Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #16

Omega Paradox #0
Moonstone Comics
Writer: Ian Ng; 
Artists: Mark Sparacio, Abe Melendez Rivera 
Mark Sparacio released this “zero” issue as a preview of his first creator-owned series.  As a science fiction story, it starts out in an unusual setting:  a university library located on an alien planet.  The story begins with a team of five people being ambushed by a gang of aliens, followed by the revelation that one of their allies is not who he claims to be.

The team is led by a mysterious character called “The Master,” although one member refers to him as “Father.”  Although he may remind readers of The X-Men’s Charles Xavier, this leader takes a no-nonsense approach to ending dissension within the ranks, as evidenced by the last couple pages of the issue.
There is plenty of action to compel readers to check out the new series (the first issue should be available in your local comic shop now!), which will focus on the team’s search for “a man who may hold the key to keeping the universe together,” according to the book’s Facebook page. 
Fans of Sparacio’s cover artwork will be very pleased with his interior art, and Rivera’s vibrant colors further enhance the book.   

For more information on Omega Paradox, please check out my interview with Mark Sparacio in the pages of Comics Buyer's Guide #1685, which should still be available at some comic shops!  If you missed that issue, you can also check out the online version of the article, which can be found on the CBG website at the following link:  http://cbgxtra.com/comics-news-and-notes/the-genesis-of-omega-paradox

I'll have a follow-up review of the first issue soon.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #15


Written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin Press
ISBN #978-0-312-54773-8
$24.99, 308 Pages

I recently received the new Walking Dead novel as an early Christmas present and enjoyed it immensely, finishing it up within just a few days of receiving it.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is the "first in a series of novels exploring the origins of fan favorite characters from the Walking Dead universe."  For this first novel, Kirkman chose the most evil character from the comic book series:  Philip Blake, "The Governor."  Readers of the comic series know that Blake spent several issues doing his best to destroy Rick Grimes and his group of survivors, through kidnapping, murder and torture, until his reign of terror was finally ended by one of his own people.  However, for several years since that storyline ended, unanswered questions remain:  What drove a devoted family man to such extremes, and what did Philip Blake experience that eventually turned him into a soulless monster? 

This book not only answers those questions, but also succeeds in what most fans would think is nearly impossible: making the reader feel empathy for Philip Blake. 

One of the enjoyable aspects about the book that made it feel a little more "real" for me were the references to the internet and social networking, both of which gradually went away, as conditions worsened in the weeks following the outbreak. 

(The following is a selected passage from the book)

Nick is still keeping tabs on the radio, TV, and Internet...and like the failing bodily functions of a terminal patient, the media seems to be sparking out one organ at a time.  By this point, most radio stations are playing either recorded programming or useless emergency information.  TV networks - the ones on basic cable that are still up and running - are now resorting to either twenty-four hour automated civil defense annoucements or inexplicable, incongruous reruns of banal late-night informercials. 

By the third day, Nick realizes that most of the radio dial is static, most of basic cable is snow, and the Wi-Fi in the house is gone.  No dial-up connections are working, and the regular phone calls Nick has been making to emergency numbers - which, up to this point, have all played back recordings - are now sending back the classic "f--- you" from the phone company:  The number you have dialed is not available at this time, please try again later. 

The novel moves along very quickly, introducing readers to many fascinating characters, none of which are around very long, due in part to the nomadic existence of the Blake family and their two companions. 

Rise of the Governor is a great start to what I hope will be a long running collection of novels featuring individual characters from The Walking Dead.  With the series on its way to the 100th issue in 2012, there are a wealth of characters to draw upon for future novels, and I'm looking forward to see who gets picked for the next book. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


From Comics Buyer's Guide #1685:

For those of you still trying to come up with ideas for Christmas gifts, here are five holiday gift suggestions for the comic book fan on your list!

1) The Adventures of Tintin Young Readers Edition: I started reading Tintin over 30 years ago with monthly installments in Children’s Digest. These inexpensive volumes (under $10) are a great way to introduce Tintin to a new generation of readers.

2) Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things: Couldn’t all of us learn something from this book? As the description reads, “Stuff answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.”

3) Super Dinosaur Volume 1 (Trade Paperback), by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard. For anyone who enjoys shows like Ben 10 or Generator Rex, this series is just pure fun, and is begging to be made into a show on Cartoon Network.

4) Too Cool to be Forgotten, by Alex Robinson. When Andy’s quest to stop smoking results in him being transported back to 1985, a middle-age man gets a second chance to change the decisions made by his teenage self. However, he must decide if altering those decisions will actually make things worse. It’s Back to the Future done in a much more realistic manner.

5) The Complete Peanuts (Any Volume). The significance of this project cannot be overstated. Fantagraphics releases two volumes of these hardcovers each year, with each volume covering about two years of strips. With hundreds of never before reprinted strips and wonderful introductions from people like Lynn Johnston and Walter Cronkite, this collection is meant to be enjoyed and passed on to future generations. The publisher also offers the option of purchasing both volumes together (for any given year) in a nice collector’s slipcase.

Good luck with those last minute purchases, and please...leave the pepper spray at home. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #14: Is Marvel "New52" on the way?

All eyes seem to be on DC Comics right now with their "DC New 52" relaunch event that kicked off in September.  Recent reports indicate that DC has taken a significant market share lead over their longtime rival Marvel.  

And it's not just their comics that have people talking either. 

One week ago Cartoon Network premiered a special one-hour preview episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which will officially launch in 2012.  In addition, the network announced "DC Nation," a huge initiative that is coming next year.  DC Nation is a block of programming that will focus on three areas: 1) new episodes of shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern; 2) animated shorts featuring properties from DC's huge library of characters, including Lego Batman, Teen Titans, and Doom Patrol; and 3) something new called "interstitials."  Sam Register, the Executive VP of Creative Affairs at Warner Brothers, recently described interstitials as "live action news segments that allow you to see what's going on in the DC Nation."  A huge Mego doll collector was mentioned as one of those segments, with the concept being that all of us are part of the DC Nation, not just the people working directly in the industry.

Green Lantern: The Animated Series premiered on Cartoon Network last Friday.

In a recent presentation, Register previewed some of the content that will be included in the new programming block.  He mentioned that "With all that content, every week on Cartoon Network you will see something new...it promises the viewer that they will be able to see something new every time they come on."  He also gave a brief mention of another new show: the upcoming "Beware the Batman" animated series that is premiering in 2013.  

Meanwhile, it appears that Marvel has some serious catching up to do, although it has become very obvious that something is in the works at the House of Ideas.  During the past month Marvel started announcing cancellations on several titles including Iron Man 2.0, All-Winners Squad, and Alpha Flight (although technically this one was originally a mini-series that was changed to an ongoing series, and then back to mini-series status).  Was there some corporate cost-cutting going on here, or just a general trimming of titles with sales that were not meeting expectations?

Shortly after hearing this news, Marvel took it a step further and cancelled two series that had not even seen the light of day yet: Victor Von Doom, which had already been solicited, and Destroyers, which was not even scheduled to be released until 2012.  Then a couple days later, it became official that X-23 would be ending as well.

Earlier this week, one of my Facebook friends posted the sad news that PunisherMax, one of my favorite titles, would be coming to an end with Issue #22.  PunisherMax is a "mature readers" series by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon that has featured some of the most intense Punisher storylines ever seen, which is saying a lot considering the legacy of Garth Ennis' run on the previous volume of the series.  Aaron also took several classic Marvel villains and successfully brought them into the MAX universe, including The Kingpin, Bullseye and Elektra.  A recent article I read mentioned it was not so much a cancellation, as it was a planned ending to the storyline.  Jason Aaron stated "PunisherMax is ending, the way I always intended.  It was not cancelled."

PunisherMax will end its run with issue #22.

For this humble blogger and comic reviewer, yesterday's announced cancellations of Black Panther and Ghost Rider have confirmed that Marvel is taking the first steps toward a significant change in their universe, perhaps at the same level as DC's "New52" event.  In addition, according to a recent twitter post, the following titles are also facing the chopping block (although these are not confirmed yet): Daken: Dark Wolverine, Thunderbolts, Generation Hope and DeadpoolMax.  

So what's next?  Marvel's Point One comic that was released last week gives several clues to major storylines coming in 2012, but something tells me this is only the tip of the iceberg. 

Could the "retro" variant cover for Marvel Point One indicate a DC-like relaunch? 

Will Marvel do a total revamp/relaunch of their entire line like DC did?  If so, won't they face criticism for copying what DC already did?  Or, does Marvel have a totally different plan in mind?  In any case, it definitely appears that 2012 will be another interesting year in the comic book industry.  Like everyone else, I'll stay tuned and see what happens next. 

Scarlet Spider is one of the new series that was previewed in Marvel Point One.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #13

Jughead #200 Anniversary Issue!

Writer: Tom Root    Artists: Rex Lindsey, Jim Amash 

Jughead celebrates its 200th issue with an appropriate story that focuses on the title character’s one true love: food.  Jughead’s curiosity about a new diner results in him trading his most “prized earthly possession” to a witch (disguised as a waitress) in exchange for a sandwich that he describes as “paradise on a bun.”  Unfortunately, he discovers far too late that the price to be paid for that sandwich is something he has never experienced before, and it’s up to Archie, Veronica and Betty to rescue him from this predicament.

In order to help Jughead retrieve what he has lost, each of them is also forced to trade something of incredible value, resulting in a “Butterfly Effect” scenario that leads to more complications.  A special guest star steps in to put things right, but it’s Jughead that eventually saves the day and returns everyone’s life to normal, while learning a valuable lesson about healthy eating. 

The creative team provided readers with a fun all-ages story, with extra credit given for delivering a special anniversary issue without raising the cover price, like most major publishers do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #12

Action Comics #890-900   Writer: Paul Cornell  Artist: Pete Woods

About a year before anyone had heard about the DC "New 52," Paul Cornell began his run on what would become known as "Lex Luthor's Action Comics." 

When fantasy writer Paul Cornell started writing Action Comics, he immediately removed Superman from the book and placed Lex Luthor in the spotlight.  In his quest to regain the godlike power of the Black Lantern ring he possessed in the Blackest Night mini-series, Lex submitted himself to a device that provided infinite streams of information about the rings, but at a high risk of insanity in the process.  As he moved closer to obtaining the answers he was seeking, Luthor looked to a familiar face for both comfort and counsel: Lois Lane.  Except...it was a robot Lois Lane (this may sound familiar to Buffy fans). 

Cornell’s first issue started out strong, as he demonstrated his understanding of both Luthor’s obsessive personality and sociopathic tendencies.  One item of interest in this first chapter: There is a certain amount of irony when one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe nearly becomes a victim of a disgruntled LexCorp employee, which could happen just as easily to any office or cubicle dweller.

The villain reveal at the end of the issue was an unexpected surprise, which is rare in this age of internet spoilers.  The covers by David Finch were a nice bonus, and the year-long storyline was packed with guest stars, such as Gorilla Grodd, Deathstroke, and the Joker (one of the best chapters in the series).  Even Vertigo's "Death" showed up in Issue #894, making for an interesting confrontation between her and Luthor.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Two weeks after our Comic Book Garage Sale in September ended, we were still receiving emails and Facebook requests about the sale.  Collectors and friends were asking questions like "Is there anything left?" and "Do you still have (blank) item?"  An example would be the collection of movie posters that we sold to a cinema enthusiast almost two weeks after the sale was over.

The movie posters are sold !

So after some debate, we decided to have a follow-up sale this weekend.  Unlike the previous month, the plan was for the sale to be only on Saturday, but when I received multiple requests from people who wanted to get first shot at the comics on Friday, I decided to make it a two-day event.

During our sale in September, we had absolutely perfect weather, with temps in the mid to high 60's.  That was not the case with this sale.  With a forecast of rain, high winds and damp conditions, we knew ahead of time that those conditions would factor against us.  However, we forged ahead, and I made sure to mention in my Craigslist posting that we would be having our sale, come rain or shine!

Although both days of the sale were a little slow in terms of attendance, the collectors who did come were once again armed with their want lists, and ready to buy.  The first customer showed up about 10 minutes before our opening time of 10:00 a.m., with another one close behind him, so the sale got off to a good start.  During the weekend, most of our customers purchased anywhere between 20-60 comics, with one person taking advantage of our "buy 'em by the box for $75" deal. 

With about 10,000 comics for sale, customers came armed with their want lists! 

Marvel was the big winner last month, but this time it seemed to be all about DC.  Was DC's "New 52" a factor in getting people looking for back issues?  It's a possibility, since the big sellers this time included titles like Batman, Detective Comics, Justice Society, Birds of Prey, Nightwing, and Swamp Thing.

Marvel titles being sought out included Silver Surfer, Daredevil and X-Men titles, while independent comics were once again mostly ignored, with a couple exceptions, such as the Dark Horse Star Wars titles. 

We also had action figures and some cool vintage DC postcards at the sale.

Perhaps the most interesting visitor to our sale was the woman who was looking for Archie comics, and then literally took off in her car when I retrieved the first box about three minutes later.  I'm still not totally sure what that was about, but she was obviously in a hurry!

Overall, the weekend was a success and we think we made the right decision having another garage sale.  We already had a couple people ask if we were planning to have another one next year, and the answer is yes.  I'm thinking sometime in the Spring, but will probably not have any dates announced until after the holidays, so please stay tuned to my blog, as well as the Secret Identity Comics Facebook Page for updates!

Some unusual Marvel trading cards from Japan.

Once again we would like to thank everyone who came out and supported the sale by picking up lots of great comics at bargain prices.  Just as a reminder, I will be setting up on Saturday, December 3rd at the Great Lakes Comic Book & Toy Expo, taking place at the VFW Post on Gratiot Avenue in Roseville, Michigan.  I'll have more updates on this show as it gets closer.

Friday, September 30, 2011


During the third weekend of September we held our "Comic Book Garage Sale," in which we offered thousands of comics, plus some movie posters, toys and other collectibles at reasonable prices.  Technically, it was our second time having this event, but the first sale in July had some definite roadblocks.

First, the crushing heat and humidity kept many people away, and the ones who did come had difficulty flipping through long boxes for an extended period of time in a hot garage, despite the huge fan we had blowing in the direction of our customers.  We also did not pull as much inventory as we hoped to have available for the sale, due to various time constraints.  Therefore, we were not completely prepared and organized for the first sale. 

However, this time everything seemed to be much more in our favor.  Weather conditions were absolutely perfect all three days, with mostly sunny skies, a slight breeze, and temperatures in the 60's.  We had over 30 long boxes and 20 short boxes packed with comics, and we also added some other items, such as movie posters, Marvel laser cels, and some toys.  With the comfortable weather being our best ally, it was not unusual to see customers spend one or even two hours just taking their time flipping through boxes and checking off the missing issues they found for their favorite titles. 

Some customers that made a casual visit on one of the days were shocked to see just how many comics were available, so they returned the next day armed with checklists and index cards so they could buy in bulk.  Several people purchased 200-300 comics, and some even returned the next day to pick up a few more that they had missed during their first visit.  We also benefited from having some of our earlier customers refer their friends to the sale, which helped to make Sunday another successful day, despite some competition from the Detroit Lions' football home opener.

Comic Book Garage (or Yard) Sales have recently become more and more popular all over the country.  Veteran comic book writer Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning, recently held his "Garage Con" event and reported a successful sale on his blog site.  Scott Hudlow, a large-scale comic dealer in California, also had several yard sales this year.  Artist Chris Yambar even took the idea a step further and created "Lawn Con" in 2010, which was an actual comic convention taking place on the front lawn of his Ohio home, complete with guest artists and live music!

What were the big sellers?  A better question might be: What didn't sell at this sale?  Marvel and DC material from the 1980's and 1990's were the big winners, with huge sales of titles like Daredevil, Captain America, Avengers, Batman, Nightwing, Catwoman, Hellblazer, Spider-Man, and of course the X-Titles.  Some of the key issues sold were Sandman #1, Marvel Secret Wars #1, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 and #2, Batman #428 (Death of Robin), and the "R.I.P." issues of Batman. 

There were also requests for a wide variety of obscure titles ranging from the early 1970's to the 2000's, such as Forever People, Omac, Black Axe, Icon, Hardware and even the barely remembered Peter Milligan version of Infinity, Inc.

We also had several movie posters for sale.

Superman and Justice League titles were among the few comics that did not sell very well at the garage sale, and there was not much demand for independent titles.  However, with all comic books it's often a matter of having the right collector show up at the right time.  

Overall, the weekend was a huge success.  Lots of comics were sold, collectors walked away very happy, and I had the opportunity to visit with several Facebook friends in person.  Many people were interested to hear that we were considering having another sale later in the Fall, perhaps in mid-October.  However, local ordinances may not allow that to happen, since the city has specific limitations on how many garage sales can be held on a quarterly basis.  We'll definitely give it some thought. 

Were they any negative aspects to the sale?  Not really, although it was a huge weekend for garage sales all over the Metro Detroit area.  Basically, if you drove into almost any subdivision, you would find 2-3 yard sales within a couple blocks of each other.  The positive aspect of this was that it drove additional traffic to everyone's garage sales, including our own.  The downside was that some of those people didn't bother to read the many signs that we had posted around the neighborhood.  This resulted in several confused patrons coming into our yard with a perplexed look on their face and asking questions like "Is it just comics?". 

I would then reply with something like "Well, yes, it's a comic book garage sale," which often resulted in more confusion from the people looking for used furniture and baby clothes.  Incidentally, we did offer a very nice Kirkland Deep Freezer for sale besides the comics, but did not receive any offers!

Huge thanks to everyone who came to the sale.  I hope to see many of you at a future comic book garage sale, or one of the local conventions that we set up at.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The third annual Durand Fantasy Expo was held this past Saturday, September 3rd, at the VFW Post #2272, located in Durand, Michigan.  The Durand Expo is an unique annual fundraising event that is done for veterans by a veteran.  Jeff Decker is a Gulf War Veteran who created the event in 2009 to benefit members of the VFW Post.  He came up with the idea to combine several pop culture staples, including comics, toys, sci-fi and fantasy fiction, all into one event. 

VFW Post #2272 in Durand, Michigan

The show was a mix of comic book dealers, toy vendors, local artists, publishers, fantasy authors, and even a couple television and movie actors.  Admission was a $5 donation to the VFW Hall, and kids 10 and under got in for free.  There was also a raffle basket, which started out with a few items in the morning.  However, thanks to the generous donations by several dealers and even some of the guests, the basket was bursting with comics, art prints, toys and autographed photos by the time the 3:00 p.m. drawing was held.

Durand Fantasy Raffle Basket filled with goodies! (Photo by Jeff Decker)

Several local artists from the last couple shows returned again this year, including Brian Germain of Dark Elf Designs, who did a limited edition convention print, the first one for this annual event.  Only ten of these prints were available for sale at the Expo.  Other local artists and publishers included Steve Jencks from Lost Highway, Eric Mullarky from New Baby Productions, and Meljamin Studios.

Brian Germain holding the limited edition print he did for the Expo. 

Other guests included actress Robyn Griggs from Another World and One Life To Live, and fantasy writer Jim C. Hines, author of the Goblin Quest trilogy.  A surprise guest that was not originally scheduled to appear at the Expo was Antonio Mireles, who played a Latino gangster in the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino.

Robyn Griggs and Antonio Mireles (Photo by Jeff Decker)
The 501st Legion-Great Lakes Garrison also set up a booth, with several members graciously staying in costume for the majority of the day, despite massive humidity and temperatures reaching 98 degrees.  Their booth also provided entertainment for the kids, with the "Star Wars Blasters" dart gun contests (pictures of classic Star Wars actors on the wall were used as targets).

Members of the 501st Great Lakes (Photo by Jeff Decker)

Surrounding the Expo itself were other events, including an official "ghost investigation" at the Durand Train Depot, sponsored by S.P.I.R.I.T.,  which is basically Shiawasee County's official paranormal investigation team, a writing workshop hosted by Fantasy Author Jim Hines, and the "End of Summer Crusin Classic Car Show," which took place at the same time as the Expo, just a few blocks away in downtown Durand.  This car show is a great alternative for those who may be hesitant to face the massive crowds and traffic of the Woodward Dream Cruise, but still want to enjoy checking out classic cars in an old fashioned downtown setting (along with great 50's tunes courtesy of a local radio station).    

The flyer for the Ghost Hunt at the Durand Train Depot

For myself personally, sales were a little slow, but I did meet a lot of nice comic book fans, did some networking with another convention promoter, and talked to several customers that were very interested in my upcoming comic book garage sale that I am having the weekend of September 17th.  The biggest seller of the day were my dollar boxes containing back issues of  Amazing Spider-Man.  Other comic book titles that customers were looking for included Spawn, Deadpool, X-Men and Iron Man.  Interest in independent titles was almost non-existent at this show.  Secret Identity Comics also provided several freebies to customers, including free comics and graphic novels from Bluewater Comics, the "DC New 52" preview comic, and the latest free catalog from Bags Unlimited (who generously donated packs of comic bags and boards for one of the raffles!). 

Secret Identity Comics sold comics and provided lots of freebies for the Expo! (Photo by Jeff Decker)

Promoter Jeff Decker has already started working on next year's event, and is looking for guests to appear at the 2012 Expo.  He recently mentioned on the Expo's Facebook Page that he will "start firming up the guest list sometime in late winter [or] early spring, but anyone is more than welcome to throw the hat in the proverbial ring at anytime." 

Brian Germain's Limited Edition Print for the Durand Fantasy Expo!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #10

Vincent Price Presents #16 from Bluewater Comics
Written by Nick Lyons, with art by Juan Tomajok and Kamui Oscuro 
Vincent Price Presents is an anthology series that began under a 2008 agreement made with the estate and daughter of the late actor.  As the narrator, Price introduces the theme of each issue (fear in this case), making appearances at both the beginning and ending of the story, similar to the roles played by early television hosts like Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone

This issue features the story of a widow named Emily who tries to put her life back together after losing her husband to a psychotic killer known as “Soulless Sam.”  Besides raising her son alone, Emily’s life is further complicated by her struggle to make ends meet, nightmare flashbacks of her husband’s murder, and the well-intentioned advances of a local shoemaker.  Despite her efforts to put the past behind her, Emily is eventually forced to confront the source of her fear. 

Lyons’ story is simple but effective, and fits well with a “done-in-one” title such as this one.  Tomajok’s art has a rough edge that coincides perfectly with the old west environment, and it blends well with Kamui Oscuro’s brilliant colors. 

To the best of my knowledge, there have been a couple collected editions of the series, including an Omnibus, but you may have to contact a few shops before finding one.  I have also seen individual back issues at conventions, usually at reasonable prices. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #9

Spider-Man & the Secret Wars #1 
In the first of four issues, this mini-series expands upon the events of the original Marvel Super-Hero Secret Wars series, showing events from Spider-Man’s perspective.  It starts with the pivotal scene from Secret Wars #4 where the Hulk has to hold up an entire mountain range after the Molecule Man drops it on the heroes, and then explores the background story of that event. 
The issue also focuses on the uneasy relationship between Spider-Man and the Hulk during a reconnaissance mission, and trust becomes a major concern as the odds become increasingly stacked against the heroes. Even the usually patient Captain America starts to lose his cool when Spider-Man persistently argues that the Hulk is losing control and gradually turning more dangerous than the super-villains themselves.  Incidentally, this plotline was explored in more depth during concurrent issues of the Hulk’s own title at the time. 
Paul Tobin, along with Patrick Scherberger's art, do a solid job of quickly bringing readers up to speed who may have never read the original story.  The mini-series has an “All Ages” rating and is appropriate for both kids and adults.  The trade paperback collection of the mini-series is available at your local comic shop. 


Friday, July 29, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #8

The X-Files/30 Days of Night #1-6

Wildstorm and IDW teamed up in 2010 for this interesting mini-series combining two popular licensed properties.  Written by Steve Niles and Adam Jones, FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully travel to Wainwright, Alaska to investigate the bizarre murders of truck drivers on an isolated road.  The victims’ bodies are discovered in a manner that defies rational explanation, which prompts Mulder and Scully’s investigation. 

Unlike the 2008 mini-series, Steve Niles wisely avoids using the complex mythology that plagued the television show during its later seasons and drove viewers away.  Instead, he focuses on the element that made The X-Files popular to begin with: "spooky" storytelling. 

Mulder and Scully’s stiff dialogue with each other suggests the story takes place early in their relationship, possibly during the first couple seasons.  This issue even resembles the first fifteen minutes of a typical episode: the opening teaser, initial investigation by the agents, and a cliffhanger scene that reveals more about the murders.  Tom Mandrake’s previous work on titles like The Spectre makes him the perfect choice to illustrate this story.  This series gets extra praise for being “new-reader friendly.”  No previous knowledge of either licensed property is needed to enjoy the story.  I haven't seen the back issues around at conventions, so your best bet is to pick up the trade paperback collection at your local comic shop.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #7

Walt Disney’s Comics Penny Pincher #1 (May 1997) 

In 1997 Gladstone tried an experiment that Uncle Scrooge himself would have been proud of.  The publisher of Disney Comics released the first issue of a 99 cent comic that was “…dedicated to bringing you the most number of comic book pages possible for under a dollar!”  The publisher’s promise was for each issue to include 17-19 pages of material with a one page gag or story on the inside back cover. 

With one classic Carl Barks story and another more modern tale by the Egmont Group and Daniel Branca, the first issue was dedicated to the ongoing feud between Donald Duck and his neighbor Mr. Jones.  The first story focuses on the escalating battle that gets started because of a 10 cent can of putty.  The second tale teaches a lesson on “keeping up with the Joneses” as Donald decides to take drastic action when Mr. Jones refuses to let him borrow his lawn mower. 
According to the letters page, there were plans for several future issues.  Unfortunately, the experiment only lasted four issues, as the comic was cancelled with no warning or specific explanation.  The inside cover of the last issue discussed the lead story for the never-released Issue #5, as well as a preview of the first page. 
Perhaps sales didn’t warrant additional issues, or maybe the profit margins were just too small for Gladstone to continue publishing the comic in this format.  However, almost 15 years later in this current period of economic hardship, one has to wonder if this might be the right time to bring back comics for kids with cheaper paper stock and a lower price point.  


Wednesday, June 22, 2011



Here is the next set of photos from Heroes Con, my favorite convention in one of my favorite cities: Charlotte, North Carolina!  Enjoy!!

Andy Runton's "Owly" display also included the new Owly Animated Short!

Chris Giarruso of "Mini-Marvels" fame did free sketches of his creation "G-Man" for the kids.
John Wilson of Comic Related.com
Brett Pinson of Boomtown Press with the Green Lantern print I purchased from him.
Of course let's not forget the comics themselves!

Artist Robert A. Kraus, or "RAK"

Please also check out my review of the convention on the Comics Buyer's Guide website, at  http://www.cbgxtra.com/!

Saturday, June 18, 2011



Here are the first set of photos from my recent visit to Heroes Con, my favorite comic book convention, in one of my favorite cities:  Charlotte, North Carolina!  Please also check out my review of the convention on the Comics Buyer's Guide website, at  http://www.cbgxtra.com/!

Hulk artist Gabriel Hardman

Lines were long, but Heroes staff maintained order!

Artist Terry Huddleston
The unique art style of Christopher Uminga

Andy Runton, Creator of Owly
Thursday night set-up...dealers unloading those wonderful long boxes.
 More pictures from Heroes Con coming soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Free Comic Book Day 2011 - Part 1

I didn't have time for a full length report this year like I usually do, but I did get some great pics of FCBD 2011, which was also the 10th anniversary of the event!

Let's proceed...

Brian Kelly of Detroit Comics had a very busy crowd at his store in Ferndale.

Ego the Living Planet made sure customers didn't abuse the free comic book table.

Huge variety of titles this year, including the first comic from Discovery Channel.

Detroit Comics also offered kids the chance to make their own mask or tiara.

More FCBD pics to come in Part 2 of my photo report!