Panels and Colors

It’s been around two years that I’ve been reading comics (regularly), thanks to the New 52 and Brandon at Wizard’s comics. There’s been some ups, downs, and complete blindsides. But, one thing has really stood out to me – how does DC keep making such awful decisions?

I don’t want to make this post into a big ‘bash DC’ thing that people that are way more in tune with things are able to do in a much more intelligent way than I feel I can, but as a consumer, its becoming increasingly difficult to justify continuing to support the things DC does that I DO like a lot because of what has been happening to the other stuff that I like. It’s putting me in a position that I just don’t know what to do – do I continue to buy the stories that I like and supporting the titles I think have really interesting characters, or do I just walk away on principle?

I don’t know what the answer is. I guess I’ll have to talk with my trusted comic advice folk on that.

Changing gears a little – Marvel, on the other hand, has been engaging me big time lately and seem to be doing lots of things ‘right’ in the eyes of this consumer.

Last night, I read the first three issues of the current X-Men event, Battle of the Atom. HOLY HELL. It’s so good. The event isn’t like the  events I’ve read from Batman (Night of the Owls) where the other titles have tie-ins and aren’t really necessary to read. Each book is engaging the main story. Each book is necessary reading. Each book doesn’t seem ‘shoehorned’ in so that they can throw a special event banner on the cover. When I heard about the event, I was a little weary, given that I didn’t really know if I was buying into something worth my time (and money). In short – it has been so far.

(Edit: A reader asked what X-titles I was reading to get a sense of how much knowledge I have of what is going on with the mutants. I’m only reading X-men. Battle of the Atom #1 does an excellent job of summarizing the major plot points you need to know to get into this event.)

Feeling my way through the masses of books that are available (and of interest to me) has been a really eye-opening experience. I’m glad that I’ve picked up this hobby and I expect that I will keep buying comics for years to come.

Free RPG Day – Great Success!

This post is a bit late, but, better late than never.

On June 16th, Wizard’s Comics and Collectibles hosted Free RPG Day.  Throughout the day, we had games running for people to try out and a number of freebies that were available for people to pick up.

Here’s an image capturing the action:

We had a number of first-time RPGers and a bunch of folks who hadn’t played in many years and used the event as a way to get back into the hobby.  While it wasn’t as busy as I had hoped, the fact that we had a number of new people join us made it a success in my mind.

Thanks to John, Brandon , Toby and all the rest of the Wizard’s staff for making the event possible and the RPG community would definitely like to see this event happen again next year!

Free RPG Day!

On June 16, Wizard’s Comics and Collectibles is hosting Free RPG Day.  You should come out, ESPECIALLY if you’ve never played.  The demos at Wizard’s are going to be 2 hours in length with some really fantastic gamemasters, who are looking to bring new individuals into the hobby!

There are a variety of games being played and what is being offered barely scratches the surface of all the variety there is in the world of RPGs.  Demos will start at 11am, 1:30pm, and 4pm.  The full schedule is available on the Free RPG Day Event Page.

What is being offered?  I’m glad you asked.

Pathfinder

In Pathfinder, you are a brave adventurer in a fantasy world beset by magic and evil.  Will you adventure into deep caverns filled with treasure?  Will you save a village from an Orc invasion?  Pathfinder has many resources that will allow for countless adventures for your merry band of explorers.

Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds provides a rules system that can be used for any genre of game.  There are many official setting books and a large number of fan-made conversions and creations.  The core design philosophy of Savage Worlds is FAST! FURIOUS! and FUN!

Necessary Evil

When the world’s heroes are eliminated by an invading alien army, the only ones left to save Earth are the super-villains!  In this Savage Worlds setting, you take on the role of a super-villain who must save the inhabitants of Earth!

Deadlands: Reloaded

The year is 1879.  Mysterious beings called the Reckoners have given life to monsters and magic, causing history to shift.  In this Savage Worlds setting, the Wild West is mixed with Lovecraftian inspired horror and steampunk trappings.

Warhammer 40,000

In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only War.  The WH40k line of RPGs takes the setting of the popular miniatures battle game and provides a multitude of options for exploring the universe in the far future. The WH40K line of RPGs use the same underlying game mechanics and each game has suggestions on how to incorporate characters from the different games into another.

Only War

In Only War, you take on the role of a soldier in the Imperial Guard, the backbone of the armies of the God-Emperor.

Deathwatch

In Deathwatch, you become of the Adeptus Astartes, or as they are more commonly known, the Space Marines.  Singled out as an exceptional soldier, you have been seconded to the Deathwatch, who protects the Imperium of Man from the threat of the Xenos (aliens).

Now, don’t see something that interests you?  Well, here’s a deal for you, my blog-readers!  Since I had such a fantastic response to my call for volunteers, I am not scheduled to run any demos, but there is space for me to do so.  As such, if you can bring 2-5 people with you, I’ll run a game using Savage Worlds in a setting/genre more to your liking.  There are a few ‘rules’ to this offer though.

  1. I need time to prepare.  If you want to take me up on this offer, please let me know before June 8.  Let me know when you’d like to have your 2 hour session.
  2. I may have to decline your desired setting if I don’t have the knowledge to capture the world for you.

So, that’s that.  I hope I can share my favorite hobby with some of you.

Free Comic Book Day 2012

Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day (FCBD).  The whole family made the trip out to Wizard’s Comics for the occasion.  I had checked out what was available on the Free Comic Book Day website and really only had one book that I really wanted to pick up, which was Atomic Robo.  I really wasn’t sure about anything else.

So, here’s what we ended up coming home with:

I bought the Queen & Country Definitive Edition Volume 2 and Jackson was very excited about The Penguins of Madagascar.  I always try to make a purchase at these sorts of events, since supporting the shop is as important as trying to introduce new readers to comics.

Anyway, this morning, Jackson asked for his new books.  I put them out for him and here’s the result (he wasn’t exactly pleased I was taking his picture):

Anyway, FCBD 2012 was a great success.  I look forward to all the great books that are coming out this year and the continued enjoyment of reading by my son!

A confession

The comic people that read this blog are probably aware of a little book called Saga.

I read the preview in Previews.  I was mildly interested, I suppose.  Nothing matching the excitement of the comic book fans that I follow on twitter though, who were exploding with joy and excitement.

I asked Brandon to add it to my file.  I thought about changing my mind a few times between then and yesterday.  In the end, I bought it.

I wanted to find it ok.  I seriously did.  Just ok.  I didn’t need more books in my file.

It was more than ok.  It was great.  The preview was a terrible preview.  The book was fantastic.  The art was great, the story was engaging, and damnit, I want more.

So, I feel bad for hoping it wasn’t going to be good.

Number Six

Back in August, DC launched the New 52.  As I had blogged, I was very excited to start seriously reading comics.

Now, 6 months later, I’m still just as excited as I was prior to the launch of the New 52.  I’ve added, removed, experimented with a variety of books.  I’ve also taken the digital plunge (I definitely prefer the paper copies, but sometimes the price is right!) and overall, I’ve been really happy with what I’ve read thus far.  I do need to say many thanks to James Leask and Brandon Schatz from Comics! The Blog for helping me navigate this strange new world.

So, most of the books in my file are six issues in.  What are they?

Batwoman – when Brandon gave the first issue of the Elegy run in Detective Comics, I thought he was a bit crazy. Who honestly reads Bat-anything-that-isn’t-man?  Alright, so I was so wrong.  J. H. Williams III has some damn pretty pictures.  Williams is taking an arc off of art, so #6 was a little inconsistent, but the story was still very strong.  My favorite book.

Batman – Scott Synder has amazing talent.  His take on Batman is fantastic and puts the character right into the stories I want to read.  Amazing stuff.  The mind-bending #5 was worth every penny I’ve spent on comic books through this whole new-hobby thing.

Detective Comics – The first arc of DC was shocking, a little horrifying, and well, off putting (to some).  Personally, I loved it.  Was definitely walking a fine line – I could easily have seen it going a few steps too far for my tastes, but I think it stayed right where it needed.  Now Batman is facing off against the Penguin and the tone of the story is quite different and welcome after the heavy first arc.

Batgirl – I got sucked in by the hype of this book on Twitter.  It’s not my favorite title, but, it is a nice change of pace from some of the darker/heavier things I read.  Barbara Gordon is still scarred from the events of the Killing Joke, and that makes this a good book – Batgirl is hesitant and overly analytical, which gets her into trouble.

Grifter – This started out great.  It’s fizzled for me.  I’ll be hanging on until #8, just to complete the arc and get out when the switch writers (which, has me miffed…).

Justice League Dark – One of two “large” team books in my file.  Reading comics has me realized that I like lone-wolf stories.  This realization (and a rather un-inspired read) lead me to drop Justice League proper.  Dark however, is different.  I like the subject matter more, the story drew me in.  I don’t see Dark leaving my file anytime soon, as it’s currently one of my top 5.

Severed – A 7 issue mini-series that captured my attention.  A slow-burning horror book that ended perfectly.  Some people don’t like it.  I quite enjoyed it and I’ve passed it along to a friend who is also enjoying it.

Ultimate Comics: X-Men – I discovered that this series restarted a few months late, but I was able to pick everything up.  I wanted to read a Marvel Ultimates title SPECIFICALLY because they were going to include a digital copy for free with all copies.  I’m really digging the world that currently exists for the mutants.  #7 was a bit meh until the end, but I expect very exciting things to start happening pretty soon.

Last of the Greats – After 5 issues, the status of this title is up in the air.  I’m a little torn.  The first issue was amazing, then the books declined slightly until #4, which completely turned me off.  Since I knew that #5 might be the last, I kept with it – and I’m not sure if #4 was so awful that anything would look great, or if #5 was actually a return to great.  I don’t know if this book will see any more issues, and if it does, if I’ll continue.

So, that’s about half of my current books.  I’ll talk about the others in a future post.

Colored pages…

One of my good friends has always been into Comic books.  I’d read them here and there, but never collected.  As I got older, I became more intimidated by the huge history of the characters, which hindered me getting into the books.

Along came the Ultimate line from Marvel.  Everything was reset.  It was a great starting point.  I read Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates for a while, in trade paperback form, but I found that the stories weren’t very strong as time passed.  I stopped reading them.

I discovered Gaiman’s Sandman, which I enjoyed and also benefited from me starting from square one with that character as well.  The Watchmen was another that I really enjoyed (and of course, I read because of the movie).

For my birthday one year, I received the Batman: Hush trade paperbacks.  I loved it, but the six or so titles that featured Batman confused me.  I didn’t understand why there were so many titles, what the differences were and how important it was to follow them all.

This year, I heard about DC relaunching their titles, starting everything back at #1.  I talked to Brandon, the manager at Wizard’s Comics University about the relaunch and got a good sense of what the different titles would be like and to just get an idea of what was out there.  I wanted to read Batman stories.  He pulled out a copy of Detective Comics #854 from his personal collection and gave it to me to try out.  It was the first issue of the Batwoman: Elegy story.  The art was amazing.  The Batwoman character blew me away.  I promptly picked up the Trade Paperback (at Chapters, it was close and available, sorry Brandon!).

Anyway, with the relaunch, I’ve got three titles that I’m definitely putting in a file: Batwoman, Batman, and Detective Comics.  Several other titles were of interest, but I was unsure about them.  On a one-issue  trial: Justice League, Justice League Dark, Batman: The Dark Knight.

In anticipation, I re-read Hush.  I caught something I hadn’t caught before, which I really liked.  When in Gotham, everything seems to have a sense of darkness or dread about it.  The city isn’t a pure place.  You can tell by the way everything is depicted.  The action moves to Metropolis, and the city is completely different.  It’s bright and hopeful.  Every panel shows this.  It was really need to realize and really added depth to the locations.