Batman-86-Cover-Featured-Daniel

Fuck It, I Bought Some Batman Comics

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Over the course of the past two months, most of the comic shops near me have reopened. Despite my intense desire to scope out the Twin Cities nerd scene, I did not immediately rush out to buy print comics when shops began reopening. I was jobless for three months this spring, and my wife and I still have a few big purchases to make as a result of our cross-country move. While we are doing absolutely fine and are quite well-off considering others’ situations, rushing back into a just-reopened comic shop and buying all the things felt irresponsible to me.

So I waited, until I’d received enough paychecks that I figured I could drop some money on comics. And while I waited, I thought about what I was going to buy. A lot of trades and series and OGNs floated through my mind, but as the day I was actually, finally going to get to go to a comic shop, have a look around, and buy some comics approached, only one title felt right to purchase:

When I told my wife I was planning to buy a mess of Batman comics, she rolled her eyes at me and said, “Of course you are.” This statement both does not give me enough credit for expanding my comics palette over the last eleven years, and is also extremely correct. Because when given the chance to actually enter a comic shop for the first time since we moved to Minnesota, I decided that what I really wanted was some comfort food. Something that would make the next few hours spent reading at home feel normal, exciting, and wonderful in a way that most things don’t right now. If you’ve been binging old favorites on Netflix or from your bookshelf to get through the tougher days of this pandemic, then you know why I bought Batman.

Of course, it helps that the main Batman series is currently fantastic. Given how writer James Tynion IV has spoken about his approach to the series, given that the rotating art team contains a couple of my current favorite DC artists, and given that the War Rocket Ajax boys have talked about loving this run, I knew I would at least like the ten issues of Batman that I bought. I did not, however, just like them – I really, really enjoyed them. They felt both comfortable and fresh in the exact way that I wanted and needed right now.

I had planned to read just the first couple of the ten issues I bought and save the rest for a camping trip I have coming up. I read all ten issues within a few hours. I will read them again on the camping trip, to catch the things I missed because I was reading too quickly. I may have started reading them again while I was writing this paragraph. I can tell you without hestitation that Batman is good right now. Which makes at least one thing that is good right now.

That feeling, that at least something is good right now, is all I wanted out of my first visit to a Twin Cities comic shop. So I consider my first mid-pandemic comics run to be a success. Next time, I likely won’t buy just Batman – but I most certainly will still be buying Batman.

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Five Things to Do Instead of Reading Comics

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For various reasons, it’s been tough to enjoy reading or talking about comic books recently. So this week – little to no comics talk. Instead, here are some non-comics-reading ways you can spend your free time, if you’re looking to step away from comics for a while. (For those looking for comics talk, I’ll hopefully have some for you in a couple weeks.)

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Check Out the First Issue of Extra Crunchy Fun!

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Extra Crunchy Fun Vol 1 Issue 1 Cover

Excuse me as I indulge in a bit of self-promotion! The wonderful Kathryn Prince (a.k.a Red Phacelia) and I just put out a new zine, and if you like this blog, I think you’ll dig our zine, too. Especially if you are a fan of “Marvel’s” “Thanos” (an entirely new character who is obviously legally distinct from Marvel’s Thanos):

Thanos Comic Teaser Extra Crunchy Fun
What is this goofball up to now???

Want to learn why Thanos should have paid attention in biology class? Then click this link to purchase the first issue of Extra Crunchy Fun from Gumroad for just $1. You’ll not only get Kat’s three-page Thanos comic, but also a couple short prose stories, an excellent no-bake cookie recipe, a Star Wars-themed crossword, and more! Which is actually quite the bargain.

If you purchase the zine, definitely come back here afterward and leave a comment letting us know what you thought of it. We’re already planning our next issue, and we’d love to use your feedback to make it even crunchier.

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Why and How to Condense Marvel’s Superhero Line to Just 12 Books

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Marvel Comics publishes a lot of comic books. In March 2020, Marvel published at least 80 new single-issue comics, the majority of which were set within the Marvel Superhero Universe. If a reader wanted to keep up with the Marvel Universe as a whole that month, they would have had to read 60+ books and spend $240+ to do so.

I’m certain that few (if any) readers did that. And anecdotally, retailers have been asking Marvel to reduce the number of books they publish for years now. 60+ superhero books is (and likely always has been) too many to ask readers and retailers to care about each month. Releasing that many titles that regularly oversaturates the market, cannibalizes sales, and perhaps most importantly, keeps readers from being able to access and understand the Marvel Universe as a whole.

Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases roughly two new movies and a new TV show each year, and audiences eat them up. They do so because each new MCU installment feels accessible, digestible, and important. Because just two Marvel superhero movies release each year, each remains an event to behold. Because roughly 15 to 20 Marvel superhero comics release each week, each has to fight and scrap (or do something exceptional) to get noticed.

Retailers and readers like myself felt this way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now, it seems Marvel may agree with us. In early May, Marvel announced that seven of its current monthly titles (and one one-shot) would switch to releasing digitally first, before later being collected in print. (This is a bummer, by the way, for the creators who were excited for these books to release in print, the readers who were excited to read them in print, and the comic shops that will miss out on selling physical copies of these books.) Marvel’s print publishing line is now shrinking – so the question now becomes, how much further could it go?

Believe None Riddler Story Featured Image

Someone Please Draw My Riddler Story

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Even before we all got ordered to stay home, I was trying to break a Riddler story I’ve had in mind for months. While I didn’t get there on this pass (I really want to explore what the Riddler, a man who relies on facts, makes of a “post-truth” world – this is my Black Label pitch, DC! Call me!), I think the eight page story I wrote turned out well enough.

In hopes that someone who is skilled at illustrating also has some extra time on their hands, I’m posting my script below (and if you want a Google Docs link, I’ve got that, too). If you are bored and want a Riddler and Nightwing story to illustrate, here it is! And if you make the attempt, please let me know if my script could use any additions/edits. It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of these things.

Otherwise, feel free to just read and (hopefully) enjoy.