Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 39: Pretty Pictures...

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

Yesterday I posted what may be the single most boring column that I have ever written.

Now it is gone.

Unfortunately, that leaves me with no Hoopla! for this week... so here are a few nice covers from the coming-out-in-December-2007 batch o' solicitations...


Written by TOM BELAND
Art & Cover by JUAN DOE
Puerto Rico...island of beauty, intrigue and, for one ever-lovin', blue-eyed visitor…a pile full of danger! Ben Grimm has been keeping a secret from his teammates for years. But when Reed, Sue and Johnny investigate, the mystery brings them to the tropics, face-to-face with an old nemesis and a monstrous creature known as…EL CHUPACABRAS!! All we can say is, "¡¡QUE EL MÍO SEA MARVEL!!"48 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

See ya next week!

- Paul

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 38: Tag-Lines for Everyone!!!

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

In my last column, I criticized a recent solicitation for having a dopey tag-line.

But then it occurred to me... tag-lines are the new black!

So, I've decided to provide tag-lines for some of my favorite (or not) comic-book series...

I wanted to start off with The Incredible Hulk because I'm really enjoying the "World War Hulk" storyline that's going on right now and feel it would be a prime candidate for a tag-line. First I went through all the most obvious choices, such as:

They exiled him to a hostile planet. They killed his wife and unborn child... Now he’s back. And it’s payback time.

But that's way too obvious. Same goes for:

You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry...

Hey, it's been done a million times before. But how about this...?

Hulk Smash.

With Moxie!!!

Similarly, the current Captain America storyline, in which he's dead, seems to warrant a tag-line of its own. The obvious, boring choice would be:

Captain America is dead... but his story is just beginning...

But rather than go the easy route, I suggest the following...

Captain America... DEAD!!! DEAD!!! DEAD!!!

One of the more unexpected spin-offs of the painfully convuluted Countdown limited series is the upcoming Countdown: Lord Havok and the Extremists 4-issue mini-series, starring a group of characters that I believe were last seen about 10 or 15 years ago, giving us:

Countdown: Lord Havok and the Extremists.

Just because...

For one of my favorite recent series, The Irredeemable Ant-Man, I propose the following:

One tiny man. One cancelled series.

And for Countdown itself...

52 weekly issues. 74 fragments of stories that are continued from other series. Countdown.

Sometimes, quality is the first thing to go...

And then, for All-Star Batman (written by Frank Miller, art by Jim Lee), we have this...

Frank Miller. Wants you. To. Know. The Goddam Batman. Is. Really. Tough.

or, alternatively...

Frank Miller. Jim Lee. Batman.

It sounded good in theory...

And finally, for now, I decided that my own column could use a really catchy tag-line to help draw in the crowds. And so, somewhat self-indulgently...

They said it would be weekly.

They said it would feature comic-book reviews.

They lied.

Well, that's all for this installment of Hoopla! I strongly encourage you, the bashful reader, to send in YOUR favorite tag-lines that oughtta-be...

Until next week...

- Paul

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 37: The single most unappealing solicitation of the week...

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

A couple of quick things for your perusal-ing pleasure...

First, a look at the cover to Umbrella Academy #4, due out in December.

Now that's a damn nice cover...

Also coming out in December from Dark Horse is one of the most annoying soliciations I've read in a while...

The cover itself is okay... not really my kind of thing, but I've certainly seen worse...

Kind of a mess, huh? And I'm not sure that particular color-scheme was the best choice... it actually makes me think a little bit of vomit... but that may say more about me than it does about the cover itself...

But then there's this...


On sale Dec 26 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Ongoing

A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen, The End League follows a cast of the last remaining supermen and women as they embark on a desperate and perilous journey through a world dominated by evil, in hopes of locating the one remaining artifact that can save humanity-the Hammer of Thor. For his return to the world of comics renowned artist Mat Broome (WildC.A.T.S.) teams up with critically acclaimed writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent) for this, Dark Horse Comics's newest superhero series.

o An all-new series from Fear Agent creator Rick Remender and artist Mat Broome!

Our darkest hour, one last hope for salvation . . .

Okay, so, this commits a few of my least favorite sins...

1) Whenever I read something like "A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen" I immediately flash to that Robert Altman movie, The Player, which is set in Hollywood... over and over again in that movie we hear people pitching movies by saying things like "It's like Star Wars meets Meet the Parents!" or "It's like The Terminator meets The Lion King!"

[Actually, come to think of it, I'd definitely pay to see a movie that was pitched as The Terminator meets The Lion King. But I digress...]

At any rate, not only is this comic "A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen" but it also has the hammer of Thor tossed in for good measure.


Then it has one of my biggest pet peeves (of comic-book soliciations, that is) which is The Tag-Line.

Our darkest hour, one last hope for salvation . . .

Ooh. Dramatic...

For some reason, tag-lines at the end of movie trailers seem perfectly acceptable, but they just look silly in a comic-book solicitation.

And then, finally, there's the fact that this is yet another ill-fated attempt by Dark Horse to do super-hero comics.

Why - o - why does Dark Horse feel that it must do super-hero comics? It never, ever pays off.

DC and Marvel have that particular niche well-covered. Dark Horse, you need to focus on your strengths...

I can promise you, no good will come of THE END LEAGUE. Even if it does have a similar title to The Justice League.

"It's Lord of the Rings meets Watchmen meets the hammer of Thor meets the title of The Justice League of America! The kids are gonna love it!!!"

Oh, well.

At least the weather is nice outside today...

- Paul

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 36: From Beyond

"Humans are such easy prey..."

Available on DVD as of a few days ago.

Thereby supporting my contention that life is, in fact, very very good indeed...
- Paul

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode #35: DC Comics - Publishing Fiasco

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

This is an unschedule Hoopla! that, once again, is being written to warn readers of a last-minute change in the DC publishing schedule.

Well, not really a last-minute change... because that would imply that the change was made before some pre-arranged deadline. In this case, however, it was made after that deadline.

Some of you may recall, a few weeks ago, when I wrote to warn those who pre-order their comics that Wonder Woman #13, which was solicited as being the first issue of the Gail Simone run, had been changed so that it was actually going to be a fill-in issue leading to the Wonder Girl limited series. DC has been doing a lot of this, lately. And now they're doing it again.

Superman Confidential #6, which was solicited as, quite logically, being the sixth and final part of the Tim Sale/Darwyn Cooke storyline has now been changed to... well, let's take a look at the press release they sent out a few days ago...

Press Release

Originally scheduled to appear in SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6 (MAY070149), the final chapter of the story “Kryptonite,” written by Darwyn Cooke and illustrated by Tim Sale, will be rescheduled to appear in a future issue of SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL.

SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6 (MAY070149) now will feature the story that had been scheduled for issue #7, written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin with art and cover by Koi Turnbull and Sandra Hope. In this story, the first chapter of a two-part tale, the fate of Metropolis is at stake when Superman gets mixed up with Lori Lemaris!

Unfortunately, those of us who pre-order our books have already ordered Superman Confidential #6. Which means that we've all now purchased a Lori Lemaris story by Jimmy Palmiotti.

Hurray for us!!!

This is yet another example of how totally f###ed up DC is these days.

Let's take a look at some other examples, shall we...?

The solicited content of Wonder Woman #5, which was supposed to be the missing final chapter of the book’s initial arc, was running late and so was eventually shifted over to Wonder Woman Annual #1, and issue #5 was something completely different by a different writer/artist.

And here's one that's far too complex for me to have pieced together, but which was explained over at The Beat's monthly column, DC Comics Month-to-month Sales: April 2007
by Marc-Oliver Frisch.

[The monthly column isn't actually called DC Comics Month-to-Month Sales: April 2007. That would be silly. But this was the column that came out in April 2007.]

Another month, another fill-in issue of Action Comics. “Last Son,” the much-hyped story by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert, we recall, is hopelessly late and will therefore be released in bits and pieces, not being finished until next year’s Action Comics Annual #11. Hence, among other steps, the fourth chapter of “Last Son” first solicited to appear in issue #847, has been pushed back first to issue #848, then to June’s issue #851, followed by another string of fill-ins before normal service was going to resume with issue #855 in August. That, at least, was the result of multiple schedule revisions; it wasn’t an ideal solution, but at least it seemed DC had chosen — and managed — to get the book back on schedule. All’s well that ends well, right?

But hold on: As per DC’s website, Action Comics #851 is no longer supposed to come out in June. It’s been pushed back to July. So, despite the multiple revisions made to the book’s schedule over the last few months, it now looks like there will be two issues of Action Comics in May, none in June, two in July and three in August. Unless, of course, they decide to revise their plans one more time. If nothing else, this fiasco certainly illustrates why they’re not expecting Kubert to be able to finish the story until sometime in 2008.

Ah, DC, how you fill my heart with rage.

Ultimately, however, what are the real consequences for DC? Comic-book readers continue to purchase their books and DC manages to sell comics "twice" by changing the solicitation information after it's too late to change orders.

A classic case of bait-and-switch.

My question... isn't there some legal obligation to sell the thing that they are claiming to sell?

- Paul

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 34: Comics that make me feel all tingly inside... [Part One]

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

This week we're going to take a look at ongoing, monthly comics and a few upcoming projects that all have one thing in common... they rock my world!!!

And where better to start than with the upcoming Tiny Titans comics? This is being solicited as a new monthly series for kids 3-5 years old which, of course, makes it perfect for me!!!

Please note that Aqualad apparently has a sidekick in this comic... a fish named Fluffy.

I don't think any comics fan could reasonably ask for anything more wonderful in this world than a story starring Aqualad and Fluffy, the fish.

Feeling bummed out about the death of Bart (Impulse/Kid Flash) in the DC Universe? Look no further than Tiny Titans... which is clearly, gloriously out of continuity.

Take that, Dan Didio!!!

Please note that Speedy's trick arrows include a pie-arrow (presumably to be fired into someone's face) and a water-balloon arrow.


Tiny Titans is schedule to start coming out in January; you can read here for more information.

[They also discuss two other comics-for-kids that will be coming out soon, but Tiny Titans is the only one of the three that looks interesting to me...]

Meanwhile, I wanted to mention a few monthly comics that I'm enjoying tremendously...

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Sean Chen
Published by Marvel

The cover art isn't much to look at, I know, but this monthly sci-fi/super-hero series is one of my most eagerly anticipated titles every month. It's difficult for me to put my finger on what, exactly, it is about Nova that works so well. The writers, Abnett and Lanning, are generally good but they've never really blown me away in the past. The artist, Sean Chen, is similarly good-but-not-great... he's certainly not an artist whose work I actively seek out. And the title character, Nova, is sort of a generic Marvel super-hero, initially created to be a sort of Spider-Man-esque teen loser/hero.

And yet...

Nova is only in its fifth issue but already so much has happened... it's sort of a non-stop adventure with solid characterization, awesome cliff-hangers, and lots of rock 'em sock 'em fight scenes that make me feel like a young Paul, reading comics again for the first time.

Nova isn't anything ground-breaking or terribly innovative... there's nothing here you haven't seen before. It's generic super-hero/sci-fi done with passion, though, and with a genuine sense of fun in every page. There's plenty of story in each issue, but when I get to the last page, invariable, I'm left with a desperate craving for the next issue.

Good, good stuff!


Whoops... my Homework-o-meter has just gone off, which means Part Two of Comics that make me feel all tingly inside... will have to wait until next week, but in the meantime I leave you with the following...

See you next week!
- Paul