Friday, October 17, 2014

I sold off some of my comic collection today...and a little piece of me died

I started this blog so that I had a place to share my geekness...and it all started with me...with comic books. As a kid they were my escape and the stories seemed so fantastical. They provided a little runt kid like me with the sense of being a "good guy"  and helping out the weak (or in my case, the weaker. I was a scrawny kid) was what you should strive for.  Well, in the years that followed I've amassed quite a collection. From things I truly love to read to things every "real collector" must have, to tons of extra stuff I picked up while buying collections to get the former. My goal was always to sell or trade the stuff I didn't really want in order to amass a small fortune or uses them for trade bait to get those key comics I've always wanted.

Well, I never got around to doing that. I just kept filling boxes with more and more comics. Now I know I'll be downsizing in house soon (very soon I hope) and all the comics aren't doing anyone any good just sitting in a box. While I love having a collection, boxed up there's no enjoyment. Comics aren't just about the story for me, they're also about the art. Some covers are just so awesome! So, I've been taking the stuff I really like and having them "slabbed" (professionally graded and "cased") and framing them on my wall. Speaking of, I should do a post about some of my favorite covers and why...but I digress. The comic book hobby can be an expensive one...and all those books in boxes have I finally decided to take a few boxes to my local comic book shop to sell them. Not a decision done lightly either. First off it meant I had to go through boxes to decide even what I would consider getting rid of. What's crazy is that I know where I got each and everyone of the books in my collection. Why? I can't tell you. If I used that brain power effectively I probably could've cured cancer by now. So, trying to put attachment aside I grabbed a couple boxes to separate part of the collection into the "now way", "maybe", and "it can go" stacks. Phew.

Then I went to see John at Hall of Comics, who is a part owner of the shop and just sold off big chunks of his collection as well (and much to my happiness found out he indeed did have some sellers remorse and wished he'd kept some stuff...) to see what kind of value we were looking at. And I went with store credit instead of cash because I knew I'd get more bang for my buck and because I want to support a great comic shop. John couldn't have been more understanding about going through a collection and I couldn't be more appreciative to hear him say "I understand", "I want to make sure we agree on value", "you have my word" AND in his putting up with my questions about individual books and my nervous pacing back and forth while he's going through boxes. At the end of the evening, having run past closing (and I can't thank John enough for letting me cut into his evening) we came to an agreement and part of my collection is gone (to include an Avengers #6). find books and have those guys find the books I must have in order to spend all that store credit...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Delta Force Operators, rogue leadership, murder, mystery...reanimation?! All reasons you should be reading "Dead Squad".

"Dead Squad" is the latest comic from Darby Pop! distributed by IDW. It features the writing dynamic duo of Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia. Who are Federman and Scaia you ask? Well, beyond the fact that they're good buds of mine and all around cool guys, they've written for television's JERICHO, WAREHOUSE 13, and DC’s HUMAN TARGET and have others in the works. Not to mention they have a few projects that are in development for the big screen too including Y: THE LAST MAN (the award winning comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan) and GHOST RECON (the Ubisoft videogame franchise).

Federman and Scaia introduce us to a threesome of Delta Force operators in the midst of a mission to recover a mysterious package. It seems that after recovering the package, our characters are presented with the realization the mission is not what they expected AND that their chain of command has decided to do things in their own way...a way that's not agreeable to our three characters.

The artwork really helps the story along as well and its no wonder because its done by comic book veteran and TV animator Kirk Van Wormer. It has a sleek, current look with the "action" sequences really getting you into the story as it develops.  I don't want to give the book away, because I want you to see the story unfold for yourself, but between the writing and the last panel...I'm REALLY excited to see where this story goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why aren't you reading Saga? That's the same question I asked myself after reading the first 5 pages...

I was recently turned onto this amazing adult scifi/fantasy comic book written by award winning author Brian K. Vaughn and award winning artist Fiona Staples published by Image comics.  Image is republishing some of their titles and John at Hall of Comics thought it would be right up my alley.

As we get into the book we find out that there’s a war between the planet Landfall, whose inhabitants have wings on their backs, and its moon Wreath, whose people all have horns on their heads and this war is stretching across the universe. Why?  Rather than fight on their home soil and run the risk of destroying it...Landfall and Wreath outsource the war to other planets.

The book has a grand soap opera like feel set in a fantastical Star Wars-like galaxy...full of magic, monster, spaceships made from trees, lasers, alligator butlers, topless-armless-lower torso of a spider bounty hunter and the ghost of a 14 year old girl-missing her lower half from stepping on a landmine-baby all feels real. I know that might be hard to believe but Vaughn weaves the story together seamlessly and it all works and more importantly...makes sense. 

The story centers around our two main characters, the Landfallian woman named Alana and a Wreath male named Marko. They are two soldiers from opposite sides who simply fall in love and try to escape. There's not some grandiose plan to end the war, rather once they found out they're going to have a baby (Hazel) they just want to be left alone to raise her.

Opposite of our fleeing lovebirds is Prince Robot IV, his family are allies with Landfall. Prince Robot has has a human body but a television for a head (I'm still trying to figure it out...but once again, it works). He and a bounty hunter named "The Will" are commissioned to hunt down Alana and Marko and kill their child. These two are not looking to kill the child as some way to attain a grand status. Prince Robot IV wants to do it so he can get home and see the birth of his own child and The Will wants to use the money from the bounty to free a 6 year old child from sex slavery. oh, and there's laying cat...a LYING CAT! A sidekick to the bounty hunter The Will, who pronounces “LYING” whenever it hears someone saying fibbing. Ya, it really is a kind of adult Star Wars...and its awesome!!!

The complexities woven through the action packed, dramatic and dare I say it sexy story by Vaughn...with the discovery of our characters and their faults and their humor get brought to graphic light by Staple's artwork. I could see how another artist wouldn't be able to envision the fantastical worlds and people Vaughn needs to move the story...but Staple nails it! Honestly, you could take the word and thought bubbles away and still understand what's happening and how the characters feel just by looking at them. THAT is how artworks supposed to work.

Yes, there is a part of me that would love for this to make it to the small screen or even the big one for that matter but for right now I'm more than happy that we get this fantastic story in comic form. Go out to your local comic shop and pick up the first trade paperback (no way you're finding the first 6 issues..I should know...I've been looking everywhere for them!) and see for yourself. Learn from my mistake about not taking John's suggestion of buying all the trade might as well buy all of them at once because when you start won't want the story to end.

If you are reading Saga or started reading it at my suggestion, tell me what YOU think!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Comic book art IS art!

I have been debating about what would be my first post on my new blog...and this seems perfect. 
I can't thank the guys The Hall of Comics enough. Last night they held a special comic book art event that included art based on comics and and comic trading cards, original comic artwork and actual comic book covers and pages from published and yet to be published comics.
Who is that guy in the Cap hoodie?!

These are pieces/art you'd only get to see if you paid a mint to get into one of the major conventions (ie San Diego or New York) and you'd have to wade through lines of people to see them. I've seen pictures of art like this but I never thought I'd be able to see it, handle it...much less actually own a piece! So there were tons of artists represented and stacks and folios of artwork. I had my eye on a couple but then flipping through the folios I came across this. Yup, that is an actual, original pencilled page from the "Hulk" comic book-issue 21, page 24 drawn by Mr. Ed McGuinness. It contains Red Hulk, Bruce Banner, Hulk, MODOK, Sentinel AND The Leader (a long time Hulk nemesis).
When I came across it I was just stunned. McGuinness stood over this page and drew it filled with Hulk/Marvel heavy hitters. A close inspection of the page shows that he framed out the standard comic page to get the 4 sub panels and barring 4 or 5 erase marks, drew the whole page error free. This pencil drawing is the original base of the page and then it's later inked and colored, then became a page in the published comic. As a comic geek and wannabe artist I can't even begin to explain how exciting it was to see a true artist's work up close, an artist who's work I love...and now I own it!