Comic Books

Batman Beats the Marvel Universe

Batman Beats the Marvel Universe

by J.D. Cook

Alright so maybe the title isn’t exactly accurate. According to numbers released byDiamond Comic Distributors, Inc. last Friday, Batman #27 by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo was the top selling single comic book issue for the month of January. As a big fan of Snyder and Capullo’s run on the series I am not surprised the issue sold as well as it did considering issue 26 ended in a monumental cliffhanger with the Dark Knight ambushed and fired upon by the Gotham City Police Department. The ‘Zero Year’ story arc has been some of the most compelling and psychological work the duo has published to date. The second highest selling single issue belonged to Batman as well with Detective Comics #27.

That said Marvel still took home the biggest prize of the month by being the top selling Comic Book Publisher. Marvel took home 37.39 % of the industries unit share while D.C. only claimed 30.77%. The two major companies actually split the list of top ten single issues as Marvel had 5 issues which charted while D.C. also had 5 issues. A person has to wonder how much of Marvel’s current comic book success comes directly from their success at the box office. They have built a huge brand through various media. In the 1990’s their characters were a stable of Saturday Morning Cartoon shows and in the 2000’s their characters became a staple of summer movie blockbusters. Marvel has even brought obscure characters into the spotlight with the upcoming release of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Unfortunately they did loose the rights to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men’s portrayal on the big screen in the early days of turning their character’s into film franchises.

In the meantime D.C. has focused almost solely on developing Batman and Superman movies. As a result the mainstream public really has very little knowledge of their extended universe. Looking at Marvel’s success with brand building throughout different medias it is bizarre that D.C. has not adopted a similar technique and applied it to their own characters. They have a good foundation with the success of the show Arrow, and the recent Man of Steel film but they do not seem to be able to put their pieces together in quite the right order. Maybe Man of Steel’s sequel, Batman vs Superman, will change things for D.C. but it seems they are stuck behind Marvel as the top Comic Company until that happens.

Lastly Image Comics claimed 10.10% of the comic market’s unit share. It’s great to see the creator driven company succeeding. Image is where the most interesting and unique stories are being developed free of shared Universe constraints like the ones writers at Marvel and D.C. must deal with. Their continued success with titles such as Saga and Black Science will hopefully give rise to even more fresh stories and creators.

Check out the Full Unit Share Pie Chart and List of Top Selling Comics Below.

Full Unit Share of Comic Industry

A Pie Chart on the Comic Industry

Top Ten Selling Single Issues of January 2014

1

BATMAN #27

2

DETECTIVE COMICS #27

3

AVENGERS WORLD #1

4

JUSTICE LEAGUE #27

5

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #25

6

ALL NEW X-MEN #22.NOW

7

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #26

8

HARLEY QUINN #2

9

AVENGERS #25

10

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #11

 

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Gem Awards Annnounce Top Comics for 2013

Gem Awards Annnounce Top Comics for 2013

by J.D. Cook

Another year has ended and you all know what that means!? AWARDS SEASON! Ok, so maybe Comic Books don’t get the whole red carpet treatment but Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. has brought Comic Retailers together to decide what kind of awards should go to who this year. The categories range DCBombshellHarleyQuinnfrom Top Publisher of the Year to Best Free Comic Book Day Book but if I am being honest I think my favorite category is the Collectable Stature of the Year Award primarily because of the stature that won, pictured to the right, (Insert a Joker line about Harley Quinn Here). I think it is interesting to note that while Marvel and D.C. comics dominate the market with a combined 63.83 % of the Market Share, according to numbers provided by Diamond Comics Distributors Inc, Image Comics took home the top Gem Award this year. Image isn’t hugely well known and neither are a lot of the winners on this list but it is nice to know that Retailers recognize the fantastic work coming out of them. Image is currently surging thanks to the fantastic amount of talented creators flocking to the Publisher. There creators can create new stories from which they are allowed to keep a large amount of the profits. Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga really seems to have started this huge trend but titles like Rick Remender’s Black Science are expanding it even further. If you are interested you can find the full list of categories and winners below.

2013 Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Over 4%

Image Comics

 2013 Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Under 4%

BOOM! Studios

 2013 Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher of the Year

Marvel Comics

 2013 Comic Book of the Year – Under $3.00

Afterlife with Archie #1 – Archie Comics

 2013 Comic Book of the Year – Over $3.00

Superior Spider-Man #1 NOW! – Marvel Comics

 2013 Top Dollar Comic of the Year

Superman Unchained #1

2013 Licensed Comic of the Year

The Star Wars: Lucas Draft #1 – Dark Horse Comics

StarWars#1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Magazine of the Year

Batman Automobilia Figure Collectors Magazine – Eaglemoss

 2013 Backlist Publisher of the Year

DC Entertainment

 2013 Original GN of the Year

Hellboy: Midnight Circle HC – Dark Horse Comics

2013 Reprint TP or HC of the Year

Batman: Death of the Family Vol. 3 HC – DC Entertainment

 2013 Licensed TP or HC of the Year

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Vol. 1 TP – IDW Publishing

2013 Manga TP of the Year

Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus Vol. 1 TP – Dark Horse Comics

The Lone Wolf and Cub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Manga Publisher of the Year

VIZ Media

 2013 Anthology of the Year

Dark Horse Presents – Dark Horse Comics

 2013 Indie GN of the Year

March: Book One TP – Top Shelf Productions 

 2013 Trade Book of the Year

Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia HC – Dark Horse Comics

 2013 Best Free Comic Book Day Book

FCBD 2013 The Walking Dead Special – Image Comics

Walking Dead Comic FCBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Best All-Ages Series

Adventure Time – BOOM! Studios

 2013 Best New Comic Book Series

East of West – Image Comics

2013 Game Manufacturer of the Year

Wizkids/NECA

 2013 Game Product of the Year

The Walking Dead: Monopoly PX – USAopoly

 2013 Toy Manufacturer of the Year

DC Collectibles

 2013 Toy Product of the Year

DC Comics Super Villains: The Joker Action Figure – DC Collectibles

 2013 Toy Line of the Year

POP! Vinyl Figures – Funko

Pop Vinyl Batman

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Collectible Statue of the Year

DC Comics Bombshells: Harley Quinn Statue – DC Collectibles

Legends of Batman Collectors Editions

Legends of Batman Collectors Editions

J.D. Cook

Ok so for the second week in a row I won’t be directly discussing the comic book industry. I’d like to but I’ve been so busy and sick I haven’t had time to get new comics in a few weeks. Rest assured I will be catching up when I visit family who live near Brave New World Comics in Philadelphia. That said I’ve decided to do another review to fill out this week’s Comic Book Commentary and what’s a better subject than the Batman: Arkham Origins Collectors Edition material?

I was a huge fan of both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City so I managed to convince myself to purchase the Collector’s Edition of Origins. I usually don’t spring for such things but I can tell you from the experience it was extremely worth it. The Joker stature is amazing and lights up Arkham Origins Collectors Edition with LCD screens. Not to mention the secret hidden inside it which I found almost as soon as I opened it. I guess that means I’m not a bad detective myself! Eat your heart out Batman! Every piece of the collection is well put together. My favorites were Black Mask’s dossier on the Assassins and the Art Book. I love things that tie the fictional universe into ours and nothing does that better than the two pieces of evidence. Really everything was awesome and I have no complaints. I even have my new Batman figure watching over the Joker statue ready to take him out. The real icing on the cake is a documentary called Necessary Evil focusing on the villains of the D.C.Universe. It’s awesome so far and Christopher Lee does the narration for it!

Oh yeah and there was also the game itself with all of this! Well I pretty much loved everything about it. There was a lot that could have went wrong when a new studio took over the Arkham Franchise but Warner Brothers Montreal did a good job. The plot was especially well done and probably my favorite part of the game. There is an obvious twist that happens very early that completely throws you off because you expect it to be at the climax of the game. Troy Baker fills in so well for Mark Hamill as the Joker that you could swear he was actually speaking in certain spots. The game play feels about the same as Arkham City which is great and the addition of the electric gauntlets makes free flow fighting much easier to handle.

The writers said they were inspired by a few different sources for the game’s story, the two biggest being Batman: Year One and the ongoing comic series Legends of the Dark Knight. Sadly Legends of the Dark Knight was recently canceled in print form after something like twenty years. I was interested from playing the game so I went and picked up a couple of issues. I just happened to grab one all about Cyrus Pinkney, who plays into the plot of Arkham Origins. The other story arc involved some circus freaks and Two-Face. It was odd but that is what was cool about Legends of the Dark Knight. It told standalone stories about Batman that didn’t have to be tied to D.C.’s continuity. I hope I can one day publish a Batman story in the online only form of Legends of the Dark Knight. Now I’ve officially tied comic books into this comic book commentary!

I will be doing a more in depth review of just the game itself soon but for now I will leave you with those few words. Always leave them hanging? That’s what the Joker always says…but his definition of hanging is a little more twisted than mine.

Past Comic Book Commentaries
Laying the Hammer Down on ‘Thor’s Day’
Boycott X-Men: Days of Future Past
Uncanny Venom, Hilarious Captain America
Batman Still the Crown Jewel of the New 52
The Superior Spider-Man
The 1st Comic Book Commentary

Agents of Shield: The Well

Agents of Shield: The Well

by J.D. Cook

Sorry folks. I was hit by an Asgardian cold recently and I barely made it through Agents of Shield or my Wednesday. Thankfully I woke up today feeling great with tons of memories of my time recuperating in Tahiti, “It’s a magical place”.

Oh well back to work on ‘Thor’s Day’. Fitting that the episode I’m discussing actually tied into Thor: The Dark World. At first I felt like this episode was a bit slow and silly. I mean why did all of the people in Norway speak English as their first language to each other? Why didn’t Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Hawkeye or Black Widow respond when the mystical Asgardian staff was giving bad people super powers they were using to reap destruction through whole towns? I mean the news was reporting on it. Surely someone could have told any of those superheroes to step in. All of those complaints aside I wasn’t feeling well at all whilst watching it so maybe my mind wasn’t quite connecting all the dots. It was funny that the Agents of Shield started the episode cleaning up after Thor’s destruction in his film.

Now the episode did get immediately better after it was revealed that Dr. Elliot Randolph (Peter Macnicol) was not actually a Professor on Norse legends but in fact a part of them. He was an Asgardian who came down long ago and decided to live on Earth in peace after his years of fighting ended. It’s an interesting parallel to Thor as he is currently doing something similar. As far as character development went in this episode we got to see a bit of Ward’s (Brett Dalton) back story and that Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) is really in charge of her own dark past. If you didn’t watch the episode the mystical Asgardian staff gives you super powers at the cost of forcing you to relive and dwell on your worst memories. Ward used it and was a mess. May used it and was fine. Although I’m not sure how you can’t be a mess when you basically drowned your brother in a well as a young boy. Don’t know what May’s darkness is but it can’t beat that can it? Well we do know she can sleep with it at the very least. Can I get a sick burn high five?! (puts hand up in eager waiting)

A. (puts hand down with a sad look on his face since you didn’t high five him)

B. (puts hand down and looks at you funny for high fiving your computer screen)

In the final scene we got to see Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) dream of his time in Tahiti where his masseuse told him it was a magical place. He woke up shocked but I’m not really sure why. I mean the audience assumes he’s realizing he’s been repeating what he heard there for months but wouldn’t it comfort him to have an actual memory of being there? If anything that makes things less suspicious. Next week the team returns to being…you guessed it…trapped on the plane. There have been far too many episodes set in this location and I hate it and never want to see it again. That’s all.

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy
Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress
Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.
Agents of Shield: The Hub

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Laying the Hammer Down on ‘Thor’s Day’
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Agents of Shield: The Hub

Agents of Shield: The Hub

J.D. Cook

The newest episode of Agents of Shield was interesting for a couple of reasons. My favorite of which was that Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) story is slowly starting to simmer with progress. I’ve made no secret of my belief that Coulson is in fact a life model decoy that will play into Avengers: Age of Ultron somehow, possibly as Ultron himself or the Vision. In this episode Skye (Chloe Bennet) jokingly said, “It’s like he’s been replaced with a robot version of himself”, in reference to Coulson when he tightened up in the capital building of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Hub. There are a few different moments in the show where more is hinted at and I’m really hoping that plot thread is unraveled by the season’s finale. Skye’s back story was also a central theme in the episode and my friend believes she will be revealed to be Jessica Drew a.k.a. Spider-Woman at some point in the future. I’m not really up on that character but after doing a bit of research it certainly seems like an interesting and extremely feasible possibility.

Now while those were the parts of the episode that really interested me the main plot of it revolved around Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Ward (Brett Dalton) in the field being hilarious. This episode was definitely one of the funnier ones to hit the television so far. I did have some minor issues with the episode though. Last week’s episode, F.Z.Z.T., focused on Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and this week on Fitz. It just seemed a bit too formulaic for my taste. I mean those are probably my favorite characters on the show but I think I would have liked a break from their stories to focus in on a slightly different character this week. Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) hasn’t been featured much of late and I’m wondering why that is. It’s also becoming clearer that Shield is less and less noble and Melinda May might just be a Shield operative in place to keep Coulson in line. Fitz does get major bad ass points in this episode for rigging up a ‘vibration gun’ that blew up enemy weapons. That was mighty cool.

Ok last thoughts before wrapping this up. Coulson has obviously caught on to something as the end of the episode showed him calling about his vacation in Tahiti only to discover he wasn’t cleared to learn of his own recovery. He also didn’t raise the issue with Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) yet which means he has lost trust in him or suspects a conspiracy and doesn’t want anyone to know he suspects anything yet. In the comics Fury is pretty notorious for being machiavellian but he’s never downright evil so my guess is Shield has been infiltrated by evil forces which will come into full combat with Captain America in his sequel. I think it would be pretty cool if Agents of Shield ends with Coulson’s team on the run from Shield in a cliffhanger that is resolved when they emerge to help Captain America in The Winter Soldier. Maybe that is just wishful thinking but since Netflix signed a monster deal with Disney giving them exclusive rights to distributing their television programs I’m wondering if Agents of Shield will be anything more than a one season adventure. Only time will tell.

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy
Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress
Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.

Other Comic Book Related Articles

Boycott X-Men Days of Future Past
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Boycott X-Men: Days of Future Past

Boycott X-Men: Days of Future Past

by J.D. Cook

When news broke that Bryan Singer was returning to the super hero franchise that started it all for Marvel I was ecstatic. When news then followed that it would be adapting one of the most beloved stories of the X-Men’s storied history I was even more excited! That said there was a little part of me that remembered the horrors of X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine oh and X-Men: First Class which had great moments spread amongst terribly stupid moments. That said the news just got better as I saw what Sentinels would look like in the film, AWESOME. Also Bolivar Trask is being played by Peter Dinklage which makes a lot of sense in a ton of ways. Unfortunately the good news didn’t last. It seemed like right after the awesome film, The Wolverine, the bad news started to roll in.

In the comics version of Days of Future Past Kitty Pryde sends her consciousness back in time via the help of psychic Rachael Summers. It makes sense in a few ways. Pryde’s power is phasing through objects combined with the power of a psychic who’s to say she couldn’t phase through time. In the film version Wolverine’s consciousness will be sent back in time…now that points to just about everything wrong with the X-Men film franchise. X2 was not a bad film but it marginalized the X-Men to supporting characters in Wolverine’s movie. X-Men 3: The Last Stand and every movie since with the exception of First Class has done the exact same thing. Secondly Singer stated that his new film would be tied to the continuity of the horrid X-Men 3: The Last Stand thus keeping Cyclops and Jean Grey dead. Despite the fact that Xavier is alive and well as Patrick Stewart after he was demolecularized by the Dark Phoenix which is explained by him transferring his consciousness into a new body which I guess somehow completely resembles…his old body? Yeahhh

Now overlooking the fact that Cyclops is arguably the most important X-Man since their debut in comic books and completely…I’ll say it…fucked up in the movies there is more bad news. The one highlight of First Class for me was seeing Magneto in an almost perfect costume near the end Magnetoof the film (pictured to the right). One of the first pictures released for this new film…Magneto in a completely different and stupid looking costume (pictured above). He basically looks like he is wearing a purple jump suit with battle armor and a helmet that looks more like Singer era than First Class. In the dark future where Sentinels rule the world the X-Men’s costumes? Black armor? Yeahhh Singer really doesn’t get that the X-Men’s colors are primarily BLUE and YELLOW! It’s frustrating being a fan of the X-Men. I keep rooting for good news on the movie front but it just seems to get worse. The new preview is just the icing on this terrible cake. It was horribly paced and if you weren’t a big fan of these characters or comics you’d probably have little to no clue as to what was going on. Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s trailer on the other hand…was amazing.

So with that in mind and too many painful hurts in my X-Men movie past I’m deciding right now to BOYCOTT Days of Future Past because the producers, writers and basically everyone over at 20th Century Fox do not have the slightest clue on how to develop or portray these characters. They should do the right thing and just turn them over to Marvel so we can get the X-Men film we deserve as fans. Not saying fans have more rights than creators…but wait we sort of do when we are dealing with comic characters or I should say creators have a responsibility to understand the characters they are working with. I mean how can so many generations of comic creators add to a huge mythology of X-Men stories without ruining them while these films can’t even adapt those stories correctly?

Ok rant over! See ya next Thors Day!

Past Comic Book Commentaries
Uncanny Venom, Hilarious Captain America
Batman Still the Crown Jewel of the New 52
The Superior Spider-Man
The 1st Comic Book Commentary
Defending Remender and Attacking Racism

Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.

Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.

by J.D. Cook

The Agents of Shield dropped by my home state of Pennsylvania last night! Unfortunately it was because a guy’s brain exploded with electricity caused by an alien disease contracted from a Chitauri helmet (the bad alien fodder in the Avengers if you don’t know who they are). Anyway that wasn’t really much of a spoiler because the real juice of the episode lay in the near death of one of the Agents. The overall plot of the story didn’t move forward very much at all but it had more emotional gravitas than any episode thus far. I felt a tad bored as a viewer until the writers flipped the powerful character moments switch to ON. This happened immediately when Coulson (Clark Gregg) refused to leave the side of an infected first responder who was going to die in moments. He attempted to calm him and told the man about his own near death experience stating that he saw something more when he died and it was, ‘beautiful’.

That was just the opening gambit of the episode though as it was Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) who was infected with the alien virus. She then spent a good bit of time trying to cure herself with the aid of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) . The chemistry between the two was amazing in the episode and they should both be given some kind of awards. That said the undisputed best moment of the episode was when Fitz Splitwas going to jump off the plane after Simmons, who was trying to give the team a safe distance from her exploding body, only to have the parachute taken by Ward (Brett Dalton) who leaped out after her without any hesitation after giving a speech to Skye (Chloe Bennet) about waiting to be needed. It was a very cool and amazing moment. I think I’m still recovering from how much my blood pressure rose watching this roller coaster of an episode. I’m just happy the beautiful and amazing Simmons is still on the show and not a victim of Joss Whedon’s murderous ways! Just kidding of course, Whedon has a reputation for killing characters but he’s actually pretty tame when it comes to doing it. This episode did a great job of making me think he might off Simmons even though all my rational story telling predication abilities were telling me it would never happen. So the episode ended on a happy note with Simmons cured and Ward revealing he knows everyone makes fun of him but is actually amused by it.

There were few if any Marvel easter eggs spread throughout the episode and that’s always a bit of a bummer but that wasn’t really the point of the episode. Although Coulson’s blood work was ‘high in iron’ (cough life model decoy cough). My only complaint is that this is the second episode to feature them trapped on their airplane for an extended period. I’m more interested in plots that span different locations and deal with adventure. I’m hoping the mantra for season two is less plane more marvels. Secondly I’m still waiting to see a super power not drive someone insane or be horrible in some way. Oh and why is it reinforced every episode that Coulson is different or that he’s having issues with Shield. I love that story but I want to see some development. He just seems to keep having the same conversations with people about it; this is excluding his great monologue to the first responder which felt very fresh and unique. Agent Blake (Titus Welliver) was a pretty cold antithesis of Coulson though. Fury’s cameo was more funny than serious but Blake seemed to be really threatening Coulson and the moment where he rubbed Lola on his way out drilled home the point that Blake and Coulson could easily be real nemesis down the road a bit. I’m figuring when Coulson realizes Shield isn’t as noble as they seem or when Shield decides to neutralize Coulson.

That’s all for now! See ya next week, hopefully it ties into Thor: the Dark World some how!

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy
Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress

Other Comic Book Related Articles

Top 7 Venom Story Arc Countdown
The Avengers Age of Ultron Preview
Batman Vs Superman Preview
Comic Book Commentary
God Cell: Gate of the Gods

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