Saturday, 29 August 2015

My time at Melksham was awesome!!!

So, it's the morning after the day before and, while I'm a lot more rested than I was when I hit the sack, I'm still pretty worn out. Therefore, it would be safe to say that day 1 of the Melksham Comic-Con was truly exhausting.

And I don't regret that because it was totally awesome!!!

Having arrived as the doors opened, I spent the entire day (and I mean the WHOLE day, I didn't leave until about four thirty) going around the entire room and doing my usual thing of talking to creators and buying some of their comics. However, unlike the last time I was there where I circled the hall multiple times, on this occasion I only managed to make the circuit thrice, first time to see the outside tables, the second time to see the centre tables and the final time to buy the comics I wanted.

Now, people may wonder how I spent so long there but not walked around that often and the answer to that question is simple: the creators. This year I had to have spoken to every creator at length on multiple occasions. I had such a good time talking to them all that the day just seemed to fly by and, having lost track of time, I ended up missing most of the panels.

Not that I missed them all and, to me that one I did go to was the best thing about being at Melksham. The con's second panel of the day, LGBT and the comic book industry, was a fantastic discussion to be able to sit in on as panelists Emma Vieceli and Joe Glass made the panel into more of a Q&A in order to get real discussion going on the subject. By the end I was deeply engrossed and, along with the long chats I had with both afterwards, I felt a lot more wiser for having gone.

In fact, such was the amount I talked to all the creators, I had to rush to make sure I got all the comics I wanted and, despite a limited budget, I picked myself up an interesting selection:

Breaks: Prologue by Malin Ryden and Emma Vieceli
Pride #1 by Joe Glass and Gavin Mitchell
Joe Cape #3 by Sam Webster
Kilł Screen #1-3 by M. Garley and J. Sherwell
Cogs and Claws by Brian 'Clank' Bennett and Jimmy Pearson

All of these, along with a signed copy of Doctor Who #2, rounded out my day and while I didn't do everything from my to do list (I couldn't find any She-Hulk comics), the experiences I had were more than enough to make up for what I missed.

So, now it's day 2 there but, sadly, I won't be there. However, if day 1 is anything to go by, anyone who is making their way to the second day is going to be a blast.

For me though it's over, but I'll be spending today planning for next year!!!!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Melksham tomorrow!!!

I'm finding myself eager for the working day today to finish for two very specific reasons: My final day at my current job (the next one starts Tuesday) and, more importantly, tomorrow is the Melksham Comic Con!!!!

It's been two years since I last attended and I'm excited to get to my 'local' con (because Bristol Expo shut up shop and Cheltenham is just slightly further away), see all the indie comics that will be on offer and meet all of their creators as well get the chance to sit in on a couple of panels.

In truth, I have some very specific plans for tomorrow in regards to what I will be doing and those include:

  • Catching up with Alex Thomas of Pipedream Comics.
  • Conversing with the Komix Comic book shop about selling some graphic novels.
  • Speaking with Jon Lock and Nich Angell of Big Punch Studios.
  • Attend the LGBT in comics panel, as well as the Big Punch Studios panel and (maybe) the Doctor Who panel and The PCG presents panel.
  • Rummage from long boxes in search of some comics, possibly including Soule's She-Hulk run and Wood's Massive run.
  • Buy some Indie comics, with top runners being Vince Hunt's Red Mask from Mars #2, Sam Webster's Joe Cape #3 and, possibly, anything by Mike Garley.

So, a lot to get through in one day. Of course, I'm a little bummed that I won't be there for the whole weekend, especially as I'll miss the creating comic for Kids panel, but I have a lovely wife and if I want her to stay that way, I think the one day will be enough.

I'm also a little concerned that I won't have the money to get everything I want there. That said, as long as I get some comics to read on the Sunday, then it won't matter how many I buy, just as long as I have a good time.

And I'll have a good time at Melksham, because they always put on a good show there!!!!

If you make it, maybe I'll see you tomorrow.....

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Unwanted comics, where to send them?

It's a funny thing, but I've never realised until just recently just how much crap I've acquired in thirty plus years.

In the last couple of weeks, my wife and I have looked at two of the rooms in our house which we avoid like the plague; the spare room and the dining room. Why do we avoid them? Because they are wall to wall and floor to ceiling full of crap!!!

So, we've decided to actually be grown ups and have a clear out.

The problem with this for me is that some of my crap consists of a pile graphic novels, ones which I haven't touched in two years (some of which I didn't even realize I owned) and, not wanting to keep stuff I don't use/read, it seems appropriate to get rid of them.

But what do you do with unwanted graphic novels? I suppose ebay is the best bet but I don't have a good track record on there, it feels complicated to use (yes, I'm THAT stupid) and there is additional stresses selling that way such as postage, so maybe it's best I avoid. It might be easier for me to car boot them, but then again who looks for comics at car boots, seriously?

Personally, I would prefer to make sure all my books went to good homes of people who either love comics like I do or are looking for a way into the comics world (because, I think, that is something which gets more and more difficult for people as time goes on). The question is how do you go about that?

A friend of mine has suggested speaking with Komix comic book shop at Melksham Con this weekend (he also suggested giving away to teachers for their kids, but I worry comics are too adult these days. Yes, I worry a lot), which I think is a good plan, though in what they can help is then a new question. If I fail to find a solution, I'll maybe just give them away to a charity or something as I really want the space.

However, if anyone has another suggestion, then I'm all for it so let me know.

I'd hate to see any comics wind up on a landfill somewhere in the south west, but I fear if I can't find a solution that maybe what will have to happen.

But let's not think negative just yet, I'm sure I can find them a good home in no time.

Friday, 21 August 2015

The November 2015 Solicits!!!

I'm running a little late this week in going through the solicits for November. There are a few reasons for this; 1. It has been one hell of a busy week for me in the real world, an all work and no play kind of deal, and 2. I've been reeling from the fact that the Baxter Building is now being taken over by Spider-man (pretty much confirming that the FF aren't coming back anytime soon). This second thing has really gotten me angry, thus what books interested me kinda went on a back burner while I got over it.

Well, over it I have gotten and, having gone through it all, I have managed to find a larger number than normal of comics which have me tempted.

Black Magick #2 (Image) - In truth, there is nothing really about this issue which grabs me as the synopsis is as limited as my actual magic skills. However, much like issue 1, the fact that it's brought to us by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott more than makes up for any fears that it might be no good. So until I have a copy in my hand, I'm willing to take a chance here.

Black Science #17 (Image) - Aah, Black Science. This was a guaranteed pick after how the last arc finished, hinting at greater and more epic things. Well, as much as the last issue had me hooked (much like the rest of the series), the promise of a brand new era and direction really has me wishing for a speedy release. Also, given he's dipsosed of most of the cast, I'm really intrigued how Remender deals with that fallout.

Huck #1 (Image) - Now this is a surprise entry to anyone who knows me because if there is a most committed fan to Mark Millar then I am the furthest thing from it. However, having previously read that this would be a heart-warming story as well as it's very 'Superman in Smallville' premise has me really wanting to forget my dislike for his other works (only some, I did like Civil War) and pick this up.

Lazarus #21 (Image) - There's not really anything I need to say here: It's Lazarus. It's Rucka, Hark and Forever Carlyle, all together for the most awesome and addictive book I've read as the fourth arc comes to a bloody close (I assume). However, 21 does have all the more addicted to it based on the cover alone; Is that Johanna Carlyle shown to be in charge?

Superman: American Alien #1 (DC Comics) - I was starting to think that superhero comics were a thing of the past for me giving the end of Waid and Samnee's Daredevil and the dropping of Earth 2 (yep, it's finally gone). However, despite not liking the direction of Superman's world by DC, this series looks like something fun and optimistic and similar to what I think the character should be about. However, Nick Dragotta on art has me a bit cautious.

Unfollow #1 (Vertigo) - Now this is a last minute add which has really gotten me hooked and is refusing to let go. Unfollow seems to be some kind of political thriller focusing around social media and speaks of a millionnaire giving up his fortune to only 140 strangers. I'm not entirely sure what's going on here, but the cover is fantastic and, while they say don't judge a book by it's cover, that is what certainly got me wanting to follow it (see what I did there?!).

And so that's it. As I mentioned, Earth 2: Society has been dropped, simply because I would rather read something I enjoy totally instead of just for the art. Meanwhile, Marvel has been completed exiled from my pull list, partly over the Fantastic Four thing and partly over other stuff (which I might rant about another time).

Nonetheless, I'm really excited about this month's choices and, despite not being able to get them all (damn budgets), I'm really looking forward to November arriving so I can get to read most of this list.

For now though, as I get my order ready, one last decision remains: Which do I order, Huck or Unfollow?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Superman is more relatable than Batman!!!

Ok, a full disclosure moment (in case it hasn't been shown as apparent before); I'm a big fan of Superman. Therefore, this post can probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

I recently watched Cinemasins 'everything wrong with...' Videos for both the Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad trailers and, during both, I couldn't help but notice how Batman was constantly referenced to as the 'best character'.

Now, this isn't a sole opinion as far as I know, because a lot of people think that way (which is fair enough, because everyone deserves an opinion, right?) and the most common theory is that Batman is popular because he is relatable.

Meanwhile, I recently heard about an interview done with Henry Cavill (who plays Superman) and Zack Snyder (who directed the film), both making mention of the struggle in portraying the character based on his unrelatablity to audiences.

Well, with that in mind, I figured I'd give my opinion on both of these and here it is:

Superman is way MORE relatable than Batman is!!!

I know, sacrilege right?

There's a reason I think this. Obviously I will never be Superman because super strength and flight are not powers anyone is likely to pick up in the real world. But Batman is a normal guy who wears a cape and has gadgets to make him a superhero. Now that is something people can more realistically aspire to.

However, neither character is based on their power set alone and that is where Superman wins out. This is because Batman is Bruce Wayne, a billionaire playboy living off unparalleled wealth gained by his ancestors who has plenty of time and resources to make himself this great superhero. He's also constantly portrayed as perfect. This makes him difficult to relate to because I will never be that rich, that in shape or that able to take out multiple supervillains without gaining a scratch (I mean if the character put on sunglasses at the end of each issue, I'd be convinced he was Horatio Caine in his invincibility).

Superman, on the other hand, is much more relatable to me because as Clark Kent, while being an alien with extraordinary powers, he works a nine to five job and is often depicted as struggling to do the right thing despite his enormous power set. Also, Kent has been raised to the point that he sees everyone around him as an equal, while Wayne, having been raised somewhat alone, always makes me feel as if he sees himself as superior (now that I think about it, he's like Lex Luthor).

Of course, I'm not trying to say one character is better than the other, as both have their merits (though Supes is better), but while most of the world thinks that Batman is the character they could see themselves as, I personally think they are mistaken; Superman is the character average people are more likely to relate to.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

DC are very anti-recap page.

Something occured to me today; DC really are against opening recap pages in their comics. 

Something else occured to me; them not liking recap pages might be the reason I don't buy many of their books,

This comes directly after reading Superman #42 and a few weeks after reading Earth 2: Society. Both books lacked any kind of recap as to what had happened in the previous issue/arc/run, all they did was was simply followed on from the previous issue, almost as if they had been released at the exact same moment.

For me, this is a problem. Both Superman and Earth 2 I struggled to enjoy and while this might be because of bad story of poor art (although I'm not willing to accept the latter on either book, because they both look wicked awesome), I'm theorising that it is because they both lacked any way to inform me of what had happened up to this point,

Now, comics are monthly released (if not more) always have been (as far as I'm aware), always will and while I get that a recap page is one less page of art and current story (because they are already giving away half pages to Twix) I find it difficult to remember specifically what happened in the last issue, especially when you read multiple books and have multiple stories in your head.

Image and Marvel both have recap pages and while Marvel irritates me at present with it's own problems, the fact is that both publishers books are much easier to enjoy because they take a moment to remind me where the story is at. Now it could be argued that I should just read the previous issues again and then I'm all caught up and that's a good idea. However, when you are busy you don't always have time to re read issues and, besides, if I wanted to read multiple issues together I'd buy a trade.

At the end of the day, this is something which bothers me and me alone (though I'm sure there must be others). I'm not saying it's the single cause of all which is wrong (to me) with DC's comics, but if they want more of my money, I'd say giving me a quick lay of the land before letting me read the story would be a good start to go about getting me hooked.

Then all they'd have to do is keep me that way.