.a Flash from my past, a welcome back.

It is a new era. It is time for a reinvention of the wheel.

I have returned.

I could sit here and bore you with the details about where I have been the last eight months, recanting you a tale like you would not believe. But I’ll just put it simply, I have been busy.

And that is not what this blog is about dammit. This is about the comic books. This is what we are all here for, to share our love of the comic book with each other and have those wonderful (and at sometimes hateful) conversations that make you think, laugh, and cry…

Maybe I am the only one who tears up with comic books. But that isn’t the point.

I have failed you. And for that I am sorry.

Let me make it up to you.

I want to come back into your life. I miss comic books. I miss the community. For these past eight months, I felt like I was off the grid, hidden away and have been in the pitch black, trying to scour my way through these foreign story lines and plots. To be honest, it felt like I have been away for years and I am finally catching up with my own titles….slowly.

I made the promise to myself I would not go gangbusters this time, like I did in the past and the titles that I am picking up are new and different from what I usually read. Because not only does it bring me joy to learn new things, but I feel like in the end if we are not branching out and trying out these new titles ourselves then what is the point for a publisher to even try to break the mold. They need us.

So. You sitting here reading this! Yeah, you with FaceSpace tabbed out in the background! I asked many a full moon ago for your help.

It is hard to sit here and carry on a conversation with myself and talk about every comic book that is out there. Although I have tried in the past and it is quite a sight to witness.

All joking aside however, I want to have insightful conversations with you, the Hivemind that is the Internet because I know that there are views outside of my own. Comic books that I have not tried and are just waiting for me to devour. But I will not know until you bring them to my attention. One of the best parts about my week is being able to step into my local comic book shop and burst into a lively conversation about what is going to happen next to our Boy Blue or how Peter Parker is going to manage to resurrect himself from the depths and take back his life from the Superior Doctor Octopus. These conversations keep me going to the next week, after I have put down my weekly pull.

And I am going to do better about posting here. I know I have said that in the past and have failed at it before, but I have a couple of ideas in my head, swirling around and waiting to be put down to paper… err text document. Thought provoking and my view, waiting to be shot down and torn apart by you guys. But, because you have to be a tiny bit full of yourself, I know they are going to be awesome,  informative, and you will enjoy them immensely. And you will not need to tear them apart.

At least, I hope you will not.

We are in this together and the comics are our connection. It is going to be a lovely time.

Talk to you soon,
Brett


An Open Discussion and Your Help!

It’s been a long while I know. I have been go, go going at the speed of light this summer. With pulling in five days a week at my job and trying to read a bazillion books (I know not a real figure. But I feel like it is a good estimate) my time spent on here has been lacking. I find it difficult to make long-winded speeches however when I do not have a good topic.

When I’m talking with someone about comics whether on the street, a group of friends, or when I was working at the shop, I always felt in the zone. Because the topic was started and then I was able to call on my knowledge to help the conversation along.

Naturally, in the beginning when I started this blog I had a bunch of different ideas for topics I wanted to cover. And I blew through them pretty quickly, trying to cover as much as I could. I realized later on that I should of been more careful with how I was flying through the posts because now present day, I have run out of topics that I have a firm grasp on. I could talk about more but I don’t have the reading under my belt that I want to have to talk about certain comics ( Ahem. Daredevil)

So I come to you, people of the Internet! Calling all comic lovers! I want to have comic conversations and share our knowledge with each other. Please help! Post on here through comments. Message me on Facebook and/or Twitter. Lets talk comics!

Twitter handle: @Truthjusticecb

Talk to you later,
Brett


What? I started a blog?

My best friend Andy started his own blog, putting down his musings of life, drumming, and the pursuit to all things writing. Please check it out and encourage him. I know I am


The Return and Heroescon

I’m back!! And I know you guys have missed me while I was gone.

Summer is here, work is in full force, and I have dropped the ball on posting. For that I apologize. It has been a lingering thought in the back of my head though. Whispering sweet nothing’s into my ear, “just write a little bit…get it out there and let people know you are alive.”

I was doing well there in the beginning, trying to get myself to post at least once a week. And for the most part I knocked it out. But with summer here and school out, my drive disappeared and I dove into work and reading…novels! *gasp* Believe me, I know. But the comic gods will not strike me down, for I still keep up with my weekly pull. Which for anyone who knows me is HUGE! A wonderful break between chapters and/or finishing up novels. AND! I still have a ton of comics I need to catch up on. (Poor Sandman…just waiting and wishing I would just pick it up and read it already.)

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Long story short, I am going to do better about blogging. I spent this weekend at Heroescon, having a great time, but also learning from creators about the drive it takes to sit down and just do it. Whether it is drawing or writing, the first step is to just do it. Don’t ask questions or second guess yourself. Jump into it and and you might even surprise yourself.

Heroescon was an absolute blast this year. If there is one thing that has changed about myself, it is the fact that I am becoming more confident with who I am and am finally manning up and going balls to the wall and actually talking to creators. Before I was such a chicken and got star struck. But with C2E2 and now Heroes, I have done what I believed was the unthinkable and have talked to a lot of different creators…and surprise surprise! They are exactly like you and me and want to talk to anyone, pretty much about anything. Especially if it is about their comics.

We all share a common thread when it comes to comic book conventions and it is exactly that: comic books. So why spend the time worrying and getting nervous when we are all there to share our love for comics. I got to meet and talk with some AMAZING creators this time around. They have a great energy about the work that they do and their fans that come to talk.

A big shout out to both Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore; the creative team for Luther Strode. Those dudes are easily the most approachable guys to talk to and make it really easy to just sit and chat for any length of time. Another great creator was Frank Barbiere, co-creator for the fantastic series Five Ghosts of Fabian Gray. What a cool and down to earth guy. Fresh talent that we all need to keep an eye on because I believe both Frank and his partner on Five Ghosts, Chris Mooneyham are going to blow up and do big things. Also as a plug, if you aren’t reading Five Ghosts, what the hell are you doing with your life?

On top of that, I got to meet with other great creator such as Ming Doyle, Becky Cloonan, Paul Maybury, Charles Soule, Andrew MacLean, Pat Quinn, and Francesco Francavilla. Wonderful, wonderful creators that deserve my money, time, and energy. Yours too! if you can spare it.

On Saturday afternoon, I got sit in on a panel hosted by Inkpulp Audio, which is a fantastic podcast by Shawn Crystal. He sits down with other creators talking about comics, music, and life. Worth every minute that you spend listening and I have been learning A LOT. Anyways, the panel was about breaking into the comic book industry and Mr. Crystal had Sean Gordon Murphy, Matteo Scalera, Eric Canete, and Dan Panosian all talking about their experiences about breaking in and also maintaining that position. You would be surprised at what I had heard. But overall, it opened my eyes to how difficult it can be in the industry and how you really have to want it. Take the good with the bad and definitely expect more bad than good. But it wasn’t a negative experience because at the end of the panel, you learn that these are all real dudes and they are working their asses off to make comics for you. Truly inspiring and fueled me to pursue the same ideals.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell I had a great fucking time this weekend and I have scored a lot of great Doctor Who commissions! I am going to post up pictures as soon as I get home!

Keep on the lookout for me guys. There is a lot of great books coming out in the near future, on top of what is already out now. So, a lot more posts are coming your way!

I’ll talk to you guys soon

-Brett


C2E2!

c2e2-logo-horizontal-hi-res-624x235

Hey guys!

I was going to post to let you know that I was leaving for C2E2, but I think it might be better to return from the experience first and then talk about it.

It was a great, great time.

Sort of a nerve-wracking experience to start off with, especially when you haven’t ever been out that far west. But the trip wasn’t bad at all. We did drive out there, which in all honesty, I’m thinking plane next time.

In the spirit of comics however, the convention was a blast. The one thing you might not know is if you have never got experience a comic book convention before, I highly suggest it. It’s so worth it to be around so many comic books(!) but also to be around so many people that love comic books as well.

If there is one thing I can tell it is that getting thousands upon thousands of people together who share that love of comic books is a match made in heaven. You know why everyone is there, but more importantly you can do what I love to do; chat comics. So many great people willing to talk about their favorite comics and help you find some new reads.

One great moment was while eating over-priced convention food was witnessing on a side stage, a comic book trivia contest. Mr. Mark Waid (solo) versus a hand picked team of comic book fans, whom to be considered veterans. It was awesome to be able to see the knowledge tidbits fly in the friendly contest of who knows more about your favorite characters such as Superman and Thor. At one point I watched as Mr. Waid wowed everyone with his Superman knowledge by laying down the purpose of each colored kryptonite! It’s just things like that that show (me, at least) how great of a community we have.

However, one thing I know I have to work on because I missed out on good conversations is talking with creators. I don’t know what it is about talking to them but I just get starstruck and become very nervous. My words get caught up in my head and I chicken out while my friends get to go and have great conversations. Something that I have to work on but hey, I did end up talking a couple creators and got them to sign my sketchbook that I am going to start carrying around with me to cons. So my thanks to those creators for taking the time to deal with my nonsense. I even got Paul Cornell to doodle a Wolverine for me!

Either way, I wanna give a shout out to my friends that took on this adventure with me, traveling all the way to the Windy City. I love you guys and I can’t wait for the next con!

Catch you later,
Brett


Creator-Owned Goodness

I have returned!

I know, I know, finally.

“Brett, you have been away too long and haven’t given us the skinny on what sort of comic books have been coming down the pipe for the past couple of weeks.  What is going on??”

I understand your frustration, I really do. But there was a huge debacle with Doctor Who that I had to sort out and finally I can say that I am caught up to current and am now suffering just like the rest of my fellow Whovians, while we wait every weekend for the new episodes. But enough about that. What you want are the comics.

For awhile now, I have been mulling over what I wanted my next blog to be about. It seems to me and I’m sure the same goes for you that I might not know a whole lot about comics outside of the DC Universe and while I am not as well versed in the Marvel Universe as DC….YET. I do try to dabble in a little bit of everything. To steal a phrase from a certain comic shop owner I know, “I’m a comic gourmand” If it is a comic book, I will try it and about 9 times out of 10 I am pretty sure that I will have enjoyed it in some way. I never look at a comic and say, “Meh, that was bad.” Or.  “OH GOD, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!” I try to find the best in everything I read, even if it is just ONE good thing.

Ranting aside, I wanted to take a step away from the publisher owned characters and titles and step into the realm of creator-owned.  A whole other beast.

To give a sort of blurry back story on creator owned books, for a long while that is, we had a slew of publisher owned titles and characters that mostly hit the nail on the head for what comic book readers were looking for. But a couple people decided that after either being wronged by a comic book publisher or just bored of what was coming out each week, they decided they wanted to start their own comic book companies and put out their own books. With that, we saw the birth of companies such as Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Top Cow, Boom Studios, etc.  Pretty much everything outside of the two big powerhouses Marvel and DC. With these creations, we saw new creators stepping out into the fray with new, bold ideas, some good and some bad. But their bravery is what helped pave the way for new books and ideas to be published with confidence that, “someone, somewhere will enjoy this crazy idea that I just came up with.”

© Image Comics

Flash forward to the past couple of years.

One company that has been leading the charge in the distribution of these creators’ brilliant ideas is Image Comics.  With books such as Invincible, Saga, Luther Strode, Witch Doctor, Danger Club, Manhattan Projects, Morning Glories, Skullkickers. The list goes on and on, endlessly, Image Comics has been bringing the heat to the comic book world, giving us not only new characters to love and grow with, but also the idea that with any wave of the hand, these titles could disappear without a second glance. It is a truly scary thought. We are truly in charge of these creators’ futures with these books, based on what we like, don’t like, or what we spend our hard earned dollars on.

If you are like me and my comic book cohorts, we have a rule that we try to follow.

Whenever there is a new number one and we are somewhat interested in it. We gotta give it a shot. We play the three issue game. You really cannot get the feeling of where a creator is taking a book, solely based on one issue. There is too much setup for a story that takes place over the course of a few issues that you will miss out on, especially if you don’t spend the time AND money to get more. So you could miss out technically on something great, just because it wasn’t enough to hook you in one issue. We have to trust the creators to hook and hold us. I can say with confidence that I haven’t been let down a whole lot when trying out a new book.

© Image Comics

© Image Comics

I like to think that they have me in mind when they sit down to create each issue. “Hmm…what would Brett like to see here?”  But, I’m pretty sure that that is just me.

There is something to be said about the ideas that flow for creator owned books. In the publisher owned world, there is a formula to follow. As much as we love seeing our favorite characters in books we have loved for years. Sometimes the growth we see in a character is huge, as long as it is within the confines of what the publishers want to see. No creator can go too far without a certain checks and balances that take place. I will clarify that I am in no way bashing what goes on in the publisher owned arena because I would be a mess without my Daredevil and Superman, but with creator owned stories, it is all fair game.

These are creations that the storytellers came up with of their own accord and the fates of characters and worlds are in the hands of the creators themselves. They are like gods, molding these worlds in their image and can give and take with ease (Not to give any creators any ideas or god complexes!) But it truly is in their hands. We end up falling in love with a character or characters, not knowing that the whole time; they were destined to fall at the hands of the villain or cataclysmic event. It creates a hook that sinks into our hearts so deep that at least in my instance, we never truly recover.

witchdoctor

© Image Comics

When I entered the creator owned world of comics a couple of years ago, I started with just a few small titles.  The Strange Talent of Luther Strode and Witch Doctor. They blew me out of the freaking water with how wonderful they were. The biggest shock however was how Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, Brandon Seifert, and Lukas Ketner were all these small potato names (no offense, you guys are brilliant!) It was a huge shock that this talent was just hidden away, waiting for them to come out with these books and shock the comic book world.  Now we see that not only are they continuing these series and adding more to these books’ mythos, (I currently have Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #6 in my possession and am sad to see another great mini end and have to wait again for another!) but the creators themselves have become bigger names. Justin Jordan has become a go-to creator in DC Comics, finishing up stories in Deathstroke and Team 7, both great books and beginning to take over for Superboy and Green Lantern: New Guardians. While Tradd Moore is doing more art for Marvel, covers mostly. And I haven’t read them but I hear Brandon Seifert is doing a bang up job on Clive Barker’s Hellrasier for BOOM Studios.

© Image Comics

© Image Comics

Another great creator owned book that I started out on and without a doubt holds its own is Jim Zubkavich’s Skullkickers. Imagine if you will, since I know EVERYONE is a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, two badass monster hunters, one human and one dwarf. Only labeled as the bald one and the short one, doing what monster hunters do, killing monsters for gold, fame, and adventure. Also so they can afford that next ale. So much wit and sarcasm come from the book, while all the craziest shit happens to the two of them. The sound effects that help move the action along is one of the greatest things I have seen in a comic. They are fresh and completely original, while also being appropriate to what is going on in the story. A must-read for anyone who is looking for something original.

© Image Comics

© Image Comics

Following these creator owned gems, Image kept trying to out-do themselves when it came to what great comic book was to come out next and for the next year and up to the present they have been doing just that. It has been coined the “Image Comics Creative Renaissance”  We have seen titles such as Peter Panzerfaust, Mind The Gap, SAGA, Manhattan Projects, and East of West now.  And this is just scratching the surface of what has and will come out in the future. They keep trying to put out fresh, new ideas that keep us guessing while still bringing something to the table to compete with the Big Two every week.

Not to mention, a huge boost to my creativity because I thought if they can do it then I can do it too! I cannot tell you how easy it is to be inspired when I sit down and read a new story. It gets me so pumped and gets the juices flowing for my own ideas. Ones that I hope I will be able to finally sit down and start fleshing out more. Just thinking about it now is calling me to sit down and try. We are definitely going to sit and chat later about those ideas too. Why not bounce my ideas off the entirety of Internet….or everyone who sits down and reads this blog at least! Enough about me though.

© Dark Horse Comics

© Dark Horse Comics

I wanted to also take a minute and tell you about some of the great creator owned stuff I am reading outside of Image. With IDW Publishing, one of the greatest books to grace the stands on a monthly basis is Locke and Key. The great Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez team up has been killing it. With a fresh horror story with huge supernatural elements sprinkled in, this book took what is great about comics and what a great novel should be and make it a match made in heaven.

Another couple of great books coming out of Dark Horse as originals are Francesco Francavilla’s noir pulp superhero hit, The Black Beetle. A wonderful read from beginning to end that gives you a classic feel of what the Masks were like back in the days when you listened to them on the radio. The other book was one I just picked up today called Amala’s Blade. Focusing on a sort of steampunk feel, it follows the character of Amala, a master assassin who has been hired on to kill off many a target. While two sides of the world war on the Purifiers and Modifiers. The Modifiers are a people from what I have seen that devote themselves to modifying their lives, weapons, etc. While the Purifiers are the purists and stay from all the technological advances. And Amala is caught in the middle, making enemies on both sides without a care in the world. Did I mention she has the spirits of everyone she has killed, following her around on her adventures as well, and giving her a hard time? Definitely another gem to check out.

These creators do a great job though because not only are they trying to tell a great story. It is a story or an idea that they came up with on their own. Whether or not it was just a quick pitch that turned into something amazing or their brain-child they have held on to for years, just waiting to share and tell with all of us. It is amazingly inspiring to be able to share and take part in this with them and I love them for it each and every time I sit down to read the next issue.

So I know this was a long read and I’m not going to apologize because I owed you guys this. It has been a long time coming and I know I have promised that I am going to be better about this. School is finished up for the semester so I’ll have all summer to keep this going.

I really appreciate you all taking a look and spending the time to read my rants. It means the world to me.

I’ll talk to you guys soon,

Brett


It’s Superman’s 75th Birthday!

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Guys, I have great news!

It’s the Man of Steel’s 75th birthday! We have gotten to spend a lot of time with Big Blue and I couldn’t be more happy with the life that Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster created. No matter what side of the fence you reside on when it comes to the comics that you read; DC/Marvel, Creator-Owned/Publisher-Owned, etc. We owe Superman for the comic books we have now, in my opinion.

In celebration of our boy’s birthday, there are a lot of people online, sending well wishes and getting everyone involved. There was one thing I wanted to share with everyone. Mr. Mark Waid, a resident Superman fan and expert has posed a challenge to all us other Superman fans, the Toughest Superman quiz  ever.

Here’s the link: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=44987

I did terrible, which I took as a sign that I need to read even more Superman then I already have. Let me know how you do!

Talk to you guys later!