Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Waiting for Wednesday, Volume 2, Issue 14

Well, here we are. The first Wednesday after the release of Apple's iPad, and, so far at least, it appears that there will still be print comic books shipping to stores today.

Crisis averted for the moment, thank goodness.

However, the threat of the iPad is still there, plaguing comics shop owners like a Romero slow-moving zombie in the distance. Last week, Marvel announced that they have developed and released an app, which will deliver digital content to your fancy new toy.
If you'd like to read the article in the link provided above, please do. But if you'd rather hear my own, quasi-warped, summary of it, then just keep reading. According to the article, "This landmark app launches with over 500 of Marvel's greatest comic books, from classic stories to modern tales, featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor and more of the world's most popular Super Heroes." (Emphasis mine)

That sounds well and good, and pretty harmless, yes? Sure it does, Bucky. But let's take a look at something a couple of paragraphs down.

"Fans will be granted unrivaled access to Marvel's rich library of comics, with launch titles ranging from the first appearances of characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men to modern classics like the debut of Red Hulk, Jonathan Hickman's acclaimed FANTASTIC FOUR run, Joss Whedon & John Cassaday's ASTONISHING X-MEN and lots more."

Well, that doesn't sound too--yeahbuhwhat?!

Did that say the Red Hulk? And Hickman's run on Fantastic Four? As in, story lines that are currently running in Marvel's comics??

So maybe Marvel isn't releasing all-new stories to the iPad (and thus killing retailers outright), but they are releasing issues of newly-collected material to the iPad. And that might be just as bad for comics shops in the long run.

Let's face it, folks. This new App (and the many more that will undoubtedly follow suit in the very near future) is going to have a negative impact on all brick and mortar comics shops.

There's just no way around it.

The game has changed, and soon, it'll be adapt or die, much like it's been for booksellers not named Ask Borders how that's going. Better yet (well, worse, really), head on down to your local independent bookstore and--what's that?

Your local independent bookstore went out of business two years ago? Huh. Boy, I hope the same thing doesn't happen to comics shops, says the most naive person in the room.

I keep thinking of that first Wednesday when there's no local shop to hit up. That first lazy Saturday afternoon when there's no place to browse about, pick up a good Sunday read, and chat idly with comics fans.

I keep thinking about that day, and the more I do, the less I want to keep thinking about it. (Wrap your head around that sentence for a moment--I promise, it kinda makes sense.)

I'd love to hear everyone's take on this, because I need to be talked down. Okay, philosophical rant over. Promise.

On to this week's comics. It's an interesting mix of books today, and there are a couple of books shipping today that have been on my radar for a while now. I think Marvel wins the Most Intriguing New Series Award, for the launch of the new S.H.I.E.L.D. title.
Written by Jonathan Hickman, this book looks promising. A new take on an old favorite, I think this relaunch has some serious potential. Apparently, so does Marvel. They're issuing three covers, and I have to admit, they are all interesting enough to sell the book without even opening it up.
I know I've said the word, interesting, about 10 times already in the last couple of paragraphs, but that's really the best way to describe how I feel about the book.

Anyway, here's the solicitation information from Marvel:

THE STORY: Leonardo Da Vinci was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. So was Issac Newton. So were Imhotep and Zhang Heng and Galileo and many other geniuses throughout time.

They were the first heroes to defeat Galactus and the Brood and turn Celestials back. They saved the world long before Captain America or Iron Man were ever born, but what does this mean to our heroes of today? What does this mean to Nick Fury?

Do not miss this Marvel Comics masterpiece that fans will be talking about for decades to come. All the insanity is courtesy of JONATHAN HICKMAN (FANTASTIC FOUR, SECRET WARRIORS, Nightly News) and DUSTIN WEAVER (X-MEN).

Obviously, I'm all over this book. But I think you should be, too. Give it a shot--Hickman's (eccentric) star is on the rise, and I think there will be some cool stuff coming out of this book.

Next up is another Marvel book (See? A little Marvel bashing up at the top, and now I lap on the adulation). From writer Jeph Loeb and artist Art Adams, Ultimate Comics X, issue two, hits stands today and promises to be a big seller.
Before the release of issue one, there was plenty of online gibbering about how it was another stupid, over-hyped, big name creator project with little in the way of story.

Of course, as with most things on the Internet, once the book actually shipped and people actually read was met with a very positive response. This book spins directly out of the big, Ultimate Universe event, Ultimatum (written by Loeb), and this series takes the universe in a pretty cool new direction.

Here's the blurb from Marvel:

The Story:
Who—or what—is Ultimate X? As the world comes back from the brink of destruction, those left behind struggle to find some semblance of hope.

One young woman in particular--the alluring and mysterious Karen--tries to build her life back together, but seems to be hiding something...or rather running away from it.

Why so serious, Karen? Maybe her dirty little secret isn’t so little, and might be the key to the mystery of the ULTIMATE X! Brought to you by Eisner award-winning writer JEPH LOEB and legendary illustrator ARTHUR ADAMS!

It's good stuff, and Adams' art is nothing short of spectacular--really some of the best stuff mainstream comics has seen in a while. Check it out!

Finally today, we have a trade paperback collection of a mini-series that was seemingly written with me in mind. From Dark Horse Comics and Mike Mignola, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels ships this week, and it's a book I really can't recommend any higher.
Actually, scratch that. I can. This book gets the Official Exfanding Stamp of Approval, an honor bestowed upon only the best of the best.

I talked about this series when the single issues were coming out, so I won't get too far into it, but I will say that the book mixes Victorian horror with enough of a conspiratorial bent that it can appeal to a wide audience.

Here's the blurb from Dark Horse:

Mike Mignola teams up with artist Ben Stenbeck (B.P.R.D.: The Ectoplasmic Man) for a look into one of the Hellboy universe's greatest enigmas: nineteenth-century occult investigator Edward Grey!

In one of Grey's first cases as an agent of the queen, he goes from the sparkling echelons of Victorian London to its dark underbelly, facing occult conspiracies, a rampaging monster, and the city's most infamous secret society: The Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra.

* Collects Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1-#5.

* This volume also includes "Witchfinder: Murderous Intent," from MySpace Dark Horse Presents #16, by Mignola and Stenbeck, and "Henry Hood: The Burial of Katharine Baker," from Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, by Solomon Kane writer Scott Allie and Abe Sapien: The Haunted Boy artist Patric Reynolds!

"All in all, this is a detective story that blends just the right amount of cerebral investigation with Mignola's trademark horror and adventure. And perhaps best of all, the story stands on its own very well, regardless of your past experience with Hellboy or B.P.R.D.. . "

And that's all I've got time for today. Everyone enjoy your Wednesday, and before you go...what are you Waiting for?

No comments: