Friday, March 30, 2007

Happy Friday!

I am thoroughly enjoying my day off today! Jim and I were going to mow lawn, but it isn't quite there. Maybe by Sunday?? It will be the first mowing of the year, so it is sure to be a bit ugly.

The sun is shining and the birds are singing. I have the day off. I already worked out. It doesn't get much better then this.

Now I get to spend some quality time with the hubby! Tomorrow and Sunday are the Emerald City Comicon, so that will be a blast.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Green Lantern #18 Page 6

GL 18 pg 6
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Artist Daniel Acuna has done gorgeous work on Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters for DC Comics. His women are a bit chesty, but stylized, so I haven't been overwhelmed by the overtness of their portrayal there.

Here in Green Lantern #18, it looks like Acuna may be fighting a losing battle. The costume that has been designed for the new Star Sapphire is indeed gratuitous. Her boobs are barely clamped in and she is definitely showing more skin then she is covering.

I am really torn on this page of art. Part of me is mesmerized by Acuna's unique work. The other part of me wants to throw a sweater on the character.

What do you think? Is this gratuitous?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

First Impressions: Wonder Woman in Comics This Week

It was a nice double dose of Wonder Woman this week, as she made appearances in 52 and her own title. It is about damn time.

In 52, Diana didn't show up in the way I thought she might, but it was certainly good to see her there and to get a glimpse of what her pre- "One Year Later" mindset. I don't want to spoil it, but it seemed to be a very Wonder Woman-free weekly until now.

After issue #6 of Wonder Woman, I am cautiously optimistic. My biggest complaint is that the Heinberg story didn't finish properly so there may be a tad bit of confusion. I do really like the fact that Diana seems to have a sense of humor now. My sense from a first read through: I am pleased and hoping for greatness. Jodi Picoult shows a definite agenda and that is fine with me. Having Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder back for an encore is icing on the cake.

I am a happy girl with a double dose of Wonder Woman this week. Now if they can just keep the schedule up and get some momentum going, life will be good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Comics for March 28

Firestorm #34
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Another night, another three hour work out! Yikes. At least our Get In Shape contest ends next Thursday! Then my team is going to take a week off and just do light cardio before heading into our next 12 week stretch. That is the fun part though- we get to work on toning up and losing the last bit of weight.

It is another huge week in comics. I told my husband that I still don't feel at all like I cut back, so there is a great deal of work to be done.

Here is my list for this week.

100 Bullets #82
52 Week 47
Batman #664
Blue Beetle #13
Catwoman #65
Connor Hawke Dragon's Blood #5 (of 6)
Fables #59
Firestorm the Nuclear Man #34 - see cover! This book ends next month.
JSA Classified #24
Wonder Woman #6- Yay!
Hunter Killer #12- the end of the first maxi-series
Witchblade #104- like two months late!
Black Panther #26
Daredevil #95
Fantastic Four #544- I am picking this issue up to see how it holds up after last month's excellent issue.
Silent War #3 (of 6)
Ultimate Spider-Man #107
Ultimate X-Men #80
Wolverine #52
Devi #9
Snakewoman #9

Action Comics #847- yawn. I forgot what is going on here.
Green Lantern #18- the cover made me do it!
Hawkgirl #62
Wetworks #7
Ultimate Fantastic Four #40 - not missing it

That is it for tomorrow's books. It is quite the list. This is a big week for me deciding to keep or drop several titles so we shall see.

Tomorrow night I have two parties to go to on top of working out, so you may not hear from me. God knows I won't be able to eat or drink and make merry, so my friends will probably ostracize me. Oh well.

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Rest In Peace: Marshall Rogers

Silver Surfer #21
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

I just saw on Newsarama that artist Marshall Rogers passed away. This is terribly sad news, as Rogers was a class act all the way. Jim and I met him at the Seattle Comicard Show a couple of years ago and he was very nice. He spent quite a bit of time talking to us and did a sketch of Big Barda for me and Kyle Rayner Green Lantern for Jim. It is one of my favorite sketches, and I feel very blessed to have met this kind, talented man.

Here is Newsarama's post about Rogers:

"Comics have lost another luminary. Details are still sketchy, but word came earlier today that Marshall Rogers died yesterday or Saturday. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Rogers was born on January 22nd, 1950 in Flushing, New York.

From “DC Profiles #26” which appeared in 1978 (courtesy of the Marshall Rogers Fan Site):

Of all DC's rapidly rising new stars, Marshall Rogers' ascent has been swiftest of all. In less than a year, Marshall has gone from back feature artist to first-stringer on Detective Comics and Mr. Miracle.

Marshall almost didn't make it to comics. His studies in art school concentrated on architecture, but after two years of studying designing parking lots and shopping centers, Marshall decided "the world wasn't ready for another Frank Lloyd Wright" and left school seeking fame and fortune in the comic field.

Unfortunately, the comics world was not yet ready for Marshall Rogers. For the next two years, he worked in a hardware store while doing occasional illustrations for mass circulation magazines and sharpening his artistic skills.

Apparently, those two years did the trick. Marshall broke into comics, landing a stint pencilling for Marvel's Britain weeklies.

Not long after, Marshall showed up at DC Comics, portfolio in hand, and was given his first assignment: a two part Tales of the Great Disaster story for Weird War Tales. That was followed by some mystery stories, a Tales of Krypton piece and a four part feature in Detective Comics featuring a new villain named The Calculator. His work on the latter led Editor Julie Schwartz to hand Marshall a real plum for a newcomer: pencilling the book length Batman versus the Calculator story in Detective Comics. What came next surprised even Marshall. The powers that be assigned Marshall to Detective as the regular penciller. And he almost immediately picked up the art chores on the newly-revived Mr. Miracle book as well.

"What I try to do," Marshall told DC Profiles, "is first think of what's been done before and then I discard that and try to approach it from a completely different angle." After looking over Marshall Rogers' work, we'd have to say he's found his different angle.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Rogers’ career covered many different characters, Rogers is best known for his Batman work when collaborating with writer Steve Englehart. The two first worked together on the character in Detective Comics #471-#476 (inked by Terry Austin), and for years, their version of the character was considered to be the definitive one – a dark, brooding hero who stayed to the shadows and flowed with a natural grace.

An architect by training, Rogers' work always stood out for its attention to detail, from the cityscapes of Gotham and articulated (and realistic) muscles of the heroes, to the different techniques he would employ, from bold blacks and zipatone to a wide array of others.

Rogers work was seen in many other comics from the major publishers including brief runs on DC's Mr. Miracle, Marvel’s Silver Surfer, and Dr. Strange as well as a wide variety of independent titles: Detectives, Inc., Coyote (again with Englehart), his own Capt. Quick and the Foozle, and Scorpio Rose.

Rogers left comics for a period in the early ‘90s to work in videogames, but returned later in the decade, where his work was seen in projects such as Green Lantern: Evil’s Might and most recently, Marvel Westerns: Strange Westerns Starring The Black Rider, and Batman: Dark Detective, a continuation of his and Englehart’s story from Detective Comics two and a half decades earlier. The two were reportedly considering a third installment of the larger "Dark Detective" story."

We have truly lost a great man. My prayers and thoughts go out to his family at this difficult time.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

It has been a beautiful Sunday here. Last night it rained a bit, but today the sun came out and it was nice again. I am so happy that spring is here, and that the weather will be so lovely the next couple of months! The only downside is that I can tell that the lawn will need mowing next weekend, so it will be a juggling act between yard care and attending the comic show. Yikes!

Around the blogosphere, there are some intriguing and fun blog entries that I want to share with you, so shall we go on a linkblogging journey?

Over at Sequentially Speaking, Lisa has exciting news! The Scott McCloud tour is coming to her comic book store, and it will be the only shop he will be going to in her state! Lisa, I am really thrilled for you! Check out her post about it and go attend if you can.

Redhead Fangirl had her Mid-Jersey Comicon yesterday and it sounds like it went great! What a hard working lady! I just wished I lived closer so I could attend. She has a great set of photos to look at as well!

Over at one diverse comic book nation, Loren has a great point about the upcoming World War III covers. Thank you for pointing that out! Loren is insightful as ever!

Always Bet on Bahlactus is back with another round of Friday Night Fights! I am addicted to them, it is official. Keep up the excellent work!

Scipio at The Absorbascon has a great post about the evil that is Hal Jordan's eyes. It is not to be missed. I laughed my ass off!

Laura from Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog gives a description of her attempts to purchase the Wizard of the Oz collectibles featured at McDonalds. I can't wait to ask her about it in person at the Emerald City Comicon! I am also really eager to not recognize her this year as she has done an outstanding job of losing weight and getting into shape! You go, Girl!

Mark Engblom at Comic Coverage continues to amaze me with his brilliant posts. I always wish I would have thought of them first, but must admit my not being worthy! Go check out his post on Comic Book Life Lessons. It is a must-see!

The Fortress Keeper at Fortress at Fortitude makes a good point about Mary Marvel and her upcoming transformation. It is definitely food for thought!

That's quite a journey around the blogosphere for one day, but I really enjoyed myself. It was fun to get more caught up and appreciate the incredible work my fellow bloggers do.

Have a wonderful evening! I am off to get ready for the work week and finish some last minute touches on the ECCC! Take care!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Comics Fairplay will be at Emerald City Comicon!

Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
For the last few months I have mentioned that Comics Fairplay is planning to have a booth at Emerald City Comicon. This is indeed true! We will be in the exhibitor's section at booth #403, right across from AKA Comics and Stykman! Just down from us will be the incredible folks from QEW Publishing, several of whom I have profiled in interviews since last October. It should be wonderful to see these great people!

Here is the skinny: The comicon is being held Saturday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m and Sunday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be at Qwest Field Events Center, which is right next door to where the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners play. The guest list is as vast as it is impressive, and for the life of me, I can't figure out who to go see first. Go check out the official site for details!

My husband Jim and I will be co-manning the Comics Fairplay booth. We are having a small raffle, with proceeds split to benefit HERO Initiative and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. We will also be handing out free comic books to the first 100 people who come by the booth each day. To top all that off, we will have a laptop showing the blog, and folders of recent, topical blog entries.

Our good friend Brian is looking for good people to help him out at the HERO Initiative booth. If you are going to be attending the show and want to help out, e-mail me at and I will pass your information on to him. It is critical to have people that can work for such a good cause. Even if you can only stay a couple of hours, please let me know.

I am looking forward to seeing Laura and Greg at the show. It is fantastic to see my fellow bloggers! I can hardly wait! These are people who have inspired me, in the past and continue to do so today.

Jim and I are looking forward to seeing our friends from last year. You know who you are! We are also looking forward to meeting new friends and having some great conversation. Please find us and introduce yourself! We aren't too shy!

We will be at the show. Will you?


Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I want to be adopted by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie... what are the odds?


I promise I would play nice!!

After sitting here pondering my bills, this appears to be the easiest solution to my problems.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Follow Up

Well, it seems that my fair friends in the comment section have decided that I should put a ban on Red Sonja and Witchblade covers in the future when I do my "Is This Gratuitous?" feature.

Okay. I'll do it.

Most of the time when I see a cover I feel is over the top, I use my gut instinct rather then thinking "well, I can't use that 'cuz I used one like it a month ago", but I promise to be more careful in the future.

Since there is plenty of naughty stuff that is unfortunately seeping into comic book covers and interiors, I probably will not run out of art to show any time soon.

Thank you for your input on this! I appreciate having people who care and who have such strong opinions weighing in on this!

Tomorrow it's all about the upcoming Emerald City Comicon, folks! See you there!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is This Gratuitious? Witchblade: Shades Of Gray #1

In the comic book store today, the multiple covers of Witchblade: Shades of Gray #1 really caught my eye for both the colors and the slightly naughty covers. My shop had actually put this behind the counter for customers that didn't have Witchblade on their pull file. People had to be aware that the book had come out and request it. Yikes.

At any rate, here is the Billy Tan cover for Witchblade: Shades of Gray #1. Here Sara is posed in an uncomfortable manner on what appears to be sheets. She isn't exactly well clothed, and the fella behind her looks to be enjoying the show. While this doesn't take the cake in terms of nasty, sweaty nudity, it does seem pretty prevocative to me.

What do you think? Is this gratuitous?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Comics for March 21

Noble Causes #28
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Hey there! It is time again for my list of new comics for the week. It is still a great deal more books then I want to get, so I somehow have to figure out how to cut back again. It is tough with 52 coming up on it's last month and a half of issues, and with so many good titles out there.

Here is my list:

52 Week #46
Birds of Prey #104
Brave & the Bold #2
Checkmate #12
Deathblow #4
Ion #12 (of 12)
Justice Society of America #4
Shawdowpact #11- I was going to drop it, but haven't been able to!
Supergirl #15
Y The Last Man #55
Noble Causes #28 - pictured
Anita Blake Guilty Pleasures #5 (of 12)
Ms. Marvel #13
Punisher Presents Barracuda Max #2 (of 5)
Wisdom #4 (of 6)
X-23 Target X #4 (of 6)
X-Factor #17
X-Men #197
Witchblade Shades of Grey #1 (of 4)

Flash the Fastest Man Alive #10- I think...
Hellblazer #230
Exiles #92
Ultimate Power #4 (of (9)

That's it for the week. I lifted weights and did cardio for almost three hours tonight, so I am going to go eat and relax before bed. I have now lost 22 pounds, so I am really pleased. I tried on a size smaller jeans and they fit perfectly. Now that is a victory, my friends!

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Reason to Win the Lottery #2: Power Girl & Huntress Statue

It's official. I am drooling over this statue. It features my favorite ladies together on one piece, and I never thought I would ever see the day it would be done. The late 1970's versions of Power Girl and Huntress are amazing, and I used to be so thrilled when issues of All Star Comics, Batman Family, Wonder Woman, and Infinity Inc would come out so I could follow their adventures. To see their partnership memorialized in statue form is almost too much.

I really wish I could buy this.

Stats for this gorgeous work are as follows:

Sculpted by Tony Cipriano
As a member of the JSA, Power Girl: The Kryptonian cousin of Superman - a legacy of light. Huntress: Follows in Batman's footsteps - a legacy etched in night. Together for the first time in a DC Direct statue, this limited-edition, hand-painted, cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 11.75" tall x 6.5" wide x 5.5" deep. Includes a certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. This limited edition statue is manufactured to order.
Advance-solicited; on sale November 28, 2007 o Statue o $195.00 US "

Incredible. Anyone else think this is the coolest? I am in heaven considering it, and in hell knowing it is too much money.

Reason to Win the Lottery #1: Black Canary Mini bust

Black Canary Mini bust
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I checked out the DC solicitations for June over at Comic Book Resources and immediately wished I could win the lottery. There are two wonderful pieces I would love to have for my mantle. The first is this awesome Black Canary mini-bust. The facts are as follows:

Designed by Adam Hughes
Sculpted by Jack Mathews
Black Canary concludes the amazing line of Women of the DC Universe busts designed by award-winning illustrator Adam Hughes! This limited-edition, hand-painted, cold-cast porcelain busts measures approximately: 5.5" tall x 2.5" wide x 3" deep and is packaged in a four-color box.
Advance-solicited; on sale November 14, 2007 o Bust o $45.00 US "

Isn't it beautiful? BC looks a bit busty for my tastes, but I like the fact that she is using her Canary cry. Too cool.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Quick Take Reviews for March 18

Stormwatch PHD 5
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Wonder Woman #5: My only question after reading this issue is this: Why didn’t DC just have Will Pfeifer write the relaunch? It would have saved a great deal of headaches and I would have had a great story to read. Seriously.

Pfeifer and the team of artists on the book did a nice job of leading into the next storyline. God knows it is a task I wouldn’t have wished on my worst enemy, but they really brought it. I also kept wondering to myself where DC had been hiding Geraldo Borjes and Jean Diaz. Their art on the book was spare but satisfying.

Next time DC thinks about hiring some “hot shot” bigwig, they need to stop for a moment and read this issue. A committed team of professionals put together a vital book for a series when the initial writer failed miserably. The premise here was so simple, but so meaningful. It is the kind of story I didn’t realize I was craving. Wonder Woman was back in her element, fighting for the helpless and giving them a second chance at a strength they didn’t know existed.

The only downside is that I have no idea how the last story arc ended. Fortunately, after reading this issue, I really don’t care. Let’s have Pfeifer come back on the book after Jodi Picoult finishes her run. Between his fine work on Catwoman and his excellent story here, I am a believer. Grade: A.

Fables #58: I loved this issue! I have wanted to know more about Bigby Wolf and his back story, and this issue gave me a chance to put some pieces together. It also gave a great look at Snow White and Bigby’s cubs. The art by Mike Allred meshed well with Bill Willingham’s storytelling. I would love to see the two pair up on a mini-series of some kind that would tell more Fables tales. This is a wonderful book that continues to please. Grade: A.

Stormwatch PHD #5: The back-story of how the original team came back to life. I was prepared to be annoyed, but the story really worked. It also added a layer to mystery to the new tale being told. I was thrown off a bit by a guest artist, but Matthew Smith did admirably. Christos Gage and series regular Doug Mahnke have a magic that really works for me, so I am interested to see that team back together next issue. Stormwatch PHD is THE Wildstorm book to read for me, and it continues to suck me in with great story telling. Grade: B.

New X-Men #36: Along with X-Factor, this book is the best of the X-titles out there today. It has been compelling to read a book that doesn’t appear to have a net. No character is safe, as the last year has shown. These young mutants live in the moment, with no real guarantee of a long life. The result is recklessness and a bravery that is breath taking to behold. I can’t wait to see what happens next issue, as the creative team is sure to up the ante. This book is genius. Grade: A-.

Lone Ranger #5: Another book I love. Crafted with care by Bret Matthews, Sergio Cariello, and Dean White, Lone Ranger is as gorgeous to read as it is to look at. The color palette is devastating in its appeal, and the danger of the story being told is credible. I have especially enjoyed the portrayal of Tonto as the fearless man who leads rather then blindly follows. This book is the Western I have always wanted to read in comic book form. It is my favorite Dynamite Entertainment book, and that is saying a lot. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Lone Ranger, please do. It has my highest recommendation. Grade: A.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Cover I Have Been Waiting to See: Green Arrow #75

Green Arrow 75
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I was just over at Newsarama checking out news from Wonder-Con, when DC advance solicitatiions caught my eye. Here in all it's glory is the cover of Green Arrow. #75, the "proposal" issue.

From the looks of things, Dinah isn't thrilled. This I have got to see.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Five Reasons Why I Blog...

The fantastic people over at Atomic Romance tagged me a week ago and I have been remiss to respond to the great meme they have going, wherein they explain 5 reasons why they blog. Make sure to go check theirs out.

In the meantime, here are five reasons from me!

1. When I blog I can focus my thoughts into a mostly coherent rant that helps me to clean out my mental closet, so to speak. When Wonder Woman is late, my blog is here for me. When the media spoils Captain America's "death", I know I can come here and tell my side of the story. It is beautiful in it's simplicity.

2. Blogging helps me learn new vocabulary words. In the past I have been corrected by fellow bloggers on my usage of words, so lately I have been trying to learn new ones to keep my sentences fresh. When I use the dictionary or a thesaurus, it opens up a whole new world to me.

3. I care about the future of comics and want to have my say. When I see things I disagree with from a business standpoint, the management side of me wants to jump in and use the basic tools of business to fix things. Dissecting the industry and trying to make suggestions is a wonderful exercise. I hope that someday someone will actually listen to me. Hmmmm.... maybe I can rule the world next???!!??

4. Somewhere in me is a frustrated journalist. In high school I was editor-in-chief of my school newspaper, and in college I proofread for the paper. Journalism almost became a career. It is that small part of me that loves to report the news that helps keep this blog rolling along.

5. I love it. God knows, it doesn't pay a thing, so I must enjoy keeping my blog. I love the people that come here and leave comments. They make my day so many times. I flat love my blog. It is a not-so-secret joy in my life that lets me focus on something other then all my personal problems and job frustration. I can put that all away and enjoy.

That's it folks. For the sake of tagging, I am to pick five people to keep this rolling. Hmmm... there are so many of you that would do a wonderful job. How about this... if you are on my sidebar, I am gently tagging you. Don't feel pressured, but if you have an inspiration, I would love to read your thoughts.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Heroes For Hire #5

Heroes For Hire #5
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Wow. I am almost speechless looking at this gem. William Tucci, famous for his creation Shi, did the art for the cover of Heroes for Hire #5. Apparently some chick I don't know is trying to strangle Misty Knight, and they have both gotten their boobies.

Considering this is a mainstream Marvel title that comes out on a monthly basis, I am inclined to think that this cover is about a B+ grade in over-the-top naughtiness.

What do you think? Is this gratuitous?

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Comics for March 14

Tales of the Unexpected 6
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
What a day! It was busy at work and we had people out sick again. The good news is the day went fast. The bad news is I didn't get all the work done I wanted to. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

I am running late tonight because I wanted to watch Van Halen get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a bit odd because Eddie Van Halen was in rehab so he wasn't there. It was also strange because neither Alex Van Halen or David Lee Roth showed up. That left poor Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar to pick up the award. I was happy to see them, but it seemed like a piece of the group was missing. Velvet Revolver performed "Ain't Talking About Love" and Slash's guitar work was excellent. Then Sammy, Michael, and Paul Schaeffer's band did "Why Can't This Be Love" which was also good. What was missing was Eddie's legendary riffs, Alex's incredible drumming, and David Lee's showmanship.

I am happy to see Van Halen inducted though. For their contributions to music, they are most definitely worthy. I am crossing my fingers that Eddie gets better at rehab and that he can rediscover the joy of the music he created.

Back on subject, it is a light week for me so I am really happy. I am still trying to drop more titles, so we shall see how I am doing. Here is the list:

52 Week 45
Fables #58
Green Arrow #72
Stormwatch PHD #5
Tales of the Unexpected #6 (of 8) - pictured
Teen Titans #44
Wonder Woman #5- in which Will Pfeifer is given the unenviable task of connecting the disjointed uncompleted first story line to Jodi Picoult's upcoming run. Yikes.
New Avengers #28
New X-Men #36
Thunderbolts #112
Wolverine Origins #12
Lone Ranger #5

Gen 13 #6- under duress

Older drops
JLA Classified #36
Martian Manhunter #8 (of 8) - not missing this at all
Robin #160
Superman #660
Irredeemable Ant-Man #6- no remorse
Punisher War Journal #6- still a bit sad about this one

That is the scoop for the evening. I am pretty excited because I finally made the 20 pound goal on my weight loss. I have ten more to go before April 4, so that should be a challenge. There are three and a half more weeks left and my teammate and I are lifting weights like crazy while upping our cardio. My shoulders are so sore tonight that lifting the frying pan is a bit of an effort. Nice.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Quick Take Reviews for March 11

Dynamo 5 #1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Dynamo 5 #1: (Cover Pictured) This new series by Jay Faerber and Mahmud A. Asrar was well done. The art is gorgeous, and Faerber's scripting has never been better. I am pleased to find such a cohesive collaboration for Faerber, as it has been a bit of a missing element in his past work. The concept of Dynamo 5 is quite good. Imagine finding out you were the illegitimate child of a super hero. Now imagine that you aren't the only one and that the guy's widow wants you to team up. I really enjoyed this book. Grade: A.

Captain America #25- The infamous "death" of Cap. I love Steve Epting's art and it has been a great deal of what has kept me picking up this title. It also doesn't hurt that Ed Brubaker is a dream as a scripter, and I have enjoyed his take on Captain America. It is a shame that the powers that be decided to kill Cap and to do it in a bit of a rush. This book was gorgeous, but it felt like it came in with a whimper rather then a bang, no pun intended. Maybe I am still a bit pissed that the book was spoiled for me so I didn't get the full effect. Grade: C+.

Mighty Avengers #1: For months this book has been hyped like the second coming so I was prepared to be blown away. Well, unfortunately it was just alright when it comes right down to it. Brian Michael Bendis is a longtime favorite writer of mine and Frank Cho is a favorite artist of mine from the Liberty Meadows days, but they just don't mesh that well. To top it off, the all new team isn't that diverse or interesting, other then Ares, who seems to be a longshot for best new Avenger ever. Mighty Avengers has pretty packaging but I don't foresee greatness in the long haul unless there is a bit of a collaborative change or an early team roster shake up. Grade: C.

Justice League of America #6: Is it done yet? This has had to be the longest drug out piece of mediocrity I have read in a long time. I am so disapointed that I just can't hide it. I was expecting greatness from Brad Meltzer after enjoying his ride in Identity Crisis and his run on Green Arrow. I am also a fan of his novels, which makes my dissatisfaction that more sour. This storyline never connected for me and the art never gelled. I couldn't tell Kathy from Black Canary half the time unless I looked at their outfits. When a title is rebooted to cater to a new creative team it needs to have something special. This just didn't catch on for me. I am crossing my fingers for a much stronger second tale, otherwise I am done collecting JLA after a 30 plus year run. Grade: D.

Fantastic Four #543: Yep, I picked it back up. Post Civil War, I had heard that Sue and Reed were going to try to work their problems out, so I decided to try and forgive. I was also thrilled there was a new writer on board. I am going to come clean and say that I think Dwayne McDuffie and Mike McKone are an incredible creative team. With gorgeous inks by Any Lanning and Cam Smith, the first feature story looked so beautiful that my eyes felt like it was Christmas. McDuffie really impressed me with his scripting and I am happy to have him on the title.

There were two back up stories that were also quite excellent. Stan Lee, Nick Dragotta, and Mike Allred collaborated on a funny, quirky tale featuring, well, Stan Lee. The third story by Paul Pope was perfection. I loved it, and would like to see Pope do more work like this in the future.

After hating Fantastic Four for the better part of a year, I am most humbly coming out to say that I am back for the duration. It will all balance on how the "new" team works out, and I am cautiously optimistic. Grade: A.

That is it for this week. I was a bit harsh, but I just can't help it. It is the way I feel.

Have a wonderful evening and don't forget that we have officially "sprang ahead".

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

Today was one of those days that started out simple but ended up being busy. We went and recycled cans, tended to the house, and called our good friend Brian about the Emerald City Comicon. Then I ended up at the gym for three hours- an hour of cardio and almost two hours of intense weight lifting with my teammate Kerry. Hopefully I will be able to walk tomorrow!

I did get a look around the blogosphere and would like to point out the excellence of my peers tonight. There are so many wonderful and creative people blogging these days. I am a fan of so many sites and it seems like there is never enough time to give the proper shout outs, so bear with me a bit.

Lisa at Sequentially Speaking did a great thing. At her comic book shop, she set up a memorial to Captain America that is awesome. Go take a look!

A belated "wow" to Redhead Fangirl, who did an excellent job reporting her New York Comicon experience. She does such a great job that it is like being there with her.

QEW Publishing did a complete website redesign and it looks fantastic. I am in awe, and plan to spend some time clicking on every link. Wow Quenton, you outdid yourself!

Over at Pen-Elayne on the Web, Elayne is celebrating Estrogen Month. She is profiling several female driven sites. She is also hosting the next Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans and has an opportunity for folks to vote on women deserving more a higher profile and "more linkage" based on their excellent work. Let me quote Elayne for a moment though so that I may get the correct wording and links to go to:

"The guidelines for nominating and voting for feminist pop-culture bloggers during Estrogen Month are outlined here. I'm also hosting the 12th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans on March 31. The deadline for submissions is March 29, and guidelines are outlined here (please send links via email or use this submission form)."

Head over there and participate!

John Layman kills me, but in a good way. If you have never been to his site, head over there and check out his experience in viewing School for Scoundrels as only he can.

The incredibly talented Bahlactus has redesigned his site and it is genius. I just got done reading his thoughts on Captain America, and of course Galactus. This man is talented, and he knows what time it is. If you don't have a permanent bookmark to his site, you need to have one.

Loren at One Diverse Comic Book Nation makes some very valid points in his post "Where is the Diversity in the Avengers?" He noticed something I had seen as well, and states it beautifully.

The imminently funny but practical Mark Engblom has the very important reminder that tonight we need to spring forward. Well done, my friend. Head over to Comic Coverage and not only read his newest post, check out his site in general. Great stuff.

On that note, I am off to eat some dinner and ponder springing forward myself! Have a wonderful evening, and a relaxing Sunday.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Bomb Queen III Linsner Cover

Well Gang, it's time for this week's installment of "Is This Gratuitous". Right out of the gate there is a great deal of divisiveness over the nature of the cover. Why, you may ask?

Number one, the girls all have varied sizes of breasts, so they aren't all extremely busty. Number two, they actually look bad-ass, not just sexy. Number three, superstar artist Joe Linsner draws well proportioned women with more realistic bodies.

What makes this gratuitious then? The thongs showing and the boobies hanging out under the costume. Is it meant to be gratuitous or just ironic?

We were split down the middle here at Camp Comics Fairplay, so I am humbly awaiting your most honored opinions on this cover.

Is this gratuitous?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Today is International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. In honor of this yearly celebration, I just want to take a moment to recognize a number of females I admire. I am purposely not going to mention women in politics because I have tried to keep that aspect of my life out of this blog. No offense, but I don't like to mix my passion for comic books and pop culture with my political views. Someday I may start a blog with a political slant, but at this point of time I am keeping it to myself.

Getting back on the subject, there are so many incredible women out there, that it is hard for me to pick a few to honor. If I generalize a bit, please bear with me.

My first shout out goes to the women creators and corporate females in the comic book industry. I would like to recognize Flo Steinberg, the woman behind Stan Lee to start with. She was most certainly the reason Stan could spend his time creating and looking at the broad picture. She was his right hand, and I like to think she didn't stand beneath him but equal to him. I also want to mention Marie Severin for her artistic greatness. To this day, I love the fact that she and writer Linda Fife were the female creative team behind The Cat from Marvel. (The Cat is now known as Tigra to more modern day Marvel fans). I also want to recognize Virginia Romita, who was the longtime traffic manager at Marvel. What a fantastic woman! Not only is she the beloved wife and mother of John Romita Sr. and Jr. but she is an excellent business woman.

In the present, I want to recognize the women out there working in the industry today. My most humble bow to Gail Simone, long may she reign. I appreciate that Gail isn't pigeon holed as a "female creator". She has transcended the label and is heralded for her talent. I also have to give Aimee Friedman and Christina Norrie props. I just got done reading their graphic novel "Breaking Up" and I loved it.

There are so many women to praise. Amanda Conner, Barbara Kesel, Louise Simonson, Laura Martin, Colleen Doran, Pia Guerra, Becky Cloonan, Mary Jo Duffy, Tara McPherson, Adrianna Melo, Mariah Benes... I apologise for not remembering more names off the top of my head. You ladies rock!

I also don't want to forget the women bloggers. There are so many of you that impress me day in and day out. I can't imagine the blogosphere without you. I am a bit hesitant to name you all because I dont' want to forget anyone. Let me just point to my sidebar and say "go check out the blogs there". I am indebted and amazed by you all.

To the ladies who own and work in comic retailing, I am on bended knee. You have a difficult but rewarding job. I would love to be brave enough to own a shop with my husband someday. It warms my heart to see you women out there working so hard and setting such a great example.

I also want to take a minute to recognize the females in my family. My grandma had polio in the 1950's and suffered a great deal. Rather then wallow in self pity, my grandma did the best she could. As a mother of five children with a husband who was out working so hard, her job was not one many could have handled. To see her love and kindness on a daily basis built the foundation of my determination to be a good person. I also would like to recognize her for a 62 year marriage to my grandpa. What an amazing achievement. I have always felt that marriage and parenting are two of the hardest jobs a person will ever have, and to see her succeed so brilliantly and stubbornly is a landmark in my life.

My mother is my personal hero in so many ways. She didn't have the opportunities for post high school education I have had. She had to work her way from secretary to high level executive through grit and determination. She is incredible on so many levels it is hard to articulate my feelings. When people tell me I am like my mother I smile and say "thank you".

My other hero is my sister. She works full time, co-owns a farm with my brother-in-law and is raising two amazing sons. I am in complete awe of her. Despite having bad days or busy days, she always keeps her faith and stays positive. She is such a role model for her children. Watching her with her boys restores my faith in the future of humanity. With her steering the boat, I know we can stay on course.

There are so many other women that inspire me. I feel like I would post all night if I tried to mention them all. My aunts, my co-workers, my friends, and the strangers that show me kindness- I want to just say "thank you".

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Captain America's Fate: Spoiled!!

Captain America 25
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Captain America #25 was completely spoiled for me today. I didn't even try for it to be but it was.

How you might ask?

I am on West Coast time. I went on the internet to look up an address about 9:30 a.m. my time. The FIRST THING I saw on was a story about Captain America's fate in issue #25 which was being released today. The headline spoiled it.

There was no warning or opportunity to un-see the article. It was the lead and it gave it all away.

I am pissed about this.

Evidently there was a big article in the New York Daily News that spoiled it for everyone that gets that particular paper. To top it off, had a story about it on their lead screen.

I don't know if it was Marvel's PR department, or if the story was picked up randomly, but this obvious ploy to bring new readers of the non-comic book persuasion completely spoiled the whole damn issue for me. On top of it, Captain America #25 was $3.99, so I paid an extra dollar for the privilege.

Did anyone else get blindsided by this?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Brainstorm Session: How Would You Promote A Blog at a Comic Show?

At the end of this month, my husband and I will be attending the Emerald City Comicon. We are having a booth to promote Comics Fairplay. It is my second year having a booth there, and we will have our wonderful friend Brian there to help us.

My question is this: How would you go about best promoting a blog at a comic book show? The only product I have is my blog, which at this point is not a profit center. I have bumper stickers and a lovely banner. I also have samples of my blog entries in a three ring binder.

Last year we did a raffle for H.E.R.O. Initiative. This year there is already a separate booth for just that very purpose. How do I make things interesting and avoid the inevitable "so what do you make" question?

One idea I had was to have a summit of sorts for "Bloggers Northwest" where all my fellow bloggers would feel free to come by the booth and share ideas. Another is to have some kind of round table discussion.

What kind of promotional materials would work best? I really want to have fun with this so I would really appreciate any ideas. As the only blogger "exhibiting", what can I do to increase awareness?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Monday, March 05, 2007

New Comics for March 7

Now that it is March I keep expecting my cutbacks to make my list smaller. For whatever reason, it doesn't seem to have done so yet. I am determined to keep trying though.

Here is my list of new stuff:

Bomb Queen III #1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

52 Week 44
Authority #2 - the deal breaker
Detective Comics #829 - as long as Dini keeps on writing, I will be there. I have also greatly enjoyed Kramer's art.
Helmet of Fate Zauriel #1 - a one shot
Justice League of America #6- I was considering dropping this book until I decided it may tie in with the whole Black Canary/Green Arrow engagement, so I am getting it for now.
Loveless #16
Manhunter #29
Nightwing #130
Outsiders #46 - I am planning to get this through the crossover with Checkmate.
Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #8 (0f 8)
Welcome to Tranquility #4
Age of Bronze #25- excellent quarterly book
Bomb Queen III #1 (of 4) - see picture
Dynamo 5 #1 - new Jay Faerber series that I want to try. Bad Heidi.
Captain America #25
Mighty Avengers #1 - I am a sucker for Cho's art.
Punisher #35
Ultimate Spider-Man #106
Uncanny X-Men #484

Jonah Hex #17 - with much sadness
Superman Batman #32- I refuse to buy anything Pat Lee is associated with and he is taking over pencilling this book, so I am done. Even if it was Wonder Woman Lee was drawing, I would still not buy it. He has burned his bridge here by poor business practices.

That's it for the week. Sorry about how weird my blog is composing. I can't figure it out and I am too bushed to dig around and fix it. Sorry.

Have a great night!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

DC Wonder-Con News Of Interest

Green Arrow
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

I was perusing Newsarama for word of news coming from the Wonder-Con when several tidbits from the DC Nation panel caught my eye. Some of this information affects my future buying decisions while other items are just plain interesting. Here is a smattering:

-Green Arrow will end with #75, Winick said, adding that the very last page of the issue features Oliver Queen offering an engagement ring to Black Canary. With that issue, Winick said, he’ll be off the series and character.

Newsarama Note: In clarifying his comment, Winick later told Newsarama: " I'm done, and DC is as well, with the monthly book Green Arrow. I'm not done, and DC is not done with Green Arrow. And that's all I say."

Didio said that the repercussions of the engagement will be felt throughout Countdown and the DCU, and when prodded, Wayne said that there will most likely be a miniseries spin out of the end of the series.

Winick said that “repercussions” seen will involve other heroes throughout the DCU weighing in on the engagement.
So what Rich Johnston reported in his Lying in The Gutter column was spot-on. Man, I don't want this to happen. It does change my initial thoughts about dropping Green Arrow thought. I will continue to ride that boat to the shore based on this information.

-There are no plans to put a memorial for Stephanie Brown in the Batcave, Didio said, noting that she became Robin out of her own resort, was never accepted into the full role and Bat-family, and died as Spoiler, not as Robin.

That sucks- just give the girl her due already.

-Didio said that there is hope for another solo Power Girl series.

This is great news as Power Girl is a favorite character of mine.

-Didio reiterated that Manhunter will be continuing and will begin again with issue #31, starting in July.

Can I hear a big "Yay" on that one?

-James Robinson does have a story in mind for more Jack Knight stories, and the door is open, Didio said, now, scheduled just need to match up

-The Firestorm series: can it be saved like Manhunter? Didio: Not right now.

From the DC Great Expectations Panel:

-Pointing out the Amazons Attack slide, Didio asked who was reading Wonder Woman, which was answered by cries of “When it comes out.”

“We deserve that,” Didio said, and then outlined the coming plans on the ongoing Wonder Woman series, with Idelson adding that they are hoping to have the Wonder Woman Special with the conclusion of Allan Heinberg’s “Who is Wonder Woman” coming out in September.

Which basically means that what we have read in issues one to four won't make sense until then. Thank you so much for wasting my time and money for the last several months. Don't ever do it again.

-In terms of the future of Batwoman, Didio said that he hopes to expand upon the character and continue using the character after 52.

-Will DC being doing anything with more political elements woven in, a la Civil War at Marvel? Didio: Great question – but you can’t go spot on with a direct approach, because you don’t want to trivialize things in the real world. We bring a lot of reality to your books, but there are things we can’t bring in because the heroes just don’t work well in those aspects. There are certain places to tell those stories, but I’m not sure if that’s something that interacts well with the DC Universe.

Basically this means that DC is taking the opposite stance of Marvel.

-Will there be more annuals coming? Didio: Yes – the Nightwing Annual in April which explains the proposal between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon; and Outsiders Annual.

Winick: That will wrap up the One Year Later story, and be drawn by Scott McDaniel.

Didio: And a Wonder Woman Annual too.

There is some great news and there is some mediocre news, but all in all I am pretty excited to hear about DC's plans for the upcoming year.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Customer Service in Comics: Is the Customer Always Right?

At many places of employment, if you were to ask what the slogan or philosophy of the foundation of the business is, most of the time the answer would include customer satisfaction and "the customer is always right" as part of the mission statement. I know that at my business, we like to refer to our customers as the boss, and we listen to their needs as much as we can. We also try and always give our customers the benefit of the doubt and work hard to serve their needs.

This is a normal school of thought for how to be successful in business. Even if the customer isn't always right, treat them with a modicum of respect and work to keep their future business. After all, it isn't usually the ones that complain that always leave, polls have repeatedly stated that most customers just leave and go do business elsewhere without giving a business the benefit of the doubt. It is just a small percentage of people that will give a business a second chance with some verbilization. That is why it is critical to listen to customer feedback and to do things correctly the first time. It is vital to keep customers satisfied to maintain a successful business model.

In the comic book industry, I have mixed feelings about the customer service provided and the mission statement involved. Let me get specific for a bit.

1. Comic book Conventions: Conventions are a fantastic opportunity to get feedback live and in person from the customer. There is a one-on-one value that is hard to get elsewhere. The customer has come to you, and wants to see you. That is invaluable. Having books to sell and other commodities that tie in with the product give it a profitability aspect that is key.

So why is it that some creators show up late or not at all? Why are panels filled with self-deprecation and back slapping? Why waste the opportunity to speak with your customers or even worse treat them like cattle, herding them in the direction you think they should go?

2. Internet Presence: After much reservation, I have come to the conclusion that having whole issues or previews up is a valuable tool. I regularly go to DC and Marvel's websites to see what books are coming out, and enjoy viewing the covers prior to the release. It helps me to know what to look for. On the other hand, I went to Top Cow and Virgin's websites and was frustrated that they were not up to date and that the flash features made it hard to navigate. Keep them current, or don't bother.

The internet can be a catch-22 for creators. The interaction on message boards and blogs is a valuable resource. It is a great place to promote an upcoming project and enhance goodwill by positive interaction with the customer. It is a liability for a creator like John Byrne, who is the most obvious example I can think of. He had been considered an icon for so long that to see his unpleasantness and be the victim of it ruined any false illusions of greatness that had been held up for so long.

3. The actual comic book itself: When a comic book is good, it is the best tool of all. Having a cohesive creative team and a quality product is gold. If it works well, it sells itself. Pandering to a creative ego can be self destructive in the long term, such as the creator who always liked to put himself in a book, even if for a panel or two. At first it is cute, but after awhile, it is just plain egotistical.

4. Public Image: A creator like Mark Millar, whose past work has been critically acclaimed, can do a lot of damage to his own image very quickly. Using a mentality of "I'm smarter then you and I know better what you want then you do" has really put a crimp in his reputation. Along with Joe Quesada, their smugness and sense of self-righteousness about Civil War has been off-putting to many customers.

Another example of this is Erik Larson, whose column at Comic Book Resources has unfortunately damaged his rep with customers. His self-assured posts have been good at times; there have been other examples where he has crossed the line into "I'm right and you're wrong". It is a fine line, and henceforth hard to distinguish at times. As the head honcho at Image, it probably would have been a better response to keep his head close to the drawing board rather then use it as a figure head.

Conclusion: I have always been concerned about the varied response to "customers" of the comic industry. I know that we are a vocal bunch, and I know that we aren't always right, but our voice needs to count. To see that erosion of customer service is a shame. I want to see a turn from "we're smarter then you and know what you want" to "what isn't working and give us some suggestions". While I blame the internet for part of this, I see the value in getting back to a more face-to-face approach.

Give consumers a panel at a comicon. Every 50th customer to enter a show gets a golden ticket of sorts and gets to lead a discussion that the business types can learn from. Ask questions, don't just assume.

Check out all types of blogs. Don't just go to the most negative, biggest pot-stirrer. Take a real look around. There are so many diverse comic blogs out here now, and so many fans with positive messages. The most negative ones are sometimes pandering more to the audience then speaking with conviction.

Really work those sales numbers. Do polls about why books are being dropped. Work with retailers. They are the true front line of the industry. They see what is being put back and have great feedback.

Use the communications network that has been set up in ComicSpace. There are many customers there already, and they would be a great resource for polls and/or questionairres.

As with every industry out there, customer service is key. To get feedback, communication is the tool of the trade. I know that with the laws of supply and demand there are many more fans then creators, but without the dollars infusion of purchase, it would all be a moot point.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Snakewoman #6 Cover

Snakewoman 6
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Well, here we have this week's specimen in the ongoing quest to find out if this is gratuitous or not.

Here are my findings.

She is naked.

She is green.

She looks like she is going to kill the dude in front of her.

Greg Horn did the art.

Conclusion? Oh yeah, this is gratuitous. Fun, but gratuitous.