Its one thing if a comic has a variant cover by a different artist. When INFINITE CRISIS came out years ago Jim Lee did the covers and George Perez did the variant covers. I sought out the variants because I'm a big fan of George Perez's artwork. I certainly didn't buy two copies of the same book. I can even understand seeing two covers by different artists and really loving the artwork on both covers, and buying both if you're unable to choose.
But this business Marvel's doing with not coloring parts of the cover and calling it a variant. That's so freaking sketchy. I've got to wonder where they came up with such an idea..
Head Suit: "OK men, our movie franchises are a hot ticket right now, but need a good sales boost on our comics. Ideas?"
Suit #1: "Make the best books we possibly can and hope readers and the market recognize this?"
Head Suit: "You're fired."
Suit #2: "I've got it! Variant covers!"
Suit #3: "We tried that back in the 90s. About the same time our bankruptcy attorney gave us our frequent filer card."
Suit #2: "No, no! It'll work this time! We've got Disney money backing us! Mickey Mouse cheddar, baby!"
Head Suit: "No, we're not going to use the Disney money to fall back on, but still this variant cover idea might have legs."
Suit #2: "Sure. We'll hit the nostalgia factor. If those guys across the street can bring back Barry Allen and get people to actually buy a book starring him after he's been gone for twenty-five years, I think we can run with such an old school gimmick. Its been twenty years, so its about time again."
Suit #4: "Are we going with the card stock, foil embossed covers with the holograms again?"
Suit #3: "Hold it. You've got to remember that we're still in a recession. Those bells and whistles will up the cover price. Money's tight and there's a lot of readers who won't pay too much more than they already do for one book."
Head Suit: "Yes, we need something that won't up the cover price much, if at all."
((Insert hours of pondering here.))
Suit #4: "What if we don't color part of the cover?"
Suit #3: "What?"
Suit #4: "Yeah, we'll not color a certain character on the cover."
Head Suit: "Oooo, I wonder how much we'll save in ink?"
Suit #3: "Probably not much, sir."
Suit #2: "Hey! Maybe we can get a kickback from Crayola, since someone will have to color those missing parts."
Head Suit: "Excellent thinking! Good work, gentlemen! Pie and hookers all around!"
THE WALKING DEAD #96 concludes the "A Larger World" storyline which is pretty pivotal. At the end of the last issue Rick was forced to kill a member of the Hilltop community in self defense. This issue we get a better idea of what Hilltop has to deal with, but its from description rather then Kirkman just dumping action on us. Hilltop has enemies. Rick and the others need what Hilltop has to offer in terms of supplies and food. Hilltop needs what Rick and others can provide by way of strength. This is so very fascinating from an anthropological point of view. We're seeing how countries are made. These tribes have formed a network to help each other. Now Rick's tribe has joined and we see what their contribution will be. How its going to work out is anyone's guess, but most likely Hilltop's enemies are going to have to deal with a very determined Rick Grimes as we approach issue #100 of the series.
THE SHADOW #1 kicks off Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell's take on the classic pulp character. I'm a fan of The Shadow. I loved the Alec Baldwin flick. I still catch an occasional episode of the old radio show when the local high school radio station plays them. Ennis pulls no punches here. I love WWII comics, but haven't seen anything of his concerning anything from the Pacific Theater. The book opens with details of japan's brutal assaults on China. I'm not sure how much of it is accurate, but when it comes to WWII stuff Ennis tends to be very well researched. Ennis's version of The Shadow is a gun toting, avenging mystic, who seems very cold. Then we see him as being very smooth and debonair as Lamont Cranston. I wasn't really thrilled with how he acted towards Margo Lane, however that was only one scene and I'm thinking she's one that'll be holding her own. I find this version of The Shadow not very likable, but still entertaining. I do like Ennis as a writer, and he's good at writing characters which aren't terribly likable, but still sympathetic. Haven't seen it here yet, but its just the first issue and we'll see how it goes.
THE ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #2 gives us another trio of really great stories. This book has an excellent balance to it. We start off with a harrowing tale from the battlefield of WWII. Then its over to a fun little story with Cliff checking up on Betty while she's filming a movie. The last one is a great story from the one and only Walt Simonson with a charming little story. I do get a kick out of this book. We're treated to all these different takes of the same character by all these really talented writers and artists. Even with all the differences in the story styles, its still all obviously the Rocketeer. Great read.
RAGEMOOR #2 is just flat out freaky. I've read my fair share of really weird and disturbing comics, but this one has got to be up there in the ranks. It bangs about with the subtlety of a tire iron right to the face. The setting is just so intentionally horrendous, and Master Herbert tries to rail against it this issue for what happened to Anoria last issue. It just goes horribly and I have to wonder how on earth he and Bodrick the butler have survived so long in there. The answer is that the castle tolerates them and you don't screw with the castle. The creatures inhabiting the place are just so weird and freak that i have difficulty fathoming how the pieces of the puzzle fit. We know from the first issue how the castle was built, and how over time developed some sort of life of its own. Its almost like it is some Gothic, Lovecraftian entity that has all these little things growing in it like bacteria. Read it if you feel like getting weirdly creeped out.
Caught this tune on the radio yesterday. I dug it.
That's it for me. See y'all Wednesday.