Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Buy This! - December 28th, 2011


Every Monday Seth picks out three items that are due to ship on Wednesday and directs you toward your best bets for a quality purchase. Some times it's a single issue of a comic, other times a massive omnibus edition of a beloved series, and occasionally a figure or shiny bauble that caught his eye. Read on to find the three items you shouldn't leave your comic shop without this week.

Sooo, that happened. Another Christmas has come and gone and left me with a bunch of trinkets and baubles I didn't have before it came. I received a very cool Knight (of Knight and Squire fame) action figure and the first volume of the Flash by Geoff Johns omnibus courtesy of my girlfriend, as well as a talking Boba Fett helmet... which I've worn far too much for a grown man. I wrapped up Christmas by going to the comic store yesterday and was dismayed to discover they weren't running any sales so I bought my pulls and a couple older trades and called it a day. I have to say, all in all I got very little in the way of comics this year. Maybe it's my relatives trying to tell me to grow up or something...

This week's pulls should be hitting on Wednesday as usual but I'm hearing rumblings that some shops won't have new comics till Thursday. I know, it makes no sense since essentially all the major shipping avenues were open Monday but, there it is. In the way of housekeeping, the TMNT micro series continues this week with the Michaelangelo spotlight that I picked for my Buy This column a few weeks ago. Also, it's not there anymore but I hope some of you managed to snag that Rocketeer Adventures hardcover from Thwipster while it lasted. Mine should be arriving in the next two days.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tales from the Long Box: Year In Review



Every week Seth goes into his back issue bins, picks out a single issue, story arc, or creative run, pours through it and then writes about it. He calls it Tales from the Long Box. Though old and now either retconned out of existence or made irrelevant by the latest event, these books still share something in common... they're bagged, boarded, and a part of comics history.




Around this time last year I'd reached a sort of lull in my excitement for comics. Not just buying them every Wednesday but even reading them. The big superhero books (with a few exceptions) seemed to be in a state of either transition or had grown stale. No where was this more obvious than my pull list which by the end of December 2010 was around a meager 8 or 9 titles. Even my graphic novel/trade paperback purchasing had dwindled. All of this culminated when I sold off a large portion of my single issue collection and a bunch of my trades and hardcovers. Honestly, it was looking bleak for a while there.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Dec. 21




Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.

Justice League #4 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee


Fish-man no more!
First of all, Merry Christmas! Well, almost. I'm sure many of you are just getting settled in for the holidays, and what better way to kick back than with a nice stack of comics? At least, that's the first thing I did when I arrived at the parents for the weekend, and man was I in for a treat! Not one of my pulls this week were a let down. As a matter of fact, any of them could easily have wound up as my favorite this week. Azzarello's Wonder Woman was great as usual, Snyder continues to blow my mind in Batman, and this was probably the best issue of TMNT yet. Sadly, there can be only one, and the inevitable winner this week is the fourth issue of the Johns/Lee Justice League!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Ancillary Character's Favorites of 2011 List-a-mania!!!




As the holidays grow near and 2011 draws to a close, we here at Ancillary Characters would like you to join us for our First Annual Comics Awards. Seth and Paul poured through their short boxes to choose their favorites from 2011. What follows might not be the best books in terms of craftsmanship, but rather, the books, characters and creators we enjoyed the most.

Obviously, not every book that reaches stands makes it into our greedy paws so if you notice something absent from the list, mention it to us. Who knows, maybe it passed us by. Though a number of great, small publisher books were released this year, for the most part this list sticks to the big companies.

No doubt if a larger list were compiled books like Morning Glories, Locke & Key, New York Five, and Moriarty (to name a few) would have been there. However, rather than a tedious, top-five-per-category tome we narrowed it down to our absolute favorites in each category. Read on...

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer is here... and here's what we thought!


Did you just see that?? I did, and I got chills!

As this year is drawing to an end, we have a nice handful of comic book movies to add to our collection: such as Thor, Green Lantern, X-Men First Class, and Captain America. Regardless of your opinion about any of those movies, we must all recognize that we are living in the era of the Superhero movie. The most critically acclaimed of these movies is the beloved Batman Begins sequel by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight. On July 20th, 2012, audiences will finally get to see Nolan's Batman legend come to an end.

As a movie lover, the first two installments in this Bat series were some of the best made films I've seen in ages. Nolan develops his characters deeply, and he has created a Gotham City that absolutely cannot survive without the Dark Knight. In his third film, The Dark Knight Rises, we are going to see a Gotham eight years after the end of the second movie. This trailer only gives us a small glimpse into what Nolan has in store for us, but the tension is just palpable. This is not a Batman that is finding his way (as in Batman Begins) or even a hero that is finally coming into his own (as in TDK). No, this is a Batman that is losing control of his life and his city. This is a Batman that doesn't know what to do, and if he wants to save Gotham, he is going to have to rise to the challenge.

I know you're wondering how I got all this from a 2 minute trailer, but I have a feeling that The Dark Knight Rises is going to be as different from the second movie as TDK was from the first. Nolan has created something here that no one else could have, and he has made it clear he is finished after this one. I don't know what's going to happen, and I almost hate to speculate, but this trailer (along with that haunting teaser) tells us one thing for sure: When this movie ends, "The Legend Ends."

Buy This! - December 21st, 2011

 
Every Monday Seth picks out three items that are due to ship on Wednesday and directs you toward your best bets for a quality purchase. Some times it's a single issue of a comic, other times a massive omnibus edition of a beloved series, and occasionally a figure or shiny bauble that caught his eye. Read on to find the three items you shouldn't leave your comic shop without this week.

T-minus 6 days till Christmas, boys and girls. Hope all your shopping is done with and you made sure to buy yourself a little something. I picked up the Prelude to the Death of Spider-Man (Ultimate) hardcover on Sunday, and my girlfriend and I decided to open our gifts early so I was also blessed with the Flash by Geoff Johns omnibus. Very excited to dig into that.

As usual, be aware that any or all of these books might not show up in your shop when they're solicited to due to the chaotic nature of the industry.

Onto this week's buys...
  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tales From the Long Box: Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne

Every week Seth goes into his back issue bins, picks out a single issue, story arc, or creative run, pours through it and then writes about it. He calls it Tales from the Long Box. Though old and now either retconned out of existence or made irrelevant by the latest event, these books still share something in common... they're bagged, boarded, and a part of comics history.



Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne


Despite the fact that supeheroes rule the comic medium these days, there is and always has been an abundance of adventure titles as well. By "adventure" I'm referencing books like Hellboy, Doc Savage, and even something like the Spirit which exists as much outside of it's man-of-mystery trappings as it does within. Recently, DC added Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. to it's publishing roster, and it serves as another perfect example of a pure adventure tale. Outside of comics there has always existed these sorts of stories. Indiana Jones sort of personifies the adventure/pulp genre. Basically what I'm saying is that there is no shortage of yarns that center around rugged dudes venturing into the unknown and defeating bad dudes using only their wits, fists and snappy one-liners.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Dec. 14th




Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.


Demon Knights #4 by Paul Cornell and DiĆ³genes Neves, featuring Michael Choi

Hey guys and gals! Sorry for the delay on my pick this week, finals had me on the ropes and I just couldn't manage to get all my books read and evaluated yesterday... But no fear! I may be a little tardy, but I've got my pick of the week ready for you, and I'm really excited about how things turned out this week. As a comic reader/collector, there are always going to be some weeks where you can't wait to burn through your pile of comics, because you know the titles you have are going to be top notch every time. On the other hand, there are those weeks where most of your books are going to be hit or miss. This week the heaviest hitter for me is typically Green Lantern by Johns and Manke (which has been really fresh and fun since the soft reboot), but you can never tell what's going to happen with titles like Batgirl or Demon Knights that could easily slip into the #1 slot.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Buy This! - December 14th, 2011

Every Monday Seth picks out three items that are due to ship on Wednesday and directs you toward your best bets for a quality purchase. Some times it's a single issue of a comic, other times a massive omnibus edition of a beloved series, and occasionally a figure or shiny bauble that caught his eye. Read on to find the three items you shouldn't leave your comic shop without this week.


Welcome to a jumbo-sized edition of Buy This! After two relatively dull back-to-back shipping weeks I was surprised by the multitude of quality books hitting store shelves this Wednesday. Rather than try to pick three I'm just going to list the ones that deserve the most attention.

As usual, I'll start off by saying that these titles are all subject to the whims of their publisher (and shipping/solicitation errors) and could be AWOL by the time you go seeking them out. Also, I don't have it as part of the list since it's essentially a continuation of another book I posted last week but the second issue of the TMNT micro-series is out this week. This issue is Michaelangelo-centric. I didn't get a chance to read it but Paul loved the last issue as evidenced by his Paul's Pick column from last week.


Okay, on to this week's buys...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Dec. 7th




Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro Series #1 Raphael - by Brian Lynch and Franco Urro

Hello friends and readers! It's comic book day again, and I'm back in the cyber universe to deliver your weekly fix of fictitious favorites (overkill? my bad). It's week one of December's releases, and as usual DC leads out with some of their biggest hitters (Action Comics, Detective Comics) as well as the underdogs-that-aren't-really-underdogs (Swamp Thing anyone?). Earlier in the day, while I had a break between stressful end of the year finals, I found my way to a cozy seat and settled into my little bag of books. And so, without further ado, I give you my pick of the week... TMNT Micro Series #1 Raphael!

Who we are and why we came to be (or: the endless negativity prevalent in comics fandom is a fire in need of a bucket of water... and we are that bucket)



In case you hadn't noticed, the internet is a seemingly endless parade of whine-fests, controversy mongering, name-calling, rants, tirades and soap boxing. When it comes to the corners of the net devoted to comics fandom it's even worse. Seriously, I don't know if anyone else sees it but the comics corner (and broadening from "comics" to "genre" yields the same results) of the web is even more guilty of all those things. Every day... strike that, every hour sees some new article or blog post bringing some new, controversial or negative aspect of the comics world to light. A couple months ago it was Catwoman and Starfire, the next month it's Frank Miller, the next day it's everyone boycotting Frank Miller in outrage, then we're on to Alan Moore saying some slanderous thing about his fellow creators for the five billionth time...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Buy This! - December 7th, 2011

Every Monday Seth picks out three items that are due to ship on Wednesday and directs you toward your best bets for a quality purchase. Some times it's a single issue of a comic, other times a massive omnibus edition of a beloved series, and occasionally a figure or shiny bauble that caught his eye. Read on to find the three items you shouldn't leave your comic shop without this week.

Sorry this is a day late. My Monday was fraught with peril and Christmas tree buying/decorating. Other than that I have nothing to preface this with besides a warning that the Morning Glories deluxe hardcover, due to ship last week, has been delayed. Now, I read this on CBR earlier this week which makes the fact that I've already seen the hardcover on my local shop's shelf sort of bizarre. So, from what I can tell it isn't available at chain stores or on Amazon, but it might be at your local shop.

Also, I just want to take this opportunity to mention that, though I'll often link to Amazon in this column I'll always promote buying stuff from your local comic book retailer before you support the chains that are generating the majority of  graphic novel and trade sales. I realize Amazon and some other online retailers offer deep discounts but I managed to work out a discount with my local retailer and now buy a large portion of my superhero trades off him. Of course, some times the comic retailers just can't compete with the discount, so I get it. I'm just saying... support the little guy.

Onto this week's column...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Paul's Picks!




Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.


My Favorites in the DCnU

So I know it's Friday, and there's been no Paul's Picks this week, but don't cry! I'm here now, with your weekly bit of usual comic-loving chit chat. However, in lieu of a very slow comics week, I've decided to go back and talk about my Picks from the DCnU so far. To be fair, it was either that or talk about TMNT #4, which was my only pick up this week... And so, instead lets talk abovut what the New 52 has offered us so far, and which books have risen to the top for me!

So when I tried to pick my favorite book of the new universe, I found out that the task was a lot harder than I anticipated. And so, since this is an abnormal column anyway, why not split my picks into categories? I know, genius, right?... So anyway, get ready to see which books have won my picks in the following categories: Best Written, Best Drawn, Most Potential, and Best Reboot.

Tales From the Long Box: What Might Have Been

Every week Seth goes into his back issue bins, picks out a single issue, story arc, or creative run, pours through it and then writes about it. He calls it Tales from the Long Box. Though old and now either retconned out of existence or made irrelevant by the latest event, these books still share something in common... they're bagged, boarded, and a part of comics history.
This will be different from the usual issue-centric format I've been following. Lately I've been wrapping myself in the comfortable folds of nostalgia and digging into old trade paperbacks I own. Stuff like Gotham Central and old issues of Bendis' Daredevil run. It's reminded me of why I follow some of my favorite creators so devoutly. I guess in some ways I hope they'll recapture some of the magic of their early work.