Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lois Lane: Girl Chef

If there is one thing I love as much as comic books, it's food. Logically, I then also love this classic story from Lois Lane #1.

It begins when Lois overhears some sound advice on how to get a man to propose to you. Naturally, this interests her due to her unhealthy obsession with Superman. Check out the Daily Planet's love advice columnist:

You know that dude is getting it regular.

So Lois is thinking about making Superman a home-cooked meal. But then she's like "But why stop there when I can do something totally insane?!"

Perry White is so drunk in that panel.

Right, so Lois gets a job as a chef, and also gets a week off her job as a reporter (besides that gripping article she's expected to turn in about her life as a short-order cook).

The bait is set...let's see if Superman bites...

"Doo-de-doo...flying around and...WHA?! Steak?! Whoosh!"

Oh, Lois. That is not how you cook a steak. Salamander ovens are for nachos and other things that need melting. You are being crazy.

So everything seems to be coming up Lois, until...

Oh no! Superman's heat vision has ruined what would have been a perfectly mediocre steak!

So I guess Lois is putting in 12-hour days at the diner.

Oh how I wish there was a pancake that made you a Man of Steel rather than a Man of Tummy Aches.

So Lois's false promises about the pancakes draw in a pretty big crowd. So big that she can't handle it and has to take on an adorable sous chef:

Superman works hard. So hard, in fact, that when he is done there is no pancake batter left for him!
Lois once again resorts to false advertising, and then goes about making a big-ass sundae. Which, I'm just going to say this, has really nothing to do with cooking.

Giant sundae...seems foolproof right? WRONG! Look at how horribly and absurdly wrong this goes:
Ok, before I even get into Superman's crazy plan to stop an icicle from falling, let's talk about those ice cream flavours: Red, Yellow and Blueberry. Red and Yellow are not flavours.

And Superman...it just seems like you easily could have flown there and caught that icicle in the time it took you to warm up that plate using superfriction, and throw it across the city. That implies that objects you throw move faster than you can, and I just don't buy that.

Also, your solution just means that all of those people are going to get wet.

Superman has a complicated solution to every problem:

Clark Kent shows up at the diner the next day, but Lois is unimpressed. Jimmy has to stand while he eats:
Ok, are you ready for the reason why Superman needs to return to the diner? It isn't because he wants Lois to see him enjoying her food. That would be far too kind. It's because of this:

WHAT?! Wouldn't Clark Kent's fingerprints be on lots of things that Lois has access too? Like, things around the office? So here's Superman's crazy solution to a simple problem:

Would she notice, Superman? Would she? What about super speed? Can't you fly to the moon and back without people noticing?

This story does have a pretty adorable ending though:

Superman's little wink at the reader "I said 'I love you' because she helped a man in the hospital, not because I actually love her. That would be gross!"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Stinx

So by now we all know that DC/Vertigo canceled the Minx line of comics this week. I for one am very disappointed. I'm not surprised that they weren't selling well, and I'm not surprised that they weren't hitting the target demographic (teen girls). But it certainly wasn't the product's fault.

The Minx books are not good sellers, but they are good books. A few of them are great books, especially when compared to the bulk of comics, or even literature, aimed at young girls. They are smart, funny, and have strong female characters that readers can relate to. They have talented writers, great art, and they offered an exciting new platform for indie comic creators. The books are well-packaged and eye-catching. They look great on a shelf. They are a nice size. They are very affordable.

Since the announcement of the cancellation, I have seen a lot of Minx-bashing on message boards and blogs. Seriously, everyone, these were not bad books. There were a few duds for sure, and I'm not going to name them, but the fact stands that over half of the books were good, and that's a far better track record than most publishers can boast.

When the Minx line was first announced, I was skeptical. Mostly because I was concerned by what DC would consider "comics for girls" to be. But I was pleasantly surprised by the first line of books, and was 100% pro-Minx from that point on.

I am very glad that the upcoming Emiko Superstar will still be released because I have already read it and it is fantastic. I am sad that the Minx line will no longer be a publishing option for similar projects in the future. It really sucks.

And I'll tell you the worst part: Minx was not given a fair chance. One year is what DC/Vertigo decided was a fair trial for something this radical and new. It was a whole new market, and a whole new product, and DC honestly did not even try.

As a nearly-certified Businessologist, allow me to throw down some Marketing 101:

A new product line aimed at a new audience needs to experiment with new channels. You cannot put these books in comic shops and in the graphic novel section of Barnes & Noble and expect teen girls to find them. You need to get creative. You need to AT LEAST make and distribute display units. To promote something this different, you need to go balls out on it.

Now, I noticed that Minx is (was?) a sponsor of the upcoming Seventeen Magazine fashion show tour. I doubt that's still going to happen, but my understanding is that there would be some sort of Minx promotion at these shows. Good idea! Too bad it probably won't happen now.

The thing is, it's not like young girls didn't want to read these. If you put them in their hands, they will read them, and probably like them a lot. DC just needed to put them in their hands. The books should have been in clothing stores, and given away for free at events. There was a big media blitz right before the first book was released, and then nothing besides the occasional print ad. I don't know a single person who was aware of the Minx books besides the people who read Previews every month. In other words: not your target market.

The slogan for Minx when it was first announced was "Evocative and Fearless." The books were often evocative, but the marketing of them was entirely gutless. And the shutting down of the line is a real slight to potential young female comic readers everywhere. It says "See? We told you girls don't like comics."

Young girls do like comics. Young boys like comics. I see it everyday. I spent all day at a book fair here in Halifax where I saw nothing but kids getting excited about comics. And these weren't kids who came into the shop regularly. These weren't kids whose parents are big comic fans. These were kids who were basically picking up their first comic or graphic novel and getting excited just from looking at it. Many of them honestly had no idea there were so many different types of comics.

I am fully aware that Minx as a concept is not an easy sell, but it certainly isn't an impossible sell. The product was good and it had endless potential for the future. I was looking forward to years of great books aimed at a market that had never before been properly targeted. Generating mass awareness and profits is not something that takes 12 months, and the infuriating part is that DC definitely knows this.

The bottom line: despite all their hype and apparent interest in teen girls, when it comes to down to it, they just don't care.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Simmer Down, Lois!

As I have said before on this blog, I could read letters to the editor in Lois Lane comics all day. Like this one:

What really amazes me about these letters...this was before email, y'know? This dude had to write out this letter, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, go to a post office, and send it off. And yet, it was important enough to him to get this message to the editors.

This Week's Haul: WHAT are you DOING Dakota??!!

Hello All!

Sorry I have been a little absent this week. It's been a busy week, what with school, work, NHL exhibition games, an Elton John concert, and Lego Batman.

PLUS the excitement of my band's CD hitting #8 during its second week on the national campus charts! For those of you who are interested in checking out The Stolen Minks, you can listen to some tracks here, including some from our new album, High Kicks!

And now some quick comic reviews, on a thankfully light week for new releases.

Daredevil #111

No Dakota! Don't do it! Don't sleep with Daredevil even though he's all shirtless and helpful and sexy and...aw dammit.

Sorry Dakota. But you have now destroyed your life.

Also in this issue: a sexy new villainess! And the beginning of what looks like a pretty awesome storyline!

Captain America #42

I love when a Brubaker double-header happens like this and we get Captain America and Daredevil on the same week. Unlike Daredevil, Captain America wraps up a long story arc with a relatively happy ending. And by happy, I mean Bucky is snuggling with Black Widow. That makes ME happy, anyway.

Ambush Bug #3

Man that's a great cover.

I don't believe I've taken the opportunity on this blog yet to express how happy I am that there is a new Ambush Bug series. It's been great, too. There have been some weird little things like colouring errors, maybe because it's being rushed to press, but overall its been fun. Right now is a great time to be poking fun at the DCU.

Superman #680

Man, when did Superman turn into such a whiny prick? He really lays it on thick when he meets Zatara. Like, Superdickery aside, Superman is not typically this big of an asshole. He sounds like Green Arrow or someone:

Zorro #7

I am posting both covers because every month Zorro is released with at LEAST two amazing covers. There's always a Matt Wagner one (on the right), and this month there was a beautiful Ryan Sook variant (on the left).

PLUS Francesco Francavilla art inside! All around, Zorro is one of the most beautiful comics being published right now. And it's a great read too. I don't get the impression that it's a big seller, but I can't recommend it highly enough.

And speaking of Francesco Francavilla being awesome, you should check out the art on his website, especially the commissions page. Damn...that's some nice stuff. Look at this Rocketeer!!

Whoever commissioned that one WINS.

Blue Beetle #31

Is this gonna be canceled? Because I am going to be really sad if it is. I'm worried about it. Usually if I like something enough it gets canceled. And I don't know if a guest appearance by Doctor Mid-Nite is enough of an incentive to get people to pick it up. Besides me, of course.

In this issue Blue Beetle starts his fight against anti-immigration laws. It was only a matter of time, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Winner!

The hockey/comic art contest I have been running for the past couple of weeks is now closed. I randomly drew a winner and it is...


I am very happy that she won because this was one of the best entries for sure! Look at how awesome that is!

Send me an email, Sally, and you will be receiving a signed copy of Darwyn Cooke's fabulous new art book, courtesy of Strange Adventures!!

To see the rest of the entries, check out the comments thread of the original post.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Week's Haul: Vote Against DC Decisions

Man, I read so many comics this week. Here are some of them:

DC Universe Decisions #1 (OF FOUR??!!)

I'll just say this, because this could turn into a whole long thing if I get started: it's been done before and it's been done better.

All-Star Superman #12

Well...what can be said? This comic was perfect. The whole damn series was perfect and life has no meaning or purpose now that it's over.

Action Comics #869

Woah, except...holy wow! I enjoyed this just as much as All-Star Superman! Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are just so fantastic together, and this Brainiac storyline has been so awesome. And the really amazing thing about this story is that it takes place within Superman continuity AND it incorporates Supergirl in a way that doesn't suck at all! In fact, it rules!

Ghost Rider #27

In the comic shop yesterday I commented to someone who was buying the new Ghost Rider that I've been really enjoying Jason Aaron's writing on it. The customer disagreed, and felt that the story had gotten too silly. I really don't know how to respond to things like that. What level of realism are you looking for in a comic about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle?

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam #2

This comic is just really, really great. This was a really good week for all-ages comics! Not only the ones I mention here, but also Tiny Titans and Marvel Adventures Avengers!

X-Men First Class #16

The last issue of this series, but not the end of X-Men First Class. In this issue we are promised an upcoming Giant Size special, and a new mini-series. I love X-Men First Class. I think it's a great idea for a comic, and I think it's really enjoyable every month. I'm sad to see it go as a monthly.

The Age of Sentry #1

At least Jeff Parker softens the blow of X-Men First Class ending by giving us an all-new awesome title in the same week! Parker shares the writing duties with Paul Tobin in a comic that gives us two delightful silver age-style stories that poke fun at some of the absurdities of the era without being a full-on parody. Nick Dragoda and Ramon Rosanos provide beautiful art. The colour throughout the book is just excellent. And check out that cover! It's an awesome comic. I can't wait for the next one.

Uncanny X-Men #502

Man I wish they would get someone else doing the art on this book. I really like this series but god damn...

The Spirit #21

Another perfectly good comic ruined by gratuitous T&A. Sometimes I wonder if these artists have ever actually seen women's clothing before.

The Amazing Spider-Man #572

This comic is actually making me want to read Thunderbolts. Almost.

In this comic our hero gets riddled with bullets from Bullseye. Then Bullseye gets riddled with bullets! Oh the bitter taste of your own medicine.

Greatest Hits #1

A new series from Vertigo started up this week. The premise is a British superhero foresome operating in the 60s, whose fame and career closely resembles that of British rock bands at the time. It's a fun idea, and it's a fun first issue.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

DC Solicitations!

DC's got the December solicitations up over at Newsarama. Let's have a looksee.

Last year DC totally failed to deliver on the holiday-themed comic front. This year I will not have to suffer that crushing disappointment again. Behold! The DCU Holiday Special 2008!

I know there is nothing technically alarming about this sentence, but it certainly could be seen as fairly R-rated for many reasons: Dr. Light aids with the Festival of Lights and Nightwing delivers a special gift to Robin.

Oh, I know it's not THAT Dr. Light. (Is it?)

J. Bone also provides a toothache-inducing adorable cover to the December issue of Super Friends. Good lord. Batman is wearing earmuffs! And he's caroling! And Aquaman has a little hat on...and Green Lantern is being inclusive! Awwww.

Not all comics released in December are festive, but they are still awesome-looking. Check out this sweet cover for Supergirl. I am really looking forward to the new creative team on this title.

Speaking of Supergirl, issue #1 of the highly-anticipated (by me) Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade comes out in December. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Watchmen is being re-released in issue format, which is...weird. It's not a bad idea, though, cash-grab wise.

It looks like Green Lantern Corps is going to hold onto its title of Grossest Superhero Comic for another month.

Turning to books, we have a trade that compiles Batman's greatest deaths! It's a little something DC likes to call The Strange Deaths of Batman. We should all be so lucky as to have enough deaths to fill a book.

That's a great cover. I like that it promises that Catwoman will be in the issue when she is clearly on the cover.

And just in time for Christmas, it's the Starman Omnibus v.2! That will make an excellent gift for me!

Looks like December is going to be a pretty solid month. We'll see Marvel's full line-up tomorrow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


True fact about me: I love low-budget local ads for things.

One of my favourite low budget ads of late is for a local vocational school called Success College (Successitas Pro Idiotas).

Here's what I'm talking about:

And now the really exciting news: the "YOU THINK YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?! guy? He was in the comic shop when I was working a couple of weeks ago. My co-worker, Dave recognized him, but was too starstruck to say anything. We LOVE this guy.

Doesn't this ad seem like it's directed by Michael Scott? The criminal becomes a police man at the end? What is going on?!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The most unlucky little girl in the world.

Let's just say you're a little girl. And say you are alone and in danger.

And say that the only super hero around to save you...is Ghost Rider.

Like, seriously, how terrified would you be if you saw this lunging at you?

Image taken from Ghost Rider #35 by Jim Starlin, reprinted in Ghost Rider Annual #2, available in fine comic shops everywhere.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Week's Haul: A Light Week

Howdy y'all!

That's how they talk in the south, and that reminds me: I did another podcast episode with the Dollar Bin boys this week. This time the subject was my very favourite lady: Catwoman!

Listen as I talk an unending streak by clicking this link: Catwoman!

I can never hear super clearly when I am doing these phone interview things, so I just keep talking over everyone. And my heavy breathing makes it sound like I'm an astronaut being interviewed from a space station.

And now on with this week's comics!!

Here's what you should read this week:

Wonder Woman #24

Why? Because Gail Simone really rules at cramming a whole lot of story into one issue, and making every part of that story thoroughly entertaining and hilarious. Wonder Woman brings Nemesis home to meet her mother, which is great, and the second half of the issue has WW visiting the set of a Hollywood Wonder Woman movie. This, of course, is also great because it allows Simone to make some fun commentary about the unending struggle to get Wonder Woman into her own movie, and give us an idea of how horribly wrong Hollywood could get it if it were made.

Amazing Spider-Man #571

Why? Because this comic has been coming out almost weekly since Brand New Day started, and it's been consistently great.

Norman Osborn is really enjoyable in this issue, and Eddie Brock is really crazy. And the art, again, is wicked.

Super Friends #7

Why? Because the Super Friends teach some kids how to skateboard. Even Aquaman. I really want Batman to teach me how to skateboard.

In this comic Aquaman actually reasons that he must be a good skateboarder because he is good at riding dolphins. Probably as he is saying this, Flash is stealing his wallet.

Booster Gold #12

Why? Because this is how a time-travelling hero should be used: as an opportunity to re-visit all our favourite eras of DC comics. This week it was 1970s Batman, with the classic Batmobile and with Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

This comic is just fun. It's always fun, and I love it.

Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #3

Why? This issue concludes a series that was better than the following comic series: Secret Invasion, and Runaways.

Seriously, this team (Christopher Yost and Takeshi Miyazawa) should be doing Runaways. And SOMEONE should do Young Avengers, because I would sure like to see a comic about them again.

Angel After The Fall: Final Night v.2

IDW released the second hardcover collecting the official continuation of Angel this week. First of all, these hardcovers are beautiful. Nice job, IDW. Secondly, writer Bryan Lynch's enthusiasm for what he's doing with this series comes through loud and clear in the bonus content. Plus, the intro, written by "Groosalugg," is absolutely hilarious. Seriously.

Also, unlike the first collection of this series, this book contains several short stories about each secondary character, each with a different artist. So having an array of artists is nice. And I know this title isn't nearly as possible as the Buffy comic, much like the television series, but I really do think it's a well-written continuation of the show. It's an entertaining comic, as is the Spike series that is being released alongside it, also written by Lynch.

I wanted to post an image of the cover of this book, but it is nowhere to be found. Not even on the IDW website. Which is weird.