Monday, November 14, 2016

Deadpool and the U.S. Election

Well, another presidential election has concluded and many people were surprised by Donald Trump's election. After the November 8 vote, I was re-organizing my Deadpool comic book collection, and I came across a Deadpool #1 issue from 2012.  This issue was released during the 2012 election, and it features Deadpool shooting up some zombie presidents.

There are some SPOILERS about Deadpool #1 below, but read on if you don't mind the spoilers or if you've already read this comic. In this issue, a rogue SHIELD agent has raised up dead presidents through occult means, in a bid to rescue the United States from its rotten state.  We then see Captain America arrive on the scene to deal with the threat - a zombified Harry Truman.  Zombie Truman is dispatched by Captain America but it brings bad publicity. Meanwhile, Deadpool is in New York City, when he runs into a zombified Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). Some funny scenes ensue with Deadpool battling the zombie Roosevelt in the streets of New York.







Later, SHIELD agents show up to find the zombie FDR defeated and a wounded Deadpool.  SHIELD  agents chat with Deadpool in the hospital, and they offer Deadpool a job to fight the remaining zombie dead presidents. In a funny scene, Deadpool crashes a gathering of the zombie dead presidents including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln...





I mention this issue because Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and artist Tony Moore did a great job in  capturing the angst of a divided American electorate in 2012.  The mood in the days after the 2016 election is similar, and the comic relief would be much appreciated.  Hey Marvel: here's hoping that you make another funny Deadpool story for all those voters who need a good laugh to shake off the post-election blues.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Highlights from Emerald City Comic Con 2016 in Seattle

I just came back from from the 2016 Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, and I have to say I was impressed by the size and breadth of this Comic Con.  Being a Canadian, I'm used to Comic Conventions here in Vancouver, and I knew that Canadian Comic Conventions are really "small fry" compared to the big extravaganzas like San Diego Comic Con, C2E2 in Chicago, Wonder Con, etc.

The layout of the floors at the Washington State Convention Centre for a newcomer like me, but I was really impressed by the artist alley.  I was able to see in-person huge comic book talents like Fiona Staples, Klaus Janson, Sanford Greene, Francis Manapul and so many other great artists.  I got a Flash poster autographed by Mr. Manapul and I was able to witness his sketching style on another fan's notebook -- very cool!

In terms of celebrities, there were numerous celebrity guests, and they included Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Eldon Henson (Daredevil), Norman Reedus (Walking Dead), Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl), and Lana Parrilla (Once Upon a Time). Actually, I sympathize with these celebrities who have to deal with unruly fans and their often bizarre costumes and behaviours.  And speaking of costumes, the most popular costumes at this Con included Hawk Girl, Maleficent, Deadpool, and Spider-Man, but there were also very cool original costumes like a Miss Piggy Wonder Woman.  I sign off with some scenes from Emerald City Comic Con...


Ms. Wonder-Piggy!!



Neal Adams' Booth


Francis Manapul Signing an Autograph


The Thirteenth Floor's posters of Star Wars
in World War setting was a hot seller.


Panel Discussion on the 20th Anniversary
of the Launch of Windows 95. Very Funny and very nerdy!


Show Floor




Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hunting for Bargains Among Amazing Spider-Man Issues

This year has been another banner year for the comic book industry. The yearly comic collecting cycle seems to culminate in the comic convention circuit during the summer and the release of the new Overstreet Price Guide at around the same time. And the current Overstreet Guide has shown another string of strong price jumps among the key Silver Age Marvel comics. Chief among them is Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man), which has surged to $240,000 for a near mint- (9.2) copy. That’s a quarter million dollars! Other popular and early Spider-Man keys also saw substantial price gains. For example, Amazing Spider-Man #2 (first appearance of the Vulture) now fetches more than $12,000 for a 9.2 copy and Amazing Spider-Man #3 (first appearance of Doctor Octopus) checks in at $9,700 for a 9.2 copy.

Clearly, that’s a lot of money to spend on one comic book. Spider-Man is one of the most popular characters in the comic book world so it’s no surprise that his early key issues are worth so much money. So rather than spend a large chunk of one’s bank account on only one issue, I propose that we look at the overlooked Amazing Spider-Man books that can still be considered bargains. Here are four Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) issues that are still considered bargains…

Amazing Spider-Man #10 (first appearance of Big Man and the Enforcers):





















Ok, this early Spidey key is not much of a bargain. A 9.2 copy fetches $2750 and even a well-worn 2.0 copy is worth about $100. But, it is cheaper than ASM # 9 (first appearance of Electro) and it’s cheaper than comparable issues such as ASM #13 (first appearance of Mysterio). Another bonus is that this issue also routinely sells for less than guide price on eBay and at conventions. I also like the potential of these villains because the Spidey universe is now available to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). These characters are under-utilized and they could be a hit as modern gangster characters in an MCU movie or tv series.  Read more >>



Sunday, July 12, 2015

Barnes and Noble Still Hanging On, as Graphic Novels/Paper Comics Are Selling Well

Recently, the Barnes and Noble bookstore chain announced in a press release that it would expand its selection of Graphic Novels and Manga to double the size at all of its nationwide stores.   The company explained that the "expansion is due to strong customer demand and the growing popularity of these genres".  Furthermore, "Barnes & Noble says some of the best-selling graphic novels in its stores are Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen and Walking Dead Compendium, Volume 1."


Photo by S. A. di Nicolao (Creative Commons license)

















This is definitely a good sign because it indicates that paper formats like graphic novels and paper comics are here to stay.  The paper medium of comics has widespread appeal compared to digital comics because of the collectibility of paper comics (just think of collecting comics in different conditions and think of the demand for variant covers), and also collectors appreciate the ability to touch printed comics.

One consultant suggests that this is also a good strategy "to reach out through stores to manga fans, who are largely female and under the age of 22, as they may be more comfortable going to a traditional bookstore rather than a comic-book store".

On the other side of the print/digital divide, Amazon's purchase of Comixology has made big waves in the industry, but it's safe to say that print comics are here to stay.  While digital comics may allow artists to present comic stories and comic book panels in new and interesting ways, print comics are still valued by fans for their collectibility and because a printed comic is actually owned by the buyer after its purchase.  Digital comics offered by Marvel and DC still have DRM (digital rights management) restrictions, such as the requirement to read the comic through an online account or smartphone app, so a purchase of a Marvel or DC comic does not confer ownership of a comic book to the buyer.  So, here's hoping that local comic book stores and Barnes and Noble stores can continue to make money by selling printed comics and graphic novels.



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fan Expo Vancouver 2015


I had a fantastic time at Fan Expo Vancouver last weekend (April 3-5). It was another awesome event, and I was able to take in two days of the show. The highlights included the Warner Brothers Games booth which showcased new video games such as Batman Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X; the Lego display; and the artists alley, where I had a chance to chat with comic book artist Mike Zeck.

I also got glimpses of the stars who made my favourite tv shows, including Chad Coleman and Scott Wilson from the Walking Dead.  William Shatner was there on the second day of the show and he drew long lines for autographs and photos.  Here are some photos of celebrities who attended this year's event in Vancouver:


Chad Coleman taking a sip of water.





Chad Coleman (Tyreese) & fellow W.D. cast member Scott Wilson.

Stephen Amell signing an autograph.

Star Wars cos-play spectacular!

Do not feed the Tauntaun.

A re-enactment of Batman's origin story.





Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Review of Superior Spider-Man Issues # 22-26


It has been two years since Marvel “killed off” Spider-Man by causing a “brain switch” that put Doctor Octopus’ mind inside the body of Peter Parker. Naturally, this created a lot of havoc in the life of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, including plenty of unheroic behaviour, conflicts with the Avengers, and an “on-again, off-again” romance with Mary Jane Watson. As I didn’t have a chance to read all the issues featuring Doc Ock as Spider-Man, I decided to read the “Darkest Hours” story arc (Superior Spider-Man #22-25) and also part of the “Goblin Nation” storyline (Superior Spider-Man #26) from last year. This was one of the last “Doc Ock as Spider-Man” stories before the return of Peter Parker last year.




I have to say I was quite impressed with the quality of this story arc. Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Humberto Ramos do a nice job of portraying the chaotic world of Otto Octavius inhabiting the body of Peter Parker. There are the personal conflicts such as Aunt May’s discomfort with Otto’s new girlfriend Anna Maria and Mary Jane’s suspicions towards Peter Parker’s unusual behaviour. Also Otto Octavius as Spider-Man is a demanding and fearsome boss of Parker Industries.   Read More >>

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Collecting Comic Places

This month saw the release of Guardians of the Galaxy #21, a much-anticipated story set in the home planet of the Venom symbiote. This story inspired me to think back on the first appearance of Venom’s home planet, which appears to have been The Amazing Spider-Man Super Special #1 (1995). This comic is dirt cheap as its guide value is $4 for a near mint minus (9.2) copy. As I thought about this comic, I noticed that we often overlook the first appearances of important comic places. The key issues that grab all the attention and dollars are first appearance of characters (hello, Amazing Fantasy #15!), number one issues, origin issues, death issues, and the first issues of major storylines. I feel that this is a mistake because there are many undervalued gems among issues featuring the first appearance of places. Here are three comic places that are undervalued and overlooked by collectors.

1. Batman #258

This issue features the first appearance of Arkham Asylum (well, it was originally called “Arkham Hospital” in this issue). A near mint minus (9.2) copy has a value of $120 in the Overstreet Guide, which is cheap for such a significant comic.  Read More >>