Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Marvel Movie News [The Numbers]
Doc doesn't appear in the big list of properties at the end of this article. Sigh.

Interesting and unfortunate: Ashcroft's crackdown on head shops is affecting an outlet for alt comics [TCJ Message Board]

Textmusic for Rantpeople [Breakdowns]
Advice for reviewers, commentators and bloggers.

Posted 27 February 02003 - Permalink

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Marvel Sues Sony

[Splash] [Dow Jones (on Yahoo)] [Reuters (on Yahoo) ("Spider-Man is based on a Marvel character created by artist Stan Lee")] [Marvel Press Release (on Yahoo)] [Newsarama] [Pulse] [Pulse Update] [Journalista]

Insanity! Neilalien finds this so fascinating. Everyone wants a piece of that big Spider-Man pie (except for Steve Ditko, the man most responsible for said pie's existence). What does this mean for Sony buying Marvel? If you map out the lawsuits, the path is clear: Just eliminate the Marvel middle man and have Sony cut a big check to Stan Lee.

Steven Grant wants the comic book industry to get unstuck from its epic struggle over Lichtenstein [Comic Book Resources]

Stuart Moore's Thousand Flowers keep blossoming [Newsarama]

Big thanks to any and all who blogged and/or emailed Blogday wishes.

Posted 26 February 02003 - Permalink

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Happy Blogday!

As of today Neilalien has been blogging, in one form or another, for three years. Zoiks. Neilalien's blogging dentures almost fell out when he realized it.

Rumor: Neilalien sources are reporting that Marvel editors are saying that they've got more than enough proposals already for Dr. Strange re: the Epic imprint, and they're not accepting any more. Also that Dr. Strange consistently receives a high number of proposals (presumably among characters who don't currently have their own books).

Now Neilalien wants more Dr. Strange pretty badly. He doesn't want just any schmuck on it though. But people are lined up to work on this popular character, and the proposals are numerous. Let's see a little somethin' somethin'!

This rumor has a Johnston rank of 8 out of 10.

Top 300 Comics for March 2003 [ICv2]
Journalista has its proper analysis. But what Neilalien also notices is that The End, the Marvel Universe's next infinithanostarlicosmocalyptic (in-fin'-e-than'-oh-star'-la-coz'-mok-ah-lip'-tik) story and Dr. Strange's most likely next treatment, makes a very strong showing at #15 and #17. Surely you know that you can see a new page from The End every Tuesday and Friday at Jim Starlin's Official Website?

How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Implicit Phallo-Centric Sexual Imagery In Children's Literature [Bovine Inversus Weblog via In Sequence]

Marvel Gummi Heroes [also at In Sequence; permalink funko]

Make Mine Mutants! [Reason Online via Franklin's Findings]
Franklin's also got a right-on shot across the bow of alternative comics today.

Props for classic Dr. Strange artist Gene Colan's role in shaping Daredevil [Johnny Bacardi Show]

Why Team Comics is Still a Bad Idea [essay excerpt from Tom Spurgeon in TCJ #250]
Someone just pissed in your Cheerios again. The way Neilalien sees it, any and all enthusiasm for comics is good and welcome.

Posted 25 February 02003 - Permalink

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Marvel's New Epic Saga: The Epic Line Returns [posted ten minutes ago to Pulse]

Lots more stuff about the potential return of Marvel's Epic adult-themed creator-owned line [this week's Gutters]

Rich Johnston interviews Joe Quesada, Part One [Waiting For Tommy]

Great treatment of Tales of Suspense #11 [Oddball Comics on CBR]
Be sure to check out the last page of Ditko's Secret of the Flying Saucer story.

Hey kids, comics! [Ninth Art]
12-year-old Jacqueline knows where it's at.

So what have we learnt? Kids, particularly that elusive 'young female' demographic, want stories that feature characters they identify with. They want humour. They want a range of different subject matters, without needing to pay attention to a large number of other titles. They want affordability, complexity without obfuscation, a story that hold the reader's interest and characters that the audience cares about... Pretty much the same things we all want, then.

Posted 24 February 02003 - Permalink

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Minorities & Multicultures [Cassandra Complex column on Ninth Art]

Rodolphe Toepffer's The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck, the "first comic book published in America" (in 01842), is being reprinted [ (original Italian); Google translation; via Journalista and Egon]

Posted 21 February 02003 - Permalink

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Stan Lee's Next Superhero [ICv2]
Writer Luke McMullen has been hired to write the screenplay for Forever Man.

Stan Lee strikes film deal [icWales via WFC News]
Forever Man is fast-tracked for release by the end of next year.

DC's Market Saturation Study [ICv2]

The over-all lesson was clearly that there was plenty of opportunity to sell more books if retailer risk were ameliorated.

Posted 20 February 02003 - Permalink

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Drawing A Former Justice League: Kevin Maguire [Pulse]
Neilalien spoke too soon a couple days ago. Forgot all about Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire's Justice League. Great, and hilarious, DC superhero stuff. What a great new project. The 80's nostalgia movement continues...

Vintage comics are more than funny business for investors [Finance And Commerce via Splash]

1966 Batcycle Project [via Boing Boing]

Posted 19 February 02003 - Permalink

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FYI: Due to the recent blizzard, some Diamond Customers located on the East Coast may experience a 24- to 48-hour delay in receiving this week's product shipment. Retailers with questions should contact their Diamond Service Rep for more information. [Diamond Comics via SuperHeroNews Yahoo Group]

As superheroes come to life in movies, filmmakers realize their old costumes look, well, comical [ via World Famous Comics News]

The anti-smoking Truth campaign is product-placed into Marvel Comics [Paul O'Brien on Ninth Art]

March 3rd to be International Read a Comic Book in Public Day [current Savant Essay]

Licensed comics of smarter brands like CSI and Stargate can be fun reads, and retailing opportunities for an industry whose "reputation is either highbrow, lowest common denominator or terminally inefficient" [current Savant Start]

Random quotes of wisdom from Mr. Spock

Posted 18 February 02003 - Permalink

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Mad Signor: Parody of Warren Ellis' Bad Signal mailings [rec.arts.comics.misc (Google Groups)]

Posted 17 February 02003 - Permalink

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Daredevil movie headshot

It was no Spider-Man, and there was a fair amount of movie-magic extra cheese to (nit)pick off the pizza pie, and you have to go in with the right mentality (pro-action/adventure would be a good attitude, while an irrational need to gloat on Marvel's grave might be one thing that holds back your enjoyment)- but overall, Neilalien and his trusted sidekick both enjoyed the Daredevil movie. It's good stuff. Nuff said.

Historical box office results for comic book movies [Box Office Mojo]

Speechballoons in sequential cartoons ranging from the 13th-19th centuries [Dachshund via BugPowder]

Posted 16 February 02003 - Permalink

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Stan Lee Media Sues Merrill Lynch [AP at]
There's no honor among thieves.

Marvel hires new writing talent scout [Newsarama]
Time to get crankin' on those Dr. Strange scripts...

Mark Millar, President and Publisher of DC Comics [Comic Book Resources]
Look at the talent that's getting slung around here. Maybe we are in a new comic book golden age... But oh wait, it's still all the same DC heroes that talent's working on.

Memo To The Makers [Ninth Art Editorial]

The Science of Superheroes [Pulse]
Neilalien hasn't checked out this book yet. Reason for your deja vu: this fun, unrelated, but similarly named and themed BBC site on The Science of Superheroes is still up.

What Retailers Can Expect from DC Editorial Shake-up [ICv2]

We're looking at everything as a whole right now to see how the pieces fit together, but more importantly how we can diversify the pieces as well. It's not just about just doing superheroes with the same set goals and ideals, but really trying to mix it up more, diversify the cast of heroes that we have as well and the different types of stories that we can tell. When I first started reading DCs in the 70s what attracted me to DC was the horror line, the war books, the western books, and I like the superheroes also, and although we've gotten away from that a little bit that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to find other ways to tell different stories.

Neilalien has always thought that DC's stable of iconic superheroes sucked. Especially compared to Marvel's. Stan Lee wrote about teenagers, drunks, lonely people, the handicapped, etc. People with problems. People you could relate to. DC's heroes were all way too overpowered and untroubled, they were aliens who fit right in, kings and queens, rich, etc. Boring. Any Direct Competition that Neilalien's ever bought were old old non-superhero books. Consider also that lack of diversity is a comic meta problem right now. So Neilalien's thinking that this new editorial guy is on the right track. Can't do any worse than more Tsunami.

Posted 15 February 02003 - Permalink

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St. Valentine's Day

Neilalien indulges an annual uber-stats-report to see who sent him the most traffic over the past year. Let's pour out the paper Valentine's bag that's been taped to his school desk and see who sent him some linky love.

Top 15 Referrers to Neilalien Over The Past Year (February 02002-02003):

  1. Tons of Google and Yahoo (Powered by Google) searches (same #1 spot as last year)
  2. LinkMachineGo
  3. Links Page
  4. In Sequence (new entry on list)
  5. Journalista (new)
  6. Comic Book Resources Links: Marvel (new)
  7. Quidam (new)
  8. Tomb Of Horrors
  9. Triptych Cryptic
  10. Franklin's Findings (new)
  11. Flat Earth (new)
  12. Link Worthy (new)
  13. Pop Culture Gadabout (new)
  14. From the link list, and Neilalien's posts, on The Defenders Message Board (down 6- posting there dwindled as the new Defenders series nosedived)
  15. (new listing- wasn't pinging them last year)

I ~heart~ you Analysis: Last year's (February 02001-02002) traffic was more dependent on search engines and general weblog portals (Blogger and Eatonweb's Portal fell from the list), and links to the meme to end all memes, The Chicken. But this year, many more comics-oriented sites and weblogs sent visitors here, with a lot of new blood. Over the course of the year, site traffic also steadily, humblingly, and impossibly increased to levels never considered. Got to like those two trends.

Thanks for your continued readership and links, and a pint raised to the non-search-engine/non-corporate top spot, LMG.

Neilalien label in the LinkMachineGo style

[Heart and label manufactured at the Acme Laboratories.]

All I know about relationships I learned from Romance Comics [Just Comics and More] [via Flat Earth]

Posted 14 February 02003 - Permalink

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Columnist elaborates on last week's 'Straczynski writes a lousy Dr. Strange' line [Breakdowns on Movie Poop Shoot]

I'd be happy to comment. In fact, I normally hate reviewers who don't give details, but after all, I was clearly breaking my usual format to cover a lot of ground quickly. JMS is at times an outstanding writer, but I don't think he has a clue about Strange. Same old bone-dry, stiff, imperious type as so many write him, especially as a guest-star. The plotting was really bad as well, with Strange basically telling Spider-Man he's screwed, then leaving, with no tips on how to survive, make things right, etc. Lazy... It's not that JMS is inconsistent with past takes on Strange, but rather that he doesn't bring anything new to the table, certainly nothing that suggests he'll revive interest in Strange in the mini-series he's (supposedly) writing.

Neilalien is hopeful that we will see something new from JMS re: Doc soon.

The CGC Hall of Shame moves to Movie Poop Shoot with a new installment! Excelsior! [CGC Hall of Shame; old installments in case you missed 'em: #1, #2, #3]

Spider-Man and Dr. Strange pin-ups from 01964 N.Y. Convention Program [Ditko Looked Up]
Just another gratutious link to one of Neilalien's favorite sites on the web. What happened at that convention?

There are few greater myths - few events that beg more questions - in the legend of Steve Ditko than what the heck happened at the 1964 New York City Comic Convention. This was to be the only convention Ditko would ever attend. SOMETHING happened there that so turned Ditko off of public appearances, but what? From that point on, Ditko's connection (and it was a prolific one) to fandom would be through the mail. A post-convention program was issued containing pin-ups by various artists such as Ditko and Kirby. Ditko contributed two pieces, the cover featuring Spider-Man and a Dr. Strange pin-up; both shown here.

Comics vs. Pamphlets [Comicon MB]
Is 'pamphlet' an insult?

Marvel adds a retailer section to the website [via the Pulse Beat]
That oughta smoove things over.

Posted 13 February 02003 - Permalink

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Marvelous Makeover [Newsweek on MSN; link sent to the Neilalien emailbag by the fearless reader over at The Temple Files]

Stan Lee talks Daredevil [Comics Continuum]

Posted 12 February 02003 - Permalink

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Shorts set to cash in on Marvel stock drop [ via Splash]

Posted 11 February 02003 - Permalink

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The Supervisor on The Prisoner Orange Alert! Orange Alert!
The national terrorism alert status was raised this past weekend to "orange," or "high." The local news just recommended storing three days of drinking water in case of a biological or chemical attack. Not to make light of the sad and serious situation of our modern world, or turn this blog o' fun into a political drag- but a sense of humor is a coping skill. Just like Franklin and many others, Neilalien simply cannot hear "Orange Alert" without thinking of The Prisoner, in more ways than one... Better get a Trek image ready for "Red Alert."

Entertainment Weekly's comic section debuts this Friday [Newsarama]

Slab Happy: Heritage Comics/CGC scandal? [Gutters]

Posted 10 February 02003 - Permalink

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Great praise for wacky ol' superhero comics and The Journal of MODOK Studies [Flat Earth]

Brutally racist 01932 Mickey Mouse Annual [via Splash]

Pic of Stan Lee and Ben Affleck at Daredevil premiere [Yahoo News]

Superhuman Returns in Comic Book Market? [Yahoo News]

Richard Johnston Interview with Bill Jemas [Waiting For Tommy via Journalista]

Marvel Minimates Out In June [ICv2]
Can't find a definitive list yet, but Dr. Strange probably won't be one.

Posted 9 February 02003 - Permalink

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Review of The Bottle Imp (Spoilers)

By Michael T. Gilbert. Appearing in Marvel Double Shot #4, book date April 02003.

Summary. Dr. Strange tells the tale of how he once defeated an evil genie in a bottle.

The Story. The classic Lee-Ditko short story formula for Doc (based heavily on the Ditko horror formula) is used well: problem, action scene, dire situation for Doc, and then he outhinks the opponent for a switcheroo ending. Neilalien is cracked up by how the demon became a bottle imp.

The Art. Gilbert's distinctive fun-creepo Mr. Monster style makes this story vibrant, active, and a joy to look at. It's nice to see the original purple threads in action again.

Doc's Characterization. This is the section of Neilalien's reviews where he nitpicks how creators portray Doc because they don't portray Doc the way Neilalien would. But we only nitpick what we love. Characterization is spot-on while Doc was trapped, but outside the bottle, Neilalien didn't like it- or at least it's a little thought-provoking, since it is a lightweight tale and we often don't see Doc this way.

One slight annoyance is that Doc is too smiley with the children in three or four places. Neilalien isn't a fan of the stiff, dour, weight-of-the-universe Doc we've gotten over the years, but he still wants a serious Doc. (We've also seen Doc too far in the other direction too, making pop culture references, and that sucked. Doc's the straight man in the vaudeville routine- let Spider-Man or Rintrah get the laughs.) It was expected that Gilbert would lighten things up in some ways- it's his style. But then again- we've rarely seen Doc with children. How would Doc interact with children? Guess a kind of Zen Master enjoyment of kids is as valid an assumption as any other. Neilalien would assume differently, but hey, Neilalien is a crabby old man.

The gratuitous public display of magic for the card shark and Rosa, complete with glowing hands and flash of full costume, definitely doesn't fit Doc's secrets-men-aren't-meant-to-know style. But do the people in the story actually see that stuff, or maybe/probably it's a dramatic convention for the comic book reader? For example, when Peter Parker's spider-sense tingles, we know that the people around him aren't seeing half of a Spider-Man mask on his face and black squiggle lines emanating from his head (more Ditko masterpieces, btw). But with a character like Doc, with invisible astral forms, illusions, unseen magical bolts and instant costume changes, it can sometimes be a challenge and a risk to make clear to the reader what is and is not supposed to be visible to the other characters. Or at least confuse a dim bulb like Neilalien and make him think too much. Either Doc is being way too showy here, or maybe Gilbert needed another way to illustrate the unseen manifestations of Doc's wondrous powers to the reader in those two particular panels. The simple solution would be to just have Doc levitate the people without showing a costume change.

Using different visuals for Doc's spellcasting speech (colors, fonts, balloon shapes) has been a welcome trend lately that continues here: it clearly shows that Doc's spells are special speech, and more fully uses the visual-text medium of comic books.

Doc's Powers. The honey/bee exchange is exactly the kind of creative thing Neilalien likes to see in his magical combat! Making Doc 2-D was fun. But basically repeating the same lightning-bolt spell three times wasn't thrilling- although one could argue it was a critical part of the story. Neilalien's not convinced that a whole poem is necessary for a standard energy blast anymore.

Assessment. A very charming one-shot that works well. A-. Old-school Doc fans will find it a familiar enjoyment- but unfortunately it might also serve as a too-cutesy reminder that Doc isn't getting the serious, modern, monthly-serialized treatment he deserves.

Posted 8 February 02003 - Permalink

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The Value Of X [Andrew Wheeler's Face It Tiger column on Ninth Art]
Ninth Art is the best website writing about comics right now.

Manga Nation; Why Does Manga Succeed Where American Comics Fail? [Slushfactory via Slashdot (see more discussion here)]

Dynamic Forces celebrates 10 years of gouging [press release on Newsarama]
But hey, you can only con the greedy, right?

Posted 7 February 02003 - Permalink

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Unfurnaced Business [Breakdowns on Movie Poop Shoot]
This massive rundown of comics (which also has an opening paragraph filled with common sense) includes this item:

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN - Always a great looking series, due to Romita, Jr., and usually a pretty well-written one, though Straczynski doesn't entirely have me with the Spider God stuff, and he writes a lousy Dr. Strange.

Where to start with alt-Ditko? [TCJ Message Board; links to The Steve Ditko Checklist]

What is an "all-ages" comic? [Steven Grant's Permanent Damage column on CBR]
Think of the children [Journalista]

Scott McCloud's JLA [Pulse via Egon]
(1) Part of the discussion is about kids reading comics, so it's related to the above links. (2) Interesting concept and use of technology:

I'm working on an online graphic novella called "The Right Number." This is a story about a man who believes he's discovered that if you dial a wrong number, but are only off by a digit or two, you won't get the person you're looking for, but you'll get somebody a lot like them. He begins to use this as a means of finding the perfect mate. It's a spooky strange story about obsession and mathematics and a very unreliable narrator. It will be only online because each panel is imbedded in the previous panel and you have to zoom through the comic. In other words, when you look at panel one, panel one is filling the window, panel two is small in the center of that, you have to dive straight down into the comic.

X-Titles Comics Sales [via Alan David Doane]
Chart o' slow death.

Comic books attracting new collectors [ (Beacon Journal) via WFC News]
Spider-Man is called "Stan Lee's 1962 creation." Insert standard Neilalien pro-Ditko rant here.

Posted 6 February 02003 - Permalink

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Marvel Double Shot #4 with Dr. Strange is tomorrow! [Diamond Comics Shipping List for this week]

Space Art in Children's Books, 1950s-1970s

Friction with earth's atmosphere will heat the ship's surface to 1300 degrees but insulation and cooling units will protect the crew. [Richfield Outer Space 1953 comic]

Hong Kong Phooey

Marvel Comics superhero Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu, with his red garb, strongly resembles the masked crime fighter.

Both of the above links from Pop Culture Junk Mail.

The curtain rises on black superheroes [Read Comics In Public]
Fictional Dreams [Read Comics In Public]

DaimlerChrysler castrates Mauldin cartoon in tribute [ via everybody; image]

Posted 4 February 02003 - Permalink

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Rob G. fund raises $3,500 [Newsarama]

The Problem With Porn [Sequential Tart Roundtable via Journalista]

Finally had a chance to read these excellent Rich Johnston Waiting For Tommy interviews, with Rob Liefield and Grant Morrison. Lots of good stuff about the comics business.

Riding The Wave [Paul O'Brien's Article 10 column on Ninth Art]
American comics (breaks out champagne at 100,000 copies) and manga (Beckett Ships 800,000 Yu Gi Oh Collector #4! [ICv2]) don't actually overlap, which spells doom for Marvel's Tsunami.

Get Smart [Ninth Art Editorial]
Some great tweaks of comics activism and 'push technology' here.

Posted 3 February 02003 - Permalink

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Neilalien's thoughts and prayers are with the Columbia space shuttle crew and their families.

Posted 2 February 02003 - Permalink

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