Day 2 of Comic and Entertainment Expo in Chicago

Day 2 of C2E2 was much more laid back.  It really needed to be.  I stayed in the Red Roof Inn in Downtown Chicago and the walls were so thin, I could hear thoughts.  So, I got no sleep.  But I was up at the butt crack of dawn and a few minutes later I was showering and getting dressed.  Breakfast was at Dunkin Donuts, a large egg sandwich and a diet Coke. 

On the first day of the comic con my dad called saying I had left my phone charger at their house by accident.  So, in order to charge my phone, I drove to the comic con an hour early and waited in the parking lot so I could charge my phone using the car charger.  I listen to CDs for an hour and played Clash of Clans on my phone.

At 10am I entered the tunnel again and headed back to First Aid to get my wounds redressed.  That didn’t take long.  I entered the C2E2 floor.  My first stop was Charles Soule’s table.  I had him sign the latest Thunderbolts, Red Lanterns and Letter 44 issues.  Greg Pak was next.  I had him sign my Batman Superman issue.

My next stop was the autograph lines.  It was only to see who was giving signatures and when.  But as I got closer I saw a big line was forming and it was for Stan Lee.  I got in it.  In retrospect, I should have brought him a Spiderman book to sign but instead I brought  Thunderbolts because it was the only Marvel comic book I had on me and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t sign a DC book since he wrote the very first Marvel stories and has been associated with the company since then.  My experience with Stan Lee was underwhelming but it was still very cool to stand that close to a legend.

My next stop was breakfast which was a Polish Dog from Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs.  One of the owner’s sons was behind the booth and since I hadn’t seen him in many, many years( I went to church with his family) I called him over and we chatted for a few minutes.  It was very cool to connect with my past.

By the time I had eaten, I had already missed the Stan Lee panel so I decided to go to the Warehouse 13 panel.  I had a ton of fun at this panel.  It was the only panel where the moderator was almost unneeded.  The panelists were so connected with their fans that Eddie McClintlock even hopped off the stage and stood with crowd hugging each of the attendees that had questions.  He even stopped for selfies which annoyed some people but made others very happy.  Saul Rubinek even allowed one of the attendees to run up on stage and hug him.

I am going to miss the show a lot.

Probably the coolest thing that happened to me in two days happened in the afternoon.  As I was browsing the different comic book vendors, I came across One Stop Comics.  It was the comic book shop that started me with my love of Marvel Comics when I was 14 years old.  30 years ago. We only got to talk for a few minutes but it made me feel so good about being a collector 

Here is what I would say about this con. I highly recommend going. It was intensely fun. There were only two suggestions for improving the experience that I’d have made. One: only half of the showroom floor was carpeted. The autographing lines need carpeting, desperately. Secondly: the booth numbers were difficult to find. They need to be more prominent. Other than that, this was a very cool experience

Advertisements

C2E2 musings for the first day I was there

Instead of talking about the comics I read this week, I wanted to talk about C2E2. This was my first year going to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, so I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was beyond my expectations but at the same time exactly what I expected.

Day 1 started a bit different than I expected. I parked in Parking lot B and as I was exiting it lead to a tunnel. As I entered into the tunnel, I looked over to my left and the person next to me was dressed in a costume of the priest in Indiana Jones and the temple of doom. He had a fake heart in his hand. I can only assume it was fake. His buddy was dressed as Indiana Jones. I looked over at him and confessed I wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt entering a dark tunnel with a “bunch of nerds.” He laughed at it and said “Don’t worry your heart is safe.” As I was walking in I tripped and fell drawing blood on the palm of my hand and skinned my knee. I went up the escalator and directly to the first aid office. On my way there Hacksaw Jim Duggan passed me. There was no one at the First Aid Office. A few seconds later, another staff approached me to let that someone on the show floor had either passed out or fallen. I’d have to wait.

When they finally arrived they asked me about 7 different times where I fell. By the 6th time I was ready to shout at them that I had no interest in suing them. Instead, I accepted their help.

After accepting their help, I got into the Will Call line to pick up my ticket. As I walked to it, I could already see the Cosplayers (Costume Play for those unaware of what it means). Some were of okay quality but there were some that you could tell had worked on their costumes for months. I think my favorite was the Dalek which looked like an exact replica of the villain. Next to that was Spawn. The guy even had 6 foot tall wings that you could stand under without bending over. There were a lot of Poison Ivy and Deadpool wannabees too.

I started my day off bringing my prize possession,Incredible Hulk 340 to the CGC booth to have it graded. For those of you unaware of the process, comics are graded on a scale from 1-10 with each 1/10 of a number having significance based on paper quality,any staining, ripping, tearing etc. The process cost me $33.00 and will take two months to evaluate. After the evaluation is complete, the comic is sent back encased in plastic to preserve the comic.

The rest of my day was split between trying to get Scott Snyder’s autograph, which I never got( I got turned away twice because the line was too long),and getting Alfie Allen’s( actor who plays Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones) signature, Mick Foley’s picture with me( Professional Wrestling legend)and both Allison Scagliotti( Claudia from Warehouse 13) and Eve Myles from Torchwood. All of them were especially nice but I was really impressed with Alfie Allen, who took time to talk to me about his character and some of the differences from the book.

I missed the Game of Thrones fan panel which bummed me out but I did make it to the DC new 52 panel where I learned that an upcoming issue of Harley Quinn will have her invading the San Diego comic con. Some of the things that were described in that issue will be hilarious. I also learned that in September each of the 52 books will have 3D lenticular covers and will focus primarily on each of the books 5 years into the future.

I ended my day in the ’24’ reunion panel. It was a very strange panel because the moderator insisted on asking the guests questions that had nothing to do with the show. I think what also made it strange was that, with the exception of Carlos Bernard, the rest of the panel had been killed off on the show. The panel wasn’t bad, per se, but it was a bad moderating job.

There are times when I felt very at home amongst my fellow nerds. I can’t say I understand the need to dress up for these conventions but I really admire the work that each attendee that did put into it.

But I think that its about pride. Many of the people who showed up to the convention don’t find solace in sports and more conventional things, so they put their passion into Super Heroes. Comics are escapism but they are often about every day people who become something extraordinary. Comic conventions are one of the places they can be prideful of that passion and flaunt it. I had a great first day at C2E2

this week

Hi Everyone. I am going to be a taking a week off on comic reviews….maybe. I’m headed to the Chicago this week for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. My goal is to report on the two days I’m there

Comic Book Reviews for the week of 4/14/14

This weeks comic book list was a big one for me.  It is filled with two series finales and at least one new beginning.  I look forward to reading each book and sharing my thoughts with all of you.

The first book I read this week was the last of one of the most enjoyable series I’ve read in the last 2 years.  The Superior Spider-Man 031 does a great job at wrapping up the series.  As most of my blog readers will already recognize, Doctor Octopus has been masquerading as Spider-Man for the last two years.  If you had not heard this I’d highly recommend reading Amazing Spider Man 700 and continuing from there.  What has made this series so enjoyable has been watching Doc Ock try to be a Superior hero to Peter Parker and sometimes succeeding and other times failing miserably.  As most of you know, Doc Ock sacrificed himself when he realized that he couldn’t beat the Goblin King as Spider Man and only Peter Parker could.  His sacrifice, while noble, created a myriad of problems that Peter Parker will be facing for issues of Amazing Spider-Man to come.

There are things I really liked about this issue.  I liked the devastation that Doc Ock created for Peter and that the author of this book didn’t resolve all the issues in a neat and tidy fashion.  I liked the Norman Osbourne twist in the book too.  There was only one thing in the book that really annoyed me.  Most of the characters in the book that either knew Doc Ock was Spidey or knew Peter were too easily convinced that he was Peter Parker again.  There was a few times where all Spidey had to do was crack a joke and the other characters were ready to take him at his word.  It would never have been this easy.

I also thought that the art in the first half of the book was much better in the first half of the book than in the second.  It just didn’t seem as consistently good. 

I don’t like saying goodbye to characters I like, and to be honest, reading Spidey as a witty teen after reading a more serious character for the last two years took some getting used to.  I’m giving this book a B.  While the writing is good, I thought it could have been just a tad better.

Hulk #001 on the other hand was a superb comic in every stretch of the imagination.  This is the continuation of the final issue of Indestructible Hulk and although it is an extension of the last series, there is enough of Hulk’s past shared in this book to encourage new readers to flock to this book.  It is not much of a surprise that Bruce Banner was shot.  That information is on the cover of the comic book.  Who shot him is a mystery.  There is enough hints as to who it looks like shot him but nothing definitive.  Mark Waid does an excellent job keeping things in this book mysterious.  There are many questions left unanswered here.  He also does an excellent job giving the back stories of each character while furthering along the story.  There is a twist in the book that is HUGE!

The art in this book is also impressive. Mark Bagley does an excellent job drawing this book. I am very pleased with the first book and hope each book continues to be as good. This is an A+ book

Uncanny X-men 020 is another issue in the series that seems to be leading the readers into a very large battle between S.H.I.E.L.D and the X-men. Scott Summers, Cyclops, is convinced that the new Sentinels having something to do with Maria Hill. This book continues the tension in the book between the two characters. We learn a lot about Maria Hill in this book and a few things she would rather we didn’t know.

Brian “Michael” Bendis does a great job of showing us the tenuous thread of sanity that Cyclops is hanging on to. We don’t know if we should feel for Cyclops or hate him. In many cases, this would be annoying but in this book, it helps build the tension. I only hope the payoff is as good as the tension is on the page

The art is getting better issue to issue. I look forward to what is next. B+

Last week I wrote that I thought Nightcrawler #1 was an unnecessary comic book. I stand by that. This week even further solidifies that statement. Amazing X-men 006, while not being a part of the first story arc, does do a good job at wrapping it up. Azazel, Nightcrawler and Mystique are all on earth now and it’s time for an extremely dysfunctional family reunion. Without giving anything else away about the book, I thought this was a decent book. I really only had one gripe about the writing. There is a panel in the book where Nightcrawler refers to the X-men as Amazingly Uncanny. I groaned when I read that. Instead of reading like genuine narration, that box felt like a plug for another book.

I am conflicted by the art in this book. There are times when I think the art was like looking at the art of an up and coming artist trying to break into the comic book business. I know that I am very tough on the art in these books but if either the writing, or the art, is off it can detract from the book’s enjoyability. I don’t know these artists from Adam but I know what I like. I’m sure most of them are nice individuals. I’m giving this book a B. While I enjoyed the book, there were things that kept it from being great.

I have really enjoyed reading the new Wolverine series. Wolverine 004 continues Logan’s search to figure out who he is without his healing factor. He has been approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. and a mysterious gangster named Offer. Although it looks like his decision on who to follow was pretty well made in this issue, his doubts about his usefulness still leaves the reader with enough doubts about where things are headed. That’s one of the things that work so very well. Paul Cornell does a great job writing this book.

The art on this book is top notch. Especially on the character’s faces. I highly recommend this book. A+

When Cable and X-force first came out I hated it. The book had trouble communicating the urgency of the missions that Cable was sending his team on. About half way through the series, the book got much better. But just like Marvel to fix something after it’s been fixed and break it again. X-force #3 is one of the most non-sensical comics I’ve read in a long time. The dialogue is filled with gibberish and and enough blotted out profanity to make the plot almost indecipherable. . Which is a shame because I love the art in this book. It’s very stylistic but very, very cool. It’s still not good enough to ignore the writing. The bottom line: They broke what had been fixed. C-

There have been 21 issues of Thor and not one stand alone story. It shouldn’t annoy me but it does. Books where the story can be moved along seamlessly are much more intriguing. The current issue of Thor God of Thunder(021) is part of a story line that seems to be pretty common. Mankind has destroyed the world by mistreating the environment and now a mystical creature, who is a god, saves the day. If it wasn’t for the underlying message that humans are evil creatures and the environment is more important, I might have enjoyed this book. Art aside this book annoyed me. I like the Galactus angle but wasn’t the biggest fan of the rest of the book. B-

DC Books:

Batman 30 was an excellent book. This past year has been exceptional. Scott Snyder delivered the story of Bruce Wayne and his journey to becoming Batman and his first big challenge with the Riddler. This is the final act and I’m not sure if that means the books will go back to the present or there will be more stories from the past. With all the Batman books available, it would seem that one book could stay on his earliest adventures.

The art in this book seems muted. It’s almost as if the coloring in the stories are trying to keep us grounded in the fact that these are stories are taking place in the past. I would like more vibrant colors. Still, this book was excellent. A

Whenever a comic book goes under in the new 52, a new one pops up. This one is a much more welcome addition than the past offerings of The Movement and Teen Trillionaires. Sinestro #1 fills in the gap that has been missing for far too long. Sinestro disappeared from DC when things seemed to be at their lowest. Since that disappearance, there has been no mention of the Yellow Lantern Corps. They’re back!

This book, although being an #1 in a series, is not a true beginning. It is a direct continuation of him leaving and involves him being encouraged to return as the leader of The Yellow Corps through Lyssa Drak. This was a fun comic. The art is creepy at times but fun. The story is also fun. Well done! A.

I am not going to spend too much time on Green Lantern New Guardians 30. The biggest problem with this book is that Kyle Ranier is not at all interesting. And the fact that Carol Farris has chosen him over Hal Jordan makes her less interesting. The action in this book is cool and the art is decent but the character doesn’t do anything for me. I’m giving this book a weak B.

Those are my comic reviews for the week. Come back next week for more

Comic book reviews for 4/7/14

Welcome back to my weekly look at comic books. This week I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’m going to start with an Image title. I actually had no intention of reading Shutter #1 and the truth is when I went to my local comic book store, they said that no one had ordered it so he hadn’t received any copies. So I ordered it on the Image Comics app. I was pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a introduction to the comic book. We are introduced to Kate Kristopher, a 27 year old woman mourning the death of her father and at the same time remembering all the adventures that they shared together.

The writing in this book is superb. I love the flashbacks in this book and it did a lot to help us feel comfortable knowing Kate. There is a lot of profanity in the book but I’ve sort of come to expect that of an Image title. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the scenes that are supposed to take place in the present. Apparently, a lot of very strange things are happening to Kate. The art in this book is also very good and I could see myself admiring more books the Leila Del Duca produces. I think I really only have one concern for the book. Sometimes the bizarre aspects of a story can sometimes overshadow the best aspects of a story. It is too early to tell if this’ll happen but the Team of Keatinge and Del Duca have produced an interesting, and at times, tender first book. I’m looking forward to seeing what the second book brings. A-

The second book I read this week was All New X-Men #025. This was a sort of an anniversary book because it focused on celebrating it’s 25th issue. In order to celebrate this achievement Marvel invited various artists to illustrate the book. Most of the art was great with a few exceptions. Without giving anything away, this book seems to be a prelude to Original Sin, this summer’s big Marvel crossover event. The Watcher and Beast are the main characters in this book. The writing in this book is top notch and does an excellent job at asking the question about whether or not you can truly understand all the ramifications of the decisions and actions you take. The book itself is pretty introspective, however, there are some fairly hilarious moments worth reading with colossus, yet, I can’t help but feel that some of the light hearted parts of the book may distract from the quality of the stories.

The art ranges from being spectacular, the first time we see Collosus, to absurd, the scenes with Wolverine and Jean. This book was cool and there is enough here to make us wonder where the title is heading. This book gets a solid A. While it’s not perfect, it is intriguing.

I don’t normally rate past books but this week was the first time I got to read Avengers 027. Avengers continues to be one of the best written books in the Marvel universe. The current issue continues the story line where A.I.M. has pulled an alternate team of The Avengers from the Multiverse. Usually when comic books do stories with two of the same team in the same book, it gets confusing but not this time. The writing in this book gives us a very clear distinction between the teams and the differences are both surprising and pretty cool. I loved the panels Banner

The art is always good in this book and I have no complaints. Great job! A+

Mighty Avengers might have the best art in the Comic book universe. Mighty Avengers 009 is no exception to that statement. The art continues to be breathtaking and makes this one of the most enjoyable comic book reading experiences I’ve ever had. I only wish that Greg Land was drawing She Hulk for her own comic because the team of Land and Soule could be unstoppable.

This book divides its time between Ronin and Blue Marvel. Each story line is great but the story line for Ronin has the greatest payoff. Very cool reveal. This is also an A+ comic

Secret Avengers really didn’t need to reboot. Each issue has been a joy to read. The plots are often so complex they read like a Tom Clancy novel. The tension in Secret Avengers #002 is palpable. Maria Hill is in trouble. Phil and Nick are in trouble. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s satellites are not working and M.O.D.O.K. is in charge?

The art is very different in this book. Or, at the very least, it seems very retro. It’s almost as if the artist is hearkening back to the day when comics were starting and the art tried to be progressive but came across as cheesy

This is a good book and, although, the tone of the book has changed a bit, it is still very well done. B+

Thunderbolts 024 was a great comic but this series hasn’t always been that way. When this series started, up through the Inhumanity saga, the art and writing was mediocre at best. But with Charles Soule being at the helm and Paco Diaz as the artist, there is a better book being written and drawn.

Each book has been a continuation of the story that all of the team members are allowed to pick missions they want to finish. With Venom leaving the team, General Ross picks the mission this week. The mission was very cool and the writing made it feel like I stepped into a seedy spy drama.

This is a very different book for Marvel. This book is light hearted and dark at the same time and, even when it uses conventional comic book writing, it seems very unconventional. I’m giving this book an A

Nightcrawler #1 seems like an unnecessary comic. It was a good comic but felt unneeded. With Amazing X-men recently starting with a story that introduced Nightcrawler, it just seems that his story could have been continued in that book. With Kurt Connors being alive again there is a lot to get used to and a lot of catching up to do.

The book does a great job at showing that Nightcrawler is dealing with being alive in a time that is not his own. His team members are happy to see him but he feels out of place. The art is good but, in all honesty, the quality of the art seems inconsistent. All in all, this is a good comic but I just can’t help but thinking that the comic is unnecessary. B

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #011 was an alright book. I started out loving this book. It was witty and made me laugh a lot. However, after a few issues of the book the humor was predictable and boring. But this issue was a little more original. This book takes us away from The Sinister Six and focuses on the lesser know villains. This also is one of the first books that shows battles between the villains and Spidey. But the comic comes late. With the Revelation in the last of The Superior Spider-Man the book seems strangely out of place. It doesn’t fit the timeline

The art in this book is good. There are no artistic renderings that make you wonder why they are there. I’m giving this a book a weak B. Although most of the book is pretty decent, its still out of place

Green Lantern Corps 30 has great things about it and not so great things about it. Throughout this current story line the villains, the Durlan, have put up some challenges to The Corps that have made things very difficult for them. Yet, The Durlan have always felt a little bit two dimensional to me. That is no longer the case. This issue did a great job of giving us the back story of the Durlans and why they hate the Lanterns.

The art in this book was not my favorite. The characters feel like caricatures and less characters. It’s not enough of a distraction but it’s does change my opinion a bit. I’m giving this book a B.

Superman Wonder Woman 7 was a great comic book. But I’ve almost come to expect that from any book that Charles Soule has written. The book left us last issue with an Atomic bomb detonating. This issue concerns the aftermath of the explosion.

The art in this book captures the horrific effects of the explosion in a very shocking way by depicting the desolation that an explosion like that could entail.

The book also introduces the Super Man Doomed story line. Since Doomsday killed Superman once, it should be an interesting story.

The art in this book is amazing! This is an A+ book.

Those are the Reviews for the week. Thank you for visiting

Comic Book Reviews for the week of 3/31/14

 

Hi Everyone and welcome to my comic book reviews for the week.  It turned out to be a pretty busy week for me so I needed to take some time to deflate before starting a new project, but I’m ready now so let’s get started.

The first of the books I read this week was Moon Knight #002.  There is a parental warning on this comic book and rightly so.  This is a dark book and very close to being an Image Comic.  I loved the first book of the series because of the choices they made with the main character. I’m not sure I loved the art in this book.  It seemed that they wanted to make a dark, gritty book but because the artist of the book works for a company owned by Disney, the artist had to hold back.  The images are still violent but not necessarily clear and, as a result, I had difficulty following it.

The writing is kind of unclear too.  There are a large number of characters in this book and each one were showcased to display “a day in the life…”.  The problem is that we don’t know any of the characters and the author chooses to weave in and out of each of the characters without mentioning who they are.  I wanted to love the comic.  I just didn’t.  B-

Magneto 002 probably deserves to have a parental warning on it too, if for nothing other than the last few pages.  This was a pretty spectacular comic book.  The readers of the book are treated to flashbacks that add depth to Magneto and his mission.  In this issue, our main character goes in search of the person that is responsible for merging humans and sentinels together and it brings him to a pretty unlikely place.  Magneto has been experimented with in the past, and as a result, what is happening fuels his anger even more.  When Magneto gets angry, it’s bad.

Whether or not you think Magneto has pure motives or nefarious ones, this book does an excellent job showing that Magneto is not the psycho villain everyone expects out of a villain.  Instead, we get a very well rounded man who has the capacity for empathy as well as great evil.

The dialogue in this book was very well done.  The art is really good but there are a few times where Magneto’s expressions were too comic like.  I am looking forward to reading the next installment of this book. A+

Loki #003 is a bit of an enigma for me.  There are things I liked a lot about this book and things I’m not sure I liked.  This is the story of how Loki shows up periodically throughout Odin’s life.  The first two stories are actually kind of cool but the third is just plain confusing.  I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this book because I am not emotionally vested in it.  There are some great sequences in the book and some not so great.  If this book had been easier to follow, I’d have been more eager to give it a better grade.  B-

 

There are times when art can detract from a comic book. Even when the writing in a book is pretty darn good, the art can cause the book to be mediocre. She-Hulk 003 is one of those books. I love reading books written by Charles Soule because he understands the characters in the book. But, I have never wanted a new artist more. I know there are a lot of Manga fans out there. I am not one of them.

The story in this book was decent. Jennifer Walter’s client is surprising, to say the least. Without giving anything away, this is the beginning of an ongoing story. I’m not entirely sure I bought the motivation of She-Hulk’s client. It doesn’t seen sincere. I guess we will see. B-

Green Lantern 30 seems to be an abrupt beginning to an end of the Khund war. I could be wrong. I have enjoyed this book immensely. Each book seamlessly leads to the next chapter of each saga. The tension almost always seems palpable and the emotions and sentiments behind each character seems very real.

The art in this book this week is my favorite part of the book.. It has as much do with the shading as it does the penciling. A very rich, very detailed view of the characters. The writing in this book is also very good. We get to see a new Hal Jordan with a new lease on life for the Corps. I’ll give this book an A.

I think those will be my thoughts for the week. This wasn’t my favorite week for comics. I’m hoping next week will be better

My Review of Captain America: Winter Soldier

When the first Captain America came out in movie form, I didn’t know what to expect.  As a comic book reader I knew enough of the story to have a very basic idea of what to expect but I wasn’t so familiar with Steve Rogers that the movie wasn’t surprising for me.  That is actually one of the things that made the original movie one of the best of the Marvel movies up until that point.  The movie did an excellent job of telling the fictional story of Captain America while capturing the real symbol that he came to be during Hitler’s reign.   I also liked the fact that the special effects in the movie furthered the story rather than being too overbearing.

The second movie, Captain America Winter Soldier spends some time visiting the same misgivings that Captain America was feeling at the beginning of Avengers.  He is still having difficulty adjusting to the new world.  Steve Rogers is used to a world where things are black and white.  Things are not that way anymore.  S.H.I.E.L.D. has the challenge of anticipating problems before they happen.  As a result, it appears that they are becoming guardians of earth through intimidation and fear.  Captain America doesn’t like that and starts questioning whether  or not he is doing the right thing.

There is a lot of action in this story and it is well choreographed.  Most of the scenes are really fun to watch.  However, there are times when the action seems to cover the fact that the moviegoers are not told who the Winter Soldier is and why he is who he is until half way through the movie.  When we finally learn about The Winter Soldier, it is less than satisfactory of an explanation.  Despite that, the pacing of the movie seemed to fall back into place in the second half of the movie.

The second half of the movie was a joy to watch.  There are enough swerves and intrigue to make up for the awkward pacing in the first half of the movie.  There is plenty to like about this movie.  I love that Colbie Smulders actually got to be a bad ass in this movie as Maria Hill.  Anthony Mackie was fun as Falcon too.  As far as Marvel Comics go, I still liked it better than most of the Iron Man saga but not as much as Avengers.  It was a fun movie.  3 out of 4 stars