johns along with various Legion of Superheroes writers crib bits from The Gemworld to make their own stories better. DC? Use Amethyst to make your UNIVERSE better, greater.

DC, be brave, be bold. Bring back AMETHYST!

Slade? Who The Heck Is "Slade?"


Slade?
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
We're living in an interesting age of perception and the following illustrates this....

A few weeks back, my store had a poster for Villains United in the doorway. This kid, this child, kept pointing at it quite excitedly saying, "Slade!" "It's Slade!"

All I could do is stare at him blankly, thinking, "Who the hell is "Slade?" To me, "Slade" was no where to be found on that poster. I walked over and looked at it and finally I tapped into the same glimmer of recognition the kid had had just seconds before.

At seven years old, he sees "Slade." Still in my thirties, I see Deathstroke, The Termainator. Why? Because today the name, Deathstroke, The Terminator would never fly on daytime children's television. Hence, the calling of Deathstroke by his first name, "Slade."

I just find it amazing that the characters I grew up with are being re-energized and repackaged in order to make them accessible to today's youth.

Where I perceive Robin, The Boy Wonder as Robin of "Batman & Robin," my four year old nephew perceives him as a member of the cartoon "The Teen Titans."

To him, Green Lantern is a Black man named John Stewart and while Hal Jordan may have the number one selling comic this month, it means absolutely nothing to him. (I'll teach him both.)

How cool is it that we have these characters down to continuously hand down to the next generation. I'm pretty sure that when Julius Schwartz and Carmine Infantino introduced Barrry Allen as The Silver Age Flash someone looked at Barry Allen and thought, "That's not The Flash."

The more things change...

"BONK!"


Hawkgirl
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Without a doubt, Justice League Unlimited is an incredible show. One, because of the characters. A show featuring Superman, Batman, The Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Hawkgirl would certainly be at the top of any comics fans "Must See List," but a cartoon potentially featuring the WHOLE ENTIRE DC UNIVERSE...well, that's just adding chrome rims to the Escalade.

Two, for me, part of the show's enjoyment's been in the show's brilliance in casting its' voice talent. While watching last week's episode featuring Hawkgirl and several Thanagarians, I checked to see who was the voice talent:

Hawkgirl: Maria Canales
Hro Talak (Katar Hol): Victor Rivers
Paran Dul: Elizabeth Pena
Lt. Kragger: Rene Elizondo

What do these people have in common besides being fine actors? Well, they're all of Latin/Hispanic descent.

Did Justice League Unlimited's producers, consciously or subconsciously, roughly basing the warrior race of Thanagar on another race featuring a proud history of explorers, discoverers and warriors?

If they are, the, Justice League Unlimited is simply one of the most thoughtful shows I've ever seen. To too many cartoons, voice casting is just another detail. With JLU, it's become this beautiful thing unto itself.

Friday, June 17, 2005

DC vs. Marvel


DC vs. Marvel
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
According to the comics news website, "Newsarama," DC Comics has for the first time in five years, beaten Marvel in units sold and dollar share.

Fittingly, today a subscriber had me remove the following titles from his pull-list:

Uncanny X-Men
X-Men
Excalibur
The Incredible Hulk

He had me add the following:

All-Star Batman and Robin
All-Star Superman
JSA Classified
Green Lantern

and he bought DC's "Prelude To Infinite Crisis," in order to get caught up on what he'd missed.

Should I be worried about customers dropping so many titles or thankful that customers aren't necessarily abandoning comics just certain formerly rock-solid Marvel titles. When I think about it, I can't take much joy in that as a retailer. ALL comics sales need to be strong in order for comics shops to remain vital.

For too long, Marvel's acted like a naked man walking into a bar sporting an 12" schlong. Not willing to work for attention, he expects everyone to just drop everything, swoon and reward him.

Instead, the people have moved to the other side of the bar where, quietly, a bespectacled man is accompanied by a suave gentleman with jet-black hair. They're having a fierce debate with a toned, olive-skinned brunette. Their words are fierce, yet never hurtful and manage to enthrall.

They've been doing this for years.

This time, the people take note and buy the three a round.

Pull it together, Marvel.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lest We Forget...Norm Breyfogle


Breyfogle Batman & Robin
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Yesterday, I spoke of writer Alan Grant's contribution to the Batman mythos. No discussion of Mr. Grant's work would be complete without mention of his Detective Comics/Batman collaborator, artist Norm Breyfogle.

Before Norm Breyfogle, many Batman artists drew Batman as a man who dressed as a bat with the colorists focusing on the blues and grays of his costume. All well and good but after a while, who could truly tell one artist from the other. Breyfogle took a cue from the often-manic energy of Alan Grant's scripts and returned Batman back to a place he'd seemed to have forgotten altogether.

The shadows.

Breyfogle drew a Batman that was more shadow than man. Gone were the prominent blues and grays of The Batman's uniform, returning was the black that helped him melt within shadows. Gone was the barrelchested Batman many of us had grown up with. Breyfogle re-imagined his Batman as all sinewy muscle, reminding one of an Olympic level gymnast or swimmer, an athlete who looked as though he could fistfight The Devil himself. His Batman truly was the stuff nightmares & urban legends were made of.

This was MINDBLOWING to me at the time! Recalling Neal Adams' amazing uses of anatomy, Breyfogle's Batman was a true amalgam of shadow and man, often a blurry black vision of two and three dimensional effect.

Not only did he re-imagine Batman but he created the stunning visuals of the Alan Grant creations, the self-mutilating Mr. Zsasz, the incredible idea of Scarface and The Ventriliquist, the golden visage of Anarky and many more.

What better compliment can I give him than to say that his Batman is MY Batman. Probably always will be. When I think "Batman," his always seems to visit my mind's eye and to this day, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Lest We Forget...Alan Grant


Mr. Zsasz
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I won't get into going to see Batman Begins and how I'm still all aglow from the effect it had on me. While watching it, I couldn't focus as I watched, in awe, as one of my favorite Batman villains was made flesh on screen. In the film, this villain wasn't used to the effect of The Scarecrow or Ra' al Ghul, but with a simple and effective villain cameo, Batman Begins acknowledges one of comics' better idea-men.

I've always been a Batman fan but in the 80's, I just couldn't seem to get what I wanted. A Joker battle here, a Nocturna battle there. It all pretty much read the same. That is until I read Batman: The Killing Joke. It had something that had been missing from the Batman mythos for years: atmosphere and I wanted more.

Understand, I was aware of things like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns but unfortunately, distance and lack of disposable income, played a part in keeping me away from Batman.That's why, with a price point of 75 cents and an abundance of quality, writer Alan Grant's Detective Comics run will always hold a special place in my heart.

Following an incredible Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis run on 'Tec he started Detective Comics, he started by re-introducing readers to one of Batman's oldest and most normal of rogues, The Crime Doctor. It didn't stop there, this is the man who WAAAAY before Villains United re-introduced The Catman, as a viable threat to Batman and later even introducing us to the family (!) of Clayfaces, The Mudpack.

Here's where we give credit where credit is due: When I was growing up, writers of the Batman mythos didn't even bother to create anything new or lasting.

HUSH? Shhhut the f*ck up.
BANE? ...of my existense.
NOCTURNA? Put me to sleep.

Why should you when you can play with comics' greatest Rogues Gallery? Not since Jerry Robinson or Bill Finger and arguably, creator of Ra's al Ghul and Maxie Zeus, Denny O'Neill, had a writer been so prolific at creating new additions for the Batman's mythos.

Among them Anarky, a 15 year old genius willing to stop at nothing to give Gotham back to the people.

Mr. Zsasz, a psychopathic serial killer who cuts a notch in his skin with every kill in order to relive its' thrill and to "hold onto them" just a while longer .

The Ratcatcher, imprisoned for over a decade, upon release he trains an army of rats and literally brings the men who imprisoned him down to his level: the sewers.

and perhaps, his most enduring legacy, Scarface and his "partner," The Ventriliquist. A murderous crime boss who attempts to run the city using a dummy carved from the old gallows of Gotham, eventually going on to receiving the regard of being added to The Rogues Gallery of "Batman:The Animated Series."

Can you imagine being 15 and reading this stuff? I can and if it weren't for Alan Grant's incredible additions and re-tooling of Batman's Rogues Gallery, I honestly don't think I'd be as big a Batman fan as I am today. To this day, I believe a hero's only as great as the evil he fights. Alan Grant always helped Batman in doing an excellent job of it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kirsten Dunst and The Potato Pellet Gun


Kirsten Dunst
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Sunday, I went to go see "Howl's Moving Castle" and somehow, a friend and I got onto the subject of Kirsten Dunst's acting ability. I once described her acting skills as "having the range of a potato pellet gun."

What's funny is that a guy in front of us knew exactly what I was trying to get across not only about Kirsten Dunst but he knew what a potao pellet gun was! Apparently, it's a guy thing as the women we were with knew nothing of one of God's greatest creations, the potato pellet gun. See, Kirsten Dunst's acting ability CAN bring people together. It only took metaphor and two men's mutual love of the potato pellet gun to make it happen. Kirsten, thanks for making a wonderful night just that much more special.

A Fortnight and Counting.


Donna Troy #1
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Two weeks and counting and I still haven't finished the thing. Add my name to the many who just can't seem to get through DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1. This book's writing is just utterly impenetrable. I've always said comics is a kinetic medium but writer Phil Jimenez's writing grinds this book's pacing to a crawl. Reading DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1 is like reading the script of "Clash Of The Titans." It's what someone that only knows Greek myth through movies imagines what Greek classics read like. Jimenez's prose just float in the air and after a while, I just found myself not caring anymore.

Damned shame. I LOVE Donna Troy. I like Phil Jimenez. Well, I can look at the bright side: at least she's back and bringing along The Wonder Twins.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Dude!


Steve Rude Commisions
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I love getting sketches and commissions. That's why I love going to comic book conventions. I work in a comic book store. I know where to get comic books. Sketches..well, there's just something special about owning something original that came straight from an artist's hand.

Steve Rude's one artist I'd love to have do a commision. Until I get some more scratch, the book to your left'll have to do. It's "Steve Rude Commisions" and it is what it is: 70 pages of gorgeous commisions of some of comics' greatest characters done by one of its' better illustrators. Just go to "STEVERUDE.COM" for ordering info.

I believe you just may find something you'll like.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Thor's Comic Column


Hawkman #41
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Just finished a review for Thor's Comic Column and guess which book I reviewed this week?

Can you believe Hawkman #41? Go figure. Here's the first paragraph...

Any guy who repeatedly smacks Green Arrow in the head with a mace is aces in my book. Did mention that’s why I love Hawkman? You’ve gotta love this guy! Who can’t love a guy who’s been reincarnated as a pharaoh, a gunslinger, an archaeologist and an intergalactic space-cop who’s son just happens to be the current Doctor Fate and his also happens to be Daniel, the current King of Dreams, The Sandman. Hell of a family to marry into, huh? A former beat cop from the planet Thanagar, Katar Hol, Hawkman was usually portrayed as The Justice League’s “enforcer,” a role more often than not leading to internal conflict with his fellow Leaguers, especially the sometimes overbearing and oft-times condescending Emerald Archer, Green Arrow. I especially love this character because he’s the character I get compared to most of all. Like the current incarnation of Hawkman, archaeologist Carter Hall, I’ve been known to calmly speak of art and then the next minute, attempt to smack someone in the head with a hammer. (A true story. Sit me down and I’ll tell it to you sometime.) This Wednesday, with Hawkman #41 the adventures of Hawkman come to an end, heralding the one constant in the Hawkman mythos: a new beginning.

Click on the "Thor's Comic Column" link in the "Links" section for the full review later on tonight.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

"No. I'm Just Browsing."


A "Browser"
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I've had it. Absolutely HAD it. In the past few months, I've had things thrown at me, someone's even threatened to kick me in the head and teenagers f*ckin' suck their teeth at me.

Why?

Because, I've asked them nicely not to read the comics, in-store.

Before anyone starts going on about how "browsing" in-store helps inform their future "purchases," just let me say...

"No. There's a difference between browsing and reading. "

"Browsers" continuously try and take more money from my hand than any shoplifter would ever dare hope to.

To some, they see a comic book. To me, I see the means to put food on my table and clothes on my back. When a writer writes a comic, he does so with the knowledge that, if purchased, the comic can generate orders which in turn, generates income. He takes into account that, on the retailer's end, we will display the books in the best condition possible in the hopes that a PAYING customer will find the book and purchase it. We, the retailers, have to pay for those books and GOOD PAYING CUSTOMERS make this happen.

Not people hanging out for an hour, reading the comics, creasing the pages, smudging the ink and keeping them out of the hands of our PAYING customers. We are entrusted by paying customers to provide them a salable product. Comics are a product VERY attuned to availability and condition. I have problems selling a comic that appears to have been already used.

In a Barnes and Noble-type environment, you can do this. Huge corporations factors in the costs of such actions. Most comics shops are SMALL BUSINESSES with a small margin allowed for these actions.

Yes, the consumer DOES have a right to browse, browsing is a necessary component in choice. It helps steer one towards likes and dislikes. I encourage it. Just not leaned up against my store's walls or sitting on my store's floor, reading my product from cover to cover. When you do that you take money from my hands. Browsing infers looking through. Reading IS simply f*cking reading.

Another pet peeve of mine is the customer who buys 20 bucks worth of comics every other week and tries to read $200 worth in the store.

You have NO right to do so. See how far you'll get going into a McDonald's, walking behind the counter, picking up a $3 sandwhich and then nibbling off 60 cents worth because all you brought was the change you wanted to spend. No self-respecting business would allow for this behavior. Comics shops shouldn't.

All I ask is that when someone walks into a comic shop that they remember that IT IS A BUSINESS. Not a clubhouse. A business that feeds the person(s) put there to service the consumer. At the end of the day, I want what anyone else wants: understanding, respect and the ability to earn my keep. At the end of the day, I think that's all anyone should hope for. I will continue to ask for this and I will continue to ask for understanding in this.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Great Moments In Thanagarian History


Why Rann Will Lose.
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
What you're witnessing is the final adventure of Rann's greatest explorers, D'p and S'htz. After failing to ignore the warnings of the off-panel narrator, they crash landed on "The Unchartered Planet" of THANAGAR, which in all actuality was quite well known in galactic circles. The Rannians were too wrapped up in trying to reverse their little erectile dysfunction problem to actually practice things like astronomy and such.

Well, upon landing on THANAGAR, they were welcomed with open arms but quickly wore out their welcome with their insane obsession with touching Hawkwoman's spear and giggling like schoolgirls.

They have not been seen since. If found, please contact Adam Strange c/o Robby Reed at "Dial "B" For Blog."

For Thanagar!

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together.


Beyond Comics 2
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Yes, I do. What you're seeing is, yes, an ad. Not just any ad but an ad for my store, Beyond Comics 2, an ad concocted, detonated and designed by one of my customers and ace designer, Tony Frye. An ad some two months in the making.

It all stems from a conversation I was having with Scip of "Absorbascon" fame. He said something to the effect of "Comic collectors are a particular and discerning lot. They'll come and spend money in a comic book store simply to get their comics but you, as a manager, can make it something they look forward to everytime they walk through the door."

I feel we can do this. This ad is just one step in what I think will be a great year for my store and Tony Frye gave us a hell of a banner to fly. Tony'll never tell you but I will, he did the ad for my store absolutely FREE. For FREE. Why? I guess this is what a good man does and it's much appreciated.

I am SO excited to be a comics fan again. I think the time and energy Tony invested in this ad conveys this quite well.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Man Wants What He Wants


Chase
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Would you buy a trade paperback of a series written by Mark Millar AND Grant Morrison? A trade that alludes to a secret cabal of villains, led by Lex Luthor, who are, coincidentally, ready to take over the world. What book would that be? A book way ahead of its' time: Aztek.

Would you buy a trade of one of DC Comics' best and arguably most influential comics in recent memory. What book would that be? It would be CHASE.

To my mind, this book about former private detective turned DEO Agent, Cameron Chase, was a precursor to a wave of "crime comics" such as QUEEN & COUNTRY, GOTHAM CENTRAL and POWERS.

Cameron Chase was a piece of work. A woman who's father, The Acro-Bat, was a member of the psychadelic 60's superhero group, The Justice Experience and as a child, she watched her father's throat get ripped out by one of his enemies. traumatized by the experience, she cultivated a great disdain for "powers."

Little does she know that she possess a power of her own.

In its' ten issues, we're introduced to the shadowy Department of Extranormal Affairs and its' director and former member of Infinity Inc.,Mr. Bones. Her first mission? She ordered to shepherd a newly re-formed SUICIDE SQUAD. Subsequent issues have her "team-up" with the likes of The Teen Titans, Booster Gold and Hal Jordan. One of her final missions? Track down the urban legend, The Batman and all rendered by Promethea's J.H. Williams' pencils, to boot?

Sounds good, huh? You can get it in back issues but NOT in trade form. What I propose is that DC starts some kind of "Cancelled Comics Cavalcade" of trades. Cancelled comics that just may have been a bit ahead of their time. Comics that featured talent that hadn't quite "broke" yet, like Geoff Johns' S.T.A.R.S. and Stripe.

DC, let the people know that even when no one was looking, you were publishing some pretty damned good books.

Monday, June 06, 2005

BLIND ITEM!

What newly exclusive DC artist and recently departed Spider-Man writer are set to work on a relaunch of one of DC Comics' oldest and fornerly best-selling titles?

Need a hint? Hawkman used to appear in it.

Let the speculation begin!

Things I Saw In Wizard World Philly That Made Me Laugh


The "New" Hawkman
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I sh*t you not! Some guy in the line for a J.G. Jones sketch actually had a tatoo of HIS OWN FACE on his right arm! Sh*t, dude, you need a hug or something.

Some guy dressed in a homemade Spider-Man costume. Not weird until you realize he wasn't wearing a mask FOR THE WHOLE CONVENTION. With great power comes not letting your ego get the best of you and wearing the mask, dude.

Grown ass men swooning at the sight of Seth Green. *cough* How ya doin', Scip?

Creators trying to sell their comics with scantily-clad models. If you gotta put boobs in my face to get me to read, then you probably don't have much to say.

Some artist from the Top Cow booth seeking guidance from J.G. Jones in helping keep his pencils straight. It was genuinely a sweet moment. I wept.

...and finally, who, after taking a major hit in Philly, was seen soon after poking his head into some of its' finest t***y bars?

Wizard World Philly 2005


Sayger Hawkman
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
The Hawkman sketch to the right is by a very talented artist and very nice fella, Stuart Sayger. He's done work for Wizard Magazine and Upper Deck "VS." card game series. He wouldn't draw Adam Strange even if you paid him.

Here's what I learned about Wizard World in Philadelphia.

Don't bother with Friday.

It's a total waste of your time. Wizard, I've learned, doesn't have a spontaneous bone in its' body and virtually overschedules every bit of fun out of their events. Due to their bankrolling the convention they make the artists run around like chickens with their heads cut off, signing at various booths, virtually allowing for no interaction between the artists and the fans.

Saturday's a different story, though. Things loosened up this day and the artists and writers in "Artists' Alley" got to do their thing. I was able do get the beautiful Hawkman sketch to your right, a gorgeous Raggs Morales Wonder Woman sketch. a J.G. Jones Hawkman sketch and a really cool Walt Simonson Spectre.

DC Comics had a great booth with plenty of free stuff for the taking. DC, hands down, had all the starpower at their booth with Rags Morales, Ethan Van Sciver, J.G. Jones, Walt Simonson, Amanda Conner and Phil Noto popping up at differnt times at their booth. People were having a hard time finding them though because Wizard, inexplicably, positioned the 12 foot high Palisades Toys booth directly in front of The DC booth.

Overall, I had a good time, I guess. If, IF I go back next year, Wizard should take a page from Marc Nathan's wonderfully run Baltimore Comic-Con and put comics before its' own name and interests.

Just my opinion.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The "Seven Hells!" Soundtrack

You wanna kick ass? Listen to this while driving, hunting jackalopes and smacking a Rannie:

The White Stripes' "Blue Orchid." Jack White, calls in "The Seven Nation Army," tunes up his guitar, pulls a piece of lace over one eye and channels Prince, circa "Sign O' The Times, " making one hell of a righteous sound.

The Mars Volta's "Eria Tarka." More prog in one song than anything has a right to and boy, can that Bixler-Zavala wail!

Sonic Youth's "Unmade Bed." Just a great, great heartbreakingly chill-ass song.

The Dears' "Lost In The Plot." Boys going forth, doing Morrissey proud.

System Of A Down's "B.Y.O.B" An 80's R&B hook mixed with hard rock? I'm in.

Kings Of Convenience's "I'd Rather Dance With You." See "Unmade Bed."

Gorillaz's "M1A1" "ahem" Great way to start a mix-CD.

Soundgarden's "The Day I Tried To Live." Good music makes life worth living.

Now, don't forget to check back later on in the day as I give the lowdown on what I saw and better yet, HEARD at WizardWorld Philly.

Trust me, I'll make it worth your wild.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Everyday Is "Punch A Rannie In The 'Nads Day!"


Phantom Lady
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Just back from WizardWorld Philly and boy, do I have news for you all...

but it'll have to wait 'til Monday.

Trust me, it'll be worth it. Have I ever lied to you?

While in Philly, Dial "B" For Blog detonated it's "superweapon" and it was found wanting. It did Thanagar's work and actually pointed out AT LEAST 17 different ways to punch a Rannie in the 'nads!

Meanwhile, the half-naked and beautiful Freedom Fighter, Phantom Lady has pledged to flash The Rannies with her... black lights, in order to give her enough time to punch them in the 'nads.

DO NOT forget to check back here MONDAY at "Seven Hells!" for something MAJOR.

For Thanagar!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

June 3rd Is "Punch A Rannie In The 'Nads Day."


Liberty Belle
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
According to "Robby Reed" at Dial "B" For Blog, Rann's "superweapon" will be operational come Friday, June 3rd.

I've enlisted the aid of a former teammate of Hawkman's, the venerable Liberty Belle. She has pledged to help halt the "superweapon" by punching Adam Strange in the 'nads and then proceeding to kick him with her pointy shoes.

I encourage more of this behavior.

For Thanagar!

For Thanagar!


The Hawks
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Wow. Just...Wow. Now, that's a sweet picture of a couple of ass-kickers. You won't find ass-kickers like these on Rann. Last time I checked (or cared), all Rannians were rendered impotent by their own science or something. Adam Strange's human 2-inch pecker is Rann's "superweapon."

Sad.

Really sad.

The Many Voices Of Batman


Olan Soule
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
Look at this man and what do you see? An accountant? Your fifth grade science teacher?

Perhaps, the better question would be what do you hear coming from this man? Do you hear a stutter? Would you look at him and think, "Batman?"

This man, Olan Soule, was the "voice" of Batman on "SUPERFRIENDS" for over a decade.

After watching Super Friends, Vol. 2, my answer is definitely, "Yes, I do," and it lead me to think of just how incredible of character Batman truly is. When I close my eyes and try and "hear" Batman, I still hear the voice I associated with Batman as a kid.

I "hear" Adam West of the "Batman" TV show, as well. God, do I hear that halting monotone of his, delivering lines like "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!" Damed near makes me laugh every time I think about it. For me, Adam West IS Batman...

until I heard Kevin Conroy voice Batman on "Batman:The Animated Series." Now, that's Batman! With a voice sounding like a cold wind coming off the night air, how could he not be? He is until I watch "Superfriends," and again, someone else becomes Batman, all over again.

As great as Christopher Reeve was, I don't "hear" Superman. I don't "hear" Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman.

Batman has as many voices as he has stories.

I like it that way.