EARTH’S MIGHTIEST COMIC BOOK BLOG

Here, you will find all my posts about comic books. I read craploads of comics. I have them all over the house in boxes and bags, on the walls and in the sofa cushions.

On this site, the focus is a panel (or two) a day from (just about) every issue of my favorite comic books series:

The Avengers
Batman by Frank Miller
Batman by Grant Morrison
Captain America
Daredevil
Daredevil by Ann Nocenti
Daredevil by Denny O'Neill
Daredevil by Frank Millerl
A Panel from Every Defenders
Fantastic Four
The Flash by Mark Waid
The Joker (1975)
Planetary
The Evolution ofThe Punisher
The Secret Six by Gail Simone
Spider-Man (both Amazing and Peter Parker)
Spider-Man by JMS
Spider-Man by Peter David
Spider-Man by Roger Stern
Suicide Squad
Superman by John Byrne
Superman: For Tomorrow

For the long-running titles I've reviewed, you can see what I thought of specific creators on my rating the runs page.

I also post things like:

5 Panels From A Great Comic (reviews of my favorite runs or issues)
Action Figure of the Day (toys!)
Best Comic Book Runs of All Time
Best of 2011
Best of 2012
Best of 2013
Best of the Decade
Civil War & tie-ins (Marvel)
Top Ten Lists

If you’re interested in other specific topics, click on it from the tag cloud.

Thanks for reading!

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BATTLEWORLD: WHAT’S COMING?


So Marvel has released a video and an “interactive map” of Battleworld, and is starting to tease actual titles of what we can expect in April/Summer 2015, when “everything ends” and the Marvel and Ultimate Universes combine.

Everyone wants to know if this will be good for Marvel, and how dramatic the changes will be, so here’s my predictions:

1) It will be “good” for Marvel’s short-term sales, but probably won’t change long-term sales.
2) Marvel Comics after the big event will look more like Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, but overall most things will stay the same.
3) There’s no chance all the event and event-spin-off titles will be good, but I bet about half of them will be.
4) It will be better than DC’s Convergence event.

So, what can we actually expect?

First of all, we know the main book will be “Secret Wars,” which will begin after Jonathan Hickman’s two Avengers titles end. Second, there will be a “Last Days” series, which will show all your favorite Marvels reacting to the “end” of the worlds. And third, there will be a “Battleworld” comic that will tell side-stories not featured in Secret Wars, mostly about people in those areas adapting to the new Earth.

And what is Battleworld? It’s pieces from Marvel stories throughout time.

There’s a lot of potential for great comics here, and my understanding is that many Marvel titles will end before or during the event to make way for what will be the future of Marvel storytelling—at least for a while. The cynics say “nothing really ever changes” but I disagree. There is a distinct difference between the Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, etc. of the 1970s and now.

There have always been shifts in what Marvel stories emphasize and their general “flavor.” Captain America of the 1980s, for example, had a girlfriend, a job, and a secret identity. In the 2000s (up to last year), he was a soldier, his identity was public, and there wasn’t any real discussion of his private life. You can look at lots of other Marvel characters and see how they’ve shifted. She-Hulk started as a non-entity—a grab at a copyright, really—and now she’s headlining one of Marvel’s most interesting monthly books. No, the differences over time aren’t hugely dramatic—you can still recognize them and their essential character—but there have been enough changes and surprises to keep the stories fresh.

So I remain hopeful.

Come back tomorrow for a full guide to Battleworld!

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GOTHAM CENTRAL #10

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In the conclusion of “Half a Life,” we see the brilliance of the title: Renee Montoya can only live half her life in the open, she has to hide her sexuality because many of her fellow officers are homophobic.  And, we learn that the mastermind behind the attacks on her career through her personal life is Two Face, who also lives half his life one way, half another.  This is truly one of the greatest comic book stories ever written.

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THE YEAR IN COMIC BOOKS SALES: 2014: Marvel Wins on Monthlies, But Image Is Crushing Graphic Novel Sales

First, the good news: Sales were up by over 4% from 2013, representing the first year of growth in three years.  And the success of superhero movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead seem to be responsible for the lift—but not wholly responsible.  Books like Saga and comics like Original Sin were at the top of the charts, and they had no movie tie-ins.

TOP MONTHLY COMIC BOOKS SALES OF 2014

Let’s start with monthly comic books, also known as “floppies” or “pamphlets.”  The best writer at Marvel, at least according to the market forces, is one you tend not to hear about: Dan Slott.  His Amazing Spider-Man #1 was the #1 selling comic book not just in 2014 but of the ENTIRE DECADE (so far).  It sold almost twice as much as the next-best book, which was The Walking Dead #132 (the only non-Marvel book to crack the top 10).  And that book only sold that well because it was stuffed into Loot Crates—as was the #3 book, Rocket Raccoon #1.  ).

Overall, Marvel is crushing it.  They took 34% of the floppy market, while DC came in at 28%.  DC published fewer books (950 compared to Marvel’s 1100), but it doesn’t look like volume alone accounts for the difference. 

Comparatively, Image produced 700 new books but came in with a respectable 10% of the market, especially notable since its product line is smaller and very few of its books have any kind of historical presence.  They’re the first non-Marvel/DC publisher to crack 10% since…Ever, I think. 

The other big indies took a much smaller percentage (IDW got 6%, Dark Horse 5%, BOOM! And Dynamic each got around 2%). 

Diamond Publishing has a detailed list of the top 500.  I’m just going to summarize it:

1.  Amazing Spidey #1 (Marvel)

2.  Walking Dead #132 (Image)

3.  Rockeet Raccoon #1 (Marvel)

4, 5, 8, 9.  Death of Wolverine mini-series (Marvel)

6.  Thor #1 (Marvel) (where Thor is a girl)

7.  Original Sin #1 (Marvel)

10. Superior Spider-Man #31 (Marvel) (the last issue of the title, which immediately preceded Amazing Spider-Man #1)

Below that, in the top 40, we see “event books” like Avengers & X-Men Axis, the issue of Captain America where Sam Wilson took over, and lots, lots, LOTS more issues of Amazing Spider-Man.  The book captured 25% of the top 40: Ten entries in all.  I don’t know why Marvel doesn’t talk about that book as much as Avengers—it’s killing Avengers in sales.  (Oh, wait, I do.  Sony owns the Spidey movies.)  In fact, only one issue of an Avengers monthly cracked the top 40.  Nor did any of the X-Men books.  That’s a “wow” moment, when you consider how Brian Michael Bendis sold craploads of Avengers books and the X-books were big sellers in 2013, then he left Avengers and went to X-Men and neither line is doing as well.

As for DC… DC didn’t make the charts until all the way down at #14, with Batman #32.  In fact, all of DC’s books in the top 40 were Bat-related, and 13 of 14 had “Batman” in the main title (the outlier was Harley Quinn Future’s End #1).  Superman doesn’t make the charts until you get all the way down to #43, where you find Superman #32—the first Geoff Johns/John Romita, Jr. issue.

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2014

Turning to Graphic Novels, we see a much different list.  Image owns the top 10, with only one DC book making the chart.  In fact, they own the top 40: Over half of the top 40 graphic novels sold were sold by Image.  And many of them were pricey hardcovers ($14.99).  Here’s the top 10:

1.  Saga Vol. 3

2.  Saga Vol. 1

3.  Walking Dead Vol. 20

4.  Saga Vol. 2

5.  Walking Dead Vol. 1
6.  Walking Dead Vol. 21

7.  Sex Criminals Vol. 1

8.  Walking Dead Vol. 22

9.  Batman: Court of Owls Vol. 1

10.  Saga Vol. 4

Yes, the top 10 is 80% Walking Dead and Saga—but Saga did it solely on its merit as a comic book.  No TV tie-ins, no movies, and not even a creator of a big-name franchise.  Marvel’s best-selling trade paperback was Guardians of the Galaxy (which placed #11), and then you don’t see Marvel again until #24 (Civil War).

Other interesting Graphic Novel issues: Watchmen continues to sell well (#26), much to Alan Moore’s chagrin; Rat Queens (Image) came in at #15—a very respectable debut; and as with the floppies (above), DC sold a lot of Batman and not a lot of anything else.  So the Superman movie didn’t help much, proving that you still have to make good comics—tie-ins alone won’t move product.  It’s also good to see nice sales for “risky” books like After Life With Archie (#28), Pretty Deadly (#31), and Ms. Marvel (#40).  Bryan “Scott Pilgrim” O’Malley’s book, Seconds, came in at 56, which is a high number for a “small” book like that.  I’m glad to know I contributed by buying my son a copy.

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THANOS #2

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In which Thanos “goes straight” by proceeding to a planet that had been ravaged by his former, evil ways and swears to make things right. And then he’s given the opportunity: Galactus is coming to eat the planet!

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