Thursday, May 31, 2007

Diamond Makes Me Angry.... You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!

We were short handed at work today so Jim took the bus down town to pick up comic books. I expected him to call me with the total but instead he called me to let me know that comics wouldn't be in until tomorrow.

Once again Diamond and UPS are conspiring to screw up my schedule! Tomorrow I already have several lunch errands to run and Jim has plans as well. How are we supposed to go pick up our books? I know it isn't the end of the world, but it sure is inconvenient as hell.

I believe this means another letter to Diamond tomorrow. I have pretty much decided that I will have to harass them until they can't stand me anymore.

Other then writing letters and sending e-mails, what would you lovely folks do to get Diamond's attention? Don't say "stop reading comics", because that one is too obvious. Weeks like this, I really contemplate it.

Let me know any ideas so I can get their attention!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bart Allen Bites It????

Flash 13
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
DC has just released this image of the cover of Flash The Fastest Man Alive #13, with the ominous tag line "The Countdown Continues". What does this mean for Bart Allen? What has Iris Allen been up to all this time? What are the rogues up to?

Most importantly: why does it always have to be the Flash that bites it?

The good is that this could be clearing the way for Barry Allen to return. The bad is that I have grown very fond of Bart and would hate to see something happen to him. I miss Wally and Linda something terrible as it is. The issue goes on sale next week, so I guess we won't have to wait long to find out the final fate.

What do you think this means for the future of the Flash?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Comics for May 31

The holiday weekend really messed with my mind today! I kept thinking it was Monday ALL DAY. Then I got to the gym and tried to start my Monday workout before I figured out I needed to do the Tuesday one. What a dork!

At any rate, the weather continues to be gorgeous, so I am happy. I am also quite giddy because we fertilized our lawn and it looks nice. To top it off, there are several great comics shipping this week!

Here is my list:

Amazons Attack #2 (of 6)
Blue Beetle #15
Countdown #48
Deathblow #5
JSA Classified #26
Justice Society of America #6
Teen Titans #47
Witchblade #106- I am praying that I get the Adriana Melo cover
Daredevil #97
Punisher Presents Barracuda Max #4 (of 5)
Silent War #5 (of 6)
Wolverine #54
X-23 Target X #6 (of 6)
Boys #7 - YAY!!!
Fallen Angel #16
Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #44 - pictured

That is it for tonight! I have spent the last few days really speaking my mind, so I thought I would take a day and reflect a bit.

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Marketing to Women: The Comic Book Industry's Countdown to Extinction?

In today’s society, marketing to women has become more crucial then ever. According to Entrepreneur magazine, “Nine out of 10 women self-identify as the primary shoppers in their household”. Also, “Women make (or strongly influence) the purchase of more than half of all consumer electronics, 75 percent of over-the-counter drugs, and 80 to 85 percent of all consumer goods.”

Between The Aisles, a retailer magazine for Farnam retailers ran a cover story in its summer edition titled “Reaching out to Female Customers: Why it makes Good Business Sense and How to Do it”. While the article was aimed at retailers with store fronts, it featured a side bar “Understanding EVEolution: 8 Truths about Marketing to Women” that was quite good. There were several of these that hit home with me, but one stood out. “Women pass along their shopping preferences (stores and products) from one generation to the next. They call this the “brand me down” approach”.

That is indeed true. To this day, I find myself buying many of the same brands my mother trusted. I don’t even think twice about it, I just inherently do it. If this is so true to me, what does it mean for the future of an industry that is seemingly dominated by men? Does this mean that Joe Quesada will be seen as insensitive to not just my generation, but also to the women that we are raising now? Hmmmm…

The article and several others I have read all point to the same thing. Women today make the majority of consumer purchases in a modern household. While the man of the house participates in these decisions, it is now seen as a joint effort rather then a singular effort. According to the article I read “women spend less time in the stores and more on the Internet. They are better educated then ever before and carefully research product choices”.

Where does all this marketing reality leave the comic book industry? It seems to me that it leaves them out of touch with a key target consumer. I would LOVE to see any results of marketing and gender that either Marvel or DC have done. I wonder what it would tell us. What percentage of the audience is indeed male? What percentage of dollars does each gender spend? How has the demographic changed over the last twenty years? How about the last ten?

If the comic book industry does indeed plan to continue to market its goods to men as its target audience, where does that leave the female reader? Does it mean that Minx and manga are the only avenues left to me other then romance comics? Does it mean I might as well throw in the towel and admit defeat at the hands of the people in charge?

I find it very ironic that for years Jenette Kahn was Publisher at DC Comics, yet we still see so much gender division. Granted, DC doesn’t have nearly the stigma that Marvel does, but it is interesting to see that comic books still seem to be such a testosterone driven business. Maybe Ms. Kahn was forced to play with the big boys while being twice as smart and crafty? I may never know the answer to that question.

With women being such a key target in today’s marketing demographic, it shocks me to see such blatant disregard to them in today’s comic book business. I think that the “big two” need to spend some quality time finding out how to cater to this important niche instead of alienating them. Since women pass their buying preferences down from generation to generation, this could be quite detrimental sooner then we expect. The female bloggers of today are a small but crucial segment of this business, and the current air of hostility will only serve to widen the gap in feelings of customer loyalty.

In today’s society, the good ole’ boy network is starting to crumble. With the majority of families having to rely on two incomes to get by, there is less of the luxury of exclusivity by sex then there was in the past. It is time to redesign the paradigms of the industry. We can modernize the characters in comics without emasculating them. A little sensitivity never hurt anyone and that is what is so sorely lacking today.

I continue to be mind-boggled by the fact that the comic book industry continues to subscribe to the archaic belief system of old while being left in the dust by other factions of the entertainment industry that understand only too well who they are marketing to and how to make successful inroads towards reaching out to a new customer base.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Comic Reader or Plague Carrier? Perpetuating the Myth.

With the great success of comic book movies and the raising of awareness of the characters in mainstream pop culture, it continues to amaze me that comic book fans are still treated like they have the bubonic plague. The general public is only too happy to go spend their hard earned dollars seeing the fantasy played out on the big screen, but they stay away from comic book shops in droves. Why must it be that way?

With great admiration to Lisa at Sequentially Speaking and her insightful post and to Mark at Comic Coverage for his true life comment on my last post, I want to take the issue in a slightly different direction. I want to firstly explore the myths and misconceptions of today’s comic book fan and then refute them.

Comic book fans are stupid.
Rebuttal: I know of comic book fans out there with extensive schooling and educational credits. I have a friend who has his doctorate and several more collectors that have their master’s. Another friend that reads comics is a pharmacist. Several more have their own companies and are laughing all the way to the bank. These are all people of great intellectual capacity. Several have read Nietzsche for God’s sake. I would also like to mention that Deepak Chopra and his son are involved in Virgin Comics, and that he and Grant Morrison had a wonderfully spirited conversation at last year’s San Diego Con.

Comic book fans stink- PEEEE UUUUUHHH!!
Honestly, sometimes this is true, BUT… I have been many places that have nothing to do with comics and have lost my breath from a person’s body odor. I went to a professional baseball game on a windy spring day and almost threw up. The two guys in front of me STANK. I also went to a marketing symposium and was surprised at the wet armpits and rank odors of the sales people there. There is a well known, unnamed Hollywood actor that refuses to bathe, but makes millions per picture. My point is this: in all ranks of society and in all areas of interest, there are people with poor hygiene habits. Pinning it all on comic book fans is simply unfair.

Comic book fans are unattractive and can’t get dates.
Totally wrong. Have you seen Mandy Amano and David Mack, for God’s sake? What about that hunky John Cassaday or manly Beau Smith? At this past Emerald City Comicon there were quite a few attractive type folks. I also noticed that several appeared to be married and have reproduced. I guess the point is that we may not all be outstandingly gorgeous, but we do alright. This is once again an unfair stereotype perpetuated by the reality of a small portion of the readership.

Comic book fans are immature and must have cooties.
Yes, there is the occasional fan that lives with Mom and Dad in the basement, but I don’t believe that it is limited to just comic book readers. I know a guy that works at an insurance company and is quite successful- he lives at home and splits expenses. I also had a friend that lived with his parents until he was 30 paying off his student loans. He lived in a separate home in the garage and had his own exit and entrance. He moved out and is debt free- in fact he has almost saved enough money to buy a house and was able to pay for his car with cash. Both these guys lived at home and neither were comic collectors.

Female comic book fans must be lesbians (not that there’s anything wrong with it).
I don’t know how many times I was asked if I was gay because I was a certain age, collected comics and was single. Let me state that I have no bias in sexual orientation so that it wasn’t a question that was so much offensive as it was an indication of a stereotype. In my mind sexual preference doesn’t indicate any type of leanings towards reading comic books, but if you know something I don’t, let me know.

Female comic fans are over sensitive and need to “get laid”.
This is one I have heard over and over the last few weeks with the flurry of publicity that the Mary Jane statue has received. As a happily married woman with a private but complete love life, I find this absolutely ludicrous. It makes me pissed and want to ask the non-reader the same question. Maybe if things were happy in their home life they wouldn’t be worried about my sex life and they would be working on theirs.

Comic book fans have no social skills.
This is one that I hear more then any other. I have seen so many fans give articulate, reasoned arguments in public forums or on their sites. I have also met many at comic shows that are bright, funny, and extremely articulate. The best time I had in my life was after a show at dinner with friends from the industry. The conversation was fast paced and brilliant. I have never laughed so hard! That is why I get so angry when a few “trolls” set the image of the entire genre. It isn’t fair.

How do we change the stereotype? Continuing to have comic book movies is a success is good. Free Comic Book day is a good idea that can be used in that direction. Marketing of the comic book reader in the general public persona could be a nice touch. Sure it is great to have Spider-Man unmasking make the Daily Ten, but wouldn’t it be cooler to have Joe Q. Collector on their being articulate and friendly, expressing their love of the medium?

I also see many comic book shops changing the perception by letting light in the shop. A beautifully lit store with gleaming display cases speaks volumes. It is time to show these stores in every advertising market we can. We also have many shops ran by women or with several women employees. It isn’t just a “stinky guy’s industry” anymore. We need to show that somehow.

There are so many things to do to change this perception and only we as fans can make it happen. The comic book companies need to help us by showing fans in ads and having some regular Joe’s and Jane’s as spokes people. We will never not have the one dude at the show in his torn Batman shirt, but there will never be a hobby that doesn’t have its less then stellar example.

How can we make change happen? I don’t’ know all the answers but I continue to read marketing surveys and do my best to be an informal ambassador to the industry everywhere I go. I am not going to hide my love of comic books away and I am not going to change for anyone. I will always have my frustrations within the business and will continue to speak for change, but that certainly doesn’t mean I am going to run away and stop loving it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

It is a gorgeous day here. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I have three days off in a row! Yay! I slept WAY in and went to the gym for a couple of hours before taking Jim to Red Robin for an excellent lunch. It just doesn't get much better then this.

EXCEPT... I am taking the girls out to a Chippendales type of show tonight. They needed a designated driver/responsible person. God knows how I got that kind of type casting, but I think it should be fun. I can look at scantily clad, gyrating men without benefit of alcohol, so I guess I was the obvious choice. Besides, it's all in good fun. SIDE NOTE: for those offended I am being a responsible person and taking the girls somewhere naughty, please don't give me a bunch of crap. As someone well over 21, it is my prerogative.

At any rate, I am a lucky person. I have a long weekend and we are finally going to go see Spider-Man 3 tomorrow. I am going to go get tickets early to make sure. Hopefully the majority of viewers will be going to see Pirates or Shrek 3, so we won't have any problems. I really want to see the movie!

One bummer note is that I read on Newsarama that writer Dan Slott is leaving She-Hulk with issue 21. Though Slott has been controversial with some bloggers, I have enjoyed the empirical value of his excellent work. I love his Shulkie and can't imagine him not writing her. Any word on the new creative team?

I am really jealous of Jim Demonakos, who went to Memphis for a barbecue festival. It sounds so good. I am also jealous that he got to go to Graceland. For now, I will have to live vicariously through him, and if I see him in Seattle, I will bombard him with descriptions of all the barbecue he got to eat.

The level-headed and brilliant Lisa at Sequentially Speaking gives a beautifully done exposition on women and comics. She gives examples of things she has witnessed as a shop owner and shares tales heard from other women. Lisa, you got it right. It is hard to be a woman collector. God knows, everytime I tell a grown man I collect comics, he looks at me like I have two heads. The women just shake their heads in pity. Somedays it is like a gal just can't win. I am out of the closet, so to speak, in my collecting, and it stuns people everytime I talk about it. What the hell is the big deal, anyway? So I don't spend my money on new curtains- I buy comics. Get off my ass!! At any rate, Lisa did an excellent job, so go check it out.

Laura at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog continues to do well with her weight loss. She is one of my inspirations, and I am really proud of her. She has done this the healthy way, and it is an example that we should all follow.

Speaking of weight loss, I am going to go take my supplements and try to keep it going on my end as well. I have only lost 3 more pounds since my own contest has ended, but last week I started a new program of creatine loading and taking branched chain amino acids just to see what I can do. Only the next ten weeks will tell. I have upped my weight lifting, and all my lifts have really improved. I leg press 360 pound now and I am really happy about that. I squat 225 pounds and bench press 105 pounds. Lest I get accused of trying to do heavy lifting, let me state that I can do 10 reps at each of those weights so it isn't me maxing the machine out. It is just how much my body has progressed. Osteoporosis, get the hell out of my way! I want to be in great shape and live a long life.

Have a wonderful Saturday night and keep your fingers crossed that none of my girlfriends go run off with the dancers!

Friday, May 25, 2007

30 Years of Star Wars Today! And on the Eighth Day....

Incredible. It has been 30 years today since Star Wars was released in theatres, and it still endures as if it was made yesterday. George Lucas' timeless classic is one of my all time favorite films and every time I see it on any television station I inevitably stop and watch it. It means that much and holds up that well.

I just want to state upfront that since I am middle aged I actually saw the original three movies in the theatre. I specifically remember going to the local joint with my Uncle, Aunt, and Sister to see Star Wars. We had no idea what to expect, but since my Uncle and I shared a love of comics we thought we would give it a try. It more then exceeded our expectations. I walked out of the theatre wanting to be Princess Leia and have Han Solo and Luke Skywalker come to my rescue while still being able to kick butt myself. Leia empowered me in a similar way that Wonder Woman did. She was brave and tough and could hold her own. I still cheer for Leia when she speaks any of her dialogue!

I know that we went and saw Star Wars again a couple of weeks after it first came out and we had already seen it once. We just had to see it again, and boy did it hold up. By the time the movie ended I already knew I had to see it again.

And boy have I! I watch Star Wars at least a couple of times a year. I love the trilogy and think it ranks right up there as one of the greatest series ever. Between it, The Godfather, Die Hard, and Indiana Jones, it just doesn't get much better.

Today I just want to thank George Lucas for his vision, Carrie Fisher for her attitude, Harrison Ford for his swager, and Mark Hammill for his boyish charm. A special shout out to Chewie, C3P0, and R2D2 for almost stealing the show.

And then there is Darth Vader. He scared the living crap out of me as a young girl and to this day I feel that ominous sense of fear whenever he appears onscreen. He is the consummate villain, and a legend to us fans. It doesn't get any cooler then that.

A few other bloggers gave shout outs, and I want to make sure and post their links. At ComicByComic, Rich gives it a big birthday greeting. Heidi MacDonald sends much love from The Beat. Last, but not least, Mark at Comic Coverage gives Star Wars a happy birthday as well!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

isThis Gratuitous? Cover to PVP #33

PVP #33
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Well it's official, Gang. Scott Kurtz is down with the "tramp stamp" ( a "How I Met Your Mother" reference, as to not seem overly offensive). The lower back tattoo on young, fit women is like a badge of honor. It can look fantastic to be sure. God knows if I had a lower back like that and drank a bit too much whiskey, I might consider it... well, probably not now, but maybe 15 years ago.

Kurtz uses the lower back tattoo as his logo and it does look groovy, but in my mind it could be construed as gratuitous. Readers will either love the cover or hate it. I doubt there will be a lot of middle ground.

I just keep thinking of Wedding Crashers, and Vince Vaughn's infamous quote: "Tattoo on the lower back... might as well be a bullseye". Nice. Real nice. Makes a girl feel... awkward.

Any gals out there with a hot lower back tattoo? Was it painful? What kind of reaction do you get? I am really curious.

Guys, what do you think?

Last but not least: Is this gratuitous?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Genius of Terry Moore

Today was a good day. I discovered Terry Moore's blog. As a fan of his book Strangers in Paradise, I was very curious about what he had to say. I cried a bit when I found out that he has finished work on the book and that he is sending it to the printers. Having it be the last issue of a series that has been so close to his and his fan's hearts has got to be gut wrenching. I know that I will miss Katchoo, Francine and company very much.

Then I got to this sketch of Katchoo as Power Girl and I laughed my ass off. Terry Moore is an evil genius. I wish there were more like him out there.

Go check out Terry's blog if you get a chance.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Unexpected Team Up??? Spider-Man and Red Sonja

Spider-Man Red Sonja 1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

When I went to check Marvel's August solicitations I was surprised to find that Dynamite Entertainment and Marvel are pairing up Spider-Man and Red Sonja for a 5 issue mini-series. For whatever reason, these two were the last characters on earth I would think of having a team up. Wolverine and Red Sonja? Yep. Iron Man and Red Sonja? Saucy! Captain America and Red Sonja? Hmmm... could work because both are warriors of sort.



I am picturing the dialogue now:

Spidey: "Grrghh... hem... my wife has red hair."
Red Sonja: "You are insolent and must pay."
Spidey: "Do they make those bikinis in her size or is this custom, cuz you know, Mary Jane would look pretty good..."
Red Sonja: "Die now, bug."

Much fighting ensues...


Seriously, this looks like it could be pretty interesting. With Mike Oeming on scripts and Mel Rubi on pencils, I am anticipating a great thrill ride. Here is the official listing, courtesy of Comic Book Resources.

Penciled by MEL RUBI
The wise-cracking Wall-Crawler collides with the She-Devil with a Sword! Longtime Marvel readers know that these two legends have met before -- but that was just the warm-up! They may be from two different eras, but Spider-Man and Red Sonja have both faced the maniacal mage known as Kulan Gath. Now the sadistic sorcerer makes a play for power that will once again bring these two famous heroes together -- but will it be as friends or foes? Writer Michael Avon Oeming (OMEGA FLIGHT, Red Sonja) and Mel Rubi (Red Sonja) - plus series cover artist Michael Turner (CIVIL WAR) - answer the eternal question: What's better in a fight, the proportional strength and speed of a spider, or cold, hard steel and a chain-mail bikini?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

What do you think? My weakest point so far is the Michael Turner variant. I would have rather had the interior artist do them.

ADDENDUM: My hubby tells me that they have teamed up before in Marvel Team Up #79. I think I will have to take a look at that!

Monday, May 21, 2007

New Comics for May 23

Captain America #26
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Well, I never got around to doing my thread on the Mary Jane issue. My nephew came to town and I had left my reference material at the office. To me this was a sign to not "go there". There are already so many valid arguments out there that I figured I would take my own path. That is usually to find the good in things and to look for how to improve them. In my mind, if I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem.

At any rate, enough soap boxing. It is a gorgeous day and I made it through some major challenges. To top it off, this upcoming weekend I get three days off in a row for Memorial Day. Yay!

Here is my list of new comics for the week.

American Virgin #15
Birds of Prey #106
Countdown #49
Shadowpact #13
Woman Woman #9
Dynamo 5 #3
PVP #33
Captain America #26 (pictured)
Fantastic Four #546
She-Hulk 2 #18
Wisdom #6 (of 6)
X-Men #199
Devi #11
Snakewoman Special Collectors Edition #0

Also hitting the door are my Donna Troy and Wonder Woman Infinite Crisis actions figures. Yikes! I am very excited for them but don't think I can afford them. I will have to figure out a way!

I am hoping to do my post about marketing this weekend. My week is packed, and I will not be getting home early a single night, so I have despaired of doing it soon. I have to really be able to think and have time to do drafts when I want to make my points in a valid, rational manner. Humor me!

Have a wonderful evening!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gotta Love It: The Cover to JLA #12

JLA 12 Cover by Ross
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I know I am getting a bit overexcited about covers today, but this is fantastic. Alex Ross is once again making my day. This sensational cover of the current Justice League of America is everything I hoped it would be.

I love the fact that Wonder Woman is in the middle, and I love her pose. I also love Red Arrow getting ready to fire his arrow. The best bit though? Black Canary motioning us forward, mentally willing us to give it our best shot. That is cool.

Two times in one day I am giddy. Extra coolness: Are they standing in front of the Hall of Justice? Classic touch.

More Cover Appreciation: JSA #8 Cover by Ross

JSA 8 Cover by Ross
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Wow. Power Girl is crossing her arms over her chest and the focus in not boobage. She looks regal and strong without the cheesecake. I love the muscular arms and thighs, which accentuate the "power" of her name.

Alex Ross has been quite controversial from time to time, but I feel that this is a cover we can all agree kicks ass. Power Girl looks like the hero she is.

I love this. I hope we see a poster of this down the road, because I am framing it and putting it up in my office.

Heath Ledger as Joker?

Heath Ledger as Joker
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
According to gossip maven Perez Hilton, this is the first published picture of Heath Ledger as Joker for the upcoming Batman Dark Knight movie. Complete with Perez-added nose candy, this is a look I was slightly unprepared.

Dark. Very Dark.

How fitting for the title of the movie.

I have mixed emotions about this. What do you think?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

It is Saturday night already, and it has been a fun and interesting day. Jim and I were at the fairgrounds all day watching our nephew show his boer goats. Coming from a farm background, and being aware of several of the people there, I was pretty fascinated. I also was thrilled out of my mind to see my nephew. He is my world in a lot of ways, so it was the best feeling on earth. We are going to go back tomorrow to watch him show again, so I am happy.

We still haven't seen Spider-Man 3. God knows when we will. We are like the nerdy kids on the block because we haven't seen it.

Why can't we have a movie and entertainment magazine like Empire in the United States? I pick it up everytime I get a chance at Borders and it is pretty sweet. Premiere tries, but it doesn't get it there for me anymore. Does anyone know of any suggestions for a great movie mag that I am missing? I get Entertainment Weekly and really like it for it's content, but I am wondering about a mag that focuses more on movies.

Now for a bit of link-blogging!

Lisa at Sequentially Speaking has had one hell of a week. First they didn't get any copies of Ultimates 2 #13 and then there was a thief in the area. Scary! She does a great service by explaining the whole Mary Jane statue controversy. Good God.

Swinebread from Atomic Romance does an excellent review of Showcase: The War that Time Forgot. He adds mucho extra insight and I feel like I am there with him. Bless you, Swinebread.

Mark at Comic Coverage once again astounds me with his "All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Comic Books and my Mom". I love it! He really knew how to make Mother's Day special.

Over at Noetic Concordance, Vaklam continues with one of my favorite new features. His awesome cover Friday highlights the always lovable Iron Man.

There are many more cool things going on the 'net, but my brain has officially shut down on me for the night. I promise to answer all my comments tomorrow and try and get my post done. God knows I feel great shame in my lack of ability to keep a solid thought.

Have a wonderful evening!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Now This is More Like It: Cover to Witchblade #106

Witchblade 106 cover Melo
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
As I was perusing Newsarama tonight, I stumbled upon the preview covers for the upcoming Witchblade #106. The Chris Bachalo cover, while well done, is pretty standard cover fare for the book. On the other hand is this gorgeous cover done by Adriana Melo. Stunning.

With so much controversy going on in the industry today with the backlash of the Mary Jane statue and non-comic consumers being up in arms, this cover is a breath of fresh air.

Speaking of the controversy, I hope to have my take on things by the end of the weekend. It is not something I take lightly, and I want to have my thoughts in order.

In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful cover and have a great night!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Watching the Sunset...

I am feeling yucky tonight after having allergy testing done today, so I am going to go enjoy the sunset and relax. It is a gorgeous day and there is a light breeze flowing through the air and I am happy to be alive.

I just wanted to send a belated "Get Well" to Dr. Scott over at Polite Dissent. Jim and I had the great fortune to meet he and his wife Robin at the 2006 Emerald City Comicon. Scott and Robin are the nicest, most genuine people you could ever meet and he is in my prayers. If you get a chance, head over to his site and wish him well.

No news or opinions tonight. Just a quick "hello" and my greatest hopes that you have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is This Gratuitous: Cover to The Mighty Avengers #3

The Mighty Avengers #3
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
When I first saw this cover I was going to give it a bye because I am such a Frank Cho fan and I didn't think I could be objective. Then I got to the comic book store and really looked at it again. I love ya Frank, but I can't let this one slide by.

While I like the spy aspect of the Black Widow panel, the fact that her ass seems to be more prominent then her muscular shoulders and back is a bit off-putting. It seems a bit gratuitous to me, but it isn't the main focus of my logic here.

What made me put this in the gratuitous category is Tigra's pose. Her butt is sticking in the air like she is in serious heat. The "porn face" just seals the deal. Girlfriend looks like she wants to grab Sentry and give him a fierce roll in the hay.

I just want to know why I can't see some guy's back sides instead of always seeing the chick's rear ends. It would be a nice, cleansing experience. I know Frank could draw a hunky guy, so I think it is about time for equal opportunity gratuitousness!

Now it's your turn. Is this gratuitous?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hallelujah! Hitman is Back!

Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I am sitting here rejoicing with all my heart. Hitman is back with Garth Ennis and John McCrea helming the madness. I have been missing Tommy Monaghan and his cronies, so this is fantastic news.

Newsarama has the skinny:

"Been far, far too long since Tommy Monaghan's been seen around the DC Universe.

That's due to change later this year. DC's holding details close to the vest right now, but as was announced this weekend in Bristol, yes, Garth Ennis and John McCrea will re-team for a Hitman story. While Ennis himself has said that he and McCrea were working on a "lost" story where Monaghan meets the JLA for an arc of JLA: Classified, plans change. DC has confirmed that Ennis and McCrea's project will indeed be a three issue miniseries, Hitman/JLA, and will debut sometime after August.

Reportedly, if the miniseries does well, it may be enough to get DC to bring the Hitman trades back into print, and possibly complete the collection."

This is excellent news for sure! Any Hitman fans out there?

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Comics for May 16

The Flash #12
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Well, here it is another week already! I can hardly believe that May is almost half over, and that the weather is getting so much nicer. I am going to enjoy it while I can, before it gets too hot!

Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and started a My Space account. I did it so that I can see my friend's pictures and leave those that don't have blogger accounts messages. I hope it is a positive experience! I am happy to know that at least I have a friend in Carl! Yay! If you want to be my friend, please head over the link on my sidebar and tag me! I would appreciate it.

Here is a list of my new comics for the week:

All Star Batman & Robin #5
Batman #665
Catwoman #67
Checkmate #14
Countdown #50
Ex Machina #28
Fables #61
Flash The Fastest Man Alive #12- I am preparing for Barry Allen's return!
Justice League of America #9
Supergirl #17
Mighty Avengers #3
Ultimate Spider-Man #109
Ultimate X-Men #82
Ultimates 2 #13
Uncanny X-Men #486
X-Factor #19
Red Sonja #22

That is it for the week. Have a wonderful evening and I will see you tomorrow!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you ladies out there! I am sitting here today feeling a bit homesick for my mom and grandma today. Because of a lot of stressful crap going on at work I didn't make the drive, and I am a bit regretful. Both these women in my life have been so influential and loving to me. I can't imagine my life without them. I will be calling them a bit later and checking in with them, but it isn't the same.

I tried to take Jim to Spider-Man 3 again today but it was sold out. I am so sad for him, as he was really looking forward to seeing it. I guess we will try and wait until next weekend and see what happens. That is the problem with living in a small town and not having a great deal of choice as to where we see the movie at.

Otherwise it is a gorgeous day. I am really enjoying the sunshine and perfect temperature! We have all our windows and doors open and are letting a gentle breeze in. It is like heaven.

Have a wonderful day!

Review- Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TP

After being highly eager to get my hands on Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told trade paperback, I finally bought my copy yesterday. Thank God. On my way out of the store, I lovingly eyed the gorgeous Alex Ross cover with glee. “Please let this be excellent”, I repeated to myself, over and over.

The verdict?

I like it alright. There are some excellent choices that are representative of the Amazon princess, but there are a few odd ones as well. If I had never read a story about Wonder Woman, it would have intrigued me a bit, while confusing me a tad as well.

I respect that it must have been quite difficult to choose which stories would best typify such an icon. There is so much back story to choose from, and there have been many continuity turns and twists. It made me really wonder why DC couldn’t have taken the same approach with Wonder Woman that it had taken with Superman and Batman and split the greatness into decades. Trying to shove 11 tales into one tome is ominous as it is. Knowing that there are sixty plus years of history makes it seem impossible.

To start with, I was surprised that DC used the Paul Dini/Alex Ross origin of Wonder Woman rather then the original tale told in All Star Comics #11. Maybe for space limitations? Or because the continuity would have been confusing or the story deemed sexist? Hell, I don’t know. It just surprised me. I think that it would have dovetailed nicely into the first featured story, which showed Wonder Woman’s first exposure to America in 1942.

The second tale highlighted Wonder Woman’s battle with Villainy, Inc. Published back in 1948, the multi-part tale featured Wonder Woman’s top villains, the Holliday girls, and of course Steve Trevor and the Amazons. It is a true classic in every sense of the word and I could find no quibble with its inclusion.

The next three stories were all by Robert Kanigher with classic art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. From 1958 to 1966 these gentlemen worked to forge a more modern Wonder Woman then the one created by William Moulton Marston. During this period, Diana is much more emotional and her romance with Steve is at its height. My favorite of the three stories was “Wanted: Wonder Woman” which I remembered reading a reprint of when I first starting collecting the title. I was happy to see this era so well represented.

“Wonder Woman’s Rival” is a landmark tale for many fans. It is the story where Diana Prince evolves from stoic military woman to groovy chick. Steve Trevor is accused of murder and Diana helps him where Wonder Woman can’t. It is a crucial evolutionary step that prepares Diana to drop her costume all together and fight crime in fashionable threads. Love or hate that era, it is critical to her history.

A story that really surprised me was “Wish Upon a Star”, which guest starred Green Lantern. It is during the period in which Wonder Woman undertook 12 “labors” like Hercules to prove her worth in the Justice League. This particular story always fascinated me, but it isn’t the one from the labors I would have selected. I would have picked the Black Canary hosted tale or the Aquaman story where Diana fights Mars (Ares). Both are stories that I read over and over growing up.

One story that always made me get a bit teary is featured in this book. It is a lesser known read called “Be Wonder Woman… and Die!”. An unknown actress, Amy Kelly, tries out for the role of Wonder Woman in an upcoming movie only to be turned down. By a sad turn of events and sheer human determination she gets the role, only to see life end too quickly. It is a heart churning tale that many young girls read and were touched by.

From this era’s incarnation of Wonder Woman, only two tales are featured. The first is the already classic “Who Killed Mindi Mayer” story by George Perez. I have always enjoyed this story but was surprised to see it instead of the suicide tale. I have a tremendous love for Perez’ storytelling, so his inclusion here is a must. The final tale featured is She’s A Wonder!” by Joe Kelly and Phil Jimenez. Easily one of my favorites by Jimenez, the story guests Lois Lane. It is a very telling look at where Diana’s life is at following the events of the Amazon Civil War and it also introduces Trevor Barnes, Diana’s brief love interest.

I was happy to get a copy of Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told for myself. It was a nice stroll down memory lane. While not perfect, it tried to show Wonder Woman in every incarnation. I would have enjoyed seeing Wonder Woman #300 included or seeing one of the tournaments in which Diana loses her title for a brief time, but it was not to be.

Here is crossing my fingers for a second volume, or for a more decade centered book in the future. I am thrilled that DC is trying to bring Wonder Woman back stories to the forefront, and will be there cheering the entire way. My next step is to get the book into new reader’s hands and spread the word of Wonder to a new generation of sisters.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

I was so bad tonight! I skipped working out and went to Red Lobster with Jim. It was so good, but I am going to pay for it tomorrow. I would guess that there is a great deal of cardio in my future!! It was kinda fun to do something different, but a bit reckless considering I am trying to diet so hard.

This week my fellow bloggers were right on top of things, posting thought provoking posts that made me a bit jealous- I wish I had thought of it! One of the best things about being around the blogosphere is that I have found so many wonderful people to interact with.

A belated "Congratulations!!" to Laura at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog for her incredible weight loss! She continues to inspire me with her level-headed approach to a new lifestyle. I'm not worthy!

Mark at Comic Coverage once again amazes me with his brilliance by sharing an old letter to the editor from back in the day! I couldn't believe the coolness factor of this. You have got to go have a look.

I got a bit of a chuckle from reading a post about Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym over at Ye Olde Comick Book Blog. I had forgotten how the couple was replayed back in the day to be honest. The last volume of The Ultimates had superceded it in my mind. It was interesting to go back in time for a moment.

Devon at Seven Hells! has many questions to make us all think. A bit tongue-in-cheek, but very thought provoking in that unexpected way!

One of my favorite bloggers, Lisa at Sequentially Speaking is on fire this week. She points out a disturbing new Mary Jane statue and has a weird Sue Storm experience. Lisa, you are one busy lady!

Vaklam at Noetic Concordance shows off kick-ass Thor covers and reviews some of the free comics. I am loving it!

That is it tonight! Short and sweet, my friends. I am off to go lay on the couch, drink a cocktail, and feel remorse over dinner! Take care!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Countdown #51: First Impressions

Countdown 51
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
After looking through Countdown last night and finally reading it today, my first reaction is "wow". My expectations were medium to low and what I read made me really re-think my opinion. This weekly series set out to outdo 52, and from the first issue, it has given me every impression that it will.

I greatly enjoyed the dialogue between the Red Hood and the Joker's Daughter. I also loved that the Apokolips characters are back and that the monitors are taking center stage. Storywise, it really hit it out of the park for me. Paul Dini's work here is excellent.

The art was another winner for me. I had really liked Jesus Saiz's work on Checkmate, and in my opinion his work has really taken it to another level. Inker Jimmy Palmiotti does his usual astonishing work here as well.

Maybe I am a bit easier to please then the average reader, but I really enjoyed Countdown #51. Knowing this is a weekly series thrills me to no end and I can hardly wait for next week!

What are your first impressions?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Is This Gratuitous: City Of Heroes #18

City Of Heroes #18
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
This week's cover comes courtesy of our friends at Top Cow. City of Heroes #18 is a "Ladies' Night" issue and evidently the cover is meant to convey that. The women pictured all appear to be having a good time at a club, and some seem more perky then others. I would have to add that the gal down in the corner right also seems to have a bit of a porn face going to match her insanely perfect breasts.

The cover was drawn by David Nakayama. I have enjoyed his artwork in the past, and particularly would like to note that he drew a story in the Free Comic Book Day Marvel Adventures title. I just am not thrilled by the cover here.

Yes, it is ladies' night, so there is a good time to be had, but I think that the impossible abs and perfect boobs tend to ruin the effect. I was happily surprised that the lead Cowgirl character seemed to be pretty covered up, so that confuses me a bit.

I keep going back and forth. It is no Witchblade cover to be sure, but it isn't exactly subtle. What do you all think?

Is this gratuitous?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Are You Ready for the Next Seattle Comicard Convention?

Team Comics Fairplay
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Here at Comics Fairplay, we are really excited about the upcoming Seattle Comicard Convention on Sunday, June 3. The reason is that we are going to be guests at the show! I haven't said anything before, but I have recently become an editor for QEW Publishing working on a top secret project. I am really excited to be working for such a great team!

As part of QEW, I will be at the show. Jim will be there as well representing Comics Fairplay. We are indebted to Quenton Shaw of QEW and to Steve Miner, who runs the show. We are really looking forward to being there.

On another note, we are really excited because artist Ben Hansen did this supremely cool piece for us. I am still overwhelmed that he has created such a beautiful piece of art, and can't thank him enough. Ben is a really great guy with an insane amount of talent, and we are really happy to see that he will be at the show as well. If you get a chance, check out his work and buy his prints. He will also have original art at the show for the first time ever. I can hardly wait to see it!

The Seattle Comicard show is Sunday, June 3 at the Seattle Center Rainier Room. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and we would love to see you there. Mark your calendars!

Monday, May 07, 2007

New Comics for May 9

Madame Mirage First Look
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Holy Crap! It is time for Countdown now after an incredible year following 52. I am really excited to start this new journey, though I still haven't reconciled myself with the fact that 52 ended.

It is beautiful weather here, and I am hoping you are having the same. Having sunshine and knowing that Monday is almost a distant memory: it doesn't get much better then that!

Here is my list for this week.

Samurai Heaven & Earth 2 #4 (of 5)
Countdown #51
Gen 13 #8
Green Arrow #74
Nightwing #132
Outsiders #47
Stormwatch PHD #7
Tales of the Unexpected #8 (of 8)
Y The Last Man #56
Bomb Queen III #3 (of 4)
Invincible #41
Madame Mirage First Look (pictured)
Noble Causes #29
PVP #32
Black Panther #27
Immortal Iron Fist #5
New Avengers #30
New X-Men #38
Punisher War Journal #7
Thunderbolts #114
Wolverine Origins #14

That's the stack for the week! What are you reading?

Have a wonderful evening!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Quick Take Reviews: Free Comic Book Day Edition

Here is a very special edition of quick take reviews based on the free comic books Jim and I picked up yesterday. Some are for our nephews, while others are for us to enjoy. I didn’t so much review on personal taste as I did on overall appeal to a new readership and the general overall appeal. Without further ado, here they are.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero? Feedback (Dark Horse/Sci Fi Channel): I thought this short story penned by Stan Lee was pretty cute. It was nicely illustrated by Will Conrad and had Stan’s signature flare. My biggest issues were that it was very short- some teases for season two of the show would have been nice, and that I would have appreciated this much more right after the first season ended. Grade: B. Kid Acceptable: Yes.

Lone Ranger/Battlestar Galaactica Flip Book (Dynamite Entertainment): This is the book I picked for myself. I love the Lone Ranger, so it was a no-brainer. The stories were excellent quality productions that were like a little extra reward for a fan like me. I wouldn’t hand it to a small child though. It was a bit violent. My nephews are 10 and 13, and I would hand it to the 13 year old, not the younger one. This book felt like it was done for me, an adult. Grade: B. Kid Acceptable: Teen or older.

The Astounding Wolf-Man (Image Comics): This was the book that I had seen the most hype on so I wanted to get a copy. With Robert Kirkman doing a big PR tour, and having the entire first issue of his book free, I figured Image and he were betting quite a bit on it. For the most part, I thought the story was interesting. I liked Jason Howard’s art, because it gave the story a cartoony edge that saved the violence from being too nasty for Free Comic Book Day. Of course, I still wouldn’t give this book to my younger nephew, but the older one would probably do alright. Would I buy the second issue of Wolf-Man? Yes, sure. It was good enough to merit another look. The second story with Brit and the preview for Spawn Godslayer surprised me a bit. They were definitely not kid friendly. The Top Cow First Born preview was gorgeous, but didn’t have a lot of substance. I did like the advertisement in the back for Image Comic’s website. Wolf-Man grade: B+. Overall grade: C. Kid Acceptable: Not really.

The Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel Comics): All I had to see in this book was two names- Dan Slott and Phil Jimenez, and I was there. I am a total slave to Phil’s art, so this was a must-have. The story was a tad corny, featuring a new villain in a car. For the most part, the adults I talked to rolled their eyes, while the kids thought it was cool, so what do I know? In my mind, children were more of the target for this book anyway. The last few pages of the book featured a peek at this summer’s story arc in Amazing Spider-Man so I figured that was the adult portion. I liked this book a great deal for overall appeal. Grade: B+. Kid Acceptable: Yep.

The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse Comics): This was my least favorite offering to be sure. I like the band My Chemical Romance so I wanted to try lead singer Gerard Way’s work. It didn’t do anything for me. It was a tad corny as well, and I would have liked to see a different style of art. The second story, Pantheon City never really had a chance to warm up. A lady that I would guess is the lead character doesn’t show up until the last page. The final story ZeroKiller was alright, but it didn’t catch my attention in any special way either. This book was not a kid’s book, and it seemed more aimed a narrow crowd of readers, so I was really disappointed. There was no real stand out here. Grade: D. Kid Acceptable: No.

Marvel Adventures Iron Man & Hulk (Marvel Comics): This book reminded me of Tales to Astonish or Tales of Suspense back in the day. One book featuring two characters in solo stories worked well here. I do have to admit that my favorite part of the whole thing was the Franklin Richards back up. My younger nephew thinks it is funny stuff, and who am I to argue? I really liked this book for younger readers and I enjoyed it myself. After living in a world full of Marvel Continuity that I dislike, it felt good to escape into a safer, gentler time. Grade: B+. Kid Acceptable: You bet.

Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century (DC Comics): This was my favorite offering of the day for kids. I loved J. Torres’ story and Chynna Clugston’s art. I took the book for what it was and really enjoyed it. It was cute while telling an interesting story. Maybe it is the chick in me, but I could have read it several times and gotten the same reaction. It made me want to watch the television show. It doesn’t get better then that. Grade: A. Kid Acceptable: Definitely.

Those are the books I was able to pick up. I appreciate Free Comic Book Day and love the fact that I can pick out books for my nephews. I just wish there would have been more of a labeling system for kids. The last thing we as an industry need is for a kid to take home a book only to discover it is not what they wanted while their parent is unhappy with the content.

Why I Didn't See Spider-Man 3 This Weekend

Spider-Man 3 Movie poster
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

It is odd to not be seeing Spider-Man 3 on opening weekend. My husband is one of the biggest Spider-Man fans around. We religiously collect comics and Jim can talk in depth about Peter Parker's back story. We loved the first and second movie and have been really excited about seeing the third.

Why didn't we?

Simple. We live in a town of approximately 70,000 people. In this town there are three movie theaters owned by one family. Said family only puts the movie on two screens. It is an insane madhouse from hell to get in. Since I work I can't wait in line for tickets. We just flat don't have time to spend half a day to get in, praying that we don't get stuck next to a big smoker (sorry smokers, nothing personal, I am very allergic) or some idiot who can't shut up during the movie while eating a huge plate of nachos. Yikes.

That is why we are sitting here, hating life, knowing we aren't going to be able to see a movie we really want to.

I am hoping we can go on a weekday night or next weekend but I am not holding my breath. Maybe by June?

I have to say this- it is great that a a comic book movie has such a huge non-comic book following. That generates interest and dollars. Too bad it doesn't translate into greater comic book sales.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Free Comic Book Day in our Small Town!

Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
It is Free Comic Book Day and Jim and I just got done making the rounds to see what was going on. It was a pretty good effort in our small town.

There is one major local comic book shop in town, Ron's Coin and Collectibles. They have three stores around town. There is also a gaming store that carries comics called Games Unlimited. At Ron's, the owner worked with the local movie theatre to put on a promotion. Everyone who attended Spider-Man 3 received a full page coupon for the store. It included a chance to win a limited edition Silver Surfer t-shirt and other prizes.

As we entered the main store downtown, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many kids there were lined up to pick out their free comic. Ron's was allowing two free books per person. By the time we got there, the Virgin Comics book and several other small press books were long gone. Several of the kids were picking out Spider-Man and Justice League. When I asked why, it was because of the recognition of seeing Spider-Man on the cover and enjoying the movie. I was very fascinated to see how the art really influenced their decisions.

Jim was a nice uncle and picked out his free comics based on what my nephews would like. I just said screw it and picked up the Lone Ranger/Battlestar Galactica book by Dynamite along with the Dark Horse Feedback special.

While we were at the store, we were asked what side of the backing board should be facing the comic in the bag. Jim, our local authority on all matters comics, concluded that it should be the smooth side. I would have to agree with him there.

After a brief discussion, we went to the West side store and picked up our free books there. Our good friend Corey works there so we are always looking for an excuse to go there. I picked out the Spider-Man comic for the sole reason that Phil Jimenez drew it. I also picked out the Image offering with The Astounding Wolf-Man on it just to give it a try. Jim was once again selfless and picked out books for the nephews!

We didn't make it to the other store because I need to go work out but Jim is going to head back to the west side store to help out for the rest of the day. We are hoping to see more kids there, especially with their parents to share the experience.

I would have to give the local store props for the coupon tie-in to the movie and the advertising they did. It did this old lady's heart good to see so many new faces at the store today. Now if we can just figure out a way to keep the momentum going.

How was your Free Comic Book Day?

Incredible New Art by Ben Hansen

The talented Ben Hansen has been hard at work at several new pieces of art. I was lucky enough to be on his e-mail list and be able to see several previews. This Zombie Wolverine really caught my eye. It is absolutely gorgeous!

Ben is the artist on Dark Powers, a book being published by Angel Gate Publishing as part of the Dark Angel line. I can hardly wait for the book to hit the stands. In the meantime, enjoy this fine bit of work from a rising star!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Is This Gratuitous?: Astonishing X-Men #21 Variant Cover

This cover was brought to my attention by the friendly folks at the local comic shop. The general consensus there is that this cover, while more sedate then most, is a tad bit gratuitous.

Why, you may ask?

The very naughty/evil expression.

The tilt of her hip and posture.

The outfit in and of itself though she has worn less.

In the minds of my local joes, this cover is begging you to buy it because sex sells.

What do you think? Is this gratuitous?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Part of the Comics are Late!

Well, once again UPS and Diamond have struck and my local retailer did not get all their books. What a colossal pain in the butt! My retailer was so mad she could barely speak and I don't blame her. She was standing there with four of her customers staring at her, just waiting for their stuff.

It seems that UPS is the problem, and that it was a pretty universal one up here in Washington State. Supposedly the customer service person from Diamond is going to try and ship through a different carrier next week to see what happens. It is about damn time. This crap has been going on for a long time with nothing done about it.

This means that Jim or I will have to truck back downtown to pick up the rest of the books tomorrow or Friday. Ouch.

Otherwise, it was pretty exciting to see how many great titles were coming in. I look forward to sitting down tonight and reading 52 and 100 Bullets, two books that actually came in!

Tonight it is short and sweet once again as I use all my self control to not go on a full tilt rant about Diamond and what is wrong with the industry. Give me strength!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

52 Comes to a Close... and Denial Sets In

It hit me like a ton of bricks tonight. Tomorrow I am going to go to my local retailer and pick up the final issue of 52, a series that I find myself incredibly emotionally invested in. After such a long period of being drawn into the tales being told, part of me doesn't want it to end. Sure I know that Countdown is right behind it, but for some reason, 52 has been special.

Maybe because it is the first weekly I have bought and you never forget your first? Hmmm...

Tomorrow will tell the tale. I will walk into the shop and buy my copy of 52 Week 52. Then I will try not to read it so that it doesn't end for me, but in the final judgment I know I will have to just take a look.

I dont' want to be disapointed. I want to be blown away. I feel like that will happen, but I am a bit scared.

Any of the rest of you feeling like this? Or are you relieved? Let's hash this out.