Tag Archives: marvel comics

MattyLovesPodcast #64: “Who’s publishing the best comics now?”

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Recorded June 6, 2017

Matty and Shaun Schapira are back this episode to talk more about comic books. Particularly, the duo take a look at some of the better titles from the top two publishers.

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MattyLovesPodcast #63: “A Jaunt Through the Comic Book Cosmos”

537bc6a21256dRecorded June 6, 2017

Welcome back! MLP welcomes Special Guest, Shaun Schapiraa local comic shop retailer at A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida. He and Matty discuss the “Cosmic” landscape of Marvel Comics, as well as elaborating on the current DC Rebirth/“Who is Mr. Oz?” situation.

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MattyLovesComics 05.10.2017: “The Return of Renato Jones”

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Why, hello friends! I feel like the past months and a half flew by. Maybe it did. (It did.) I’m staying busy down here in sunny Orlando. The weather is starting to heat up. Last week, I planned on dropping a blog but I stayed out by the pool way too long. So long, in fact, that I had not seen that hue of red upon my skin in years. Seriously, I was afraid I really overdid it. Fortunately, the discomfort has subsided and I am now less “ah-peeling.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Oh, you reached for that quip. 

Sit tight, “Ed.” There’s plenty more where that came from.

As some of you may have noticed, articles I’ve written are popping up on the site. These stories are part of my work toward my journalism Master’s degree. (I graduate in Oct.) Expect to see more in the months to come. I’m now in the middle of figuring out my “thesis,” more-or-less. Wish me luck. Surprisingly enough, it’ll revolve around comic books. Somehow.

8-1989-buscema-patchAnd speaking of comics, boy, have I been reading a lot. I often speak of my love for famed X-Men scribe, Chris Claremont. Up until a few weeks ago, I owned, but never read, Claremont’s introduction to Madripoor in the first Wolverine on-going volume (second, technically). Following The Fall of The Mutants, the X-Men were considered dead to everyone on Earth. A TV news station (maybe CNN, I can’t remember, look it up) broadcasted the “death” of the X-Men. The world witnessed it—in reality, the X-Men traveled through the Siege Perilous with help from Roma. The “dead” X-Men scattered all over the world (like Dragon Balls after a wish). Some of them couldn’t remember how they arrived in their new settings (See: Colossus and Callisto). Wolverine, however, was aware of where he’d been.

In Madripoor, to help conceal his identity—no thanks to an encounter with a few nasties including the likes of Roughhouse—Wolverine adopted an eye patch. The locals gave him the nickname “Patch,” so, Logan naturally went with it. I know you’re asking yourself, “How could they NOT tell that “Patch” is actually Wolverine.” Simple. Back then (1988), Wolverine still wasn’t a household name. Not a lot of characters outside of the X-Men universe saw Wolverine without his mask. Besides, the X-Men always used their psychics to create a blur when photographed or videotaped. Trust me, it works.

Since the book’s release, Madripoor Nights had been on my radar. This collection consists of Marvel Comics Presents #1-10, Marvel Age Annual #4, and Wolverine (1988) #1-16. I loved MCP as a kid. That title, as well as Marvel Tales, were essential to me getting a grasp on the Marvel Universe as a kid. MCP usually consisted of three to four 6-10 page stories featuring characters that were: popular, but not enough for their own book, or, unknown characters that needed fleshing out (like Devil-Slayer). Claremont’s Save The Tiger was the set-up for Wolverine’s first ongoing series. In a way, MCP became Wolverine’s “2nd” ongoing series. After the Save The Tiger run, Wolverine would return to the book around issue #39—which is in and around the time I started flipping through comic books in general.

Madripoor is my favorite “fake” city in all of comic books. I find it unfortunate that none of the Wolverine films take place in the most dangerous city in all of Marvel—yes, worse than Hell’s Kitchen. For a better glimpse of “Lowtown,” check out Madripoor Nights. It’s essential Wolverine reading, and no one writes Wolverine better than Claremont—well, Morrison’s is good, but y’know what I mean. It’s not the definitive Wolverine—but it’s a great story.

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Since I’m on the subject of X-Men, I’ve been super-happy with X-Men Gold and X-Men Blue. I had my druthers about ResurreXionI’m still not sure if it’s an event, or—yeah, I dunno. Gold already made waves within the comic book community for all of the wrong reasons, but the story itself is excellent. It’s basically a three-part ruse. Kitty Pryde is well-established as the leader. “Old Man Logan” doesn’t evoke eye rolls. Mesmero returns. It’s fun! For my money, this first story feels like a filler story from Uncanny X-Men’s heyday in the early 80’s.

X-Men Blue is pretty neat as well. The out-of-time, “All-New X-Men” are working out of (where else?) Madripoor. Jean Grey is running the show—not sure how I feel about that with Cyclops playing second fiddle. Cyclops should be the leader. That’s like making Duke from G.I. Joe a grunt. It wouldn’t work. So, I’m interested how long Cyclops will play the wall before he either steps up, or dies. Another interesting caveat to this title is Magneto playing the role of “Professor X” once again. That usually doesn’t end well.

I’ve also read Jean Grey #1, which came out last Wednesday. After one issue, I see what Dennis Hopeless is doing with the character. Hey, it’s tough to be Jean. The previews of the next few solicits see characters like Prestige (Rachel Summers), Hope Summers, and Quentin Quire appearing in the book. It’s no secret what ties all these characters together. With the recent goings on in books like Mighty Thor and Thanos, the Phoenix is soon returning to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. I hope whomever it is that decides the Phoenix’s fate knows that the entity isn’t about “Death and Destruction.” The Phoenix is all about “Birth and Rebirth.” With Marvel Legacy rumored to be Marvel’s “DC Rebirth,” it would make sense if the Phoenix is partially responsible for reshaping the entirety of the Marvel comic book universe.

Ah, with all of this talk about some of the things I’ve read recently, let’s take a look ahead at what’s on the docket for today.

renatojonesseasontwo_01-1PULL LIST FOR 5/10/2017

ACTION COMICS 979

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 27

RENATO JONES SEASON TWO 1

STAR WARS THE SCREAMING CITADEL 1

X-MEN BLUE 3

When I visited Star Wars Celebration weekend, I attended the Marvel Comics panel which featured Charles Soule and Phil Noto. One of the comics they introduced was Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel. They sold it to the crowd as a Star Wars horror comic—an interesting concept. I’m also excited to read this series because it crosses over the Star Wars ongoing title written by Jason Aaron and the Doctor Aphra series written by Kieron Gillen—who writes the Screaming Citadel one-shot. This is the second time Marvel has given the Star Wars comics a crossover event (see: Vader Down). I thought the first one was a successful adventure. Let’s hope Screaming Citadel is a freak show.

Oh, man. Renato Jones: The One% is my favorite series from 2016. Season Two begins today and I’m super-stoked. If you’re a rich scumbag doing stereotypical “rich scumbag” things, Renato Jones will find you at the worst possible time, and then he’ll likely kill you with his sick knife-gun thing. Kaare Andrews’s landscape is a perfect fit for this style of storytelling. The world of Renato Jones is not nice. He’s not necessarily a “good guy.” There are no white hats worn. He’s like the Punisher—but he starts “inside” because, in reality, Jones is a one-percenter much like his victims, and not a war-torn psycho hell bent on seeking vengeance for everything. Check it out.

Two of the steadiest comics in the game currently are Action Comics/all Supes titles and Amazing Spider-Man. Dan Slott’s run on Amazing is like retaining a Netflix/Amazon Prime/WWE Network/CHIKARAtopia subscription. It just rolls over. You don’t think about it, but every month, there it is. No questions asked. These services are a part of life for people in 2017. Slott’s Spidey is the definitive Spider-Man, and thus, a part of my life. He’s taken all of the stories from the past and managed to find a place for them in this age of comics. Sure, some people aren’t a fan of Slott personally, but that shouldn’t discredit the thread, or, web he’s weaved over all of these years.

[ED:] Zing. 

7780485_the-mystery-of-marvels-dead-no-more-solved_t172f9f29The current state of Amazing is as good as it has ever been, in my opinion. I love the Green Goblin. Since the Dark Reign/Siege storyline, we haven’t seen a lot of “Normie” for several years. Leave it to Slott to build up to Osborn returning to make Spidey’s life miserable. Where’s Norman Osborn been? Oh, just leading an Eastern European nation. Where else? Like we really know how many countries have popped up in Eastern Europe for the past 20 years. Silver Sable also just recently returned for the “dead.” I’m usually cool with a “dead is dead” policy, but if a character is returning that I like, I don’t have a problem with it.

Let’s hope Wolverine gets the same treatment. Soon. Please.

Write to you soon.

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Marvel Comics At A Glance

During the C2E2 expo in Chicago, Marvel Comics announced their next attempt at rebranding their comic books. Marvel Legacy is essentially going to be their answer to the successful Rebirth campaign produced by their competitors out west, DC Comics. Over the years, both companies made multiple attempts to “reset” their respective continuities. Some failed, while some were somewhat successful.

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A few of Marvel’s recent changes/additions to character continuity in Iron Man, Thor, and Spider-Man comics. (PHOTO/Matt de Simone)

Rebranding is a giant risk. Not only is it a risk to the comic book companies, but it’s an even greater risk for retailers. Al Rodriguez is the owner of Epic Comics in Orlando, Florida. He’s experienced the highs and lows that comes with the companies’ bi-annual rebranding or revamping of their respective characters and continuities. Rodriguez says that Marvel “is focusing on more quality and less quality” in the way the creators tell their stories. He further states, “[Legacy] should be a way for Marvel to refresh their characters, get their icons back [to the status quo, and] getting back to basics. You can still tell good stories with iconic heroes.”

Back in the 1980’s, DC made the first bold attempt at rebranding following the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. The origins of DC’s major players like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were all altered to match a more modern era of comic book storytelling. While Batman and Wonder Woman comics improved, the Superman comics’ stories fell off. It’s taken almost 30 years for some of DC’s once-renowned heroes and villains to receive their proper resurgence. Readers currently argue that, as whole, DC Comics in 2016 are better than they’ve ever been thanks to the Rebirth storyline.

The same goes for Marvel. They too tried something different in the 1980’s by introducing an entire new line of comics outside of the then-current continuity. It wasn’t a rebranding, but one could surmise that if lightning had struck with the New Universe, then the other books would follow the same rebranding. Fortunately, Marvel cancelled the NU line of books. At the turn of the millennium, Marvel found the right time to intro a new line in the Marvel Ultimate Universe. These books featured well-known characters, but gave them all a modern feel—like what DC did “post-Crisis.”

The last time Marvel tried to majorly revamp their continuity came during 2005’s House of M series. The main consequence—in the story—came when Scarlet Witch magically took away the powers of 98% of Marvel’s Mutant population. At the time, X-Men books were top-sellers. Since that event, like (most of) the Superman comics of the 90’s through 2015, the “X-titles” haven’t recovered.

While there’s a big risk in rebranding, the cyclical way comic books recover is inevitable. Fans are going to continue to read comic books. Readers can always find another corner of the vast comic book community to roam if the stories they subscribe to are frustrating or too convoluted for whatever reason. Rodriguez is hopeful. “Comic books are [now] the [potential] source for what will become a movie or a TV show… [comics] should be the inspiration for everything.” Hopefully, Marvel Legacy will do just that.

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MattyLovesPodcast #61 with Aaron Haaland, owner of A Comic Shop

In the latest installment of MLP, Matty travels to A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida to talk to the store’s owner, Aaron Haaland. Usually, MattyLoves provides visitors with content that revolves around the topics of comic books and pro-wrestling. The blogs are mainly dedicated to comics, while episodes of MLP ebb and flow with whatever Matty’s currently wrapped up within.

Over the past year, Matty’s fascination with the sales of comics has increased. In the last ten years, Marvel and DC have presented comic book readers with an overwhelming number of reinventions. Some were successful, while others failed miserably.

 

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The sun sets behind A Comic Shop, located at 114 S Semoran Blvd in Winter Park, FL. (Photo/Matt de Simone)

How does this affect the retailer? Haaland is internationally known. He has a weekly video blog featured on a pop culture news site, Bleeding Cool. If anyone in Matty’s neck of the woods had a finger on the pulse of the comic book business, it’s Aaron Haaland.

 

From the success of DC Rebirth, to the confusion of Secret WarsMatty asks Haaland about the state of the comic book business for a retailer in 2017. The main question Matty wants answered is how retailers adapt to the relaunches in order to sell comic books to new reader. Also, what do you tell a longtime reader when a series with the same creative team relaunches with a new “#1” as opposed to simply continuing the ongoing series? It’s awesome that Haaland took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Matty and answer his questions. Enjoy this interview with the host of A Comic Show and owner of Matty’s favorite comic shop.

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MattyLovesComics 04.05.2017: “New Comics and Pro-Wrestling Hangovers”

Gang. What is happening? How was your weekend? Mine? Oh, not too shabby. A little CHIKARA Pro weekend that I wasn’t at all excited about.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] You know, at times, the readers can’t sense your sarcasm.

Oh boy, “Ed.” Can I at least say “hello again” for the first time in two weeks? Besides, there were no grammatical errors in my greeting.

[ED:] You wrote “shaggy,” not “shabby.” Fixed that. Technically, your last sentence about CHIKARA is not one. 

You done? I write how I talk. My verbage butchers the English language.

[ED:] It’s “verbiage,” not “verbage.” Please, continue. 

You left that in, didn’t you?

[ED:] Italicized, too. 

c8xlrmguwaaudlUgh. Anyway, I got to attend CHIKARA Pro’s Turn Left and Bad Wolf. Fantastic stuff. I will likely get together with Kevin Ford soon to discuss the awesomeness we both witnessed live. If you live under a rock, Wrestlemania took place Sunday from “The Citrus Bowl” in Orlando, FL. A $15 Uber fare from my home. Getting back from ‘Mania was a different, boring, and sad story of two guys who just should’ve gotten a ride from the other guy who ended up coming back downtown to pick up the stranded duo. But I digress. WWE never disappoints… Okay, let me rephrase that—Wrestlemania 33 was, in my opinion, the best Wrestlemania in maybe ten years. It was great time.

But let’s back it up. The highlight of my weekend came at Friday night’s Turn Left. A while back I bought Debbie Gibson’s 1987 chart-topper, Out of the Blue, on vinyl. For one, spinning it took me back to racing around a roller-rink after a tough day as a 2nd grader. Also: Altered Beastwhich, now that I think about it, is associated with the roller-skating.

The point of the album purchase was for last Friday night. As soon as I walked into the building with Kevin and Heeltown USA’s Jerrelle Hamilton, there stood my target: CHIKARA’s Senior Official (ref), Bryce Remsberg. He and CHIKARA Director of Fun, Mike Quackenbush, host a bi/tri-weekly CHIKARA-centric podcast entitled #DeepBlueSomething. Now, I’d have to go back and listen to the first episodes. Can’t remember how the title came to be. In my brain, the “one-hit wonder” band, Deep Blue Something—responsible for 1995’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”—is where the name of the show came from.

[ED:] Indeed. Listen to the intro.

Well, okay, you’re right, Ed. I originally thought, Pete and Pete?” But now that I think about it, when “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was spinning on the FM radio every 30 minutes in 1995, I thought the song sounded like the theme song to Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete.  

avatars-000234191459-cv9a8a-t500x500So, yeah, #DeepBlueSomething is set by a standard of rules (which I love). In each episode, Mike and Bryce discuss: 1. Something old (about CHIKARA Pro), 2. Something new, 3. Something borrowed, and 4. Something blue—like the things a bride has to have as a part of her wedding ensemble.  In one of the first episodes, Bryce tells a story of his childhood obsession with Debbie Gibson. Out of the Blue was the album that put Gibson on the map. The duo decided early on that “Debbies” is the moniker for the #DeepBlueSomething listeners. As a podcast host myself, it’s one of my favorites. The overall structure and flow makes it easy to listen to. Plus, if you’re fan of CHIKARA Pro—or pro-wrestling in general—it’s worth the spin.

Now let’s get back to entering the arena floor at the OLE. I walked up to Bryce with my album and blue Sharpie. He stood behind a merch table, selling his 8 x 10’s. I asked him if he could sign something for me. Bryce is nice. It’s his thing, so, of course he obliged. I pulled the album out of the parcel in which it was originally delivered. Bryce immediately said that signing Debbie Gibson’s Out of the Blue made his weekend. It was a super-nice thing to say and exactly the reaction I wanted to get out of him at the start of a busy weekend. But, I wanted Mike to sign it as well. Like a Mutant telepath, Bryce asked if I wanted Mike’s autograph before I could. A few minutes later, I was graced with an album cover even more beautiful than it was before. I think both of them got a real kick out it—my favorite referee and one of pro-wrestling’s true superheroes. Last weekend ruled.

What else, what else? Oh yeah, comics! Last week was rather hectic. Not a lot of quiet time to read many titles. I did manage to get through the X-Men Prime one-shot that reset the X-Men (again.)

[ED:] Wait for it. 

No, Ed. I’m not going to take a dump on the story. Reading this book “reset” some of my feelings and analysis.

[ED:] I thought the X-Men were a lost cause? Your favorite heroes were no longer your favorite heroes. Boo hoo. 

Shut your mouth with your mouth. Did you read it?

[ED:] I’m your editor. That’s literally all I do. 

471503-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_2028129Okay, then. Shush it up because the events in this quick story about Kitty Pryde’s return to the X-Men may have a glimmer of hope for the future. Look, you can go back to the past few weeks and read about my feelings on where the X-Men stood within the Marvel Universe during and following Inhumans vs. X-Men. Marc Guggenheim and Collen Bunn may be on their way to slowly but surely making X-titles readable again for long time readers and new ones as well. I emphasize the word “slowly” because that’s the only way to “Rebirth” the X-Men. The aforementioned Kitty Pryde is now “Cyclops.” Storm is now “Professor X.” Old Man Logan is… ugh. I just can’t dig it. Bring back the real one. It’s weird and, I don’t know? Unnecessary, maybe? Oh yeah, and the real Scott Summers should be on his way back soon too (while they’re at it). They don’t elude to that in any way during Prime, but wishful thinking helps.

Spoiler: The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning is now set dead in the middle of Central Park. Magik teleports it from Limbo to New York, but they don’t show it. I’ve been taught to “show, not tell” for so long I want to eat the Sun. I wasn’t a big fan of the reveal, but I like the X-Men back in New York. What I’m curious to see is if editorial explain how the subbasement that stretches for acres teleported inside the ground with grass and the terrain totally unaffected.

[ED:] It’s comic books, you fool. Let it happen. 

This is coming from someone who has never read a comic book.

[ED:] I’ve read your sad attempts. That’s enough, yo-yo boy. 

Ouch. Well, maybe I’m being a little too nitpicky, but I still thought that the final pages of an important new beginning weren’t fully presented to the reader.

Outside of learning of the new X-Men status quo, I didn’t get around to Infamous Iron Man last week, but I am surely catching up soon. The one book that surprised me when I saw it on the shelf was none other than the second volume of Alex Ziritt and Fabian Rangel Jr.’s Space Riders entitled: Galaxy of Brutality. I know this is one of the most kickass titles I’m reading when it names a volume after a Misfits compilation album. The first volume of Space Riders was a fever dream set in outer space. I’m about to run back through the first four issues again before reading the newest volume’s opening chapter. Stoked. 

Let’s take a look at this week’s choice selections, shall we?

gold_customPULL LIST FOR 4/5

PAPER GIRLS 13

STAR WARS 30

SUPERMAN 20

X-MEN GOLD 1

Sometimes when I look through the weekly solicits, I fear that highlighting only four issues on my pull list is an error on my part and that Wednesday will hold a surprise or two. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I’ve scaled my weekly pulls way back. It seems that only one or two weeks a month provide me 5+ comic books. I can live with that.

X-Men Gold should prove interesting, if anything. Why Marvel isn’t making this the newest volume of Uncanny X-Menfor years, the main title—beats me in the brain. I will treat it as such, as will Marvel. I think.

Star Wars is so steady-Eddie. We’re picking back up with Luke this week, fresh of traversing the stars with his head buried in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s book of memoirs and tales of Jedi’s past. The Yoda story he/we just read about may end up presenting parallel events Luke is about to face. Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca do work.

paper-girls-2-headerPaper Girls is a title where I am currently four issues behind, all the time. Like, I’ll binge read books like this because so much is happening—a time-displaced adventures such as this. Reading’s easier that way because you have a better sense of “when” you are within the story. Plus, it’s an indie title. Sometimes there can be delays, but Brian K. Vaughn rarely seems to miss a deadline. Cliff Chang provides beautiful art. I first noticed his work on Wonder Woman during Brian Azzarello’s run six years ago.

And, of course, after taking a week off, Superman comics are back for the next four weeks! This week in Superman #20, we come fresh of the hinges of “Superman Reborn,” which reset the Superman continuity. Our Superman now is the same Superman we’ve always known and “New-52 Supes” is also the Superman we’ve always known. They’re one in the same, much like Lois Lane and “New-52 Lois,” and also Jonathan Kent, who has now always been a part of the DC canon. It was well-executed. Super-excited to read the beginning of a new arc.

Well, that’s my time this week. Off to read some comics. Hope everyone has a wonderful week and I’ll catch you later!

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MattyLovesComics – 03.01.2017 – “Dearest Website, let’s talk comics.”

Dearest “website,”

It’s been too long. For some time now I haven’t officially submitted anything from my brain onto this domain I pay for, and for that, I’m sorry. It’s not that there were no words to hammer out on a keyboard. It’s not like I haven’t had a little time to update my life for you and whoever else that cares for my radical and wild existence. I have. There’s work and school and… Ah, who am I kidding, website? I’ll admit got away from the usual exuberance I usually get from comic books. The holidays weren’t a drag so much as an excuse to take it easy. Sure, there’s the weekly, late night, Frisbee golf tournaments in the parking lot of my workplace. I guess I could be home—with you, website—adding more words for more reading eyes. But to be honest with you, I was spending a lot of time with my eyes on a computer screen and not on the “life-management screen.” I’m healthy. I’m happy, but I need a little bit of humanity and culture outside of my stories, YouTube channels, and comic books.

mlp_new_logo_wpI missed you, too. Look, I know you’ve seen the moves I’ve been making over at iTunes and SoundCloud. I’ve dug down into the depths of empty pockets to find enough scratch to finally give the world no reason not to listen to MattyLovesPodcast. After working on uploading old content from the YouTube archives, I’ve just about re-released most of the content I deemed the best of the best of the best. Now that I’m just about finished with that process, I can start recording shows again. That way, I can uber-compile content and then be faced with the “AH! WHAT DO I DO?!” situation. Totally fine with that, website. However, I must complete the uploads before the reloads, if you catch my little play off the word “load” there.

No. That wasn’t meant to sound sexual. I’m talking about reloading my computer with more freshly recorded episodes of MLP. Anyway…

The real reason I’m reconvening with you today is because of the new content I’ve experienced in the forms of film, television, and comic books. Especially comics! You stoked up, website? I just dropped $6.99 on trade paperbacks of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men: Assault on Weapon Plus and Planet X. Trades, website! I didn’t pull the bonehead mistake of spending $7 each on New X-Men issues 130 through whatever. I’m growing up! (Plus, I think I might have most of Morrison’s X-Men run in longboxes safely housed at my resort-getaway-chateau in Blue Ridge, Virginia.)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, please. It’s your parents’ home. Or your parents’ dog’s home, I should say, dear boy.]

Yeah, website. I don’t like him either. He thinks I don’t catch the edits before I re-edit.

Well, why would I erase his “notes?” I think it adds to the hysteria of my history.

Yes, I need a girlfriend. I knew I could come back to you for some sort of scant reminder. Good ol’ website.

Pressing on—before the interruptions—I’m reading a lot. The daily reads haven’t been this frantic in quite a while. There is so many great ideas going for Marvel, DC, and Image Comics. Even IDW is making a solid effort to reestablish some of the characters from my generation’s favorite syndicated cartoons. I’ve trimmed the fat of my weekly pull list—which I usually post each Wednesday via my Twitter account. I’m back to bare essentials: read what you like. Sure, there are some books that pique my interest, but those books often pop up on Rob Jeffereson’s Comics Explained series. For real, website, this guy is who I tell people to go to if they don’t have time to read the “major” titles in comics past and present.

Say you ask me: “What’s good right now, Matty? Like, what is a game-changing book in the current realm of canon within the ‘Big Two?’”

No, not “you” meaning you, website. Those “reading eyes,” remember?

People of Earth. Viewers of MattyLoves. I’m now speaking to you.

sm_cv14Let’s start with DC Comics. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to hop on the internets and type up a gushing salute to whatever genius managed to (for the time being) right the wrecked ship that were the Superman titles? Folks, you can go back on my blog and see my torrid history with giving the creators telling “Big Blue” stories a chance. The only guy who swung for the fences and came away with a decent average was Dan Jurgens. If you know the history of Superman’s writers, Jurgens basically gave Superman depth, story, and a more robust catalog of imposing threats—namely, Doomsday.

Jurgens is now joined by Peter Tomasi (holy geez, read his run on Green Lantern Corps). Together, they’ve brought Superman back to, arguably, the best character to get to know in 2017. New 52 turned out to be a disaster across all the titles for the standpoint of overall story. ‘Member Convergence? Yeah, pretty confusing. But the one saving grace from that comic event was the Superman who existed before the New 52 is now the Superman of this “Rebirth” era for DC Comics. Superman and Action Comics are currently exploring Superman in this new world, but also looking into the fallout from the death “Prime Earth” Superman of DC’s New 52.

The best part about this new direction for “our” Superman is during the goings on in Convergence, pre-New 52 (or “New Earth”) Lois Lane got pregnant. She and Clark Kent welcomed their baby son, Jonathan, into this new world. (The one miracle from that “event.”) So, now Superman has to raise his son—who is, of course, developing powers—alongside Lois, who is trying to get acclimated to this new world herself. It’s going to get interesting once the major cosmic villains want to take over Earth, and then find out Superman has a son. Can we say: leverage? Abduction? Possibilities galore. Then there is the issue of—who we think is—the New 52 Clark Kent, who is alive and still around preventing the current Superman from dawning the Clark Kent persona. This Clark looks exactly like, but is definitely not Superman. No powers, but has a disgusting sugar habit. I love the sweets, but this Kent probably eats fruit candy like Starburst and Twizzlers, which I deem disgusting and a plague on society. This Kent is bordering on creepy. “I drive an ice cream truck”-creepy.

Confused? That’s why you guys should be reading Superman books! Not just these, but there are a few other related titles rocking it out. China’s got a New Super-Man, Lana Lang is “Red Electric” Superman, and you know DC had to put together a Super Sons team-up book featuring “Jonn-o” Kent and Damian Wayne. I highly suggest Superman titles to anyone right now trying to find their first comic to read, or those finding their way back.

I told you, website. I got that fevah again.

Some other DC titles to possibly flip through are:

He-Man/Thundercatsbecause why the eff not? If you read comics, are in and around the ages of 30-40, and also read this blog, I hope you’re up to speed on this title and the previous volumes of Masters of the Universe stories from DC.

Wonder Womanhey, despite DC editorial taking Brian Azzerello’s character-altering saga and swiftly burning the story and the New 52 WW to the ground, who better to bring her back up than Greg Rucka? He’s got solid chops for Diana Prince. It shows. Now that titles like Superman, Action, Batman, and Detective—to name a few—are solicited twice a month, it gives creators many options structurally speaking. The main options being: 1. Does the creator make the title a concurrent arc with possible crossovers and one-shot, character development stories? 2. Or does the creator take advantage of the two books per month and stagger stories? Rucka chose option #2 and I feel it has paid off so far. He’s telling stories of Diana’s past and present that intertwine in their respective plots despite not taking place concurrently. To my knowledge, this is the only title of the “Rebirth” line that is utilizing this brand of storytelling.

wildstorm5f-4-webWarren Ellis’ Wild StormI’ve mentioned in previous posts and podcasts that I love the old WildStorm stuff from Image Comics during the mid to late 90’s. If there is a chunk of comic book knowledge I possess that will get me nowhere in most comic book discussions, it entails the history of the WildStorm U and “Project: Genesis.” One of my comic book idols, Jim Lee, founded the original studio then sold it to DC back in the early 2000’s. After a not-so-successful relaunch, the WildStorm U “dissolved” into the pre-New 52 DCU. Not a lot survived. The New-52 campaign saw the return of some familiar WildStorm faces like Grifter, a weird semblance of Team 7, and I think Voodoo had a title. I liked what they did with Grifter during Flashpoint, but he didn’t get a lot of play beyond his 18-19 issue series that was a part of the second run of New 52 cancellations. Anyway, all that said, Warren Ellis—who wrote a good bit of what I consider to be classic WildStorm gold—has been hired by Lee to relaunch a batch of these old characters who get their own universe within the DC Multiversity. To this point of publication, there has only been one issue. Maybe I’ve been hankering for WildStorm content to return, but I think this line of books will be awesome as long as they hang on to Ellis.

Still with me, website? I guess I could finish up here with what I plan on scooping Wednesday, but I promised the readers other suggestions from Marvel and the indies. So, let’s move on.

WARNING: The following rant isn’t telling you to not read the soon-to-be addressed line of books. See for yourself. Marvel’s X-Men comics have become comparable to DC’s Superman comics during the New 52 era. The only difference is that it is hard to write about Superman without really shaking up his character/family dynamic. With the X-Men, it seems all Marvel’s editorial staff wants to do is constantly change everyone’s character dynamic. Nothing has stuck since Brian Michael Bendis’ run on his X-Men titles. I love Jeff Lemire’s stuff. We’ll get to that later, but there is no way I believe he should be held minutely responsible for the mail-in job Marvel’s done leading up to the end of all this Inhumans vs. X-Men nonsense. Marvel wanted us to care about the Inhumans. Some do. Some did. (I did, see: War of Kings.) Some are still sore with the fact that Marvel may have lost full rights to the X-Men forever. I’m proud to say I’m a part of the latter clan. Once we, the fans, discovered Marvel is, yet again, reshaping the X-Men universe with ResurreXion, books like Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men and Lemire’s Extraordinary X-Men  went full-on “autopilot.” (I had such high hopes.) Maybe I’ll take a moment to discuss my thoughts on the new line of books down the line.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I should’ve just thrown this bit out all together. The X-Men are long gone. It’s Marvel’s ultimate loss from the comic bust of the late 1990’s. Move on, Matty.]

182322_989694_5But enough of the bad, let’s get to all of the awesomeness. I’ll start with Iron Man. Admittedly, I didn’t read a lick of the Civil War II mini-series. “Secret Wars redux” burnt me good in “201$” with the delays, weak tie-ins, etc. (Loved the main story!) I didn’t want to go near CWII once I found out the aforementioned Inhumans played a big part. Fortunately, reading books like Invincible Iron Man and Amazing Spider-Man kept me up to speed on the Civil War II stuff. One thing that I’ve noticed with both Marvel and DC are how they’re taking these longtime, wretched villains and turning them into genuinely good guys. Doctor Doom is a prime example. Now the details are hazy, but I do believe that Tony Stark/Iron Man was “killed” during the events of Civil War II—the reason I say this is because I’ve only read the first of the four or five issues of Bendis’ new volume of Invincible Iron Man starring the adorable Riri Williams that currently lay in a stack on my coffee table of recent titles I need to run through. I’m sure I’ll soon find out Stark’s fate. Anyway, Doom is now one of the new “Iron Men” traversing the globe bashing baddies—and also The Thing because, well, you think Thing’s going to believe Doom’s a good guy? After Secret Wars culminating with Doom’s realization of genuine fear (a first), he’s now reformed and wants to reshape the world to be a better place rather than Doom’s selfish “vision” of a better place. Or, at least that’s what Bendis wants us to generalize. Much like Lex Luthor in Action Comics, I am looking forward to these villains realizing they’re never going to change. They’re not good men. They’re nature is evil. It’s coming. I’ve read too many comics.

I mentioned Amazing Spider-Man. This blog has often been home to rave reviews of Dan Slott’s run on Amazing. It’s undeniably fantastic. The Clone Conspiracy wraps up Wednesday with a classic Marvel “Omega” event. Knowing Slott’s storytelling style, nothing is ever settled. I’m sure more questions will be raised. Clone Conspiracy was basically Slott bringing back The Jackal yet again, only he’s not who he seems. It’s someone else claiming to be the new Jackal. The story’s still fresh. I don’t want to give much away. In the past, if you saw the word “clone” in a Spider-Man title, it was not promising. Slott does an excellent job of erasing most of the anguish of the Spidey-clone events of days gone by. Call me “Wrong Guy Randy,” but I want to say Slott has written close to 200 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. If you’ve never read his stories, oh man, good luck catching up. Clone Conspiracy is a good jumping on point, though. Check it out.

A few other Marvel titles to consider:

Jeff Lemire’s Moon KnightI’m positive this is the only title I’ve ever blogged about that I have yet to read. Based on his X-Men stuff, I wasn’t clamoring for this book despite my love for Moon Knight. Above, I posted the link for the Comics Explained YouTube channel. From those videos, I realized that this series would have to be added to my weekly pull list. The only problem is that Lemire’s Moon Knight run ends soon. As some of you know, most current Marvel titles don’t go past issues #15 or #16 before getting relaunched as a new volume. And that’s so stupid. Issue numbers are so meaningless nowadays.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, boo hoo.]

But I digress. For anyone who doesn’t read weekly titles and choose to pick up the occasional collected editions, this plan works out. My patience for Lemire’s collected Moon Knight run will be worth it despite knowing most of what happens. However, because I haven’t read it, I’m not going to explain or speculate anything. I’ll just say that if you watch Rob’s videos explaining the plot—holy crap. I guess I should also recommend Lemire’s Thanos miniseries currently on the shelves. It’s three issues deep and I’m definitely reading this series at the moment. Not missing out on this one. It’s Thanos. I need even more reason to take a crap on the movie version presented in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, hopefully.

doctor_strange_1_preview_2-jpgAny Marvel title written by Jason AaronCreators like Lemire and Jason Aaron are who I consider to be top-notch as far as not only telling great stories, but consistently releasing their Marvel titles on time. Aaron currently writes Doctor Strange, The Mighty Thor, The Unworthy Thor miniseries (soon to end), and Marvel’s Star Wars ongoing series, which Aaron has penned since issue one. Everything about these titles project a portrait of consistency and care. When you read each of these books you can tell how much Aaron cares about all of his characters. This extends to his independent work as well. Thor has been one of the best heroes in the Marvel U since the release of Thor: God of Thunder during the initial release of the “Marvel NOW!” line. From there, Aaron has grown a tree of beauty and reason. The motivations of his Thor, Strange, Luke, and Yoda are always clear. Never as a reader do I ask myself, “What’s happening here?” (See: X-Men, or Invincible—don’t get me started on that one.) Much like the newest volume of Invincible Iron Man, I’m about five issues behind on Doctor Strange. The first two arcs story paired with Chris Bachalo’s and Kevin Nowlan’s art were dynamite. I love all the new characters. The same goes for Star Wars. A lot went on in between A New Hope and Empire. Aaron delivers on the “what” every month “…in a galaxy far, far away.”

Almost through this, website. Should I break it up into parts? No? Just give the readers a good read? Okay. I think I agree with you.

With that, I guess I should address the indies. Although I could seriously go in on the travesty that is the conclusion to Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, I’ll table that for another time and place.

Jeff Lemire’s Descender has made appearances on the blog. The book is still kicking ass. There’s a robot war coming. I’m so ready for it. This event what I believe the book has headed for from the start.

Kaare Andrews’s Renato Jones: The ONE % was probably my favorite series of 2016 from any publisher. It’s so good. I’m not even a guy who gives a crap about class or social status. If I did, this would still be my favorite book from 2016, obviously. Some big-time bankers are sleazeballs. Renato shoots those guys in the face with a knife-gun. Need I say more?

kill-or-be-killed-1-600x911Last but not least is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Kill or be Killed. I’m telling you that these guys touch on just about every nerve in my brain-factory with not only the way Dylan’s story plays out by also with the layouts, colors, and images in the title. Dylan is guy who doesn’t know where he is in life, but he’s not making good decisions to help himself out. These decisions hinder his ability to get a grip on what he needs in order to be happy. Instead, he tries to kill himself. Doesn’t work. The consequences of failing the attempt on his life may prove worse than suicide. That sounds crazy enough, right? What if I told you Dylan becomes a vigilante killer? What I won’t tell you is the “why.” The first trade is out now. It’s a bargain. Five issues will suck you in. Trust me. “It’s not what you think” type of stuff

Alright, website. Let’s see: Life status, reading lots of comics… Oh! I guess I should conclude with what I’m picking up Wednesday, March 1.

What’s that? “What about ‘forms of film and television?'” Crapbags! I forgot to talk about FX’s Legion, CW’s Riverdale, and John Wick! Looks like I’ll have to shelf that commentary for a later time. It’ll give the readers something to look forward in the near future. Plus, it leaves this entry unfinished, according to me. Let’s get on with the list for this week, website.

PULL LIST for 3/1/2017sm_cv18-600x906

CLONE CONSPIRACY OMEGA 1

DOCTOR STRANGE 18

M.A.S.K. 3

PAPER GIRLS 12

SUPERMAN 18

STAR WARS 29

Whoa. See, this is a case-and-point example of how I’ve “trimmed the fat.” After compiling my books, I noticed there are about five other titles released Wednesday that I started to read, but lost interest. These comics won’t even run me $20 this week. Of course, there could be an oversight or two. You never know with Image. Either way, this used to be considered a light week but I guess now it’s becoming the norm. And wouldn’t you know it? All of these books I previously mentioned. This actually makes the close of this recent entry easier than I thought, website.

It was good to hand this over to you. I haven’t kicked out 3000 words dedicated to my interests in quite a while. Say, website, don’t get too lonely. I’m not far away. I’ll be back soon and hopefully have more to tell you and the reading eyes. Until then. I’m going to crack into these Invincible Iron Man issues I’ve backlogged. Catch you later!

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Matt de Simone is a freelance writer who is currently stationed in the outskirts of Orlando, Florida, fighting the never-ending battle to find his place in this wacky world.