Thursday, December 20, 2012

Episode 43: A Very Ancillary Christmas


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and your friends, the Ancillary Characters are here to fill your ears (and eyes on YouTube) with the best comic book knowledge and reviews on the block! Join us as we celebrate Christmas together in our own festive way. We discuss plenty of new books, such as Where is Jake Ellis #2 and Captain America #2. We also give our final thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And to top it off, don't miss this month's Book It in celebration of La Navidad, the classic book, Batman: The Long Halloween. Thanks for a year of great fun, and we wish you all a very, Very Merry Christmas!

From Our House to Your House,

Paul, Seth, Allen, and Ethan.


Check out this episode!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Episode 42: Nintendo Powered


Trailers! The fellows discuss the Man of Steel and Pacific Rim trailers!

News! Allen, Ethan and Seth talk about the latest DC editorial shuffles and the firing of Gail Simone from the Batgirl title. They also talk about Scott Snyder's departure from Swamp Thing and express their fears that DC comics is losing it's footing lately.

Reviews! The boys review issues of Action Comics, Uncanny Avengers, Amelia Cole, Demon Knights, and more. Then Allen gets a rollicking conversation started about Nintendo Power magazine.

Find us! On the web at ancillarycharacters.com or twitter @ancillarytweets or youtube.com/ancillarycharacters or facebook.com/ancillarycharacters. Rate/review us on iTunes! Please?!? 

we love you... always

forever.


Check out this episode!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Paul's Picks! - December 5, 2012

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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Welcome back everyone! It's a cool, cloudy Friday morning, and what better time to sit back and give you all my review for Paul's Pick this week? I've been anxious to get on and share with you all my thoughts about this weeks comics, so without a lot of fluff at the top, let's get right down to business, shall we?

Action Comics #15 by Grant Morrison, art by Rags Morales and Brad Walker


The reaction Morrison's Action Comics run here at the Ancillary Characters has been, well, mixed. Which is saying something since Seth and I typically jump at the chance to gush on all of your love for Grant's work on our favorite characters from the DCU (Batman and Robin anyone?). With that being said, there has just been something lacking this time around. The art has been hit or miss, and the be honest the stories have fallen short of what I've come to expect from one of his books, especially Superman. I mean, when you've got a series like All Star Superman to hold this up against, it has basically failed to come even close to the quality and spirit of what we know is possible.

That is, until issue 15. Don't get me wrong, there have been a few issues that struck a right note through this arc, but not one issue has taken my imagination and heart by the reigns in the way that this one did. From the very opening scene, I know that this must be the story that Grant has been wanting to tell. There have been little hints and tidbits dropped here and there ever since the first issue of the relaunch, and in the token Morrison way, all of those pieces are finally coming together for a story that is both epic in proportion and moving on an emotional level.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Episode 41: Planet Gigantic and More


We're back! Just like the Gremlins...

In this episode Paul, Allen, Ethan and Seth read a few letters with topics ranging from maligned favorite characters to their least favorite Marvel Now titles. Then they talk about Karen Berger's departure from Vertigo and what it might mean for DC on the whole.

They open up the "Take it or Leave it" portion of the show with a review of Planet Gigantic. Then they review all the latest Marvel Now titles, from Indestructible Hulk to Captain America. Plenty of reviews as well; stuff like TMNT, Captain America (long form), Aquaman, Amazing Spider-Man, Masks #1 and more.

Then they close out the show by offering up our web address (ancillarycharacters.com) our YouTube address (youtube.com/ancillarycharacters) and our twitter handle @ancillarytweets. Be sure to swing by the Facebook page as well (facebook.com/ancillarycharacters). Finally feel free to leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thanks!


Check out this episode!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Episode 40: The Recap Episode


In this episode Seth basically plays a random sampling of humorous clips from the last 39 episodes of AC as well as some clips from the early days of Paul and Seth's first podcast, the Flying Saucer-Cast. It's not terribly full on intellectually stimulating conversation but it is full of laughter. Also the audio quality on some of this may not be up to snuff. 

Visit us at ancillarycharacters.com or on facebook.com/ancillarycharacters, youtube.com/ancillarycharacters or ancillarycharacters.libsyn.com. Hit us up on Twitter @ancillarytweets or email us to tell us what you think of the show or just general comic bookery ancillarycharacters@gmail.com


Check out this episode!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Episode 40: The Recap Episode


In this episode Seth basically plays a random sampling of humorous clips from the last 39 episodes of AC as well as some clips from the early days of Paul and Seth's first podcast, the Flying Saucer-Cast. It's not terribly full on intellectually stimulating conversation but it is full of laughter. Also the audio quality on some of this may not be up to snuff. 

Visit us at ancillarycharacters.com or on facebook.com/ancillarycharacters, youtube.com/ancillarycharacters or ancillarycharacters.libsyn.com. Hit us up on Twitter @ancillarytweets or email us to tell us what you think of the show or just general comic bookery ancillarycharacters@gmail.com


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Episode 39: The Thanksgiving special


A bit of an unusual show for the fellows here. They ignore the usual format in favor of discussing a title, character, writer, and artist they're thankful for this year. 

Hope you enjoy this special episode. Sorry for some slight audio difficulties the past two episodes, we'll get everything ironed out by episode 40. In the meantime listen to the show. React to it by e-mailing us at ancillarycharacters@gmail.com or tweeting us @ancillarytweets or visiting our Facebook page http://facebook.com/ancillarycharacters. Also, cruise over to ancillarycharacters.com or leave us a rating/review on iTunes! That would be greatly appreciated. 


Check out this episode!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Paul's Picks! - November 16, 2012

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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Hello friends, fans, and fellow nerds! Well, maybe you're not all nerds, but I like to think we hold our own little corner of the world in all of our nerd-glory. But regardless of your affiliation, welcome to this week's edition of Paul's Picks, where I, Paul Shirley, relay to you all my favorite book from this week's hefty stack of pulls, along with my review! Are you ready? Then let's get started...

All New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

In a week filled to the brim with quality books, I'll not lie in saying there were more than a couple of choices to go with here. Snyder and Capullo are still blowing it up over there on Batman #14, all of the new Marvel NOW! titles I read were more than solid, and there were even a few sleepers that brought their A-game, such as Batgirl #14 and Detective Comics #14 by the Great new creative team of John Layman and Jay Fabok. And yet, no other book just knocked me on my back quite as hard as Bendis and Immonen's first foray into their new title, All New X-Men.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Episode 38: Cosplay-Gate 2012


In this episode Allen, Ethan, Paul and Seth discuss some big news topics such as the recent Cosplayer hullabaloo brought about by an angry Facebook post. Then they talk about the recent additions of Jeff Lemire to the Green Arrow franchise and Seth divulges his new desire to start a podcast devoted to the CW's massive hit, Arrow. 

Then they review issues of Archer & Armstrong, Iron Man, All New X-Men, Deadpool, X-Men Legacy, Batman and more.

Find us on ancillarycharacters.com, or on the Facebook at facebook.com/ancillarycharacters, on twitter @ancillarytweets, or send us an e-mail at ancillarycharacters@gmail.com. Rate/Review us on iTunes please!


Check out this episode!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Episode 37: Peninsula of Terror


In this episode Allen, Ethan and Seth have a little jam session with some reader e-mails about topics such as lapsed fandom and identifying with specific characters. You can send us an e-mail to ancillarycharacters@gmail.com and we'll discuss it on the show too!

Anyway, then they talk about the latest, hottest topics; specifically DC's new digital release announcement and the integration of John Constantine into the DCU. Then they review books and the hit CW show Arrow. Books such as X-Men: Season One, Avengers: XSanction, Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom and more. 

Leave us a review on iTunes! Visit our website ancillarycharacters.com or hit us up on twitter @ancillarytweets! Also, visit our Facebook page facebook.com/ancillarycharacters or our youtube page youtube.com/ancillarycharacters!!!


Check out this episode!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Paul's Picks!... Is Back! - November 2, 2012


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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...


Hello friends! Wow, it has been WAY too long since I found my way on here to share my weekly thoughts with you all... Life has been coming at me pretty hard with Student Teaching on the horizon. But no more excuses, I'm here today to bring you my pick of the week, and boy is it a doozy!

In a week of very few monthly comics and a stack full of annuals, I had all but given my pick of the week to TMNT #15 (Shocker, right? You can read more about it on this week's show, download it here.). And to be honest, that issue was certainly fantastic, and I would gladly recommend it to anyone, as it is still one of the most consistently great books on the market. With that being said, at the last minute my Pick of the Week was taken by a sleeper, so to say. It's a book that  I have been thoroughly enjoying, but that has never gone above "good" to achieve the greatness that I expect out of my Pick. And that book is...

Aquaman #13 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Episode 36: So Disney Bought Star Wars...


Episode 36 is upon us! Herein listen as the boys (men?) talk comics news such as the return of Bryan Singer to the X-Men film franchise and the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney... wait, neither of those topics are actually about comics! Then they dig into reviewing issues of Batman Inc., TMNT, The Flash, the Tale of Sand graphic novel, and more. Bringing up the rear is the first Book-It segment since the Bone episode, this one centering around Dave Stevens' seminal work, The Rocketeer.

Tune in every week LIVE to watch the broadcast via http://youtube.com/ancillarycharacters! Visit our website at ancillarycharacters.com!!! Also check out our facebook page and our twitter feed @ancillarytweets.


Check out this episode!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Water Cooler #3: Comic Book Blabbery

Every week we're posting our live recordings to http://youtube.com/ancillarycharacters

Along with our regular episodes we're posting these post-show discussions.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Episode 35: A Fantastic (4) Farewell


In this episode Allen, Ethan and Seth get real... real sad about the loss of Jonathan Hickman's FF and Fantastic Four. They also talk about the Iron Man 3 trailer, and Rob the Liefeld's latest flame-out. 

They also review issues of Superman, Justice League, Chew and more. 

Join us for the live recordings of these very shows at youtube.com/ancillarycharacters as well as extra video content not provided on the show. Also tweet us @ancillarytweets or find us on facebook.com/ancillarycharacters. Of course visit ancillarycharacters.com or download us on the iTunes podcast app as well as rate and review us.

Email us at ancillarycharacters@gmail.com and tell us what you think of the show!


Check out this episode!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Episode 34: Uncanny Batman Avengers


In this episode the boys return from their unplanned hiatus. They start out by talking about tons of NYCC and general comics news. From the Jim Lee/Scott Snyder Man of Steel comic to the upcoming Superior Spider-Man changes. They also argue about some stuff, as per usual. 

Then they review a mere two books! Batman 13 and Uncanny Avengers #1. It's a long, drawn-out debate about the quality of both books. 

Make sure you tune in to our YouTube page for our special web-only Water Cooler discussion of the New 52's first year. http://youtube.com/ancillarycharacters

Visit us on our website at http://ancillarycharacters.com or our Facebook at http://facebook.com/ancillarycharacters or on Twitter @ancillarytweets


Check out this episode!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Episode 33: Don't Call it a Comeback (or do)


Episode 33! We talk comics news; IDW collectibles, new Marvel Now announcements! We do our Weekly Picks; stuff like TMNT, CHEW, AVX, AND DAREDEVIL: END OF DAYS!!! Then we Take it or Leave it with a slew of great titles like Chew, Wolverine and the X-Men, Superman, Cross Bronx and more.

Check us out on YouTube.com/ancillarycharacters, iTunes, Twitter (@ancillarytweets) Facebook (facebook.com/ancillarycharacters) and of course, http://ancillarycharacters.com... Rate/review us on itunes and share us with your friends!


Check out this episode!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Episode 32: AC in Boneville (featuring Jeff Smith)


You read that right, the legendary Jeff Smith joins us for this week's episode of the Ancillary Characters' podcast! Come listen as our Bone Book It finally comes to fruition after months in the making, and we have our very first comic creator interview with the author and artist of the fantastic series Bone, Mr. Jeff Smith. It's one that you won't want to miss as we discuss the industry, experiences in publishing comics, and the series of Bone itself with Jeff.

Also, Dala_a is the first winner of our AC giveaway! We still have one more $10 digital prize to give away, if you're interested just email us at ancillarycharacters@gmail.com and we will send you the flyer to print out and post in the public! Free stuff? Anyone?


Check out this episode!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paul's Picks! - September 19, 2012


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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...



Hey guys! Sorry about the delay on this weeks Pick, I'm in the heat of classes, so I'm afraid there may be a few weeks throughout the semester when my column may slip back a day or two... But don't worry, I'll be certain to get a pick up every week, barring any excessive hindrances.

Throwing out my usual blurb leading into my pick of the week, lets just get right into comics, shall we? My absolute pick of the week (as spoiled by this weeks episode of the podcast) is...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Episode 31: Ghost Recon


Episode 31? "How're they still doing it", you ask yourself. Easy. Love. Love of the show. Love of each other. Love of comics. Love of the game...

Anyway, in this episode we talk comics news. Stuff like The Dark Knight Returns animated movie, The Hobbit trailer, and the recent Amazing Spidey revelations.

Then we review comics. The nitty gritty of every episode of AC. This time out we review books such as Shade #12, AvX #11, The Sixth Gun, Bandette, Batman & Robin, Justice League, and much more. Also, Ethan insults Paul and gets yelled at by everyone...

Find us on the web at ancillarycharacters.com or email us at ancillarycharacters@gmail.com. Also tweet us @ancillarytweets or on facebook at facebook.com/ancillarycharacters or watch us record the show you're just listening to on youtube.com/ancillarycharacters. Enjoy!


Check out this episode!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Episode 30: The Excelent Exploration of Events


Episode 30! Come join Paul, Seth, Allen, and Ethan as the Ancillary Characters discuss comics, industry news, and a special topical discussion regarding our favorite major Crossover Events from the Big Two! Here's just a few of the books we evaluate in this weeks show:

Hellboy vol. 1 & 2, Fatale, Man-o-War, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, House of M, Blackest Night, and more!

When the music rolls, if you find yourself needing just a little more from us, stick around for an after-credits segment where we get our thoughts in order/ Trolling may abound.


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paul's Picks! - September 12, 2012

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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Hello friends and fans! It's that time again, the day of the week that all comic-lovers so highly adore and anticipate, New Comics Day. And with that day comes the other part of Wednesday (or typically Thursday) that you all know and love: the newest edition of Paul's Picks! (Yes, yes, I know that's a bit presumptuous, but a guy's gotta keep his spirits up, right?)

September has been a bit of an iconic month for readers over the last year or so, especially in regards to DC comics. It was one year ago that the Big Heads decided to reboot the entire lineup, and thus the New 52 was born. One year later, they are releasing a month of Zero issues, which are intended to not only create a great jumping-on point for new readers, but also to answer some of the questions that long-time readers may have about the continuity in the DC universe.

As such, my own pull list was heavy laden with "0" issues, and so the one that rose to the top as my pick of the week is:

Batman and Robin by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

The interwebs have been all aflame with buzz about Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman series, which has certainly been deserved. With that being said, one of the unsung heroes of this relaunch has certainly been the high quality of the Batman and Robin series by Tomasi and Gleason. From the very first arc, introducing a new and compelling villain named "Nobody," they made it very clear that they have something special planned for the book. The interaction between the Wayne father and son is something that you can't really get anywhere else. The dynamic is played out to a point that it makes you wonder why it's not happening more in other Bat books.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Episode 29: Ancillary Knights of the Paperkeg Roundtable


You read it right, it's an Ancillary Characters/Paperkeg team-up! Join us as we talk about all things comics, including the effect of digital comics, the Local Comics Shop, Marvel NOW! and more! We also review a slew of books, including Amazing Spider-Man, Deadwardians, Smallville Season 11, Beasts of Burden, and many more. Don't miss out as we all give our thoughts on the DC New 52's first year in review.

This is one for the ages folks, a round table team-up of Epic Proportions! Join us, let us know what you think via twitter, and PARTICIPATE in the GiveAway! Visit www.ancillarycharacters.com for details.


Check out this episode!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekly Roundup - August 22


Welcome to the weekly roundup where I describe each of my pulled books in one paragraph or less!


So many books. All the books. All the books deserve all the blurbs. Now here are the blurbs. All of them. So many blurbs.

Amazing Spider-Man #692: Some loser kid gets bitten by a radioactive lightning bolt and gets these crazy powers, but then his head swells to the size of Galacticus (not literally; that was a metaphor). Can Peter Parker be the Uncle Ben that this kid needs, or will our new hero decide to take the great power without the great responsibility? Find out as the Alpha saga continues in Amazing Spider-Man!

America’s Got Powers #3: The contest continues as the conspiracy against the powered people gets deeper and more sinister. Not much happens for a limited comic with large time gaps between issue releases.

Batman Incorporated #3: Proposition: Morrison writing Batman from now on forever.

Batman The Dark Knight #12: The Scarecrow is insane, and now we know why. You’d be insane too if it happened to yoooooouuuuu.

Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1: For the first time since the start of the Before Watchmen event, one of the books completely fails to understand its titular character. Dr. Manhattan does not move through time. He does not move his consciousness through time. He experiences every moment of his existence at once, all the time, forever. JMS dropped the ball here.

The Flash #12: After a jumble of disconnected, confusing, and disparate stories, The Flash finally brings everything together into a coherent plot involving the Rogues, Flash’s most colorful enemies.

Justice League Dark #12: Mystery. Shadows. Plot. Something big is going down, and Lemire is being a tease with it.

Secret Avengers #30: Max Fury wishes he were a real boy, but the blue fairy is not around to help him. Instead he seeks the aid of some Eldritch abomination.

Superman #12: Superman fights an alien cosplaying as the Predator. There are Russians, too.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13: So many mutants. So many ninjas. A handful of teens. Only four turtles. These ingredients mixed with daring adventure, insane action, emotional drama, and crazy antics make for one amazing comic. This issue exemplifies all of the traits that make TMNT one of the best ongoing series available.

A lot of books. A lot of blurbs. That’s the weekly roundup, and that’s a wrap for this week. Stay tuned for more comic commentary next week, same Ancillary time, same Ancillary Characters!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Ancillary Characters Podcast Give-Away!

Hey guys! If you've already listened to Episode 27 of the show, then you know all about this week's Give Away. If you haven't, then click on the link over on the right and go over to iTunes for a download.

Here are the details:
  The first two people to print off the flyers posted below and post them somewhere in a public place will win ANY Digital Trade or Collection of issues of their choice from Comixology (up to $10). All you have to do is:
1. Print these flyers off (in decent quality) and either post one on a billboard, etc. or make a small stack and put them in a shop where people can pick them up and go (this is preferred). We suggest specifically heading over to you local comic shop, or perhaps somewhere like a Starbucks or other local coffee shops. Yes, we realize this is kinda stereotyping.
2. Once you've done this, TAKE A PICTURE. This is your proof! Once you have the photo, you can either tweet it to us (@AncillaryTweets, link on the sidebar) or email it to us at ancillarycharacters@gmail.com.

The first two people to complete and accomplish this will be rewarded accordingly. Remember, any digital book, up to $10 is yours in exchange for the advertising!

Here are the two versions of the flyer, pick the one you prefer (or both). Click on them for a larger version.

Here's the Black version:


Aaaaand here's the white:


Alright! Good luck to you all, and if these photos quirk out on you, email us at the address above, and I can provide you with a PDF.

AC episode 27: See Rachel Rise


Paul's Picks! - August 23, 2012



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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...


Ah, Wednesday. That day that we comic fans look forward to all week long. Why is that? Why, it's New Comic Book Day of course. It's the day we take a break from our regularly scheduled lives and swing down to the LCS, or perhaps just browse the digital offerings and indulge on our tablets, laptops, or smart phones. No matter what your preferred method of reading, it all means the same thing: new comics. It's one of the joys of life, a chance to step outside of the mundane and escape to a fiction world where anything is possible. Yep. All that jazz.

With a thick stack of books from my local comic shop (Great Escape Comics, check it out if you're in Bowling Green, KY), there were a fair few of contenders for my Pick of the Week. Flash upped the ante this week with the Rogues. Batman: TDK continues to be great (and utterly terrifying). And, of course, the 50th Anniversary of Spider-Man brings us the origin of the Wall Crawler's new sidekick, Alpha. But remember, as in AvX (and Highlander), "there can only be one"...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Roundup - August 15

Welcome to the weekly roundup where I describe each of my pulled books in one paragraph or less!


This week brought a nice assortment of books. Although a few fell flat, the majority are quality titles, and some even went further, achieving true greatness. Read on for the blurbs.

Amazing Spider-Man #691: The poignant conclusion to the latest lizard arc. ‘Tis funny and heartfelt, like any good Spidey book.

Avengers #29: Well written, but a little too late. This book would be awesome if it lined up with what is currently happening in AvX.

Avengers vs X-Men #10: Oh snap. Ooooooh snap. We are finally barreling towards a conclusion.

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1: Azzarello writes a great Rorschach. His journal narration is spot on. Unfortunately, the plot continues the Before Watchmen trend of shock value over substance.

Daredevil #17: A great issue for new readers. Daredevil recaps an old adventure from his early days as a vigilante, and it hits right in the heart.

Green Lantern #12: Zombies! And an ominous prophecy. Thankfully, the story continues in just two weeks with the Green Lantern Annual!

Green Lantern Corps. #12: The bloody Alpha War comes to a close, and the Guardians continue to plan for their third army to replace the corps. What jerks.

Nightwing #12: Finally, the end of the drawn out, choppy, and rather boring arc that started so long ago. Maybe the next story will be better.

The Shade #12: Probably the weakest issue thus far of an otherwise amazing series. The Egyptian pharaoh librarian villains felt contrived and awkward. Hopefully the conclusion of the series will be better.

Supergirl #12: Supergirl reunites with Kal and later gets attacked by horrifying undersea snakes. It was frightening. I was frightened.

Wonder Woman #12: This book’s conclusion will blow your mind. I did not expect it to go there, but it did, and I cannot wait to see how it plays out (I’m being vague because you need to read it yourself).

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned next week for Batman, Flash, Turtles, and more!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paul's Picks! - August 15, 2012


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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

New Comics Day came, and I'm back to share with all of you my thoughts about the one book that arose victorious as Paul's Pick! This was one of the tougher weeks I've had in a while, as there were more than 3 books that were easily deserving of a "Pick." But don't worry, I'm here to make all of the tough decisions that must be made. All the books can't win, just one book (ok, so maybe I've split it in the past, but you get the point). And so, in a very interesting turn of events, my Pick of the Week goes to...

Green Lantern #12 by Geoff Johns and Renato Guedes

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tales From the Long Box: Grant Morrison's Batman Retrospective #2



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.


Grant Morrison's Batman Retrospective



Issue Two: The Black Glove

If we consider Batman & Son to be the story arc concerning Bruce meeting Damian for the first time then Black Glove would merely be the three issue story wherein Bruce and Tim arrive on the island of a wealthy, former movie director where they intend to laze about with a shoddy collection of heroes similar to Batman but are instead hunted by a mysterious killer under the direction of something called the Black Glove. However, that would leave me in a weird place because one thing Grant Morrison loves to do is go off on little rabbit trails and tell the occasional side story. There are at least five side stories here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paul's Picks - August 8, 2012


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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Another week, another huge stack of comics (and files of digital comics) to read. I couldn't wait to get my pulls from the LCS this week, but once I nabbed my stack, I realized that many of my books are in a strange place right now. I wouldn't say we're in a dull moment, I mean AvX is rapidly approaching its climactic end, and many series are in the middle of an arc (some more enthralling than others), but I found myself a bit disinterested in some of the titles I've been reading over the last couple of weeks. A keen example would be New Avengers by BMB. It's a good title, and it has contained some of the best tie-ins from the event so far, but when I flipped over to it on my iPad, I was a bit nonplussed. It wasn't a bad book, I guess it's just that I'm feeling the longevity of this event in the tie-ins more than anything else. The one book that I immediately lifted to the top of the pile was Scott Snyder's Batman #12, but I'm sad to say it just didn't blow me away. I think I was pulled in by all of the Twitter hype singing its praises, so once I had it behind me I was a bit let down (although the guest art by Becky Cloonan was top notch).

But never fear! There were two books that totally rocked my world this week, but as in Highlander (and the Phoenix Five), "there can be only one." And so, without further whining/yapping/introducing, my pick this week goes to...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekly Roundup - August 1

Welcome to the weekly roundup where I describe each of my pulled books in one paragraph or less!

Great set of books out this week. Some series begin, others end, and many still carry on. The world of comics is alive, and it’s my job to capture its essence in blurbs.

Action Comics #12: Morrison is back on his game with the introduction of the Myzxlkjxpwkldjxxslej family. Finally, Action Comics is both intriguing and comprehensible.

Animal Man #12: Rot World begins, and it is terrifying.

Avengers vs. X-Men #9: Spidey has his moment in the spotlight, and it hurts. A Colossus punch to the face is incredibly painful looking.

Avenging Spider-Man #10: Bleh.

Before Watchmen: Night Owl #2: Boo shock factor. It is forced, and it does not work.

Daredevil #16: Matt Murdock and Hank Pym share a rare and strange bonding moment. Creepy stuff goes down at Murdock’s law offices. Could Daredevil be losing it?

Detective Comics #12: The book is beautiful, but the story is awkward. But the book is just so beautiful.

Dial H #4: More exposition! Maybe that lizard guy isn’t so bad after all...

Earth-2 #4: The series is finally picking up steam after three issues of dull introductions. Grundy is rather reminiscent of the Rot in Swamp Thing and Animal Man.

Hawkeye #1: The most street level superhero book since Batman: Year One. Everything about it is amazing. Add this to your pull list.

Justice League International #12: The last issue of this book is probably the best so far. Still glad to have it off my pull list now. Maybe the Annual will be good.

Swamp Thing #12: Rot World begins, and it is terrifying.

Thief of Thieves #13: Brilliant plot twists. Redmond is a clever man.

World’s Finest #4: Boring. Generic. Bleh.

Stay tuned next week for more blurb-tastic blurbs!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tales from the Long Box: Grant Morrison's Batman Retrospective #1


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.


Grant Morrison's Batman Retrospective


Issue one: Batman & Son

Let me start off by saying that over the last four or five years Grant Morrison has become my favorite superhero writer. He did this mostly through the strength of his work on the various Batman titles he's written. It could also be credited to the fact that I've taken in the bulk of his non-Batman superhero work in the last few years rather than spread out over the few decades that he's been writing comics. Basically I gorged myself on his entire back catalog of DC and Marvel fare. He has something to say and often he says it in the most intensely experimental way possible; other times it's surprisingly straight forward.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekly Roundup - July 25

Welcome to the weekly roundup where I describe each of my pulled books in one paragraph or less!


Last week did not see a Weekly Roundup, and for that I profusely apologize. Again, my only excuse is that I am a terrible, terrible person. However! Today is a new day, and these comics are some new comics, and we must rejoice in that. My rejoicing comes in the form of blurbs.

Aquaman #11: The story builds toward a confrontation between Aquaman and Black Manta while random Others continue to be superfluous. 


Avengers #28: Red Hulk changes his role from tank to assassin and attempts to cut off the Phoenix Five’s head, Cyclops. An interesting look at General Ross apart from his Red Hulk persona.

Batman: The Dark Knight #11: Batman again tries to interrogate a little girl and finds that it is quite different from getting information from thugs.

FF #20: Good, but not as good as previous issues. It strangely lacks the charm that marks the series.

The Flash #11: Barry Allen pulls a Clark Kent and fakes his death to get a better street level view of Central City. Rumblings among the Rogues hint at big things in the future.

Green Lantern #11: Black Hand has a heart-chilling reunion with his family. Dude is creeeeeeepy.

Justice League Dark #11: The dark league continues to battle Felix Faust for the tesseract. Dark hints about dark things to come are darkly dropped by dark villains dark dark dark.


Superman #11: This book is a lead-in to Kryptonian vs. Predator. That thing is totally the predator, right? It looks just like the predator.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12: The fight we’ve all been waiting for finally arrives: Turtles vs. Shredder. Pick of the week? Pick of the week.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Microseries #6: Casey Jones: A very heartfelt story that solidifies Casey’s character as an upstanding dude.


Stay tuned next week for more blurbs!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Review


Christopher Nolan's finale to his take on the Batman mythos is a giant, unwieldy thing, and it is for that reason amongst many others that I adore it. I've always felt like Nolan has an epic vision for these movies that is more reminiscent of David Lean than Frank Miller and with this chapter that opinion is forever cemented in my mind. This is Nolan doing Lawrence of Arabia with established comic book properties. Just like Lean's historical epic we have a battered, broken hero who rises, then falls and is again reborn as the man he needs to become to defeat a tremendous force.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekly Roundup - July 11

Welcome to the weekly roundup where I describe each of my pulled books in one paragraph or less!


Every month, this particular week--the one marked by the month’s second Wednesday--never fails to deliver. The books are all solid, and many fly high above the standard. This month’s second Wednesday books are no exception. Writing blurbs for bad books can be fun, but this edition shows that good book blurbs are rewarding as well.

Batgirl #11: The current plot is great, do not misunderstand, but the build up to the return of Barbara’s brother James is the most exciting part of this issue. The future holds good things.

Batman #11: Concluding the amazing Court of Owls saga, the eleventh issue of New 52 Batman satisfies. Batman and his alleged brother Lincoln March battle high in the Gotham skies. Many plot threads are put to rest while others are left open for future exploration by other writers.

Batman & Robin #11: Damian makes good on his threats to humiliate the other Robins. Meanwhile, a group of individuals under the command of the mysterious Terminus seek revenge on Batman by attacking innocents in his name, making the Bat a symbol of fear for the upstanding citizens of Gotham as well as the criminals. Tomasi is becoming a pretty awesome writer.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2: Darwin Cook’s brilliantly written and beautifully drawn expose on Watchmen’s Minutemen continues to dazzle with its second issue. A rift develops in the team between those who care about crime fighting and those who care only for the fame and publicity associated with heroism. The cracks begin to show even as the group first comes together under a unified banner.

Demon Knights #11: The heroes are granted their deepest desires by a mysterious light, yet those desires are not without consequences. Zombie King Arthur is the only one who can save the Demon Knights in this issue.

New Avengers #28: Bleak. Hopeless. Destitute. Do not read this book if you are looking for encouragement or inspiration.

The Shade #10: Frazier Iriving continues to add an eerie touch to the Shade series while Robinson once more dazzles with his almost poetic dialog. Also giant glowing Egyptian gods. There are those too.

Spider-Men #3: Peter Parker and Miles Morales take on Mysterio’s Ultimate universe avatar. Is there witty dialog? There is witty dialog.

Superboy #11: Superboy robs a bank because he does not understand anything. He also gets a tattoo. What a rebel.

Swamp Thing #11: The battle between the Green and the Rot continues as Snyder leads the story into the upcoming Rot World crossover. The intricate tapestry woven by Snyder and Lemire finally begins to come together in a direct way.


Be sure to tune in next week for blurbs about Justice League, AvX, Wonder Woman, and more!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tales from the Long Box: Is Marvel Winning the Comic Book Wars?




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.



Is Marvel Winning the Comic Book Wars?

On the most recent episode of our podcast (out now) we were sent an e-mail by faithful listener Michael/@Ctcher asking us if we believed, like him, that Marvel is currently the better company. He mentioned the depth of Marvel's character roster as well as their stable of creative talent. Paul and I got into it a little bit on the show but I felt I had more to say on the subject. So here is me saying more on the subject.

For my part, the importance is always placed on the creators. Sure I love Batman but plenty of bad writers have written awful Batman stories. This was a lesson I learned when I first started reading comics regularly. It all comes down to the creators. When you look at the big guns at Marvel, names like Hickman, Bendis, Fraction, Brubaker, Aaron, Loeb (regardless of how you feel about his work, he's still a big draw for many people), Zeb Wells, Waid... I could go on. At DC you have Johns, Morrison, Lemire, Snyder... I guess you could toss Gail Simone in there but she's only writing one title currently. This isn't to say there aren't more solid writers at either company; there are. But these are the guys who will sell a comic based on name recognition alone.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Paul's Picks - July 11, 2012



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 now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...



Wow. I have to start off by saying, I'm sorry. That is, I'm sorry to all of you faithful readers who have come back to my column on multiple occasions to read my weekly pick, only to find that there has been complete silence on my end over the last month or so. And while Seth and I owe much thanks to Mr. Allen Boone for keeping the blog going with his always-entertaining "Weekly Roundup," there is a Pick-shaped hole in the content we've been providing you on the blog. I'm in the craziest part of summer, and responsibilities from the real world have kept me tied up to the extent that I haven't been able to make time for Paul's Picks...

But never fear, the drought has ended! While we Ancillary Characters have certainly been keeping everyone up to date with our weekly podcast, – which KILLED IT in downloads last month! Thanks everyone – we will hopefully be bringing you a consistent, quality output of comic-related goodies going forward. I'm back with a vengeance, and I'm here to deliver a pick alongside a review for the one book that has made the biggest impression on me so far this summer, if not since the beginning of the year. And that title is...

Uncanny X-Force Review


Recently someone on a forum I visit asked what sort of books a reader interested in Deadpool should read. I started writing a response, and although I only intended to write a paragraph or two, I somehow churned out the Uncanny X-Force review found below. I decided to post it here since 1) I did not get to discuss it in the podcast very much due to having not finished it yet and 2) I would hate to write such material and not use it in a more public venue. I post it unedited, so please excuse the more casual tone. 

I am woefully and inadequately prepared to answer your question, for I likewise am new to Deadpool. Indeed, I am new to Marvel in general. Lately I've been putting effort into remedying the situation, however. I started subscribing to a few monthly Marvel books, and I've been reading many of the trades collecting landmark Marvel events and arcs from the past, much as I did with DC so many years ago. Slowly I am starting to gain a knowledge and appreciation of the massive universe--rather, the universes, the multiverse--created and owned by Marvel.

Unfortunately, I have not read any exclusively Deadpool stories. I've seen him as a minor character a time or two, but I've never read a book in which he is the star. However, I can recommend one series in which he plays a prominent role: The Uncanny X-Force. This is a team book, and Deadpool is a member of that team. He is center stage for much of the series. He often shares that stage with others, but make no mistake, you will get a lot of exposure to Deadpool here.

The premise of The Uncanny X-Force is that the team, the X-Force, does the work that good guys like the X-Men and the Avengers do not want to handle. They get their hands dirty--indeed, they taint their very souls, all in the name of the greater good.

The team consists of Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylock, and Angel. Do not feel obligated to know these characters beforehand. They are all given proper introductions. When I read the series, I was only familiar with Wolverine. The villain of the series varies over time, but the evil Clan Akkaba--a cult dedicated to the resurrection of Apocalypse, a Darkseid-esque Big Bad in the Marvel universe--is involved for much of the story.

The tone of the book is pretty dark. The heroes all have tainted histories, and the villains are of the darkest evil. Further, the plot is not a simple black and white morality tale. The X-Force deals with situations "real" heroes don't want to handle because there isn't a solution apart from vile actions. This book makes you think, "What should they do?" and later, "Did they do the right thing?" It's a refreshing break from the clearly defined morality generally found in super hero stories.

The mood of the story is nicely balanced. It's grim and dark overall, but Deadpool manages to add a generous helping of humor when appropriate. I laughed out loud at several points. At the same time, the plot can be incredibly sad. Few comic books have made me cry. The Uncanny X-Force has the unique stance of making me cry twice.

The Uncanny X-Force is one of the best comic books available. The story, the writing, and the art are near perfect. It is a must read for fans of Marvel, Wolverine, Deadpool, the X-Men, and awesome things in general. I highly recommend it.

The arcs I mentioned above are collected in four trades:
Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Solution
Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 2: Deathlok Nation
Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 3: The Dark Angel Saga Book 1
Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 4: The Dark Angel Saga Book 2

The Dark Angel Saga is nothing short of amazing, and The Apocalypse Solution is fantastic. Deathlok Nation is good, too, and it's necessary to carry you into the Dark Angel Saga. There's a couple of books afterward, too, but I haven't read them yet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weekly Roundup - July 4

Welcome to the weekly roundup where I describe each of my pulled books in one paragraph or less!


This edition is actually for the comics that came out last Wednesday. I apologize for the late column. I would make excuses, but it all comes down to me being a terrible, terrible person. But! I will strive to have a Roundup for this week’s comics out this weekend. Or maybe sooner? Who knows! Now on to the blurbs.




Action Comics #11: Superman has an identity crisis and becomes a fireman. Meanwhile, the backup tells a quaint little tale from the life and times of an average Metropolis visitor.

Animal Man #11: It’s Buddy Baker vs. Buddy Baker in the conclusion to the long-running “Extinction is Forever” arc. Animal Man gains new powers and a new body from the Red and battles the body he had previously lost to the Rot. 


Avengers vs X-Men Round 7: The Phoenix Five raise the stakes and prove that they are serious about the “No More Avengers” mantra. This series finally appears to be having some serious repercussions in the Marvel universe.

Before Watchmen Ozymandias #1: Before Watchmen retells the story of Adrian Veidt’s transformation into Ozymandia with great detail. Wordy and unexciting, this book is saved from mediocrity by fantastic writing and art.

Detective Comics #11: Meh.

Dial H #3: Revelations! After a couple of issues with nice character development, the third book focuses on expanding the larger plot. It is confusing and poorly paced.

Earth-2 #3: The third issue is still focusing on the origin stories of the Earth-2 Flash and Green Lantern. Three issues is too long. The reveal at the end makes this book worthwhile, however.

Justice League International #11: This book remains in my pull list only because it is easier to wait for it to cancel than to take it off manually. It’s almost finished! Yay!


And thus concludes another exciting edition of the Weekly Roundup. Stay tuned this week for more bodacious blurbs! Earlier ancillary time, same ancillary blog!