Conversations with a Comic Book Store Owner

“Are comic books a dying medium?”

Brightest Day

Brightest Day

That was just one of the things that we talked about on Tuesday night when I stopped by The Mind Shop in Centrepoint to pick up my copies of Geoff Johns’ latest opus “Brightest Day”. It was great being able to talk to Alex (the proprietor of The Mind Shop) and to just talk comic books and talk about the different creators that we enjoyed in the entire time we’ve been into comics.

The coolest thing about the conversation was discovering that Alex has actually been to a number of comic book conventions in the U.S. which made me go “wow”. The awesomest thing was finding out that on one of his trips, Alex actually got the opportunity to have lunch with Joe Quesada back before he became such a big creative force over at Marvel. My jaw sorta dropped when he told me that and that made me feel all the more that it’d be great to experience a comic-con one of these days. It’s kinda sad that we don’t have anything of that sort in a big way here in Malaysia. *sighs*

Oh well, I’ll have to plan for that day one day cos’ I’m already 32. Ha ha ha ha ha! I doubt it’d be easy to do something like that once I’m attached or married so I better save up and do it quick before it’s too late. Anyways, we spent quiet a fair bit of time talking a lot about Valiant Comics because of the recent announcement that Jim Shooter is coming back with a new Solar, Man of the Atom book courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. Valiant was such a hot property back in the late 80’s and early 90’s with great titles such as Magnus Robot Fighter, X-O Manowar, Turok Dinosaur Hunter and lots more. It’d be cool to see these characters come back and I must say that I’m really tempted now to swing by Kinokuniya over at KLCC to pick-up the X-O Manowar trade that I found there last week.

The Valiant Universe

The Valiant Universe

It was a nice conversation and even though I just picked up Brightest Day #0 & #1 that day; I spent about an hour just chatting there. It’s always nice to meet like-minded people and it’s a relief to realise that there are still a lot of us out there who still believe in comic books as an art-form and who refuse to download comic books online. Nothing beats the feeling of thumbing through the pages of a comic book and admiring the care & love that goes into each panel and each speech bubble. I’ll always love comic books and maybe I’ll be able to get to be involved creating one, but where do I start? I’ve always had wild ideas of writing a script or plot line and sending it over to Marvel or something. We’ll see.

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The Blackest Night Goes On…

Blackest Night #5

Blackest Night #5

DC’s mega-event continues with issue 5 and I must say that it’s still going strong. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis continue to deliver a solid package with plot reveals, cliffhangers and really awesome artwork. I really don’t like doing plot reveals and do anything that would spoil your enjoyment of the series so I guess I’ll just end my mini-review here. Pick it up at a comic book store near you or better yet wait for the tradepaperback. I’m tempted to pick up the other books that are associated with the main one but I suppose I can live without em’.

Comic Book Madness

Comics!

Comics!

I love comic books. You might think it childish but I beg to differ. I think comic books are great because:

  • Of the art! I love art and comic books give you that cinematic experience without the need to switch on the TV or to go to the movies.
  • The writers are brilliant. They keep you coming back each month for more much like a Chinese soap.
  • Comic book stories are rich with influences from a variety of sources. Comic book creators draw from history, science, folklore and all kinds of literary sources to make their stories interesting. Let’s not forget the human element.
  • Superhero comics especially inspire me to be more than I can be. Don’t we all want to be heroes and do the right thing each and every single day in our lives? Sacrifice. Honour. These are lessons that comic books can teach us.

I used to read a lot as a child and I am trying little by little to get back to reading but I find that I’d much prefer to read books that teach me something about myself and life rather than fiction. I don’t do that as much these days cos’ I have to read & write as a living and I can’t stand reading pages that are made up of walls of text. I guess that’s why I prefer comic books to books these days which is a lil’ sad I suppose. I read so much less now compared to my growing up years. The only book that I go back to constantly is the Bible though so at least I’m getting some reading done daily from the good book. 🙂

Here are some good books I would suggest to anyone who wants to get into comic books as a start:. You might recognise some of them as they’ve become Hollywood properties in recent years.

  • The Hellboy series written & drawn by Mike Mignola (Seed of Destruction, Wake the Devil, The Chained Coffin and Others, The Right Hand of Doom. Conqueror Worm, Strange Places)

    Hellboy

    Hellboy

  • The Green Lantern books written by Geoff Johns with either Ivan Reis or Ethan Van Sciver on pencilling duties (The Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1 & 2, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Green Lantern: Wanted)

    Green Lantern

    Green Lantern

  • 1602 by Neil Gaiman with art by Andy Kubert & Richard Isanove

    1602

    1602

Interior art from the pages of 1602

Interior art from the pages of 1602

Green Lantern is currently one of the most exciting titles I’ve read in recent years. I’ve written posts about the Emerald Gladiator before and if you’re a long-time comic book fan I can’t help but marvel at what Geoff Johns has done with the character. It’s amazing stuff cos’ he’s taken the Green Lantern mythos further. I’m in the middle of the Blackest Night saga and all I can say is wow.

Blackest Night - a Green Lantern epic

Blackest Night - a Green Lantern epic

Before you write comic books off as childish give one a spin. You’ll find that there’s a lot more than meets the eye within its colourful pages. Nuff’ said!

September 09′ Hot Picks

Comic books are making a comeback in a big way! It’s exciting to see what’s happening right now with a wave of European writers making their presence felt in both DC and Marvel.

Blackest Night #3

Blackest Night #3

Geoff Johns, the scribe on the Green Lantern is causing waves in the DC Universe. Green Lantern fans won’t want to miss out on “The Blackest Night” maxi series that is currently on-going. I don’t really read much these days but I’m finding that lots of great stories are coming out from DC and it would seem as if Marvel is playing catch-up right now. The upcoming X Necrosha crossover in the X-books seems very much like Marvel is mimicking what’s going on with the “Blackest Night” event that’s happening all across the DCU. Why do I say that? Well, the free postcard that I picked up from the Mindshop Tuesday night had dead X-Men on it in Technovirus form. Heh. I’m kinda looking forward to that cos’ Clayton Crain’s doing art chores on that one for X-Force.

Necrosha X.

X Necrosha.

Back to “Blackest Night”. It’s pretty amazing what Johns is doing as he keeps me on the edge of my seat month after month with each issue. Good stuff indeed. I also picked up the “Rage of the Red Lanterns” trade which serves as a prelude to “The Blackest Night” and I found it to be a pretty good read too. Too bad I can’t say the same of DC’s “Final Crisis”. Anyways, keep an eye out for this and I’m glad I’m not reading up on spoilers online cos’ the writing in this series so far has been phenomenal. For the uninitiated “The Blackest Night” features lots of dead heroes & villains being raised all across the DCU by the mysterious “Black Lantern” rings. Who controls these rings? And why are the rings raising the dead? The answers have yet to be revealed and I’m gonna follow Geoff Johns as he takes his readers all the way to the very end! Let’s not forgot Ivan Reis’ fantastic artwork. Really, really good stuff!

Arkham Asylum.

Arkham Asylum.

On the gaming front I’ve just finished “Arkham Asylum” on the PS3 and it’s a short but really fun game. In fact I’m actually playing it on hard now and running around Arkham island looking for trophies and riddles to solve. The plot in the game is pretty alright and I must say that the voice work is top-notch. Of course one would expect nothing less from Paul Dini who has been writing “Batman: Animated” stories for the better part of the last decade or so. The game is brilliant in that the combo system is easy to pick-up and while simple it somehow doesn’t fall into the category of button-mashing. The graphics are pretty amazing but then again one wouldn’t expect anything less from a game that uses the Unreal engine.

If you’ve got a PS3 or XBOX 360 I highly recommend “Arkham Asylum” cos’ it’s a really fun romp as the Dark Knight. For those of you who’ve missed out on the first 3 issues of “Blackest Night” never fear cos’ I’m pretty sure that a tradepaperback is in the works and it’ll be handsomely bound in hardcover just like the 2 volumes I have that collects the entire Sinestro Corps War saga.

Till next time.

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War (Vol. 1 & 2)

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War

A really awesome read. I’ve been playing catch-up on loads of Green Lantern books over the past few months and “The Sinestro Corps War” 12 issue epic didn’t disappointed. In fact I must say that Geoff Johns and his team have done a bang-up job at putting the Emerald Warrior back in the spotlight.

I picked up both volumes of this intergalactic epic 2 weeks ago with my high school pal Yew Hein and couldn’t put it down for the last 2 days when I got started on Vol. 1 yesterday. In fact I just finished Vol. 2 today after I got back from work.

Big fights. Weird aliens. “The Sinestro Corps War” has got it all. I’m not gonna reveal any spoilers but if you’ve been following DC’s Crisis crossovers over the past few years you’re gonna be in for thrill ride to see villains from the previous Crisis stories appear here. Great stuff!

Green Lantern fans definitely won’t want to miss this one. I’ve always loved Hal Jordan as a kid and Geoff Johns really has done such a great job at revitalising the character for DC. I can’t wait to read more Green Lantern stuff in the future. Pick this one up at a book store near you.

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)