Variant Comic Book Covers Variant covers have been the norm in the comic book industry since the late 80s. And with today’s collectors turning to their beloved comics for investment, often times these low print variant books are highly sought after with the anticipation that they will fetch a pretty penny one day. When DC Comics announced a pretty dark and graphic variant cover for its “Batgril” series recently, all hell broke loose. Before DC knew it, both social and traditional media was engaged in a fierce debate. Rafael Albuquerque's Cover Art The artwork in question depicts a menacing Joker, smearing his trademark grin—and with gun in hand—across the face of a highly distraught Batgirl. The cover was in line to be one of 25 variants that DC Comics had planned to release this June to commemorate the Joker's 75th anniversary. The publisher, however, has since announced it was pulling this particular variant of Batgirl no. 41 at the request of Rafael Albuquerque, the artist who created the piece. The Power of Social Media A loud and vocal minority of editorialists and fans were highly concerned that a strong female heroine was being depicted as helpless and potentially the victim of sexual assault. A fiery debate about sexism and free speech followed suit. Using social media, specifically Twitter and Tumblr, to garner as much attention as possible, they insisted publisher DC Comics to "#changethecover." Mean while, fans and supporters of the cover pushed back, postulating that free speech would be trampled upon should the cover be pulled. A DC spokesperson explained to CNBC that the creative teams behind their titles are not really involved in developing variant covers. Rather, the editorial group at the company is directly responsible for devising variant cover campaigns. Those in favour of the "Batgirl" cover maintained that the it is based on one of DC's most important story lines—which when released three decades earlier, did not stir up much … [Read more...]
Is Your Comic Collection Priceless? Likely Not.
I came across an article by Eric Spitznagel which I thought was quite interesting. In it he discusses the probability that those who are collecting comics as investments will never see any real financial gain. Comic properties today are hot, hot hot...and I can honestly say that many of the patrons I encounter at the shows I attend are, in fact, in it for the money. Perhaps the following article may have them think twice about buying comic books for investment. Comic Book Collection Case Studies Spitznagel introduces us to Barry Smith, a 44 year old man who collected comic books his entire life. And although he bought comics for fun, he also believed that these books were an investment that would one day pay for college tuition or a down payment on a house. Smith recalls thinking. “I would lay them all out in my parents’ living room, sorting them, cataloging them, writing down entries on graph paper while cross-referencing them against the Overstreet Price Guide.” Landing a tech job in Silicon Valley following college, he held on to all 1,200 of his comic books, including several hundred early issues of Marvel’s popular X-Men series. Having researched the books on a regular basis, he did believe his collection had indeed grown in value. For twenty years his prized comics remained in a storage unit, carefully bagged and boarded. When Smith was let go from his job a few years later, he decided it was time to cash in on his investment. The whole collection sold for around $500. “I’m not too proud to admit, I cried a bit,” Smith says. Another collector, Kevin Maroney, 47, of Yonkers, N.Y., finally decided to sell approximately 10,000 comic books, almost a third of his collection, through consignment with a few comic book stores in New York City. After several months, only 300 had sold for around $800. Maroney sort of knew there would be a lack of interest in his books. “A lot of people my age, who grew up collecting comics, are trying to sell their … [Read more...]
The FLASH on CW is Doing it Right!
The Flash: Familiar Formula that Works! The CW Network's “The Flash,” which was a spin-off from their “Arrow” series incorporates the superhero formula to the nines, which could have been as disastrous as letting Solomon Grundy handle fine china - but hasn’t been so far. Why the Flash is Getting Rave Reviews One reason for the series initial success is the nonthreatening likability of actor Grant Gustin, who plays the title role of Barry Allen/ The Flash. Barry is a nerd and he is cute (according to my eight-year old daughter) who is transformed by lightning when a particle accelerator explodes and endows him with an amazing supercharged metabolism - allowing him to run faster than the lightening that struck him. This show is great. I love that my entire family can watch it and are thoroughly entertained. I am also not afraid that what is happening on the screen is inappropriate for my kids. The themes and situations presented on other superhero shows like Gotham, Arrow and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are simply not appropriate for kids under 13. The Flash is obviously a CW production, that is, the style and direction is familiar. Barry, like so many superheroes before him, is an orphan (so to speak). His father sits in prison, convicted for the death of Barry’s mother, who was really killed by some mysterious yellow and orange lightning thingy. Barry is taken in by his parents’ best friend, Central City Det. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). As a grown man, Barry now works as a crime scene investigator for the cops. He’s also secretly in love with Joe’s daughter, Iris (Candice Patton), but since they have grown up together, as siblings almost, Barry keeps his true feelings for her to himself. Once Barry regains consciousness after being struck by the lightening, and realizes his new super abilities, the particle accelerator inventor, Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) wants to “help” Barry figure out the limits of these powers. Along with his assistants, … [Read more...]
Welcome Home Spider-Man
Spider-Man to Join the Marvel Cinematic Universe In the event that you've been hiding under a rock, the Marvel machine and Sony have finally agreed to work on Spider-Man movies together. This brings web head back home and means he can now be seen in future Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies like "The Avengers" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" - and that MCU characters could possibly now show up in Spider-Man flicks as well. This is the most exciting comic book news story of the year thus far, even more awesome than Marvel's Phase Three plans which were revealed a couple of months back. Sony and Marvel's arrangement will most certainly change superhero motion pictures from here on out. Spider-Man in the MCU offers a viewpoint that hasn't been explored yet in the MCU. One of the reasons Spider-Man is such a hit as a comic book character is due to the fact that Peter Parker dealt with genuine issues, he wasn't simply a superhero. None of the current film heroes are normal in any way: Tony Stark manages a billion dollar business while thwarting baddies as Shell Head, Cap is the archetypical all American hero "re-born" to protect the free world and Thor is a god. Peter Parker, on the other hand, is still in high school for crying out loud, which allows for a very different kind of narrative that is lacking in Marvel's current films. The agreement between Sony and Marvel hasn't been completely revealed as of yet, so it is unclear if just Spider-Man will show up in the Avengers films or is Kevin Feige (Marvel Studios President) permitted to include other members of Spider-Man's entourage like Norman Osborn, Venom, or Electro into other Marvel pictures? I'm hoping that character swapping will be permitted and that the arrangement will be straight forward allowing for as much character cross-over as possible! Marvel's foray into television, especially the upcoming Defenders shows on Netflix, could benefit greatly from this new arrangement as well. The … [Read more...]
TOP 10 MARVEL UNIVERSE VILLAINS
TOP 10 MARVEL UNIVERSE VILLAINS (According to me) There wouldn't be a real need for superheroes if there weren't any super villains to thwart. In this post I am going to outline my personal favourite Marvel villains, provide a pic, a quick blurb and explain why I like. These are my favourite Top Ten Marvel Universe Villains, what are yours? # 10 - Taskmaster First Appearance Avengers #195 (1980) Real Name: Unknown Interesting Fact: was born a prodigious savant of mnemonic talents (boy that's a mouthful) - which basically means he has photographic reflexes. Played with the idea of becoming a crime fighter, but decided that a life of crime would pay more. Why I Like: This dude can learn the skills and moves of any adversary plus he has a skull faced mask which is really cool. He has given Captain America, Spider-Man and many other heroes a real run for their money. # 9 - Juggernaut First Appearance X-Men #12 (1965) Real Name: Cain Marko Interesting Fact: His powers come from the gem of the mystical entity Cyttorak. The helmet worn by the Juggernaut keeps him safe from mental attacks - once removed, however, Marko's mind is helpless against beings with telepathic powers, like his step-brother, Professor X. Why I Like: Charles' Xavier's step-brother turned bad. The family drama coupled with a bad-ass costume is why this bruiser made my Top Ten Marvel Universe Villains. #8 - Mysterio First Appearance Amazing Spider-Man #13 (1964) Real Name: Quentin Black Interesting Fact: Former Hollywood stuntman & special effects designer turned bad guy. Original member of the Sinister Six. Why I Like: Costume. 'Nuff said. #7 - The Klaw First Appearance Fantastic Four #53 (1966) Real Name: Ulysses Klaw Interesting Fact: Using one of Klaw's weapons against him, a young T'Chala (Black Panther) fired the weapon at the villain, shattering his right hand. Klaw installed a "sonic gun" where his … [Read more...]