Ambidextrous 305: Chew, Wednesday Comics, Spidey, and more

Marvel Releases Romita Sr. Amazing #600

Chew #2

Ambidextrous

#305- Bad News First

The following are a series of observations and announcements that have been stacking up in weeks consumed by features on SOLO, Wednesday Comics, and my recent nuptials…

Ton of ground is covered in this one, so we should probably get started, as I am happy to report there is no fixed word count this week, ladies and gentlemen. But you’ll be able to tell that soon enough, I suppose. Onto business then, and hope everyone enjoys themselves at the con this weekend. I’m skipping it this year, and my explanation is contained below.  

Bad News: It’s incredibly difficult to find a copy of Image’s new Chew series, by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

Good News: It’s incredibly difficult to find a copy of Image’s new Chew series, by John Layman and Rob Guillory. The series has quickly become Image’s latest sensation, obliterating any print run the company sets for it, and building a massive amount of positive buzz along the way. So much so that the entire sold-out first issue was grafted onto the back of the most recent issue of The Walking Dead. And Layman deserves every single bit of success he’s experiencing now because he’s been through some ____ in his long relationship with comics, and I know how long he’s been thinking about and working on this crazy book. Congrats and keep on selling out, my man. Maybe there’s still some hope left for this crazy, unpredictable biz.  

Bad News: I think Marvel is telling the “Bruce Wayne: Rebirth” storyline in Captain America: Reborn already. Pure speculation of course, but given Grant’s previous Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle mini, and Bruce’s death at the hands of Darkseid’s Omega beams, I was pretty confident that whatever story resurrecting him would involve the character living a series of more and more disastrous existences/flashbacks as he fought his way back to life. After reading the first issue of Marvel’s blockbuster mini, it seems they’re going in a very similar direction. And they’re sharing the “reborn” branding too. Isn’t Ideaspace just so much fun?

Good News: Batman and Robin #2 was every bit as awesome as the first issue, possibly even more so. Morrison and Quitely continue to feed off each other’s strengths, and the book is a delightful mix of expertly choreographed action scenes and great characterization. Alfred continues to be the MVP of the supporting cast, keeping all his surrogate sons on the right path, wisely correcting them whenever they start wandering off. Only minor concern is that Quitely is only doing half of this year’s stories, but Philip Tan seems a good choice, and Frazier Irving an even better one. The book carries itself like the flagship book in the newly revamped franchise, and has really done the job of helping people to not only accept, but even embrace this version of Batman and Robin.    

Bad News: For the first time in several years, I’ll be watching the SDCC from the sidelines this year. Since Miranda isn’t fully operational yet, the trip doesn’t seem very fiscally responsible, and that’s even before you consider that I lost my job recently, and you know---

Good News: ---just got married. With the speed info is moving these days, I shouldn’t miss anything news-wise, and next year I get to make a dramatic return with boxes and boxes of Miranda Mercury hardcovers in tow. I’ll also be splitting a table in Artists’ Alley at Wiz World Chicago with a friend who just completed his first year at the Kubert School. Don’t know if he’s just doing commissions, or bringing art prints and sketchbooks, but it’ll be fun to hang out there with some new Miranda postcards, preview pages, and a huge box of my own comics that I’ll be selling at recession conscious price points. More info as the show approaches of course, but having my own table will be a personal first, so we’ll see how it all goes.

Bad News: Everybody remember that new Miranda Mercury colorist we just found? This would be the one we used this very column to track down? Well, he’s no longer on the book, and we’ve lost a little over a month in critical production time as a result. Upsetting and disappointing to be sure, as I thought we’d found the perfect guy to inherit the reins from Felix. A setback to be sure, but honestly, stranger things have happened to us and this project in the past, and this’ll make for yet another hurdle for us to eventually clear.  

Good News: Inks are finished for the triptych cover, and it looks fantastic. Lee and Marc have outdone themselves once again, and hopefully we’ll finish finding another colorist and having them do their thing on it before I lose my nerve and just run the inked version. Also, right after the new wife and I complete yet another big move, the first thing I’ll be scripting in our brand new place is the full, and oh-so oversized, 300th issue of Miranda Mercury. Thinking of a way to make the process slightly more interesting by using Twitter to run a real-time production log, but we’ll see once I get cranking.    

Bad News: Four-dollar comics are really starting to affect my comic budget. Couple months back, I’d slashed my weekly average to about 20 bucks a week, and now that number is gradually drifting back up to 30 due to higher cover prices. To be fair, some of it has to do with the strength of the revamped Batman line, and me buying a lot more DC titles in general. In one monstrous recent week, I came home with over ten books sporting 3.99 cover prices, and most of them were standard size comics.

Good News: Most of these books I really don’t mind paying an extra buck for. Wednesday Comics, for example, is something I find well worth the cover price, because of its size and its ambition. Also really loving DC’s “co-feature” idea thus far, which makes it far easier to emotionally absorb the hit on things like Detective Comics and Batman: Streets of Gotham. And in this environment, I gotta show my indy companies love too, so I’ve been gobbling those up without hesitation, while looking forward to the upcoming products of Archaia’s “two comics for five bucks” package. So I suppose I’m part of the problem in a way, as I’m not willing to leave most of these books on the stands simply because of an increased cover price. Though I am someone who will also buy single issues of something, only to later give those away, and then buy the trade for the shelf, so perhaps I’m that hopeless. But what do you suggest I do about that now?

Last thing---this week Amazing Spider-Man #600 is hitting shelves and I don’t think there will be another comic released this entire year that offers a better deal than 104 pages of original material for 4.99. Regardless of how folks are still feeling about the book and the character, sometimes the math just wins…

Bad News: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was about as awful as awful can be, even on an IMAX screen. And I say this knowing full well the past critical record of blockbuster director Michael Bay, and as someone who’s seen almost all of his movies and can usually find something to enjoy about them. But wow…that was just so much worse than I even expected, and conclusive proof that twenty minutes of dope effects cannot make something worth watching or make any kind of narrative sense. Thought Shia almost single-handedly saved the first one, but in this one he was just running and screaming in every scene, which is not actually a proper substitute for character development.

Oh yeah, and don’t even get me started about the Autobot twins that were probably five minutes away from an Ebonics filled dissertation on the greatness of fried chicken and watermelon patches. One last extremely annoying thing and I’ll be quiet---why in the hell with everyone else in the cast covered in grime, sweat, and blood (which they all should’ve been given the circumstances) was Megan Fox’s face not only relatively unblemished, but was always outfitted with a perfect application of shining lip gloss? I know she’s there to be “pretty,” but come on…

Wave of Spam Surrounds New Harry Potter
Wave of Spam Surrounds New Harry Potter
Good News: None of this subtracts one bit from any of the other great movies released this summer (Star Trek Go Hard!) or my excitement about Harry Potter 6. Never read the books, which is strange as I worked in a bookstore for years, but I really dig the movies and am fully conscious that if the series had launched during my own childhood, it would probably be the only thing that mattered to me.   

Bad News: For years (and possibly to the detriment of my own career) I’ve made a conscious effort not to jump into the social networking pool that everyone else has wholly embraced these last few years. On an intellectual level, I completely understand how and why something like Myspace or Facebook would be helpful, or dare I say it, even fun, but personally, it just wasn’t for me. I used my work on this column as my main excuse---that it kept me and my workings “visible” enough to get by, without risking someone from high school or college tracking me down and bothering me.

But this is a new day both personally and in the world of comics. Continuing to function without any real presence on any of these sites is frankly suicide, and for some reason (probably my new wife) some of these stupid things I’ve spent years holding onto now seem…well, stupid. Which explains the recently created Miranda Mercury twitter page, that will only become more important as we move forward. I will also do my best to have some fun with it along the way…

Good News: Twitter (Newsarama Note: Not following us on Twitter yet? Click away!) has already led to a very interesting opportunity that I can’t breathe one word about, but is the reason that most of this column was written even before the piece last week about Wednesday Comics. Needed to free up some space on the schedule for something really important that we can hopefully talk more publicly about later on down the line. But speaking of DC’s latest weekly series, here are a couple personal highlights from last week’s installment…

Last Wednesday…

Bruce Wayne looks like he stepped right out of the pages of 100 Bullets, doesn’t he? A shootout with giant rats can’t be anything but cool. Did Batman seriously just suggest to Superman that he needed Prozac!? That Deadman logo is too awesome. It’s confirmed---Joe Quinones draws one mean Green Lantern. The message from the “Metamorpho Fans of America” was pretty clever---a hero that can change into someone for everyone. How many insane details can Paul Pope pack into a single panel? He’s resetting the bar every week, so it’s hard to tell. Laughed out loud at the last panel of Supergirl, probably because we’re thinking about adopting another dog. Didio made a Batman movie joke in Metal Men. Somebody tell the Nazis they’re wasting their time…Rock don’t break. Iris West goes first this week, but we still end up with two versions of Barry Allen in the end. Brian Stelfreeze is so good. Hawkman means what he says…I can tell.   

That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for reading, and back soon.

The Fiction House

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