Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

The cover of Beware The Creeper #1 [original Ditko version (at Mile High Comics); Fred Hembeck version!]

Master Plan: Brevoort on Masterworks [Newsarama]
Let's get Dr. Strange's back in print!

Mike Deodato, Jr. names Witches as one of his favorite projects! [Pulse interview]
Then where the heck is it?

CrossGen Signs Deal With Cinescape []
Sounds like a great move! CrossGen keeps movin' and shakin'- must grant them that. For more info (with site-sponsorship sugar), see Pulse.

Confrontation in a World of Super-Heroes: Interview with David Yurkovich [Sequential Tart]

Publisher writes his own happy ending [Atlanta Journal-Constitution on how Top Shelf was saved; via BugPowder]

The Potential of the Online Comic [via BugPowder]

Larry Young's Ture Facts Savant columns are collected in a book [Pulse]

True Facts is a pocket-sized how-to guide for creating and publishing your own comic books.

Another Rob G. Update [Newsarama]

The Son Finally Rises- Millar on Superman Red Son [Newsarama]
Superman is a terribly boring character, but the What-If-type story about a Soviet Superman has always sounded pretty interesting, and it's finally going to be made. Also other Millar interview items here.

Future Comics reducing prices (but pages too) [Newsarama]
Item: The number one retailer poll response/request was a lower price point. Also, a rumor at Rage that Future's making their books 100% returnable (meanwhile Marvel's even making X-Men movie tie-in books a risk!). Gotta root for the veterans over at Future, unfortunate but understandable winners of the 02002 No Way Out Award For Futile Resistance.

Posted 31 January 02003 - Permalink

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Barnes & Noble's Graphic Novel section button

Everyone's happy about Barnes & Noble's new Graphic Novel section- but uh oh, not everyone's going to like this navigation button with its muscular figure. Via the Savant Delphi Forum.

A Birthday Card for Stan [One Hand Clapping column on Movie Poop Shoot]
Neilalien's late in finding this, but there's never a wrong time to link to Stan Lee props.

I Want a Low M-Q [Daniel McAbee of The Tangled Web on Ordering Namor at ICv2]

The Kingpin Of Comics: Bendis talks '02, '03, 'Daredevil' & 'Powers' [CBR]
Awesome stuff about Powers here!

Stuart Moore's chronological look at the history of comics continues [A Thousand Flowers column #10 on Newsarama]

Looks like Newsarama's got a new server set-up or something, and some URLs there no longer have ampersands in them. Which means Neilalien no longer has to tediously change & to & twice by hand every time he links there to keep this site in valid XHTML 1.0. It's the little things.

Rob G. Update [Pulse]

The micro-meme continues: Paradise X praise [Barbelith Underground]

Note to self: Remember the power of words and public relations. When discussing comic books, it's not a ghetto, it's a boutique. :)

Posted 28 January 02003 - Permalink

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Retailer Brian Hibbs on DC's new returnability and the battle for rack space [Journalista]
The business of comics will boggle the mind every time.

Cartoon breathes life into MEPs [BBC News via Newsarama]

Voice of the GI: Orson Welles' 1945 piece on Bill Mauldin [ via Egon]

Posted 27 January 02003 - Permalink

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Dr. Strange is the subject of a sequential art project [Penciljack Forum found via Neilalien's stats (someone linked to this humble website for image reference)]
Hopefully results will be posted.

Marvel Double-Shot #4 (with Michael T. Gilbert's Dr. Strange) comes in at #125 [February's Top 300 Comics on Newsarama]

Grrls, Girls, Girlamatic: Lea Hernandez interview [Pulse]

Comics To Go [Franklin's Findings]
Comments on CrossGen's new Traveler format and past similar attempts by Marvel. Is anyone else getting the impression that people who comment on CrossGen business moves usually feel compelled to also qualify it with something like, "CrossGen's stuff does nothing for me..." Same here. CrossGen's trying some new things. That's great! But so far, their books do nothing for Neilalien. Except for that issue of Mystic that had Dr. Strange in it... Another thing that struck Neilalien about that Ninth Art column, but he was too polite to mention it before, was how odd it felt to find honest linkable praise of CrossGen on a comics news/commentary site that's not obviously sponsored by CrossGen...

The experiment: Will people buy a book written by Bill Jemas now if it only costs a quarter? [reference: John Secreto of Comic Swap on Ordering Namor on]

In Search of Adult Themes [Unqualified Offerings found via Journalista]
The Bast mini-series gets trashed as formulaic. Guess this serves as the negative follow-up to Neilalien placing Bast on his To Be Checked Out list. Just can't assume that the Vertigo label really means Adult, or Good.

Speaking of books on Neilalien's radar with high formulaic potential, he picked up Image's Invincible #1 this week. It's Teen Superhero 101, but Cory Walker's wonderful art style and tone here is absolutely irresistible! Hopefully there will be a plot twist or something before Neilalien's standard three issue allowance is reached. Storage space for reviews: iComics; Critiques on Infinite Earths; Snap Judgments; Comics Worth Reading.

Posted 26 January 02003 - Permalink

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And Now, The Good News [Cassandra Complex Editorial by Antony Johnston on Ninth Art]
People are buying graphic novels, the recent bookstore good news, and some things CrossGen might be doing right.

Smilin' Stan or Jolly Jack? [Mark Millar on CBR]
Writer + artist = comic book.

The Civil War Inside Sony [Wired via Boing Boing]
Very interesting article about "the dematerialization of Sony and its products." Blogged here as relevant only because Neilalien is wondering aloud how dead-tree comics fit into the Sony business paradigm described here, after they buy Marvel and its stable of character properties for content. Is the dead-tree comic book an 8-track tape?

Posted 24 January 02003 - Permalink

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Teenagers From Mars artist Rob G.'s apartment destroyed in fire [Pulse; Newsarama]
He got out safe- so did the roomie and the cat- but the clothes on their backs is all they have. Help 'em out.

Marvel decides to ride the manga Tsunami [Newsarama]

Posted 23 January 02003 - Permalink

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Do collections of serialized comics work? Time for writing in comics to carry more weight [Steven Grant's Permanent Damage column this week]
Stan Lee is on a pedestal around these parts, but even Neilalien will tell you that nobody ought to be writing today the way Stan did back then.

Posted 22 January 02003 - Permalink

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Bookstore Revolution: Graphic Novels Get Their Own Category [Pulse]

The Game of Risk [Paul O'Brien's Article 10 column on Ninth Art]
DC's trying to make the best of the direct market with a new return program that eases retailer risk and pushes other genres.

The Lawyer Is In: The Supreme Court and Comics [Newsarama]

Speculation bubbles on who will draw the JMS Doc mini [Comic Book Resources Message Board]
Don't forget to check back in on the discussion at the original Newsarama press hit.

Posted 21 January 02003 - Permalink

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Marvel due 'hefty' customs rebate! [Splash;]
The import duty Marvel paid during the mid-90's on toys imported from China has been reduced from 12% to 6.8%. The superhero action figures have been reclassified from the higher-rated "dolls" to "nonhuman creatures." Neilalien fears that this undermines the entire Marvel Universe anti-prejudice message that mutants are people too.

More customs news: Rebel Visions, a history of underground comics, is banned in Canada [Boing Boing via Journalista]

Posted 20 January 02003 - Permalink

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JMS' Supreme Power and Appointment with the Doctor [Newsarama]

Even Marvel boycotters are tempted by JMS on Dr. Strange! [Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog]
Now that's a testament to the power of getting quality talent on good characters. Anyway, there seems to be a lot to dislike about Marvel right now, and Neilalien absolutely respects Bloggity's boycott. When an old Marvelhead like Neilalien is only picking up Amazing Spider-Man and any Doctor Strange appearances, that's basically a boycott from him. Perhaps the solution for Bloggity and other like-minded folks is to pre-order the JMS/Doc book, as a real and/or symbolic action of reducing the retailer's risk in ordering a Marvel title?

Related: DC initiates limited returnability with 'Share The Risk' program [Pulse]

Dr. Strange Fan Prayer Assignment: We want a great artist on the mini-series, and just as importantly, we want the same artist for all the issues, and we want the books to come out on time. No repeats of these issues from Flight of Bones and The Order.

Seeding the Neilalien Message Board: So what do you think JMS means when he says he's going to bring Doc into the 21st century? And what would you like it to mean?

A Bookscan slice of January [Newsarama]

Posted 19 January 02003 - Permalink

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My Superman T-Shirt [Ninth Art]

John Parker believes in comics activism. But his fellow comic activists despair of him. Why? Because he will insist on wearing his Superman T-shirt. They say it sends the wrong signal about comics, but in his experience, it sends exactly the right one.

Amen. Substitute "Dr. Strange weblog branding" for "Superman T-shirt" in this article, and you'll begin to understand some of Neilalien's rationales and experiences.

Rich Johnston interviews Mark Millar [Waiting for Tommy]

The simple answer is that I think superhero books are what comics do best and the proof is that they're consistently the best-selling books. I read quite a lot of titles right now and all bar one or two are Superhero books. But I reject the idea that they're a narrow genre with a limited number of themes. Superheroes are almost a medium in themselves, ranging from children's stories to romance to war to sci-fi. It's the one thing, besides humour, I think comics do better than movies or books and, my God, we don't need to feel ashamed or justify it. Superhero comics also gave me my comics stiffy as a kid in the early eighties and are the reason I'm working in the business, so it's probably a means of feeding my inner ten year old too. There's just nothing more satisfying than a good superhero comic and, right now, we've got the highest quality of these books we've seen in our history.


The One Where I Make Lots and Lots of New Friends [Savant ex Matt Fraction's Poplife column on CBR] [via Alan David Doane who disagrees re: reviewing as activism; Savant Delphi Forum discussion; Matt Fraction Delphi Forum discussion]
"Comics activism, as it currently exists, is at worst doomed to failure and at best to marginalization." Personality driven, inbred clubhouse building, no real outreach, blowhard know-it-all, armchair quarterbacking, etc. "Comics need a bit of a facelift and a new press agent."


And heck, not even a passing snide remark in the whole trifecta resembling the irrelevant, idiotic ad hominem attack against the adult nostalgic superhero reader that usually passes for "comics activism" these days, either- as opposed to say, actual outreach to people who currently do not read comics.

These three links + the JMS Dr. Strange news = a really good long weekend for Neilalien. It almost takes the edge off the cold snap, economic recession, looming war, that whole apparent Supreme Court whiff on the letter and spirit of what "limited Times" means, etc., etc... Almost. Oh well. Helping to take the edge off is exactly what comic book entertainment and this weblog are supposed to do. Enjoy.

Posted 17 January 02003 - Permalink

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Artistry of sequence [Washington Times via Newsarama]

Posted 16 January 02003 - Permalink

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J. Michael Stracyznski To Do Dr. Strange Mini-Series

JMS posted to Usenet yesterday [ (Google Groups)]

4) Comics: Doctor Strange Finally, I've turned an expanded, 35 page outline for a Doctor Strange limited series in to Marvel, and will be writing the script for that one as soon as I can get my head above water (easier on the keyboard that way). I wanted to bring the Doc into the 21st century and revisualize certain aspects of his character and his history. It's not intended to be as deep or as potentially controversial as Supreme Power, this one's for fun because I'm a longtime fan of Doc Strange, and want to do something nifty with the character.

Okay, Neilalien's happy.

3-D Dr. Strange by John Byrne [Byrne's whole set at StrataCafe, "a place for Strata3D users to exchange models, textures and ideas"]

Thanks so much to the Neilalien readers who emailed these items! You got his back.

Marvel denies Stan Lee's complaint [Pulse]

2003 is going to have to be fought for, tooth and nail [ via Alan David Doane]

Posted 15 January 02003 - Permalink

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An immodest proposal: Death to the Comics Industry! [Stuart Moore's A Thousand Flowers]
Just when you think this column can't get any better. Interesting discussion also.

Doh! Groening's Guide to Digital Cartooning [OJR]

Copy cats and robotic dogs: What lawyers can learn from comic books [Red Herring via Diveintomark]

Marvel's lack of diversity to continue strong, Mile High's complicity with no-overprint policies, editorial-cartoon results highlight difference between USA and Iran [decent Journalista batch today]

The cover of Betty and Me #16, September 01968 [temporary link to poor cover scan on eBay for now until better is found; via]
Betty: Archie, did you have any trouble rescuing me? Archie: I sure did Betty! I had to BEAT OFF three other guys!

Posted 14 January 02003 - Permalink

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Gender Differences in Comics [Trina Robbins essay in Image [&] Narrative via Egon]
If you always wondered how Dagwood, drawn in the funny cartoon tradition, ended up with a hottie like Blondie.

Egon also reports that an upcoming edition of Image [&] Narrative will focus specifically on comics; also that books on/by Dr. Frederic Wertham are on their way.

Minority Report: A Brief History Of Women In Comics, Part 2 [Rob Vollmar on Ninth Art]

02002- Some final fun with numbers [current Savant Start]

Idiots and Savants [current Savant Essay]
Savant has responded to Warren Ellis' dropping out of comics activism by reaffirming its broken record of people-badgering to its choir. The definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result.

Fascinating interview with Promethea's JH Williams III [Ninth Art]

Marvel's got no pamphlet exit strategy [Franklin's Findings]

Entering The Dungeon- Comic Book Shops [Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog]

Greg Costikyan has started a weblog [via Boing Boing]
His ludography includes the role-playing games Toon and Paranoia.

Neilalien's musings last week on Marvel's X books (no, not those X books) generated a surprising amount of email. He is corrected: clearly there is attention out there for these books. And they would sell even better if the required financial investment was decreased and the promotion increased (not even First Looks). This week's Lying In The Gutters, among other good items, ends up serving as a great follow-up:

One series that won't be helping the Marvel line to gain dominance is the continuing 'Earth X,' now entering it's final arc as 'Paradise X.' This is Bob Harras regime title, kept going by already-signed contracts designed to keep Alex Ross sweet. Concerning alternative Marvel futures based heavily of past continuity, it's not a series that fits in with the new Marvel regime, and receives little publicity or promotion.

Also news that fans won't get to see all the bits and pieces of the uber-story as intended... X fans are left to conclude that Gus Whoozit, Pointy Tit and Marville are the books that do fit into the new Marvel regime.

Posted 13 January 02003 - Permalink

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Bazooka Joe Comics from around the world [old McSweeney's via Robot Wisdom]

A Bazooka Joe Page with analysis

How did Bazooka Joe lose his right eye? [Straight Dope]

The Wacky Packages Web Page

How a Wacky Package Series was put together [Jay Lynch]

I know that the Bazooka comics never were printed too clear because they had to use a safe, non-toxic ink in case some stupid kid ate the comic strip.

Quick list of Bazooka Joe fortunes

Posted 13 January 02003 - Permalink

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A girl's got to draw the line somewhere [In Sequence re: The Filth]

Rant about parroting press releases passing for Journalism on comics news sites [The Haven]

Posted 12 January 02003 - Permalink

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Brother Voodoo television movie?! [Zap2It via Newsarama]

Marvel raises Q4 guidance, offers 02003 outlook [press release on Newsarama, Pulse]
Neilalien still clings to the hope that a stronger Marvel means a stronger comic book industry, and a stronger chance of new Dr. Strange stories. But everywhere, doubt...

Good Ship Marvel springing leaks? [Splash]

Comics and Genre [Comics Journal Message Board]
Decent rant and rumination about "genre," genre fiction, genre conventions, etc. Neilalien is moved to estimate that the two cents by 'sean t. collins' on the first page is worth about a dollar.

Paul O'Brien weighs in on Marvel's price increase [Ninth Art]

Maybe the people who are still buying monthly comics are a closed and inelastic market.

If you're like Neilalien, you've been wondering: Where is The Operative? It looks like redesigned without him? Neilalien went surfing and tracked down his Column Archive. Lots of good stuff here. And heck, there's always room for another year-ender: 02002 Smackdown Awards.

How comics abandoned kids [Globe and Mail article cut-and-pasted to The Drawing Board MB (with good ensuing discussion) via Flat Earth]
(A little internet meta bitching/pet-peeving. Blogs (great drivers of traffic to news sites that we are) really had to wait for exactly this kind of cut-and-pasting-somewhere-else to happen. Because stories on The Globe and Mail website don't have permalinks (and apparently only a seven-day shelf life too?). If this is not the case, then it's certainly not clear. Idiocy and lunacy. Why even bother having a news website? Sheesh. They don't deserve any traffic. Anyway, watch out on this one, current direct linkers to the Globe and Mail: those links are going to break the moment the above article is no longer the first/newest item in search results for the keywords "how" and "comics.")

Update: Journalista links to the above article. If, for the most part, superhero comic books nowadays aren't for children, and children aren't reading superhero comic books- then it sounds like Journalista's blogrolling of their publishers Marvel, DC, et al. as "Children's" Publishers is inaccurate at best.

Posted 10 January 02003 - Permalink

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This week's big fun is to sorta "Zeitgeist yourself" by checking the popularity of keyword searches on Google via Google AdWords. Pop in the keywords you might use for your site. Check on how your branding and metatags are doing. Compare with your favorite websites and weblogs. Below are results from this morning, English language only, all countries. Neilalien is only a five-center. :( Neilalien's always known from his own research that 'doctor strange' and 'dr. strange' yield very different search results and patterns- but over an 8-to-1 difference in how often those words are searched/clicked is notable. Looks like it's about $24/day to advertise on Google searches for 'comic books' (and it's already crowded). 'Sex' is shown for comparison purposes only. :) Via Boing Boing.

Google AdWords results for Neilalien

Posted 9 January 02003 - Permalink

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Doctor Strange in Heritage Comics ads [scan here]
Scanned from The Comics Journal, #249, p. 27.

TCJ #249 also reviews a fanzine, The Rocket's Blast Comicollector (RBCC) #1, which includes an extensive Ditko treatment
The TCJ says it's sold out, but the website doesn't say. Neilalien's looking to get this.

Excellent all-around Permanent Damage today [Steven Grant column on CBR]

Why are Superheroes more "Mainstream?" [Comicon MB]
The semantic dance: what is the definition of mainstream.

Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself? [Comicon MB]
Super-dupes and artsy-farts- LOCKED IN BATTLE!

An eloquent message from a comics "professional" [Comicon MB]
Slightly interesting ancient Peter David-John Byrne he said-she said.

Posted 8 January 02003 - Permalink

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Deal Reached in Stan Lee Media Suit [AP story on (Miami Herald) via Newsarama]
Lawsuit dismissed, lawyers get their money, shareholders get repaid $1.82 million from insurance.

Stan Lee Media investors agree to 8 cents on the dollar [Splash]

Dr. Strange is on the cover of Paradise X #8. Looks like Doc continues to play an important role in the story as well.

This item provided for the purposes of complete Dr. Strange information only. Paradise X is so out of the realm of Neilalien's attention. He really enjoyed the comprehensive, Alex-Ross-redesigned What If? of Earth X- but after that, the concept just can't support 24 more issues (Universe X, etc.) plus all the #0's, #13's, #X's, and all the one-shots too- and all at $3-5 a pop. Plus Neilalien's still miffed that out of all the main Marvel icons, Dr. Strange was AWOL in Earth X and the only one who had to wait until Universe X for the alternative X treatment. Boo, hiss. (Although that treatment itself, when we finally got it, was decent.)

Neilalien didn't think this book was in the realm of anyone else's attention, either. You don't see it mentioned or reviewed much online (not that what happens in the vocal mini-enclaves online is ever a true parallel of comicdom as a whole). Can't even find an image of the cover to link to yet- no First Looks, nothing- and Marvel's site is bloated-slow tonight. But research shows it's doing respectable numbers for the current marketplace (#56 on ICv2's Top 300 for December)... Neilalien supposes that as an enjoyer of the Marvel Universe, Earth/Universe/Paradise X will always be a potential TPB decision for him- but it's tabled for now until the lotto tickets hit- and until many other, much better TPB's already grace his shelves.

Posted 7 January 02003 - Permalink

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Managing Manga [Pulse's The Beat]
Finally found a decent item with a 'top n list' re: the manga domination of graphic novel sales in bookstores.

Hero Accounting [funny strip about Marvel sales numbers sent to Journalista]

The latest crappy comic-book-shop experience is found here [Conversing column at ZENtertainment]
Advice (nay, almost a duty): When you give unknowledgeable people a list of comic book gifts you might like, include with that list the address of a nice, clean comic book store that will provide a fun, great, or at least normal, first impression and shopping experience- with a map/directions, and some gas money for the potentially longer drive.

"...Eventually the negativity and cynicism of the [Comics] Journal and its writers wore me down and I stopped buying..." [The Johnny Bacardi Show]
Update: And TCJ's pricey too! [Johnny Bacardi Show]
Neilalien's just funnin'. Hopefully with this link, the fine blogger over there will consider his backpedaling case now argued in full over here.

Demo is on Neilalien's radar [Newsarama]

Sounds like Teresa enjoyed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay [In Sequence]

Alan David Doane points to two more new weblogs with primarily comic-book-oriented content and blogroll links! [The Incoherent, Random Musings Of Derek and What the !@#$ is this?]

Neilalien is honored by a link from The Comic Book Galaxy Links Page.

Neilalien is proud to report that he has started the year winning 5-out-of-6 vs. his 02003 Mensa Puzzle Calendar Xmas gift. Genius! ;)

Posted 6 January 02003 - Permalink

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FYI: New comics are out today, delayed because of New Year's.

Crime comic covers [Gallery of Crime via Dublog]

Watching the hourglass drain: "Comics shops that cater solely to their owner's fannish interests are slowly cutting their own throats" [big Journalista]

Comics Death Spiral [Franklin's Findings]
"My main complaint against most critics of superhero dominance is that they argue as if the problem is that superhero comics sell too many copies rather than everything else selling too few... The problem with comics isn't content... The problem is competition... Every time Marvel and DC raise prices, the problem gets worse... geek culture stores... the comics industry and the direct market are seeing that their fates are no longer intertwined..."

Some Ditko items in this poll of which version of The Question people prefer [Steven Grant's Graphic Violence Delphi Forum]

From the Modern Tales About Page:

The comic book industry has been in decline for a number of years. The top-selling comic books boast sales numbers that would have quickly led to cancellation just a decade earlier. We feel that this decline has two root causes: subject matter and distribution. On the subject matter front, one quirky little genre, superheroes, has come to dominate the mainstream comic book industry -- a genre that, with the exception of a few blockbuster movies, doesn't seem to have a tremendous appeal for the average adult. On the distribution front, comic books are mostly sold in small specialty shops that, for whatever reason, haven't exactly been considered appealing shopping destinations by the public at large. Webcomics allows us to sidestep both of those problems. We can tell whatever kinds of stories we want, and we can distribute them directly to our readers.

Captain Comics: The Captain's New Year's resolution [ (Bakersfield Californian) via WFC News]
Two very different Christian responses to Rawhide Kid.

The Fan In The Fiction: Reclaiming Gender In Transformers Fan Fiction [Lexicon via the Sequential Tart MB]

Alan David Doane weighs in on the Marvel price hike [Comic Book Galaxy]
Neilalien the Armchair Economist is thinking that price is definitely a factor that affects sales. Isn't that Economics 101? Or better: the interrelation of both quality and price is what determines sales (as opposed to filtering them out as separate factors and making one more important than the other). If a book's price is perceived by the consumer to be a fair deal (at or below) in comparison with the book's perceived quality/value, chances of a sale are good. Possible other facets of the problem sales face via higher prices (separate from the quality side) include: A higher price means less experimentation and fewer impulse buys (when perceived quality has not yet been ascertained by the curious consumer); a less competitive entertainment-dollar profile vs. movies and video games; tough times right now means some people are probably honestly dropping books (the price point is higher even than their addiction level when there are other bills to be paid); maybe trade paperbacks are once again shown as the way to go if the floppies aren't viable with the high-quality paper/printing demanded nowadays but with low print-runs nowadays, etc. Surely there is some whining of the ridiculous or disingenuous type happening out there- a Green Lantern hardcore fan is going to pay the increase like so many times before, or drop comics forever as so many of them have before- but every time Doane huffs at us that only crappy corporate comics have to worry about price hikes and he'd gladly pay $20 for the high-quality books that he's addicted to, Neilalien has to wonder, But what about the people not yet addicted?

Neilalien has the college football game on tonight in the background. Keith Jackson just said, "He had blockers out in front" and Neilalien heard, "He had bloggers out in front."

Posted 3 January 02003 - Permalink

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This year is Dr. Strange's 40th Anniversary! Neilalien wants to do something special. Don't know what yet.

Marvel raises prices in April [Newsarama; Pulse; Pulse gets pro responses]
Update: Enormous discussion here.

Stuart Moore's excellent A Thousand Flowers column keeps rolling [Part 8 on Newsarama]

In a recent article on The Comic Journal website called 'More Crap Is What We Need,' Kim Thompson argues that the American comics field is too polarized between art comics and superhero titles. We need more competent genre work, 'the equivalent of the kind of fat paperbacks you can buy at the airport.' He's dead right. Those fat paperbacks sell not because they're life-changing works of literary brilliance, but because they hit a large number of people where they live. Superhero comics and art comics alike are too insular, too often... This change is happening, slowly... More of this is bound to happen as superhero comics and art comics alike struggle to maintain a sizable readership. Small and large comics publishers alike are looking for new types of material that will, ideally, bring in new readers while still appealing to their core audience. That means genre fiction.

More fresh air! And an occult mystery book starring Dr. Strange would be Heaven. A must read.

LA Weekly this week is all about comics [via Egon]

This week's Title Bout is a laugh riot [Movie Poop Shoot column via Alan David Doane]

Tim O'Shea weighs in on The Comics Journal in his columns on the Fresh website: Unreadably smug, but Journalista's good.

Posted 2 January 02003 - Permalink

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02002 Neilalien Awards

02002 Comics Most Enjoyed in 02002: Amazing Spider-Man, Powers, Queen & Country, Fade From Blue, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen II

Best Dr. Strange Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #42 & #46 (sadly must combine two small appearances by JMS and JRJr into one best appearance)

Runner-Up, Best Dr. Strange Appearance: Infinity Abyss #3 (wins creatively written/drawn mental battle w/Moondragon)

Other Dr. Strange Appearances of Mention: The Order #1-6 (Neilalien almost made this entire list without mentioning The Order at all- that's got to be bad); the best was probably Order #3- Doc gets respect, Clea gets time, Avengers vs. Defenders by Busiek, Haley art; Daredevil #39 (one-page courtroom testimony by Bendis); Infinity Abyss #1-6

Worst Dr. Strange Appearance: Infinty Abyss #5 (Starlin giveth and he taketh away- Doc's annual bout of unconsciousness through lame methods is found here)

Best Non-Standard-Continuity Dr. Strange Appearance: Marvel Mangaverse: Eternal Twilight

Worst Non-Standard-Continuity Dr. Strange Appearance: Ultimate Team-Up #13

Most Awesome Thing for Dr. Strange Fans: Release of Essential Dr. Strange; news of upcoming Ditko Fantagraphics book

Largest Insult to Dr. Strange Fans: Never-true rumors and editorial boxes claiming a J. Michael Straczynski Dr. Strange book or mini-series

Biggest Disappointment for Dr. Strange Fans: Witches series quietly killed; Matt Haley didn't draw all 6 issues of The Order

Best Clea Item: Some page-time in The Order

Worst Clea Item: That page-time continues her Dark Dimension rebellion status quo

Best Stan Lee Item: Simpsons appearance

Worst Stan Lee Item: The pause and sneer of death on 60 Minutes II

Best Steve Ditko Item: Ditko night at Arlen Schumer's CUNY lecture series Superheroes In The 60's: Comics & Counterculture (Neilalien didn't see Blake Bell's presentation in Toronto to compare)

Worst Steve Ditko Item: All the Spider-Man movie press naming only Stan as Spidey's creator

Best Things About Comics: MoCCA 02002 Art Festival; Arlen Schumer's CUNY lecture series Superheroes In The 60's: Comics & Counterculture; comic book weblog boomlet late in the year; Top Shelf saved by comics community when LPC went bankrupt

Worst Things About Comics: Stan Lee suing Marvel; the Jesus Castillo case; Marvel publicity stunts; Marvel short-term bottom-line policies; comic book online message boards, newsgroups, columnists and news sites; still low diversity in comics re: genres, creator voices, genders and age-ranges; comics still perceived by adults as for kids, and by kids as about as exciting as keeping a barrel hoop rolling down the street with a stick (if either group knows of comics at all); comics perception in the general culture still not 'cool' enough to really grow readership, either through reclaiming its hipness (show people in movies reading comics the way they showed smoking) or sub-counter-culture-verboten-ness; ever increasing usage of the term 'fanboy' and 'art comic' in any way (both terms should be banned); still way too many people in comicdom (at least it seems like so many when you're online) who (a) bid on CGC-slabbed Dynamic Forces holofoil Wizard #1/2 He-Mans or whatevers on Ebay, (b) have the ego-bloat to think that they are actually higher on the geek hierarchy than anyone else, or (c) apparently don't realize that 90% of the 'art'/'adult'/independent/alternative crappily-drawn depressing anti-fantasy non-stories of white (mostly male) middle-class modern ennui which no one wants to read is just as much crap as 90% of the superhero stuff, and is doing just as little to move this beautiful images-and-words storytelling medium forward; etc.

Posted 2 January 02003 - Permalink

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