Tuesday, 24 June 2014

'Two issues a month? Are Marvel trying to bankrupt me?'

So, now that I've gone through the September 2014 Solicits, I have received yet more proof with which to write about what I'm write about. In truth, it's more of a question:

Why does Marvel keep releasing two issues a month?

Now, this isn't entirely accurate during the recent solicits as Septebmer 2014 will see the release of Fantastic Four #11 along with Fantastic Four Annual #1 which isn't, technically speaking, 'two issues a month'. However, because the annual is a continuation of the story being told in the ongoing series, I'm inclined to think that yeah, it kinda is (though I'm more than happy if someone can confirm otherwise).

The thing is, this isn't the first time this has happened. Just this month I had to pick up two more FF issues while, between now and September, there will presumably be two issues in a month of Daredevil (this isn't confirmed but the title jumps from issue 5 to issue 7 for some reason right?). In fact Daredevil is a prime suspect in the whole 'two issues a month' thing as hhe previous volume had, for several consecutive months, two issues being released every month. I have also seen this occur in the past with Thunderbolts (Parker's run), Uncanny X-Force (Remender's run), a few Hulk runs and more besides.

So, why does it keep happening? Well, I know why it keeps happening, Marvel wants the extra cash which comes from hammering out 24 issues a year instead of 12 (bit of an exaggeration) and, from a business standpoint, that's a totally understandable reason. However, can Marvel really, ethical and/or morally, justify the decision to bleed dry their fanbase with this business plan.

From my point of view, this is devil incarnate-type behaviour. I am a normal guy with a hobby I love and a job which gives me the means to buy my hobby. However, I also have bills and a mortgage and, therefore, have to budget what comic books I can buy and find ways to get the most books, many of which are REALLY good, for the least money (See this post by Robert Gaul if you want pointers).

However, when Marvel pulls this crap and puts out two issues a month then, for someone with limited means to spend on comics, something has got to give. Now that decision, for an indecisive guy like me, is probably a fate worse than death. Though the last bit is probably exclusive to me, I'm sure the trouble caused by having the extra issue isn't something I suffer with alone.

Here's the thing though, aren't Marvel at all worried that this may end up biting them in the arse? Aren't they concerned that, one day, all the fans who pick up their books despite having to buy two of each series a month are simply going to say 'you know what? I can't keep buying twice as many books a month. I'm done."?? It probably won't happen today or tomorrow, but that ticking time bomb has got to be edging it's way closer to reality.

It certainly is for me some days.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The September 2014 solicits

The Solicits for September 2014 have all come out this week which means it's back to the monthly pleasure (trust me, looking should NOT be a chore) of picking out the books I'd like to take a look at when the ninth month finally hits. I usually have trouble when going through the solicits as I always try (and fail)to stick to a budget. So, this time I figured I'd try something a little different and simply note everything which I really would buy if money were no object.

So, without further ado, my September list is:

Alex + Ada #9 (Image) - By now this is pretty much a given when I pick from the solicits. I just read issue 7 last night and, once again, OH. MY. GOD!!! To say this book is good is actually a pretty criminal description of how good it is, therefore it gets top pick (even though this list is alphabetical).

Black Science #9 (Image) - It's been a while since I saw a new issue of this one (Image's one downside; non-consistent release), but the first arc was SO good that I'd be crazy to cut this. So unless issues 7 and 8 tank (and I mean severely) then this is also a keeper.

Copperhead #1 (Image) - I'm really looking forward to this. I saw a preview of it while working on a Pipedream entry and the Sheriff Bourne from Firefly vibe seemed so damn addicitve.

Daredevil #8 (Marvel) - I don't know why but I'm haven't overly been digging the new Daredevil run (despite it being identical to the last one). However, Issue 3 made up a lot and showed me sparks of what I previously loved. Therefore, I'm being positive and assuming its gonna be great by this issue.

Earth 2: Futures End #1 (DC) - I'm skeptical about this issue, mainly because I'm hoping to avoid the futures end book greatly. However, it's related to Earth 2 (for which there is no issue) and I can only assume Earth 2: Worlds End springboards from events in here.

Fantastic Four #10 (Marvel) - Much like Daredevil, this book was facing the cut. However, reading the first five issues back to back has reminded me why I love this book and, unless it goes downhill, I'm curious as to where Robinson is taking it all.

Fantastic Four Annual #1 (Marvel) - This is more a purchase of necessity than desire, which annoys me. Would rather spend my money elsewhere but this annual is connected to the main series, therefore I'm buying it, albeit grudgingly (and annoyed they didn't just title it #11).

Lazarus #11 (Image) - This is a gorgeous title that has been rich with information about the future it is set in. This issue sees a big meeting amongst all those in power in this post-apocalytic (sort of) world, which I'm totally eager to see.

Low #3 (Image) - This is still something of a presumptive entry as issue 1 has still not been released. I said previously the reason this title makes the cut and by this issue I want to be optimistic that it'll be good (I mean Remender did well with Black Science).

The Names #1 (DC/Vertigo) - This pick was a little out of left field for me but a story that appears to be equal parts noir mystery and revenge thriller revolving a man 'compelled' to kill himself picqued my interest (which is a little morbid I guess).

Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #2 (DC) - Much like Low above and Spread below (I'll get to that in a moment), Sensation Comics is only here as a presumptive entry. However, I'm eager to pick up a Wonder Woman title (why I don't get the ongoing is a good question) and one written by Gail Simone seems like a good call.

Spread #3 (Image) - My last presumptive entry on this list, but after the greatness of Dead Body Road (It was good!!!!) and how enticing the synopsis is for the first three issues, I'm more confident about this than I am the others to be sticking around on my pull list).

A Voice in the Dark: Get your Gun #1 (Image) - I considered getting the series proper way back when and I didn't. I've regretted it ever since as I keep hearing great things Larime Taylor is doing with this book. The solicits say this is a good jump-on point, so that works for me to make up for past mistakes.

And that is that!!! I've got to admit, with the exception of the Annual (which kind of counts as a continuation of the main FF series), I highly doubt I'm going to be picking up any of the issue 1's as including them takes me WAY over my budget (which I need to be more strcit in enforcing). However, as I'm also going to be more strict with cutting bad books when I have to, it is nice to have back-ups in place for the if and when some start to un-interest me.

Or I get more money. Yeah, more money would work too!!!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Comixology's Summer Reading List

So, for the last under three weeks, Comixology have compiled the Summer Reading List. This is basically twenty books (one every day) which are made free to all readers for a single 24 hour period in the hopes of enticing new readers to pick the rest of those series for the foreseeable future.

Well, it's (almost) over now and it was a pretty eclectic list of titles. These comic books (in the order of release and my opinion of them) were:-

1. Detective Comics #871 - Bad
2. Magnus: Robot Fighter #1 - Good
3. My Little Pony: Pony Tales Vol. 1 - Bad
4. Lumberjanes #1 - Bad
5. Werewolves of Montpellier - Good
6. Archer and Armstrong: Archer #0 - Ok
7. Gravel: Combat Magician - Bad
8. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1 - Ok
9. Lola XOXO #1 - Good
10. Anti-Hero #1 - Good
11. Letter 44 #1 - Good
12. Silver Surfer #1 - Bad
13. Grimm Fairy Tales: Helsing #1 - Bad
14. Insufferable #1 - Good
15. Afterlife with Archie #1 - Bad
16. Shutter #1 - Bad
17. The 7th Sword #1 - Good
18. Starlight #1 - Ok
19. Normandy: A graphic history of D-Day - Good
20. Hinterkind #1 - Good

I've got to admit that, by the end, I was pleasantly surprised overall. While there were certainly titles I expected to like which I didn't (Silver Surfer, Shutter, Lumberjanes), there was actually a lot more titles that I didn't expect to like but did (and that was pretty much everything except Insufferable). In fact, if not for my crushingly limited comic book budget, I'd seriously consider picking a fair few of themup full series.

That said, despite it making no change to my pull list, it was pretty fun to read new stuff and get a reminder that the big 2's superhero books aren't the be all and end all when it comes good books.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Qutting is the hardest part

So, a few weeks back (about eight weeks but who's counting) I made a decision to cut all my Marvel books from my pull list. There were a couple of reasons for this, such as the books no longer speaking to me as they once did as well as the fact that money has become tight and so less books could be afforded. Therefore, all five of the books from the house of ideas that I had on my pull list were cut and that was that. In regards to them, I quit!!!

Well, it seems quitting is more difficult than I had realised.

Since I'd made that decision, all the books have had a minimum of two new issues and some have had far more than that. This shouldn't be either a problem or my concern because, having cut them from my pull list, I no longer follow them or the stories held within. I focus on other things. Well ,unfortunately, the Internet seems to have other ideas as since making this decision all I have read is how great certain titles have been during the issues I've missed.

For instance Iron Fist, of which I have only one issue, has been plastered all over Twitter with folks saying how awesome it is. Now, I'm a big fan of Danny Rand's (It's something to do with our shared love of martial arts I think) and I'm now pondering if I should go back on my cut and catch up. This book isn't the only one.

Then, Fantastic Four (of which I have issues going back twelve years) is also going great guns under James Robinson and Leonard Kirk (according to reviews) and Kirk's art just looks so fantastic (forgive the pun) that I'm thinking it wouldn't be that hard to get the outstanding books (there are two, one of which is extra-sized. So, yes, yes it would).

Finally, there's Daredevil which, although I don't read about as much as the others, when I mention to people that I dropped the book I get looks that equal parts disgust and confusion, like I insulted their mother in a foreign language or something. Also, this is still Mark Waid and Chris Samnee and I know they are good and can deliver (based on the past volume), so I find myself thinking my original concerns were just a blip.


I find myself now considering going back on my earlier decision and picking up the outstanding issues (though for which of these series is another dilemma). In the end, I guess this was somewhat inevitable and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am actually an addict when it comes to comic books. I guess all I can do is stay strong and try and ride out the withdrawal symptoms until I can learn to live without.

Or, you know, I could cave and just be broke. Whichever's easiest.