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Distinction between graphic novels and trades....

Here's a small distinction that I've always thought to be true....

If the piece of literature that you hold in your hands is a collective work of previously published material (normally serially released, whether it's biweekly, monthly or bimonthly, etc.) then it should NOT be called a "graphic novel". The proper term, at least from what I've understood it to be, is a "trade" and it's normally released in two formats. The flimsy books are commonly called trade paperbacks (TPB) as the name implies, whereas those with a harder cover are named hardcover (HC) editions.

The term "graphic novel" (GN), however, should refer to a publication that contains wholly new material (as in previously unpublished) and it's presented with visual representations (hence the graphic part of the name). So something like the newly published Batman Noel GN released by DC contains the proper label as it fits the criteria outlined above for what a graphic novel should be.

I wrote this for those seeking an answer to what I feel is the distinction. Feel free to argue with me, discuss your thoughts in this matter below!! Thanks for reading this!


DC New 52 Cover Previews- New Logos!

I figured some may want to know what some of the new logos look like for a handful of the new 52 titles that will be released by DC in September... Please leave all of your thoughts below.  I am not fond of the Batman, Justice League nor Wonder Woman but I do like the changes to Detective Comics, The Flash, and Superman.


The Worthy, The Raft & Juggernaut- Fear Itself (Spoilers)

I just have two very quick points to make about Fear Itself... and a small prediction. 
There are spoilers below, so read at your own discretion.
The first is that I feel that the tie-ins are sort of spoiling what is currently happening with the Worthy.  For example, Iron Man 2.0 #5-6 have Absorbing Man & Titania in China claiming Absorbing Man's hammer, but we already knew he was getting one and that he would be terrorizing Dubai from the Avengers Academy tie-in that came out a week earlier.  Another example comes from the newest Fear Itself Youth in Revolt #3 where Juggernaut is rampaging Las Vegas... I can safely tell you that he is not to be defeated in Vegas since he makes it over to San Francisco in Uncanny X-Men #540 tie-in and both of these came out the exact same week.  Who knows where he is in the newest Thunderbolt #160... (I haven't read that yet...).   
Which brings me to my next point; Juggernaut is being overused.  While we may have the Thing fighting Red Hulk over at Avengers #14, and the aforementioned future battle of Hank Pym and Absorbing Man in Avengers Academy, I have yet to know what Hulk has done before arriving with Thing at the battle against Thor in Fear Itself #4. Sure, there are solicits of him and the vampires getting into it, but does that happen before or after the battle with Thor (which we don't know what the results of that will be...).  Also, what of Attuma (who fought Alpha Flight and is currently in The Deep...) and the Grey Gargoyle (whose only "battle" was with Tony Stark).  I don't even know what Titania has done that has been of importance.  I think there is too much happening by different creative teams that is certainly sort of hindering cohesive storytelling.  Since this is my first "event", maybe this is something I should get used to.  
That brings me to my prediction... 
I know how Osborn escapes The Raft to mess with Spider-Man's life in future arcs.  Isn't it obvious? Since the Raft was pretty much torn to shreds when Juggernaut's hammer arrived...  I don't know if creators will ever reference this, but I'd almost bet a lot on it.  
Anyways, that's that... please comment it up with your thoughts.



This isn't meant as a complaint, but more of an observation that I'm sure has been pointed out by many a comic book reader.   
I am in the process of reading Amazing Spider-Man #1-20 since I finally got the Marvel Masterworks stuff, and they are a really hard read.  They're not boring, and I understand the difference in the times, but I have come to the conclusion that my biggest bother is the fact that Stan Lee found it necessary to point out every time Spider-Man or the villains were about to do something.  It's almost as if he felt people aren't smart enough to pick up on what is happening from the art.  I find it kind of insulting, but more than anything, I find it extremely annoying.   
Maybe I'm alone in this, maybe I'm gonna take a lot of heat from this, but that's just how I feel.  Now, I do enjoy the issues and I enjoy Lee's writing (for what it's worth), they just take way too long to finish....  


Fellow Comic Book Friends...??

How do I say this?? 
I am kind of amazed how difficult it is to find true good friends that are into comics as much as I am.  I have sadly become the annoying friend with all of my friends and family, constantly nagging that I think they should read this or read that because I fear that they are missing out.  It's hard for me to see how others don't like comics when I feel that in the market right now, there is something of interest for everyone... but let me tell you about my dilemma. I shall elaborate on my premise.  
I have two brother in laws and their good friend (who's also a good friend of mine), let's label them D, M & K.  D & M are brothers, my family by marriage, and they are both disinterested in anything to do with comics.  M is because he has a crazy freaky girlfriend that loves DC (stretchy men and Booster Gold, for some unknown reason- oh and Quicksilver, we can't forget him...) and who has pretty much ruined any chance that I may ever interest him in a comic book series ever.  As far as D, that is a hopeless road that I should probably never take.  K loves anime, and as such I thought things of that nature, such as Carbon Grey, would interest him.  That has also failed. 
Let's bring in some other friends into this picture...  I have my sister in law, A, who loves Star Trek and currently reads them electronically.  That is partially due to the economy and the lack of funds, but I figured if she starts there and ever takes a trip to the CBS, she might end up buying an issue of two.  My problem is I don't dig Star Trek, but at least she's reading comics, or so I think, but not to the point that I do.  I have another friend, called J, that I have tried to introduce into comics as well, starting with both Star Trek and Star Wars, and that hasn't proved much luck either, even though he's got the necessary funds, what I thought was genuine interest and a childhood growing up watching Batman the Animated Series, X-Men and Spider-Man... yet, he hasn't purchased a single comic. 
I showed my nephew, and while he bought a few issues of Venom, Fear Itself and Moon Knight, he lost interest quickly.  Partially due to financial reasons, but interest is gone, nonetheless.  I have another buddy named M who bought an issue of Moon Knight.  Just one, since he was really wanting to just collect a #1 issue and he thought that one might make him thousands of dollars in the future (naivety at its best) but I figured that would inspire him to purchase other issues.  I even took him to FCBD and he mooched off those, but hasn't returned to the CBS since then. 
Long story short, I hold a lot of the responsibility as to why a lot of these people in my life aren't reading comics.  Maybe I'm being too pushy (to my defense, I feel the opposite... I do chat a lot about comics and I often get the "uh huh, nobody cares" kind of thing, but I don't know if I'm holding a gun to these people's heads and saying they have to like comics....).  What I'm really looking for is a person that goes in every week, picks up a few issues they're interested in, and loves to chat about it.  And I wish to find that person locally, so I can talk about shit and hang out.  Is that really that hard to find?  
I know this sounds really pathetic.  That's not my point.  I'm not trying to sit here and cry about it.  The point of all this is to simply say that it baffles me how difficult it is to actually find someone (a friend, I am married, after all, :)) who digs comics as much as you do.  Is this a sign that people who are actually interested in comics are declining?  Does this mean that one actually has to resort to sites like these to actually have people to talk to about what they read inside X-Men or Batman (no offense, I love you CV...).   I know that the joy in comic books should stem from the fact that you get to read some awesome stories every Wednesdays (or so you hope), but to me, the joy also comes from being able to discuss this with others and seeing what they think about that issue, that panel, that page, the character that was badly drawn, the Bendis retcon that pisses them off.... hell, we can even talk about OMIT.  What do you guys think?  Am I overthinking this? 


Review Changes

I just wanted to make a quick entry notifying anyone who may read my reviews.  A few changes are taking place.  First of all, I'm removing the The Story portion that I've done in older reviews, mainly because it's too time consuming and because if it's someone who hasn't read the comic, they're not wanting too much given away.  I understand that sometimes this section may help those needing to catch up, but though it was a tough decision, I've decided to opt it out. 
Secondly, I plan to do several reviews in video format as well.  These will be unscripted and without any real form of organization, as in, it will feature mainly me and possibly guests discussing what we think of the comic as a whole.  I will attempt to discuss the art, the story and overall what I liked and didn't like, so it will still be somewhat similar to the format of the written reviews. Furthermore, there will be no particular order to the frequency at which I will do written vs. video.  If I feel like doing a video review that day, then that is what will be posted; likewise, if I think a written review would work best for that comic, then I will do that instead.  
Hope you like my reviews.  I enjoy doing them, but due to time constraints I've been unable to do as many as I really want.  Hopefully with the implementation of video reviews, I can post more of them!

Start the Conversation

Spider-Man's BIG TIME!!

I'm gonna keep things short, because it's late and I'm tired and because I'm hoping for replies (negative or positive) to keep this discussion going.   
Here's how I feel about it.  In a nutshell, I love every minute of it.   This is the main reason that I decided to pick up ASM as soon as I heard this was coming up.  I felt that it would be a great jumping on point.
#648-#651 were very intriguing.   Quick thoughts (May contain spoilers):
- I absolutely love the fact that we finally get to see a story about Peter Parker and not so much about Spider-Man. Don't get me wrong, I love the Spidey action, but this time it's all about Peter Parker making it Big Time.  I actually find that fun and I enjoy seeing Peter's brains come out to the forefront.  What 15-year-old kid (bitten by a spider or not) can build webshooters and create his own suit... a pure genius, and we get to see that here. 
 -Regarding Kingsley's demise:  I don't know much about Hobgoblin to say much, and from what other people say, Ulrich's behavior feels odd here as well.  Personally, even with all of those concerns, I am a big fan of this Hobgoblin.  His sonic powers are cool, and I am glad he's gonna be around to cause Parker some havoc. 
-One concern is the fact that now that Peter works for this new company, he will be able to make suits left and right at his most convenient disposal.  Truthfully, I don't how I feel about that.  I like the idea, but it must be implemented well. 
 -Dan Slott (first time I ever read him was here) is so far a very enjoyable writer.  I like his character development (MJ feels odd, but who knows).  I like Cooper and Parker together, I think they fit.  I think it's about time people realize that MJ and Peter will not ever be the same.  I mean no offense, I just like change; if done well, and I feel that it has been done well (even Kingsley actually dying, as it was confirmed in ASM #651's letter section- once and for all settling everyone's doubts if Kingsley was really that particular Hobgoblin at that point in time.) 
 -Humberto Ramos' art was a little weird, but for the introductory Big Time arc, it was fitting. I guess we could say that it has grown on me. 
I will edit this more when I get a chance giving #652 some thought.  I just got done reading it and have been impressed, but I want to digest everything, maybe even re-read it again and then add more to this.  I will also add more to this until the Big Time series is done. 
Only quick comment I can make about #652 is that the art is absolutely amazing.  Spider-Man's face in many of the panels just screams cool, and Spider-Slayer and Scorpion's suits just look amazing. 
I know that I could've written reviews about every single one of these and placed my thoughts there, but I find this method much easier. 
What are your thoughts on all of this?


Future series!!!

There is one 4-part mini-series I am really looking forward to.  Unfortunately, I don't really care much for the previewed cover art, if that's what they end up finally using.  I just think Clint looks really weird, just really old.  I am currently reading Widowmaker, so it's only natural for me to pick up the subsequent miniseries:  
Hawkeye: Blindspot   

I am very happy that their series is continuing.  I'm very curious to see what they're going to do with Hawkeye, especially after Widowmaker.  
Edit: I hope it's ok for me to post pictures like these on the site... if it's not norm, I can remove it!! I say that because it's a preview image and well, it has on it, so I wasn't sure if that's even allowed to be uploaded??

   Old Man Clint!
   Old Man Clint!

What I find most fun about comics...

Simply put, it's the unpredictability.
When I was much younger, back in my hometown, Marvel decided to release a pamphlet that I could fill with cards that I'd buy at the local gas station.  Looking back on it, the cards were a guarantee (as in everyone always got the same cards from each weekly pack) so that everyone could eventually fill up their collection, but I do remember that each pack came with a rare that was always different.  The rares were holographic and such, and my first rare was Gambit.  The pamphlet, when completed with each awesome card, illustrated Marvel's Silver Age of Comics, from FF#1 (which was the first card) and so on so forth.  You have to understand that I knew nothing about comics.  Technically, since I was collecting card,s I'd still not know much, but something pretty cool about the cards was that it contained a bit of history about each character.  That way, I could read the cards and now know a bit about Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk, etc.  The entire time I delved into reading the back of these cards, I'd love how unpredictable they were.  It was also the art, and the fact that I was fascinated with each superhero and their powers.  
Due to various many reasons, I ended up eventually putting that aside and moving on to other media and growing up.  Very recently, I found those cards, and I started reading them again, and it reminded me about my love for those characters.  I decided that the best way to reestablish my relationship with those characters I adored as a kid would be to actually begin reading the source material where it all came from... the comics.  I was lucky enough to find that I had a local comic book shop here, and one random day about three months ago, I popped in and bought my first comic.  Read it... and was hooked.  Since then (since I began so late), I've been reading countless articles to catch up on stories I have missed for so long, and trying to find ways to collect those stories I find are the best from both the past and present. And planning for the future...
It's tough, financially, simply because of the times, but it is a new hobby and a new collection, and I am enjoying every minute of it.  I haven't yet done reviews (and well, this is my first blog post), simply because since I am starting so late in the game, I don't feel I am knowledgeable enough to have much of an strong opinion on certain things (such as judging art and story telling by current comic creators, since I'm not too familiar with their other work.)  But the more I read, the more I find those writers I do enjoy (Brubaker), those I'm ambivalent about (Bendis) and those I don't care much for (don't really have any that I absolutely abhor yet).  Same can be said about artists... except for the fact that I do not actually like Romita Jr's art.  I know others like it, and that is why he has a job, but that style is definitely not for me....
All that said... I hope to write more of these blog entries on here.  I hope to add more to the wiki, to do more quests as I learn more, to collect more comics as new story develop and catch my interest, to finally do some reviews!!  All in due time, I guess...
TL; DR: I love being surprised by anything spontaneous in comics.  It's hard to do with spoilers, but it's the ultimate fun I find in comics. (I realize that this blog entry is more of a "mini" bio as to why I got into comics, but this just shows you how my mind functions, jumpy and unrelated, lol).