Sunday, February 25, 2007

Live From The New York Comic Con

Hello kids. The New York Comic Con was this weekend and I have returned to blog about it. I originally didn’t plan on attending. I don’t really have enough money to spend $40 on a ticket to get into a place full of stuff I’d want to buy. Luckily I had a friend who was working a promo gig on the inside and got me in for free (hi Sonya.)

I’ve noticed something similar about the last few entries on this here PTP blog: Lots of words, no pictures. Well, I bring you no shortage of pictures, so heeeeere we go!

The big event.

One thing that always guaranteed at a comicon: you’ll always see a Stormtrooper. There were plenty of these guys walking around.

Times are rough for 1980s toy villains. This guy was all over the place.

Here’s Spidey with some random guy.

There’s just something interesting about this image. Here’s some (Kidrobot?) giant size prototype toy mice.

Even though Blue Beetle is dead and DC goes through Flashes quicker than Destiny’s Child used to replace members or Van Halen replaces lead singers or (insert joke here), their essence still remains.

The car our previous heroes were standing in front of is this 1928 Model A Car-Toon Truck.

Everybody loves the sunshine. Even the scum of the universe.

More Star Wars characters comin’ atcha.

When Stan’s in the house, all the fanboys go craaaaazy! The crowd surrounding Stan The Man was massive and I was lucky to even get this glimpse of a picture.

Neal Adams was there. This sign is proof. I didn’t get a picture of him or any of the other artists, but it was interesting to walk along and match faces to all the familiar names.

I have no idea what this thing is, but I’m willing to bet that its place of origin is Japan.

These are some mannequins displaying some original Star Trek costumes.

No place is complete without a giant Pikachu balloon.

I would like to see speakers attached to it to announce a loud, thunderous “Pika Pika!”

This is a Darkling from The Darkness video game (which is based on the comic book, not the rock band) fighting with…someone tell me what this guy’s name is.

And…who is he?

Here’s a medieval warrior of some sort.

And just in case you’ve started to drift off, I’ve waited to show the main reason to bring a camera to one of these events: The women!

Your narrator with a fair maiden.

All in all, a good time was had. I got in for free and managed to only spend $45 (I bought a few half-price trades & hardcovers to complete my America’s Best Comics collection.) Maybe I can get as lucky for the next show.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Brilliance and Not-So-Much of New Avengers

I am as big a Marvel fan as they come when it comes to the PTP. Most of the books I read are Marvel, with the exception of some gems like Justice. One of my favorites month in and month out is New Avengers.

I was never a fan of the Avengers of old. I didn't quite understand how these guys could make up Marvel's greatest heroes with people like Wasp, any version of Hank Pym, Hawkeye, Tigra, War Machine, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, etc, etc. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, even Hercules, were the only ones who could fit this bill because of their status as Marvel or other icons. The writing was always weak and cliche, and the changing roster did not seem to fully grasp the idea of 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes'. Then came Bendis and this idea for Avengers Disassembled. He knew that a book like this should be one of Marvel's biggest comics, no questions asked. He noticed that it wasn't, why it wasn't, and how he could change it up. With Avengers Disassembled, I found the first Avengers book I could enjoy. Finally, it seemed, someone was coming in and changing things for the better. Was the story convoluted and corny in places? Yes, but it was all for the better. I saw the promo image of the new squad and was hyped at the prospect of Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, and Wolverine working together as a team. I knew I had myself a new contender for coolest comic book.

From the beginning I thought it was a great idea to have Spider-Man and Wolverine on as full members to the team. These two embody everything cool that the Marvel universe is. Did their inclusion mean that Marvel was jumping on board the 'have all of the big characters join' style of the Justice League in DC? Sure, but why shouldn't they do this? Spider-Man has long been a reserve member to the group and constantly works with them in his books and theirs. Basically he was already an Avenger, now he was just official. The biggest criticism with all of this has been of course Wolverine. One of the things I dislike about comics is that with so much promise, they consistently do things that hinder why lots of people do not take them seriously. These 2 HUGE topics can be discussed and argued in another post (coming soon to the PTP board near you), and they are as follows: Continuity and death. Wolverine suffers from a very convoluted continuity, as he appears in 2 solo books, Astonishing, and New Avengers. Would someone like to explain to me how this is at all possible? Thing is though, I got over it because of the sheer coolness it is of having Wolverine be on a different team interacting with different characters. Did anyone else think it was sweet when Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider teamed up as The New Fantastic Four? (which btw should be an ongoing monthly book post World War Hulk b/c that'd be too fuckin cool... But that is also a post for a different day)

The rest of the team was icing on the cake. Spider-Woman? Cool, I didn't know anything about her. Luke Cage? Always thought he was cool, I was pumped. The issues with them was too cool for words. Them breaking up a fight at The Raft? Fighting the Wrecker? The conspiracy with SHIELD? Ronin and all the damn ninjas? Sweet.

The Sentry? Not so much.

Wait a minute? What?

The problems began with Sentry. I loved the idea of this team having a Superman-level powerhouse on the team, and when he first appeared in the first issue, and first arc for that matter, it was sweet. But after the arc centering around him, he was never mentioned again. Wasn't he supposed to be a big part of this team? I only remember him being in that one arc before the end. This however was not the only problem.

Ronin was non introduced until the third arc, and we still never got to see her interact with the group other than that. Luke Cage had great banter with Spider-Man, but his voice was not being heard as promised. The pacing with who broke everyone out of the prison and the triple conspiracy Spider-Woman was not good, and reminded me a lot of Lost. I am not knocking Bendis by any means, but things really took a long time to explain and the idea of the group seemed to be better than the actual comic book. You remember the Xorn/Magneto issues? Or the recent #26 mindfuck? How about the baffling as hell explanation of The Sentry or trying to force Spider-Woman as a major character down our throats?

Basically this book suffered from being very hit-or-miss. Things picked up again with the Captain America and Luke Cage issues of New Avengers Disassembled. And with the recent release of #27, things are definitely on the rising. Iron Fist, a new Ronin, and Dr. Strange as Avengers with Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, and Luke Cage as the leader is fucking awesome. Here's to hoping that the talent stays up, and remains a force to be reckoned with, other than just looking pretty on the outside.

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