Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Neilalien's Con Report: The New York Comic-Con on Saturday was a nightmare for a ton of people [Newsarama; contrast/chasm the consumer disappointment here with a sample of the industry effusion] [The Engine] [Comics Reporter; "few will likely give a shit unless they were directly hassled"] [Comic Book Resources] [Prep Time Posse] [Comics Worth Reading] [Bob Greenberger with info; via CWR] [Letter to CR] [Evan Dorkin] [Pipeline; valuable timeline; a lot of people did not return at 4pm (or with a press pass)] [NYCC Director Greg Topalian apologizes, plans]

Accept no kinder description of the event. Nor accept spin [Comics Reporter wonders how it will be spun; you can see the "So hot last year the Fire Marshal closed the doors!" PR now]. Nor accept mocking if your sense of fun/adventure/energy didn't handle the frustration and chaos as well as possible. It's easy to predict the future after it's happened- but this weekend was bungled- hard- it looked very unprofessional and bad for comics. Do not even accept the emerging two-sides-of-the-story balanced paradoxical caveated Con-report meme that it was both "phenomenal success/filled with happiness" while also a "fiasco/heard something happened outside/sorry!". Maybe if it happened in "All I really care about is that I Got In/Mine" Land, or if it's industry mouthpieces doing the observing. That Con-report meme really smacks Neilalien of insider myopia or Let Them Eat Cake or too gracious an evaluation- apparently not enough "falling on swords" nor "the bad invalidated the good" for Neilalien's grumpy tastes? It's simply not two equal balanced sides of the story when it's mostly industry people having a great time and mostly the consumers having a lousy time. This weekend was an "and" situation in the same way a proctologist might happily blog from his hacienda that you getting a hemorrhoid "and" your proctologist billing you is an "and" situation. One suspects that in Con consultant The Beat's actually-written phrase "nearly everyone said the show was a raging success", "everyone" consists mostly of a poll of industry types who mostly got in undisturbed with their passes to be interviewed by, or file Con reports online after interviewing, other industry types in the press room or at after-parties who were thrilled with the turnout they saw, their own professional networking, and the amount sold at their tables. Our intrepid comics press of "journalists" and commentators once again aren't giving us the best and full truth that we the people deserve- because they juggle too many hats (granted comics are too small to make a living otherwise) or fawningly yearn to be in comics themselves as creators, editors, etc.- it heard there was a lockout outside, and stayed inside to chat and catch up with all its friends, out of fear of getting locked out itself, rather than get the story. Outside the Beltway of the Con doors, multiple thousands of people got turned away as if they were a mob crashing a dentistry symposium or WTO meeting, their prepaid ducats practically treated as counterfeit- the uninterviewed unphotographed unheard disrespected fans and families who do not work in comics or blog or bitch online, with the cranky kids, a ruined roadtrip, clutching worthless online printouts or tickets with questionable refund prospects, with State Troopers rather than Star Wars stormtroopers in their faces, and Con staff nowhere in sight. It wasn't all simply putting up a Sold Out sign and turning away legions of you-snooze-you-lose nerd walkups, feeling like rock stars and relating badge-of-honor kewl tales of sneaking in through the laundry chute. One doesn't have to be a self-loathing schadenfreuder Debbie Downer alarmist to be skeptical about labeling such a preventable crappy experience for so many people as an "overwhelming success". This weekend was a massive disappointment for a lot of consumers- all those who didn't get in and many who did- and they're the opinions the industry should be caring about, much more than each others' glowing "only the most cynical could declare the Con anything but a huge success" assessments. Yet the comicbook industry toasts itself, confusing problems of incompetence with problems of success, confusing a poorly-planned fire hazard (crowded largely with itself) with generating a "hot scene" reputation among the folks they allegedly try to reach and entertain for their paychecks. Neilalien got in, he's not bitter for himself- but he wants better for others- just an industry happily-outsider objective-observer's opinion- all you had to do was look out beyond the velvet rope and talk to folks for a few minutes like he did to come to a similar opinion. Hey Comics, so glad you had a happy time and a fantastic success- try not to suck so much for so many others next year, capiche?

Posted 27 February 02006 - Permalink

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Neilalien at his computer Today marks six years of the Neilalien weblog and website! Huzzah!

Off to the New York Comic-Con today, and a party or two tonight. Be well.

Posted 25 February 02006 - Permalink

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New Dr. Strange limited series by Brian K. Vaughan announced!

Tom Brevoort today at the New York Comic-Con's Mondo Marvel Panel: Writer Brian K. Vaughan is helming an upcoming new Doctor Strange limited series with art by Marcos Martin, featuring a slightly tweaked version of the costume [Newsarama]

Update: Vaughan has the writing skills, but before we get too excited: Comic Book Resources' coverage of the same event adds that the miniseries will be offering a "new re-envisioning of classic Dr. Strange." Now that empty blurb could mean anything, so we have to wait for more data, there's no sense in allowing anger to rise yet. A new writer, with a new bend-but-not-break interpretation of the Dr. Strange character- maybe they'll try to define the magic system and his power level and vulnerabilities better like Joey Q has wanted- and simply inserted into brand new stories: that would be great, it could be Frank Miller to Daredevil. But if it's yet another new origin or revamping/rebooting/retelling of old already-told stories, then wow, Doc fans must all be sleeping in some unfuckingbelievable dimension of Nightmare's, and we can't wake up.

CBR also adds that the miniseries is slated for "probably later this year".

Update: From the NYCC Cup o' Joe Panel [Newsarama]: "When asked, Quesada said that he doesn't think that Straczynski will be returning to Dr. Strange soon, given his crowded schedule." (Is the phrase "'classic' Dr. Strange" above striking anyone else as possible code for "not the Strange reboot Dr. Strange"?)

Posted 24 February 02006 - Permalink

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Dead Girl Neilalien's enjoying X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2.

This is practically a Dr. Strange mini-series so far, and one of his most interesting and fun appearances in years.

It's a recommended book at fave indy shop Rocketship in Brooklyn, and they can't keep it stock! A snob/fanboy crossover hit?

Dead Girl entry at the Marvel Appendix. Neilalien thought that Dead Girl's powers were communicating with the dead, doing zombie/ghost-like things, being able to reform her body, and just being already dead/unable to die. Guess she was Dead Dead at the end of X-Statix, requiring the building of a new body out of meat and stuff (funny but disturbing), and Doc's offer that she'll be "Dead Girl in the land of the living" again?

What is up with the Ancient One? In Hell (BeaucoupKevin says it's because he was a pagan :) ) and taking a "different course" from Doc and hanging out with and warning the villainous Pitiful One? Hopefully the venerable master is undercover, or mind-controlled (who could do that?), or another villain in disguise, or something- and that this great cover for #5, apparently showing the Ancient One just after blasting Doc, was an image too fun and get-people-to-open-the-book to ignore. Right? Right!? Bueller!? It's certainly got us curious and reading. But bend them don't break them, Milligan!

Missed this: Mike Allred interview re: this Dead Girl miniseries from 11/05 [Comics Nexus' Inside Pulse]

"It's actually a Doctor Strange story- and it says a lot about the marketability of that character that X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl was actually considered a more enticing title." [X-Axis review of Dead Girl #1: Grade A]

Dead Girl #3 solicitation [Marvel March 02006 solicitations at CBR] [#3 cover]
Dead Girl #4 solicitation [Marvel April 02006 solicitations at CBR] [#4 cover]
Dead Girl #5 solicitation [Marvel May 02006 solicitations at CBR] [#5 cover]

One last observation: Dead Girl is hot.

Posted 24 February 02006 - Permalink

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Old-school comic-book mystic Ibis The Invincible to be part of one-shots launching new DC Dr. Fate series [Lying In The Gutters]
"Expect a heavy Morrison influence."
"Recently, it was revealed in Zatanna #1, as a part of Seven Soldiers, that Ibis and Taia presumably perished along with Doctor Thirteen and Swamp Thing supporting character Timothy Ravenwind, in a seance conducted by Zatanna." [Ibis Wikipedia page]

Also at the above Gutters: Marvel's digital comics online: musings, what's next, surveying folks, using it for outreach, acknowledging illegal downloading. "The direct market as we know it is a collectibles market, more than it is a reading market."

A Tale of Two Comic Books: 01960s Positive Black Identity Comics by Prof. William H. Foster III, Comic Book Historian [Pulse]

China applies toon taboos: Human actors interacting with animations banned [; watch ad first]
"Babe was banned on the basis that animals can't talk and some viewers would be confused."

Spider-Man robs comic book store [CBS Los Angeles with video]

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January 02006 Horse Race at ICv2 [Top 300] [Top 100 GN] [Comics and Graphic Novels sales soar double-digits in January vs. 02005] [16 of 20 Top Comics Drop in January]

Marvel reports 4Q 02005 results [Newsarama] [PR via Business Wire via Yahoo Finance]
Revenue/sales up 17% for the quarter ($100 million to $117 million), earnings/profit up ($41.4 million to $44.8 million). But for the year, revenue/sales were down 24% ($513.5 million to $390.5 million), and earnings/profit fell 14% ($224.4 million to $171.1 million). Toy sales were nuked by a one-time charge of $12.5 million for the early termination of the licensing agreement with its toy licensee, Toy Biz Worldwide Ltd (replaced that deal for five years with Hasbro). Activision video games boosted licensing, which is currently hurting elsewhere. Publishing net sales increased 6% from the year-ago period to $23.4 million, due primarily to higher advertising revenues. Marvel made $171.1 million dollars in 02005; $36.3 million of that was from publishing (down $1 million from last year). Marvel ended year with $47.7 million cash. Has repurchased $113 million stock of its $250 million buyback program. Boosted outlook; shares ended today up 7%.

                      Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
            Segment Net Sales/Operating Income (Unaudited)
                 (in millions, except per share data)

                                    Three Months      Twelve Months
                                       Ended              Ended
                                    December 31,       December 31,
                                    2005     2004      2005    2004
Publishing:   Net Sales              23.4      22.0      92.4    86.0
              Operating Income        8.6      11.6      36.3    37.3

02006 looking lousy, but 02007 w/Spider-Man 3 and more will be bread and circuses [CNN Money]
Only X-Men 3 is slated for this year.

Posted 23 February 02006 - Permalink

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Great Dr. Strange-ish panel from Neilalien fave comic Action Philosophers #4:

Dr. Strange-ish panel from Action Philosophers #4

Posted 22 February 02006 - Permalink

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Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar Andreas Katsulas, G'Kar on Babylon 5, and Commander Tomalak on ST:TNG, died last week [Sci Fi Wire] [IMDb]
59 years young from lung cancer. You damn smokers! He was amazing as G'Kar.

Posted 20 February 02006 - Permalink

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Howard Hallis' immense Dr. Strange collection will be on display in Los Angeles, 1 March- 26 March 02006, opening reception Saturday 4 March [at Meltdown Comics]
The man who makes Neilalien's Dr. Strange fandom look like dilettantism.

Essential Doctor Strange Volume 1 reviewed: dense, trippy, great moments, a bit repetitive, not big on girls [Metrokitty] [via When Fangirls Attack]
And it makes Tangognat's brain hurt! Betrayed by a fellow palindrome! :( Maybe it's just the fumes from the ink or glue.

The Defenders miniseries: the bickering of children (but at least children take occasional breathers) [Return To Comics]

Dr. Strange Sighting Neilalien missed (in his defense, it's an alternate universe one in a poorly-reviewed miniseries): Last Hero Standing [review/synopsis of #4] [uberfan John Sisson snagged a page of the art]

The Battle Outside Raging, Superheroes Dive In [New York Times]
Press hit for Marvel's upcoming event Civil War, a political allegory to our current orange-alerted real world, stirred up by a government movement to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction.

The above link is via Graphic Novelties, Franklin's new weblog, yay!

Flowchart Art and Comics [Writer Response Theory] [via Waxy]

Only Pictures? Joe Sacco and Art Spiegelman on the Mohammad cartoons [The Nation] [via Egon]

Image's $1.99 Model [Newsarama]

Posted 20 February 02006 - Permalink

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Dr. Dremo #2 will be debuting in May at SPACE in Columbus, OH [DC Conspiracy Blog]
Neilalien's orbital scanners also reveal a sample page:

Page from Dr. Dremo #2

Posted 18 February 02006 - Permalink

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St. Valentine's Day is Link Love Day

I ~heart~ you It's that fun time of year again, when Neilalien gazes into the Orb of Navelmotto and breaks taboos and runs his annual February-to-February website traffic stats report, to see who has sent the most link-love to his website- and in gratitude tries to send some eyeballs in return. So let's pour out the Valentine's paper bag that's been taped to his school desk and see who Choo-Choo-Chose him.

Top 20 Referrers to Neilalien Over The Past Year (1 February 02005-02006) (give these fine sites a visit!):

  1. Google searches
  2. Comic Weblog Updates and
  3. Yahoo searches
  4. Dave's Long Box (new to this list)
  5. MSN searches
  6. Progressive Ruin
  7. Bookslut (new) (linked to Black Jack #1)
  8. AltaVista (new) (95% of this was image searches for permutations of "women's olympic beach volleyball")
  9. Postmodernbarney (new) (over half of this was less than 5 days (Neilalien posted 27 Jan, to 1 Feb end of reporting period) of that meme!)
  10. Unqualified Offerings
  11. The Morning News (new) (linked to Black Jack #1)
  12. The Hurting (new)
  13. The Beat (new)
  14. Thought Balloons (RIP)
  15. Comic Book Galaxy
  16. The Comics Reporter (new)
  17. Clea's Cave (new)
  18. LinkMachineGo
  19. Polite Dissent (new)
  20. The Daily Dirt (NSFW) (linked to Kickass Moments In Dr. Strange History (Doc vs. Galactus))


  1. Dave's Long Box takes the top personal website spot! Huzzah! Dave runs a fun blog- he surely retained a lot of the folks who checked him out after that Newsweek press hit. Neilalien's still jealous of that! :) But Dave's gain is our gain- he's been a steady multiple-hits-per-day engine.
  2. Stripperella/Pam Anderson has all but disappeared from Neilalien's stats. Thank you Stan Lee for the good run of hits! The new top Sex-Oriented Traffic Generator?: women's olympic beach volleyball. It turns out that the image Neilalien posted in August 02004 stuck in the search engines' eye: it is now the #2 result (out of 25-27K of results!) if you search Yahoo or AltaVista for "women's volleyball" images. Got tons of siteviews from that; 9 of the top 15 search terms that people used to find this website for the year included "volleyball". Sex sells! Unfortunately it's doubtful that all this lead to any new readers though- at least Stripperella was slightly comics-oriented.

    (Maybe a search-engine optimization tip here: Give your site images filenames that are actually words that describe the image. 'superman_action_comics_278.jpg' or 'womensvolleyball.jpg' is useful to search engines- a personal code of 'supactcom278.jpg' or 'olympvoll.jpg', or 'funny.jpg' uselessness, is not (Neilalien's own personal code of starting Dr. Strange image filenames with 'doc...' is useless in this matter too). Using the alt and title attributes of the img tag also helps.)
  3. Sharing Neilalien's childhood comics generated a lot of traffic. Correction: making a homosexual-subtext joke about childhood comics Neilalien's sharing is what got the traffic- let's be clear, once again, sex is what sells.

    (Neilalien would love to do more fun creative output (and linkable!) featurettes like Excite My Chicken, Ask The Mysterious Orb, childhood comics, Kickass Moments, etc.- but that takes time, and it's clear that Comic Books (including reading them, blogging about them, going to NYC events like R. Sikoryak's Carousels, etc.) are already getting just about the maximum amount of his lifetime that Neilalien's willing to invest in them (and that his other passions, resentful that they didn't get weblogs and complete schizophrenic internet personalities devoted to them too, will allow). But we shall see what Muses may inspire.)
  4. The new-weblog-to-dead-weblog ratio is much better this year than in previous ones.

    People still seem to be surfing off of the corpse of that once-wonderful comics weblog Thought Balloons, and Neilalien was lucky enough to have a blogroll link there "above the fold" for as long as that site's remained so far, so he's still getting plenty of hits from there.

    (Contrast that with Fanboy Rampage, another once-wonderful-now-dead comics weblog that people still seem to be surfing from quite a bit. Now Neilalien was not blessed to be recommended or blogrolled there, which is absolutely fine, c'est la vie, this website's not for everyone, and new comics blogs aren't required to come kiss Grandpa's ring. But Neilalien *did* have the luck of an "above the fold" mention there for as long as that site has remained- a funny affectionate quip in the final post- only unfortunately, FR did not see fit to make that Neilalien word a link (or make the tens of other people/websites mentioned in that final post links), so this website's getting zero traffic from FR's popular corpse. But again, c'est la vie. Tip: If you mention a proper name on the web that's a linkable website, make it a link! That's what makes the web the web!)
  5. Much sadder than Neilalien fave blog Franklin's Findings retiring and no longer on this list after a good run, is that the spormblogs (those porn spam fake blogs) have taken over Franklin's Blogspot URL (Neilalien's refusing to link to the abomination) [Update: Franklin's protests got through to Blogger, so now we get a slightly better 404 result than porn spam]. All those links to Franklin in Neilalien's archives, all of his input on the great issues of the day (and the comicsblogosphere's links to it), all of those kind summaries of Neilalien's texts (along with ADD Too Flat's and Unqualified Offerings') that made him sound half-intelligent when he took on Journalista- all doornail dead.

    If we aren't bemoaning the permanence of the web, the fact that one's employer can Google up in moments the dumb things one said from years ago- then we're bemoaning the impermanence of it, the ocean of linkrot that renders one's blog archives entirely useless. Is it not incongruous that the internet is both?
  6. Running Analog to generate this post's data made Neilalien realize just how rarely he checks his traffic stats anymore. Last St. Valentine's Day may have been the last time!? He's not saying that to be cool- nor to imply that he doesn't care about his audience or other people's links here. Stats are a part of the weblogging and website-running lifestyle, no? A responsible webmaster should at least run them once in a while, to know what's going on with the site, check for failed requests to make sure you didn't break a lot of other people's links by moving something, confirm that your image-hotlinking-prevention measures are working, know where the smear campaigns are originating, etc.

    Why do stats get checked less nowadays? Surely new simple tools like Technorati and the TrueFresco Referrer Feed have long replaced running website stats for satisfying any day-to-day ego-curiosity. And maybe what Neilalien wondered about in We Don't Talk Anymore The Way We Used To is a factor: if everyone's each doing their own thing in the comicsblogosphere and there's less crossblogconversating nowadays, then there's less incentive/thrill/dread to confirm that no one's talking about/responding to/attacking anything you've linked to or said. Website stats are so filled with spam and fake websites nowadays- just another chore now. Neilalien was never much for the mirror-gazing anyway- and he sat at a lowly friends-and-family-only ten-hits-a-day for probably his entire first year, which kinda burns the traffic bug out of you. It's not like today when all you have to do is get your new blog listed on Comic Weblog Updates and make zillions of ad dollars in your first week! ;) He does feel a sense of satisfaction with his audience type/size/growth, and contentment in the act of blogging in-itself, with any hint of real A-List-ambition long put aside for a Dr. Strange niche and healthier (but apparently much less lucrative) boundaries with the blog- and that's a great (but non-stats-checking) place to be. Maybe it's burnout? Or maybe just because later this month will be six years of weblogging for Neilalien- and checking daily site stats at this point is probably a lot like sex after hitting 80, you know?
  7. Speaking of referrals: There is one meta thing that Neilalien's been checking near-daily recently: MyBlogLog, which enables you to track outgoing clicks and works okay and unobtrusively. When you run a linklog, this is valuable data. And the findings? Well, first off, you learn that the rumors are true: weblog content click-through rates can be horrible (experiment: how many of those links in that list of 20 above did/will you click on?). After that, it's pretty much the same slightly-depressing news as with incoming traffic. If it's about sex or scandal, Neilalien sends you a good chunk of traffic with a link (experiment: was the NSFW Daily Dirt the only one you clicked on above?). If it's about Dr. Strange or Steve Ditko or superhero pop culture or indy comics, you get okay chunks in that order (at least this blog hits its niche audience). The closer to the top of the page/post a link is, the more it gets clicked, which is to be expected. 'Via' links don't seem to get clicked on much- Neilalien feels very strongly about link attribution, they're as tight as a duck's ass here- but sadly they seem more Clique than Click- more a courtesy than actual clicked-on word-of-mouth recommendations. And if it's a link to the dry wonky industry analysis and sales numbers that Neilalien finds fascinating and important and good-for-you-like-brussel-sprouts, have to admit, the clickage is pretty sparse. Ah well. We can only blog what interests us- and we can only click on what interests us- those bookmarks are only for his own personal use then.

A wise man once said, "Don't be so humble- you're not that great." So just a simple heartfelt thanks this year to all for reading and linking and being such a great crowd and finding value in this wacky public browser bookmark list of funnybook items.

Posted 14 February 02006 - Permalink

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The altered Devil ending of a Ditko story from Strange Tales #83 [Ditko Looked Up]
Neilalien figures that over the years he's linked to just about all of the content on Blake Bell's great Ditko site, but a search after seeing this Comics Should Be Good Urban Legends Revealed installment suggests he never linked to this.

An Archaeology of Affect: What I Learned About Gender from Defenders #53 (and its Clea backup story too) [Double Articulation]

Brian Hibbs does his 02005/annual look at the BookScan bookstore report for last week of the year [Tilting At Windmills]
Manga dominates, "crazy growth"; faith firm that shrinking yet specialist Direct Market will always outsell a generalist bookstore in Western material.
Is Diamond Book Distributors doing a good job if it's not manga, Marvel, or Dark Horse? []
Bookstore market not magic bullet; but DM needs to wake up and compete [Comics Reporter]
Mark Twain said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." He obviously didn't know about comic book sales figures.

DC/Marvel's plan servicing hardcore fans with massive arcane crossovers and squeezing every dollar out of them as other publishers burn [Lying In The Gutters]

Publishers Find Growth in Comics [New York Times]

Sean Wang's excellent Runners made into a CGI short! [QT mov] [via Gutterninja]

A Cartoonist's (Joe Kubert) View of the Muslim-Danish Controversy [U.S. Newswire] [via The Beat]
On the power of the image and how a rational civilization deals with offensive ones. "The truth about political cartoons is that they are one of the most powerful forms of communication."

Frank Miller's new Batman book: Bats will kick Al Qaeda ass the way our past folk heroes like Captain America fought Hitler [IGN] [Update: Guardian UK]

The 6 worst superhero headquarters [The Great Curve]
"I mean, most of the cool headquarters are generally spoken for, or out of reach: The Fortress of Solitude isn't convenient to public transportation and, bad '90s story ideas aside, Dr. Strange isn't putting his Sanctum Sanctorum on the market anytime soon."

Reminders to creators: Marketing is Satanic necessity; you're marketing your books to retailers, not the audience [The Engine with discussion]

The TV show Bones had a dead comic book nerd episode recently; sounds like some old geek stereotype gold got mined [Pop Culture Gadabout] [Shade and Sweet Water: A Bone To Pick] [Shadefell: Bones and Nerds] [One Couch Critic full summary]
Some kind of gag with Warren Ellis' name too.

The Hulk wants YOU: Lou Ferrigno sworn in as L.A. County reserve deputy sheriff; assigned to recruitment [Yahoo News]

Posted 13 February 02006 - Permalink

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More Recent Dr. Strange (and Relevant) Sightings

Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook
This OHOTMU installment, meant as a snapshot of the Marvel Universe on 31 December 01969, includes a Dr. Strange entry summarizing his early career, along with thin posts for a short list of early Doc villains: Aggamon, Mister Rasputin, Nebulos, The Possessors, Tazza, Zom and Zota (no Baron Mordo, Dormammu, Nightmare or Xandu). (There's also an entry for Dr. Strange, the Iron Man villain.) The wonder of 60's Marvel isn't captured here; no value is added; the character/plot skeletons of 5-10 page stories needlessly reduced further? Save your five bucks and put it towards your Essentials collection instead.

The Baron Mordo entry in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #1 confirms that Doc's time manipulations in Amazing Spider-Man allowed Mordo to return among the living. The best thing JMS did re: Doc: resurrected his best villain for future use.

Dr. Strange uninterestingly delivers Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's baby in the Sanctum Sanctorum (with Wong playing sentry) in Pulse #13. Not even a silence spell to prevent the sounds of labor from carrying through the walls to the gathered press outside?

The Marvel Mangaverse version of Dr. Strange is quickly and uninterestingly reduced to his Harry-Potter glasses and a pile of dust four pages into the miniseries New Mangaverse #1. The Dr. Strange/Ben Dunn fan's "fuck you" towards this book is mutual!

Peter Parker once again visits the Sanctum Sanctorum for advice on the great cosmic web and massive recent resurrective events in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #22: The Other Part 11 of 12. Doc's finding the future difficult to read, but it's not the usual incompetence that offends Neilalien's sensibilities. Doc's just here for the writer to phone in some mysterious drama and imagery and foreshadowing before the story arc's final chapter, rather than give that final chapter away.

Also out: the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Defenders #5 finale, and the Marvel Knights 4 #25-27 story arc, which are worthy of deeper write-ups, but thus then are subject to Neilalien's time-availability to write them. Watch this space!

Posted 9 February 02006 - Permalink

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Dormammu is the villain: Doctor Strange Marvel/Lion's Gate direct-to-video animated movie update [Comics Continuum]
It will be an origin story (no word on Baron Mordo). Slated for late 02006 or early 02007 release.

Posted 8 February 02006 - Permalink

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Doc Sighting: Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big In Japan #2

Neilalien's having a blast with this very fun book. To think he would have never really checked it out if Seth Fisher had not died. Big thanks to reader Matt for pointing out that Fisher included Doc in a flashbacked group of heroes in #2:

Dr. Strange by Seth Fisher in Big In Japan #2

Interesting interpretation of the Vishanti chest symbol, which is has traditionally been considered demon-like- it's more bird-like here with the wings, or angelic? No gold trim on the Cloak.

Posted 7 February 02006 - Permalink

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Sold-out Steve Ditko Reader Volumes 1 & 2 will be out on CD-ROM in April [Ditko Comics]

How the business side of comics affects comics, or, vs. Silver Age creator love/modern day creator hate and other fanboy memes [Filing Cabinet of the Damned]

Interview with Steve Englehart [Filing Cabinet of the Damned]

The Ultimate Comic Shop Map [using Google Maps] [via Boing Boing]

The Ebay Effect: cheap accessible secondary market reducing initial sales for creators, what was once called "collectible" now widely available, limited edition print runs to be made more limited [Colleen Doran]
Apparently Ebay has been nuking collectibles markets with over-liquidity for years- great for buyers, but bad for sellers, once everyone realizes just how much stuff is out there and prices plummet [How has eBay impacted comics collecting? Ebay + CGC = high grade in orbit, low grade is dirt]

Digital rebirth for comic strips [CNET]
More old-tyme distributors losing their grip on power, this time the newspaper syndicates.

The Tides of History: Alan Moore's Historiographic Vision [new ImageTexT] [via Egon]

Action Philosophers #4: World Domination Handbook preview [Pulse]

Posted 6 February 02006 - Permalink

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New York Comic-Con's Programming Schedule
Jacob Javits Center, NYC, 24-26 February 02006.
(Aw nuts. The two panels Neilalien most wanted to see, "Is The Pamphlet Doomed?" and "State of the Industry Panel", require Professional registration.) search for ""ancient one" tibet": 19,900 results; on censored China: 4,160 results [side-by-side search]
Google/Chinese censorship actually helps Dr. Strange fans, by keeping the search results tightly comics-oriented, and removing all those pesky political and spiritual websites, so, Yay Censorship! Not. [strikingly different image searches for "tiananmen"]

Posted 4 February 02006 - Permalink

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Women and men watch superhero movies differently [Kottke]

Posted 3 February 02006 - Permalink

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Artist Seth Fisher has died too young [Comic Book Resources] [The Art of Seth Fisher] [Update: Newsarama with cause of death: fell seven stories off the roof of a club in Osaka, Japan]
It was in Neilalien's blog-content queue to mention how fun and gorgeous Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big In Japan looked, and to ask folks if the story's any good and wonder if there would be a TPB. Now sadly there will be no more of that particular fun and gorgeous.

Posted 2 February 02006 - Permalink

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Dr. Strange in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1: Brain Dump

  1. Neilalien enjoyed this issue. One might not get that sense after reading the rest of this fanboy rant, so let's begin by clearly communicating the love. Very reminiscent of Thor: Vikings, where a deadpan yet personality-filled Dr. Strange scene-steals another hero's miniseries. Easily in the running for Best Doc Appearance 02006. The review-meme seems to be, "I liked it, but Doc fans without senses of humor won't" [example], which (defensively?) strikes Neilalien as a lame attempt to stifle debate by pre-branding the other side as being "without senses of humor", when it's definitely debatable if the humor works or not.
  2. The hemorrhoids. The review-meme seems to be that this "humanizes" Doc. Neilalien disagrees. It's tricky giving heroes problems. Now the loneliness- the distance he must keep from the humanity he must protect that must never know the dark path Doc walks for its own sanity- Neilalien has always argued that loneliness is Doc's most compelling humanizing everyman problem, and the scene in the therapist's office rocks. The philosophical depression, the stoic seen-everything-before attitude- we've seen it before and it adds a great dimension to his personality- the Sorcerer Supreme is not easily rattled, and it's logical given the Marvel Universe's revolving door of death (life and death's merely a transition to those spiritual guru types anyway). But rhoids? If it isn't a core thing like Spidey down on his luck with a cold or broken arm again, or Aunt May needs her medicine in time; or Doc's hands- then it must add wonder to the hero. Doc's problems should have an aspect of wonder. Doc is the Sorcerer Supreme. He doesn't get normal everyday rhoids. He can cure that in a moment. If you want to have a similar gag that might actually work for Neilalien, give Doc the Butt Boils of Dimension H. Giving Doc rhoids is too much information, it falls flat, it's unimaginative. And how does he get rhoids?- the man levitates all the time! Cloak neck-chafe makes more sense.
  3. The way Wong started speaking really bothered Neilalien. On some level, it's political-correctness and Asian stereotypes. Mostly it's because Wong isn't an idiot. But at least they covered it, and successfully with humor too ("And talk proper English. We both know you can.").
  4. Looking in the mirror re: the way Doc talks doesn't work for Neilalien. Of all the original Marvel characters, with the exception of da ever-lovin' Thing, is Doc the only one who still talks the outrageous way Stan Lee originally wrote him? He's Frasier Crane- very intelligent, kind of a twit, he's not up on the slang, he's going to choose the smarter word and not dumb it down. Neilalien argues that altering this or making Doc self-conscious risks breaking the character. Doc says, "By the waxing moons of the Lilac Planet, I sense a malign hand at work." He doesn't say, "Shit, this sucks." Jokes by other characters are fine (like when Spidey says, "This time in English, Doc?"), but this isn't something about the character that needs fixing (Joey Q probably disagrees). The angle from the recent Defenders miniseries works better for Neilalien: they don't change how Doc speaks, but it was humorously implied that it's all a performance (for presence attacks?- a Champions RPG term- think villains plotzing their pants when they hear Snikt behind them in a dark alley). Thankfully, Doc speaks normally enough times in this issue and "whatevers" the debate (itself a slang/modernism- he says "gate-crash" later). One review: this issue shows creator love for Doc; another review: it shows they think Doc is silly. What do you think? Neilalien's own bias really gets more a sense of Joey-Q-editor "Let's fix Doc" tampering rather than either love, irreverence or contempt (you don't do an all-Doc issue like this in your pitch for another character unless you love Doc, right?). But on the other side of the coin, is Doc trapped in the amber of a non-timeless bad gothic novel, and can't simply talk or cast spells in normal-modern as time passes like a Tony Stark or any other character, and maybe it holds the character back?
  5. The yellow gloves are a new look, and the sash-belt is yellow. Both have traditionally been orange. The symmetry with the Cloak of Levitation, and the reduction of the number of colors in his costume, really worked for Neilalien. Will have to add this look to the Many Faces of Doc Page. One micro-complaint: Doc has no gloves at all on the cover- wish it all matched.
  6. Doc cures the therapist rather than the other way around- fantastic! It's really the only heroic outcome once we get commitment to a scene in the therapist's office. And to maybe help make Neilalien's point above: you'll notice that the therapist isn't cured of a brain-chemistry imbalance, or rhoids- it's a demon-tainted blockage, it's a problem from Doc's otherworldly realms that adds wonder and feels creative. Of course, if someone walked into a therapist's office with that costume on describing that kind of life, an outburst of "You're lucky!" is not the likely professional response, but it's clearly a more informal meeting with the two doctors knowing each other previously. ;) (And the therapist feels a little young (no pun intended, his name is Dr. Young) to be a medical school contemporary of Doc- but Neilalien's going to avoid Doc's messed-up history-timing and the passage-of-time-in-comics minefield.)
  7. Neilalien's really wishing that Doc said "Oshtur" instead of "Oshtar". It's Oshtur, dammit! What could be the point? Granted, deity-like entities have many mysteries and many names. But Doc's already casting a spell with a wacky name in it- using a brand-new but slightly-altered wacky name doesn't improve "accessibility", it merely pisses off the only interested parties reading this book. If you want to use a new name, use one that's totally new, not one that's a letter away from forty years' usage of "Omnipotent Oshtur". What would be the uproar if a Spider-Man book typoed Uncle Bob instead of Ben?
  8. There's a lot of great imagery and storytelling in this issue. Everything is an ephemeral colorful wisp, and spirals, pulling smoke out of his Cloak or Amulet and letting ooze run through his fingers. Fun stuff. Imaginative, and things you can't do with Cyclops. It gives a physicality and imagery to Doc's senses, not unlike the Spidey-sense squiggles. Allred's cartoony hasn't always worked for Neilalien, but it does here: Dragotta-as-Allred is better? The paneling feels a bit mundane in spots, but that just might be because Neilalien's been reading some Colan issues recently.
  9. The CD-in-the-ancient-book gag worked for Neilalien. Don't know if we needed two silent panels with one for just hitting the play button here- just a nitpick, but it felt like an extra panel of, "See? Do you get our joke?" that nuked the page's pacing. Maybe one panel with another balloon of speech and a little close-up inset of the finger hitting the button instead?
  10. Neilalien's really enjoying the general plot idea and the entire villain-angry-that-everyone-gets-resurrected-but-him. Eager to see where it goes with Dead Girl (and with the others who appear on the final page?).

Doc in Dead Girl #1 See? Neilalien loved it! <g>

Jog's review.

Posted 2 February 02006 - Permalink

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