Saturday, May 02, 2009

Comics: The Pull List

It's Free Comic Book Day, so if its been a while since you've dropped in on your Friendly Local Comic Book Shop, now's your chance. Mine is Spy Comics, as I've mentioned before, down in Federal Way.

It is also an excuse to update my pull list. Since I'm a regular, I give the store a list of books I will definitely be buying each week, and they pull them from the shipment. That way they are available, and then I skim the shelves to see if there is anything I want to add (I usually go for the three-book rule on most new attempt - I buy three issues of an ongoing before I add it to the pull list. Limited series, of course, I decide with the first issue).

But looking over the new list, I see the results of the most recent attempts at big ticket events. DC, which pitched its entire fictional universe into a Final Crisis that killed Batman, has practically evaporated from my list. A few team books are all that remain from a following that included the Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern main books and followers.

Marvel, on the other hand, did very well by its Secret Invasion and follow-up Dark Reign. Quick Summary here: in the former, the Skrulls invaded. In the latter a bunch of villains get their act together and take over the heroic roles. And as a method of expanding book sales, it has been pretty successful. Not content with two Avengers titles, they now have four - Mighty Avengers (formerly Tony Stark's Republican Avengers, now led by Hank Pym, being deceived by Loki), New Avengers (formerly Captain America's Liberal Avengers, now led by Hawkeye, who was dead but apparently got better), Dark Avengers (led by Harry (Green Goblin) Osborn in a Thunderbolt-like attempt to pass off villains as Heroes), and Avengers: The Initiative (left over from Civil War as a training operation, manipulated by Skrulls, no one in charge right now). Not a bad little franchise, and what happens when you do a mega-event right.

Also increasing on my list are books I am not reading, which the Lovely Bride is following, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (OK, I read that one), Angel, and Spike, as well as the Marvel adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which the LB says has all the lines right, but the pacing is weird. So she's slowly being drawn back into the comics world as well.

Anyway, if you get a chance, go check out your local comic book shop, tell them I sent you, and enjoy the puzzled look on their faces because the don't know me.

More later,

Update: So I get to Spy before noon, and the place is packed. I'm serious. Easter-Sunday at church packed, with Rick working the cash register in a flurry and Paula helping people in the crowded aisles and passing out bags of the free comics. I got about ten feet in before I gave it up as a hopeless and left the field for the happy customers with copies of graphic novels under their arms. I really hope everything went well for them, because the joint was jumping.

On the swag itself? A very nice self-contained Wolverine story from Marvel which covered the last bit of Logan's life that had not been examined. Aliens/Predator promo from Dark Horse that were the opening pages from new series. A Sonic comic from Archie that patches together frames from earlier comics with more text than its target audience will want to read. A Cars (the Pixar film) comic from Boom that tells the protagonist's story with a perfect example of unreliable narrator. A bunch of articles from the Wizard/Toyfare group that may be a bit questionable for the youngsters. A chapbook sample from a Magic Novel, Agents of Artifice by Ari Marmell, from WotC.

And "Issue 0" of Blackest Night, the Green Lantern themed big summer event, which really deserves to be unpacked and examined on its own, since it underscores a lot of what comic universe simultaneously cool and frustrating. But more on that later.