Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 Harvey Awards

This is the official press release information about the annual Harvey Awards for comics, my commentary follows.

The 2009 Harvey Awards Nominees have been announced with the release of the final ballot, presented by the Executive Committees of the Harvey Awards and the Baltimore Comic-Con. Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, one of the industry’s most innovative talents, the Harvey Awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art. They will be presented October 10, 2009 in Baltimore, MD, in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con.

Nominations for the Harvey Awards are selected exclusively by creators - those who write, draw, ink, letter, color, design, edit or are otherwise involved in a creative capacity in the comics field. They are the only industry awards both nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. Professionals who participate will be joining nearly 2,000 other comics professionals in honoring the outstanding comics achievements of 2008. Thank you to all that have already participated by submitting a nomination ballot.

Final ballots are due to the Harvey Awards by Friday, August 28, 2009. Full details for submission of completed ballots can be found on the final ballot. Voting is open to anyone professionally involved in a creative capacity within the comics field. Final ballots are available for download at www.harveyawards.org. Those without Internet access may request that paper ballots be sent to them via mail or fax by calling the Baltimore Comic-Con (410-526-7410) or e-mailing baltimorecomicccon@yahoo.com.

This will be the fourth year for the Harvey Awards in Baltimore, MD. Our Master of Ceremonies this year will be Scott Kurtz (www.pvponline.com). Look for more details soon on how you can attend the Harvey Awards dinner.

This year’s Baltimore Comic-Con will be held October 10-11, 2009. The ceremony and banquet for the 2008 Harvey Awards will be held Saturday night, October 10.


Kyle Baker, NAT TURNER, Abrams books
Ed Brubaker, CAPTAIN AMERICA, Marvel Comics
John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
Grant Morrison, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics


Gabriel Ba, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics
Kyle Baker, NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
Jimmy Gownley, AMELIA RULES, Renaissance Press
Jason Kruse, WORLD OF QUEST, Yen Press
Frank Quitely, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics


Lar deSouza, LEAST I COULD DO, www.leasticoulddo.com
John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Al Jaffee, TALL TALES, Abrams Books
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
Thom Zahler, LOVE & CAPES, Maerkle Press


Jimmy Gownley, AMELIA RULES, Renaissance Press
Rob Leigh, THE SPIRIT, DC Comics
Doug Sherwood, LOCAL, Oni Press
John Workman, MARVEL 1985, Marvel Comics
Thom Zahler, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics


Rich Faber, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Jamie Grant, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
Mark Morales, THOR, Marvel Comics
Ryan Winn, THE DARKNESS, Image Comics


Frank Cammuso, OTTO’S ORANGE DAY, Raw Junior, LLC
Jamie Grant, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
Laura Martin, THOR, Marvel Comics
Wil Quintana, THE MICE TEMPLAR, Image Comics
Dave Stewart, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics


Frank Cho, BUZZBOY: SIDEKICKS RULE!#3, Sky Dog Press
James Jean, FABLES, Vertigo Comics
Jay Lynch, MINDSHAFT #23, Mindshaft Publishing
Ken Rocafort, PILOT SEASON: CORE #1, Top Cow


ECHO, Abstract Studios
HIGH MOON, www.zudacomics.com
NIGHT OWLS, www.zudacomics.com
SUPERTRON, www.zudacomics.com


MICE TEMPLAR, Image Comics


DRAW!, edited by Mike Manley, Twomorrows Publishing
HOW TO MAKE WEBCOMICS, Brad Guigar, Dave Kellett,
Scott Kurtz, and Kris Straub, Image Comics
KIRBY: KING OF COMICS, Mark Evanier, Abrams Books
edited by Dean Mullaney, IDW
edited by David A. Berona, Abrams Books


BREWSTER ROCKIT: SPACE GUY!, Tim Rickard, Tribune Media Services
GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, United Features Syndicate
MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features Syndicate
THE NORM, Michael Jantze, Uclick Gocomics
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, Stephan Pastis, United Features Syndicate


COMIC BOOK TATTOO, edited by Rantz Hoseley, Image Comics
FLIGHT VOLUME 5, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, Villard
MOME VOLUME 10, edited by Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics Books
PIXU #1, edited by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Self-Published
POPGUN VOLUME 2, edited by Joe Keatinge and Mark Andrew Smith,
Image Comics


SKIM, Groundwood Books


M, Abrams Books
NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
THE MICE TEMPLAR: VOL. 1, Image Comics


ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #19, Self-Published
LOVE AND ROCKETS, VOL. 3 #1, Fantagraphics Books
M, Abrams Books
NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
Y: THE LAST MAN #60, Vertigo Comics


COMPLETE PEANUTS, Fantagraphics Books


GUS AND HIS GANG, First Second
POCKET FULL OF RAIN, Fantagraphics Books
RED COLORED ELEGY, Drawn and Quarterly


John Zito, www.zudacomics.com
HIGH MOON, Scott O. Brown, www.zudacomics.com
LEAST I COULD DO, Lar deSouza and Ryan Sohmer, www.leasticoulddo.com
NIGHT OWLS, Bobby & Peter Timony, www.zudacomics.com
PVP, Scott Kurtz, www.pvponline.com


Lar deSouza, LEAST I COULD DO, www.leasticoulddo.com
John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Al Jaffee, TALL TALES, Abrams Books
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
David Malki, WONDERMARK, www.wondermark.com


Brian Wood, Oni Press
KIRBY: KING OF COMICS, Mark Evanier, Abrams Books
QUEEN AND COUNTRY: VOLUME 3, Greg Rucka, Mike Norton,
Steve Rolston, and Chris Samnee, Oni Press
TALL TALES, Al Jaffee, Abrams Books
David Malki, Dark Horse Comics


Matt Cassan, NASCAR: HEROES, Nascar Comics
Bryan J.L. Glass, THE MICE TEMPLAR, Image Books
Tim Sievert, THAT SALTY AIR, Top Shelf
Bobby Timony, NIGHT OWLS, www.zudacomics.com


First of all let me just say congratulations to each and every person who has been nominated, what an impressive list! Your local A/F carries the vast majority of these titles, so if there is anything you want to check out, feel free to ask us.

I do have a few comments, of course, I can't post this stuff without a few comments, right?
Let me say, I agree with many of these selections, but there are a few on here that leave me puzzled to say the least, it's not that I don't think they deserve the attention, I just was unaware of the level of interest out there for some of these books.

As much as I think Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a cool series of kids books, I really don't consider them comics or graphic novels, at least not in the traditional sense. So there is my first point.

Nascar Heroes really? I realize that this comic sells differently across the county depending on where a given store is in proximity to the nearest Nascar racing, but wow, I had NO idea that this book was that well respected in industry circles. Interesting. See that is the beauty of the Harveys, I am always learning something new.

The Dreamer published by IDW. I do carry the book and it sells a little bit, but again I had no idea that this book and its creator were that well respected. Congrats to Larua Innes! I will be sure to take a closer look at this book now.

Witchblade Manga. Hm... I can't really sell this book, but the Harveys like most awards isn't about sales numbers, that's what bestseller lists are for, but all I can say is wow in response to this being on the list.

I can't really comment on any of the web comics or online strips nominated, until they make it into print form I'm not that hip to them. If I had more time, I would start reading web comics. Maybe I will start to make that effort after the con season.

One thing for sure, the Harveys has a vast range of books represented which makes me very happy as a retailer, as an editor, and as a fan. Here is a quick run-down of the books that I am super excited made it to the list:

Nat Turner, Captain America, All Star Superman, Umbrella Academy, The Spirit, Local, Mice Templar, Fables, JSA, Kirby King of Comics, Comic Book Tattoo, Flight, Mome, Bottomless Belly Button, Essex County, Too Cool to be Forgotten, Skycrapers of the Midwest, Wondermark and more. I recommend each of these books highly, come on in and ask me about them and I will show them all to you gladly.

To the rest of the nominees: congratulations and good luck!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Comic Con International

It is that time of year again. Comic-con International will be in lovely San Diego from July 23-26. For the first time in several years, I will not be attending, but I had to mention it anyway because it is the biggest event of the year. This is IMO the biggest and best show of the year for Entertainment, including comics, games, movies, tv, sci-fi, toys and more. If you can afford to go, I could not recommend this show enough. San Diego is THE BEST location for this kind of show. Last year, if I'm not mistaken, attendance was over 100,000. Chicago Wizard World last year was in the range of 30,000-40,000. SD blows away the competition. It is extremely well organized, for the attendee and for the exhibitor. I have never experienced a show like this. We've gone to our share of cons over the years, both as Amazing Fantasy and as Moonstone. There are small shows, medium shows, and then the BIG boys like SD. Nothing can compare, NOTHING. If you find a couple extra thousand bucks in your bank account or you win the lottery, you NEED to go! Last year I think there was over 400 panels that you could attend as a fan. I think Wizard World Chicago last year had like 30 or something like that. (These numbers are approximate, I have not verified, I'm relying on my memory here). The panels are a great attraction and well worth the price of admission. Last year, I think Comic-con cost something like $5-$10 more than Wizard World Chicago. (Again, I am just trying to remember). The wonderful thing about the panels are the sheer scope of options available, there is literally something for EVERYONE, I am not exaggerating. I haven't really looked at this years list of panels because it will just depress me since I am not attending, but check it out when you get a chance:

Last year was the one an only year I was able to attend panels at the show, at any show for that matter. Working various booths over the years at various conventions all over the country, there is little time for frivolity. Last year was golden. So many movie and tv panels to attend, you can literally see just about every one of your favorite Hollywood stars at any given Comic-Con, which is nice.

You can also find just about every artist or writer of note in attendance. I remember running into David Mazzucchelli several years back. I of course had to stop him to tell him what I big fan I was! He wasn't on the official list of artists showcasing at artist alley, I think he was just there because he is a pro. Really, you NEVER know who might be there! Every year, walking the floor, or grabbing a bite to each, you just never know who you will see. Last year, I ran into Bruce Campbell having dinner at the next table over from where I was sitting. He's a super nice guy! A few years ago, I ran into Joss Whedon, literally several times. I'm sure he thought I was stalking him. I just happened to see him walking the con floor several times (he's pretty easy to pick out) and at one of the bars one night after the show. And how could I forget the first year we exhibited for Moonstone as the SD show: Dominic Monaghan (of LOTR and Lost fame) attempting to walk down the aisle in front of our booth. Needless to say HE had lots of folks swarming him!

SD is a beautiful city for a con, and the convention center is lovely and centrally located within walking distance of tons of hotels and wonderful restaurants. Of course that is part of the problem if you want to attend Comic-con. Getting a room that's close is tough, and not spending a fortune on it, is even tougher! Food in SD is expensive mostly because there are SO many great restaurants to choose from! It's a gourmet's paradise! And the shopping is also great, many cool little boutiques to browse, but who has any money left after browsing the HUGE con floor? You must wear comfortable shoes or you will be very sorry. I did that for at least 3 years in a row. I wore stylish shoes and ended up with blisters all over. The pain I was in was excruciating. Comfortable shoes are a MUST! You can easily walk 5-10 miles a day without realizing it, the place is that big, and of course there is the walk to and from your hotel every day, oh and walking to and from various restaurants scattered all over the area and all the bars after that, again scattered all over the downtown area. I think I lose a couple of pounds every year just from walking!

One of the new announcements about Comic-Con 2009 is Hayao Mizazaki (anime and manga master) will be there. Oh I would love to meet him! This is his first appearance at Comic-Con. He will be there to promote his new movie Ponyo. And David Tennant (current Dr. Who) will also be on hand. I would love to meet him too!

It's funny, every year that I do attend, I have to read about the con when I get home because I am SO busy at the show to know what the heck is going on where. There are always TONS of announcements that come out of the Con: new comics, new companies, new movies, new tv shows, new books, you name it, it will be announced there with much fanfare. They will be announcing the sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies there this year too! Oh it's a fangirl or boy's dream come true!

For those of us that can not attend, we have C2E2 to look forward to in April 2010. That will be the closest thing Chicago has ever had to a con similar in scope to the "International Comic-Con". C2EC will take a few years to grow and find it's own legs, but I expect BIG things out of it.

So rock on those lucky folks that are able to make the trip to SD this year!

Let's Be Friends Again

Thanks to our friend and long-time A/F customer Jason, we've learned of an excellent web comic: www.letsbefriendsagain.com. I feel the need to share!

The above is from today. Sums up my feelings on Bendis pretty well. He sells A LOT of books, and the fanboys and girls do love him, BUT he can be a bit wordy at times, making it hard to see the art. I really like the idea of Bendis being a villain in the Powers universe, how apropos. Go to this site and check out all of their strips. Funny stuff! Thanks to Curt Franklin and Chris Haley for making me laugh on a nutty busy Monday.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

SKetchbook Archives Part 3

A little late with this post. We were a little busy at the shop today with the SIDEWALK SALE!

But I do like sharing some of my sketches that I've accumulated over the years, so here's a few more from my archives.

On the top is a lovely sketch of Omaha the Cat Dancer by Reed Waller from the Chicago Comicon 1993. I was very lucky to meet Reed at that con. Very nice man and super talented. For those of you not familiar with his work, his long-running adult comic Omaha the Cat Dancer has been collected into a series of trade paperbacks. If interested, ask your local A/F. From Wikipedia: "Omaha was written like a sexually explicit soap opera in plot structure and melodrama. It was highly praised for its writing, especially for its confident feminist sensibility. However, it lies firmly within the camp of sex-positive feminism, with the lead character usually enjoying her job as a stripper and preferring it to other careers."

In the middle is my one and only Tim Bradstreet sketch. I have no idea why I have only this one. He was at our store for a signing MANY years ago, I think in 1994, but I received this sketch at the now defunct Capital City Sales Conference (comic retailer show). You may remember Tim's artwork from his many many contributions to White Wolf's World of Darkness RPG books, or his comic book claim to fame: a plethora of Punisher covers.

On the bottom is a fun cowboy sketch from painter extraordinaire: Dave Dorman. I'm not sure why he doodled a cowboy, but it's a cool sketch. I don't recall asking him for anything in particular so that must have been what he was thinking of at the moment. Dave is best known for his large quantity of Star Wars paintings he has done, for the comics, the movies and novels. (He has also painted some lovely Moonstone covers too!)

Well, that's it for this weeks Sketchbook Archives. Next week I will be sharing my Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve) sketch and others!

The Colonel Reviews Utopia

Daron "The Colonel" Jensen reviews Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men Utopia #1


Now living in San Francisco, the X-Men had found a place where they were no longer feared and hated for being different. They even work alongside local police and things are just great. That is, until Simon Trask and his Humanity Now! group proposed legislation to illegalize mutants from having babies. Meanwhile in the wake of the Skrull invasion, Norman Osborn has been given control of the USA’s national security. He’s formed his own team of Avengers comprised of villains & crazies disguised as heroes, fooling the public that they’re the good guys.

Utopia opens with Trask’s Humanity Now! marching on San Francisco’s City Hall to promote their Proposition X, but the local mutant community has formed peaceful protest groups in an attempt to defend their rights. Things quickly degenerate, fighting ensues, and riots & looting break out in the streets. The X-Men aren’t able to help local police quiet things down since they’re part of the problem, so Norman Osborn is brought in to restore order with his Avengers. I can’t say any more, or I’ll ruin the big surprise at the end of the issue.

Mutants have long been a metaphor for minorities in the Marvel Universe, and the mutant minority dealing with bigots is the heart of this story. But instead of it being relegated to the X-side of the Marvel Universe, the Avengers are brought in which is a natural fit. There are reasons for both sides to be here which is nice to see. If you’re not familiar with any of the characters there are handy intro captions for the important players, so no one is left in the dark. This issue is written by Matt Fraction, who’s also currently writing Uncanny X-Men & Iron Man, so he’s familiar with the team and Norman Osborn(who’s been appearing in Iron Man the last few months), and it’s drawn by Marc Silvestri, returning again to the X-Men. From here the story continues in Uncanny 513-514(by Fraction) & Dark Avengers 7-8(by Bendis), and wraps up in EXODUS.

A good set up to the crossover with a very nice twist at the end means I’m looking forward to the rest of this story. If you like either the Dark Avengers or the Uncanny X-Men, or if you’re looking for an exciting story that advances both books and the larger Marvel Universe, than this should be right up your alley. It’s Good Stuff!

-Daron “The Colonel” Jensen

Friday, June 26, 2009

So it was announced the other day that The Watchmen Director's Cut will be hitting a few select cities in a theatrical release: Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, and New York. What gives? Minneapolis but not Chicago? Really? Don't quote me here, but according to a quick search online Minneapolis is the 16th largest metro area in the U.S. with 3.5 million residents. Chicago on the other hand is the 3rd largest city in the U.S. with 9.7 million residents. What gives? Who is paying whom? Chicago is ignored AGAIN! I for one would really like to see the Director's Cut of Watchmen in the theatre. I will not be traveling to Minneapolis for this privilege. I will wait for the Director's Cut to come out on DVD and will watch it then. New York? Of course, it's a given, it is the largest frickin metro area in the U.S. so of course it would be showing there. LA? Again, LA is always the #2 spot for any spectacle, it is the 2nd largest metro area and Hollywood is right there, so ok, I get that one too. Lastly, Dallas has 1.3 million residents. So why Dallas? I guess because it's in Texas and things inevitably end up there for some reason or other. It's such a huge state, things end up there more often then not. Just look at South by Southwest, the #1 music showcase in the county is in Texas, granted it's in Austin, which from what I understand doesn't really count as Texas, but still. So, why no love for the Windy City? Mayor Daley must have pissed someone off somewhere again, because I can't figure it out. I wish I could have been in on that meeting where some Hollywood execs where deciding where to screen this, just to hear the logic behind this.

The theatrical cut was very entertaining, giving this comic-based movie a thumbs up from yours truly, and believe me that is saying something because I am one hard to please fan-girl. (The only moment in the original film that I absolutely HATED was the extended sex scene in Nite Owl's ship, yeah I never will hear Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" the same way again, and THAT really pisses me off!) Since I managed to enjoy the theatrical cut of Watchmen, I can only imagine that I will enjoy the Director's Cut that much more. Looking forward to a scene that I know they filmed that never made it to theatres: the original Nite Owl Hollis and his death scene. It's not like I'm that morbid of a gal, I just wanted to see MORE of Hollis. He was one of my favorite characters from the comics. The "unfilmable" graphic novel worked as a film. It's different than the comic, it has to be because of the very nature of the source material. The comics work as comics, and they are meant to be enjoyed as a sequential story, panel by panel. They couldn't capture that on film, for obvious reasons and I am glad they didn't try. The film makers took the elements of the story that spoke to them and filmed in glorious detail for the world to enjoy. Rorschach is by far the most complex character but it was the same in the comics. Silk Spectre was two-dimensional at best, again this does not differ from the comics. The Golden Age Silk Spectre was MUCH more interesting in the movie and easier on the eyes. Both the Golden Age and Modern Silk Spectre were sort of eye sores in the comics, if you ask me. The Comedian works well in the film, he even comes off sexy, which was hard to portray in the comics, so the Golden Age Silk Spectre's relationship with him makes a little more sense. And yes, I know LOTS of folks did not like Ozymandias in the film, but I did. He was pitch perfect. He wasn't suppose to be some over-the-top villain, which many people forget. Nite Owl was good, and his costume was way better in the movie. In fact most of the costumes looked better in the film, with the exception of Rorschach's, they stuck to Gibbons vision of him exactly. This movie ended up being BETTER than I ever expected. I think I enjoyed it so much because I had such LOW expectations for this film. I didn't think it was possible to film Watchmen , but these guys pulled it off.

The Director's Cut and the Theatrical Cut hits stores July 21st. I guess that will just have to do for us comic fans in the Chicago area.

Getting ready for the sale!

Don't forget this weekend is the GIANT SIDEWALK SALE weekend at the Frankfort shop!
All weekend, Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.

My god SO much overstock marked down SUPER cheap! You DON'T want to miss this once a year opportunity!

No more time to blog right now, we are busy pricey all kinds of cool stuff down, WAY down!

Join us for a weekend of bargains, along with a bunch of heat, humidity AND maybe some rain. Fun will be had and money will be saved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ebert's Review of Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

Normally, I'm not a paste and post kind of a gal, but every once in a while there is gem that must be shared. Many folks have asked, "are you going to see the new Transformers movie?" Here is why I will not be, as summed up by Mr. Roger Ebert no less. Mike, the very tall fellow that works at 3 out of 4 of the locations will surely disagree, he loves any and all Transforming robots, but Ebert is a very well educated man that has proven to be again and again a champion of all genre based movies, (sci-fi, fantasy, anime, comic book and others). I think I'm going to believe Ebert over Mike in this case. Here is Ebert's review, courtesy of rogerebert.com.


by Roger Ebert

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

The plot is incomprehensible. The dialog of the Autobots, Deceptibots and Otherbots is meaningless word flap. Their accents are Brooklyese, British and hip-hop, as befits a race from the distant stars. Their appearance looks like junkyard throw-up. They are dumb as a rock. They share the film with human characters who are much more interesting, and that is very faint praise indeed.

The movie has been signed by Michael Bay. This is the same man who directed "The Rock" in 1996. Now he has made "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Faust made a better deal. This isn't a film so much as a toy tie-in. Children holding a Transformer toy in their hand can invest it with wonder and magic, imagining it doing brave deeds and remaining always their friend. I knew a little boy once who lost his blue toy truck at the movies, and cried as if his heart would break. Such a child might regard "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" with fear and dismay.

Megan Fox and Sam Witwicky outrun an explosion.

The human actors are in a witless sitcom part of the time, and lot of the rest of their time is spent running in slo-mo away from explosions, although--hello!--you can't outrun an explosion. They also make speeches like this one by John Turturro: "Oh, no! The machine is buried in the pyramid! If they turn it on, it will destroy the sun! Not on my watch!" The humans, including lots of U.S. troops, shoot at the Transformers a lot, although never in the history of science fiction has an alien been harmed by gunfire.

There are many great-looking babes in the film, who are made up to a flawless perfection and look just like real women, if you are a junior fanboy whose experience of the gender is limited to lad magazines. The two most inexplicable characters are Ron and Judy Witwicky (Kevin Dunn and Julie White), who are the parents of Shia LaBeouf, who Mephistopheles threw in to sweeten the deal. They take their son away to Princeton, apparently a party school, where Judy eats some pot and goes berserk. Later they swoop down out of the sky on Egypt, for reasons the movie doesn't make crystal clear, so they also can run in slo-mo from explosions.

The battle scenes are bewildering. A Bot makes no visual sense anyway, but two or three tangled up together create an incomprehensible confusion. I find it amusing that creatures that can unfold out of a Camaro and stand four stories high do most of their fighting with...fists. Like I say, dumber than a box of staples. They have tiny little heads, except for one who is so ancient he has an aluminum beard.

Aware that this movie opened in England seven hours before Chicago time and the morning papers would be on the streets, after writing the above I looked up the first reviews as a reality check. I was reassured: "Like watching paint dry while getting hit over the head with a frying pan!" (Bradshaw, Guardian); "Sums up everything that is most tedious, crass and despicable about modern Hollywood!" (Tookey, Daily Mail); "A giant, lumbering idiot of a movie!" (Edwards, Daily Mirror). The first American review, Todd Gilchrist of Cinematical, reported that Bay's "ambition runs a mile long and an inch deep," but, in a spirited defense, says "this must be the most movie I have ever experienced." He is bullish on the box office: it "feels destined to be the biggest movie of all time." It’s certainly the biggest something of all time.

Footnote 6/24: Does it strike you as a lapse of Pyramid security that no one notices a gigantic Deceptibot ripping off the top of the Great Pyramid? Not anyone watching on the live PyramidCam? Not even a traffic copter?


Lori's note: By all means go see the new Transfomers movie if that is what you feel the need to do, but don't forget you can also get some great Transformers action at your local A/F. Come on in to your local Amazing Fantasy and we can show you a wonderful selection of Transformers comics that will entertain and delight you. IDW has done a fine job of reprinting the Transformers comics of old along with publishing a plethora all new tales for young and old alike!

Pocket Book Pain

This week LOTS of new titles shipped. All the big boys came in, and many of them were $3.99 each. OUCH! This kind of disaster hurts the retailer and the consumer in a BIG WAY. 5 Avengers books came out in the same week, I say again OUCH! I know how it goes, things come up, books get pushed back or moved around for one reason or another, but the big two (Marvel and DC) need to avoid this type of issue in the future. We all, again retailer and consumer, are trying to watch our pocket books carefully, and this kind of stunt makes it impossible to budget correctly. Just taking the Avengers books for example, there are currently four ongoing monthly titles: New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Dark Avengers, and Avengers Initiative. Wouldn't it be swell if ONE Avengers book came out a week? Spreading the Avengers joy throughout the month rather than all in a stack. Granted Mighty Avengers did not come in this week, but the other three Avengers monthlies did along with the latest issue of Avengers/Invaders and the new Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-men Utopia Special.

On the plus side, this week's releases were stellar: Amazing Spiderman, Astonishing Xmen, Daredevil, Detective, Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash, Gotham City Sirens, Green Lantern, Iron Fist, JLA, JSA, Madam Xanadu, Fables spin-off The Literals, Northlanders, Predator, Previews Magazine, Secret Warriors, Skarr, Superman, Teen Titans, Thor, Uncanny Xmen, Wizard Magazine, Wolverine Weapon X, Wonder Woman, X-factor, X-force, X-Men Forever, and many more. That list is just the tip of the iceberg waiting for you at your local A/F. Many, many good books are available NOW. So you will have plenty of good reading this week, you can sit back and relax in the nice cool air conditioning. Keep the curtains drawn and the air cranked, you WILL enjoy your comics for many hours this week.

There were SO many books this week, we ran out of "NEW" signs at the Frankfort store, and I'm betting that was the same at all the A/F's this week. LOTS of NEW comic book goodness out there right now! Makes me wonder what is left to ship NEXT week. We will find out for sure tomorrow when Diamond posts the OFFICIAL invoice for retailers. I've said it before and I'll say it again, just because comic publisher "X" says a book will be out a certain date, does not mean jack until it shows up on a Diamond invoice. For those of you that may be interested, we here at Amazing Fantasy post the OFFICIAL list of new releases with running commentary, courtesy of A/F Frankfort's own Jerkules at: www.myspace.com/afbookscomics. He normally posts the list every Friday or Saturday for the following week's books. Always an entertaining read. Check it out every week religiously, and Jerkules will be mightily pleased, and that is always a good thing. Making Jerkules angry is always a bad thing, the air turns blue, well not quite as blue if I were to get miffed about something, but still.

In summary, on the plus side LOTS of great books are waiting for you this week. On the down side: LOTS of great books are waiting for you this week. Thanks to the big two your wallet might cry a little.

The Colonel Reviews Agents of ATLAS

Better late than never. Daron has provided us with his weekly Marvel review: Agents of ATLAS


“No one knows what the robot thinks.”

Agents of ATLAS is a story of loss, regret, redemption, reunion, friendship, loyalty, and a bunch of fun and adventure. It’s a self-contained new reader friendly story that has everything you need to know about the characters involved, and leaves them in a spot for new and exciting adventures by the end. While it’s not necessary to know anything about these characters beforehand, there are also clever bits inside for those who do.

The story opens with the origin of Jimmy Woo’s FBI team in 1958, then jumps to the present day at the end of Jimmy’s life. His old friends reunite to give him a new start, and they set about solving the case Jimmy was working on: the mystery of ATLAS. That’s the impetus of the story which rejoins the rest of Jimmy’s team, informing us of the individual character’s origins, motivations, fears, and desires along the way. Whether it’s Jimmy, Gorilla Man, Marvel Boy, Venus, Namora, M-11 the Human Robot, or even the villain Yellow Claw, you will know these characters by the end of the story.

In addition to Gorilla Man shooting machine guns using all four limbs, there’s Jimmy’s team fighting dinosaurs, zombies, robots, and the Village of the Damned. There are also great character bits throughout the series. Some examples: Rejuvenated Jimmy’s joy at finding his car and being astonished by the traffic patterns of the ‘future’, Gorilla Man explaining his origin: “I was running around the subcontinent when this witchdoctor cursed me… now I’m a gorilla. It happens.”, Marvel Boy’s decision to help his old friend resulting in his exile, Venus’ realization of what she really is, Namora’s loyalty to the only one who remembered her, and my favourite part they saved for last: the Human Robot’s origin. I still get choked up at those last two, and I’ve read Agents of ATLAS at least fifteen times now.

The collected edition includes the text back-ups from the individual comics, as well as a bunch of extras like character sketches and reprints of some early appearances of the characters. Jeff Parker & Leonard Kirk know what they’re doing, and thanks to Agents of ATLAS I’m willing to check out anything they do. As far as I’m concerned, this is how comics should be done. Agents of ATLAS is one of my all-time favourites and I happily suggest it to anyone who will listen.

So go read Agents of ATLAS, already! It’s AWESOME.

-Daron “The Colonel” Jensen

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MUST READ of the week!

DETECTIVE #854 is my MUST READ AND SEE of the week! Not only is this a very enjoyable romp starring Batwoman, but the art is beyond breath-taking. JH has outdone himself here. Unbelievable. I want to own at least one of these original pages. Granted, they are WAY out of my means, but a gal can dream, can't she? Sigh....I just flipped through the issue over and over and over, savoring every single panel. This is one of those rare moments that the reader will really appreciate every detail the artist put into every panel. So many times, we all speed through an issue of a comic, looking at the art but not savoring the art. You have to read this issue slowly, maybe even read through it once to grab onto the story and flip through it several more times to see what JH poured into every panel with thought and direction. Innovative panel layouts starring our lovely red-headed Batwoman in all of her glory. My god, I don't care how slow this book comes out if every time Batwoman is in costume we have this caliber of artwork. Even the panels that star our gal in her every day garb as Kate, the panels are still rendered with precision. Of course, these panels that star Kate are done in a more standard layout, but nonetheless, wonderful. The story? Yeah, I almost forgot about the story, oops sorry Greg Rucka. The story is well done, but did we expect any less from the master that is Mr. Rucka? Thank you DC for turning over the Detective title to someone else for a change, ol' Batsy has more than enough titles to star in at present. Batwoman starring in Detective could possibly outsell several of the Bat books that star Batman. Great work Rucka and Williams! And yes the Question back-up story has me intrigued, it was short but sweet. I'm glad to see Batwoman an Question in the same book. Maybe these star-crossed lovers will end up together yet again somewhere in the pages of Detective? Wouldn't that be delicious? I know for sure it would be beautiful ... I want to see posters or maybe a nice DC print collection reprinting some of these Batwoman pieces for those of us that won't be able to actually own one of the JH originals.

And I guarantee this book will be going to a second print in record time. Go to your local A/F Wednesday to get your copy. They will not last!
5 out 5 stars for the artwork alone! The solid storytelling is a wonderful bonus!

Good or Bad: Recap Page

Marvel does get something right every once in a while. They ALWAYS include a first page recap in every issue of their ongoing books, sometimes they even include the "little head shot". Of course this means, in a pinch, you don't have to actually read the comics to know what is going on, but that's besides the point. When I was young I had NO PROBLEM at all keeping all the various comics straight that I read every month, half of the times I would read the issues a few times before the next issue came out. Fast forward 30 years and I'm lucky I remember my mom's birthday, so how on earth am I suppose to remember what happens from month to month in 30 plus titles? Not gonna happen. Any adult that reads comics month in and month out, can run into this particular problem. In steps Marvel to help the fans out. The theory being, even if you missed the last issue of a particular Marvel comic you CAN still understand what is happening BECAUSE of the recap page at the beginning. I don't say this often, but THANK YOU MARVEL for this small little favor to the readers.

DC on the other hand DOES NOT do this, much to my continued disappointment. I've asked for this feature again and again whenever I speak to the good retail reps at DC, but they can only pass the message on, they can't dictate content. The recap page is one of the main points that Marvel beats DC hands down. This breaks my heart to say, you all know that I'm a huge DC fangirl, but damn it DC help a gal out! It is especially hard to keep track o a universe-spanning mega-event, such as Final Crisis. Boy, that recap page sure would have come in handy! Not only was I having my usual problem of remembering what the heck happened in the last issue, I was also losing track of who was who, there was a lot of characters in that book and it was very hard to remember everything they did in every issue. If only DC had copied Marvel on that one point! The big two steal from each other all the frickin time, why are they NOT doing it for this useful feature? Who knows. Maybe Didio hates recap pages or something. I'm sure DC has their reasons and I'm sure they are valid but sometimes we, the fans, need help!

I remember back when the last incarnation of Legion of Superheroes first started, DC was using the "little head" approach at the beginning of each issue to explain who the heck was who in each issue because my god there are SO MANY DARN Legion members, who can keep track of all of them? I think I personally know ONE person that knows them ALL.

Currently, I am rereading the wonderful Green Lantern: Rebirth series in trade paperback form and there was something at the very beginning that I found VERY useful. Maybe it was there in the original mini-series, but I don't remember it. That did come out a few years ago so it's very possible that I have forgotten. There is a nice page at the beginning of the book, similar in feel to the "little head shot" that Marvel is so fond of, with a breakdown of the important characters in the Rebirth series, including a nice synopsis of what everyone had been doing up until this point in the DCU. Thank you DC!

If DC would do this at the beginning of every issue they published it could lead to (gasp!) new readers! Honest to god, it's true! I would also like to see both DC and Marvel include a recap page at the beginning of every graphic novel collection, that would be VERY helpful for the reader and for the retailer too! Especially if the big two want to see NEW READERS. Sometimes I doubt how much they want this, but the theory is sound. New readers= the medium staying alive and healthy. Yes, yes I know that many folks credit the relative health of the industry on the newly expanded book and library markets with the advent of the exploding graphic novel segment of the industry, and that may be true to a point, but it could be EVEN bigger if there was a recap page or summary page on page one of every graphic novel. Hell, Dark Horse, Image and everyone else out there could do the same thing.

So come on DC, what's the hold up? We want recap pages damn it!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chicks in Capes EXCLUSIVE information!

I've been dying to talk about this project in an official capacity for a while now. I've hinted at it previously, but I've decided that now is the time to spill the beans. One of the projects I am currently working on for Moonstone is our new prose short story anthology called Chicks in Capes. I have worked on other projects for Moonstone over the years, and I am currently involved in a few others, but this is the one I wanted to share with you today. I am editing this book along with CBG columnist Karen O'brien. The painted cover you see above this post is by Nicola Scott (she of DC's Secret Six fame), with interior black and white illustrations by Emily Stone (she of Hack/Slash fame) also pictured above. My concept for the book was to create a collection of ALL NEW prose short stories by a variety of female writers, ABOUT female super heroes, edited by a female team, with covers by two female artists and interior illustrations by a female artist. This is shaping up to be an amazing collection! I am VERY excited about this, and I want all of you to pre-order it from your local A/F when this baby goes to press. I am still getting the book together, so publication is a ways off, maybe about 6 months away or more, but you are reading about it HERE first. See, yet again, it pays to read my blog! We haven't even announced this with an official press release yet or anything, so this is EXCLUSIVE information. The target audience for this book is anyone that enjoys reading super hero stories, it's not just for girls. There is something for everyone in here! I just thought it would be super fun to have the entire book produced by women. No small feat in this industry. Here is the list of the authors contributing:

As previously mentioned in this blog the amazingly talented Trina Robbins (she of GO Girl fame, Brinkley Girls, and celebrated comic historian).

Jennifer Fallon (famed Australian best-selling sci-fi and fantasy author).

Elaine Lee (most well known as author of Starstruck and Vamps comics, but has written a host of other comics and books).

Cathy Clamp (USA Today best-selling author).

Gillian Horvath (writer for various genres including scripts for the TV shows: Flash Gordon, Painkiller Jane, and Highlander).

K.G. McAbee (and another award winning writer).

Debbie Viguie (yet another, award winning writer).

Barbara Kesel (comic writer: Meridan, Sigil, The First, Aliens Vs. Predator and more).

Elizabeth Massie (and another, award winning writer).

Nancy Holder (best-selling author including Buffy contributing an all new Domino Lady story, who recently starred in her very own Moonstone anthology Sex as a Weapon and star of the soon-to-be-released comic Domino Lady).

Kathe Catto (contributing an all new Lady Action story, as first seen in Moonstone's Captain Action comics courtesy of Captain Action Enterprises).

Valerie D'Orazio (famous comic blogger )

Maggie Thompson (the woman behind Comic Buyer's Guide. I believe the longest running periodical devoted to the comic book medium).

Jen Contino (#1 gal behind comic book website The Pulse).

Damn impressive line-up if I don't say so myself! I will give you a partial list of the names of the characters created for this anthology, I'm not going to tell you much about any of them yet, you will have to stay tuned for that. As we get closer to publication, I will be supplying a little tease for each character. Some of the characters are: Witchwoman, Violet Valet, Mischief, The Kirby Girls, Silver Slut and MORE!

That's it for the information I am willing to share for now. Keep checking back for late-breaking news on this unique book: Chicks in Capes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sketchbook Archives Part 2

So it is that time again, for me to share a few sketches from my first sketchbook.

The sketch on the bottom is from our good friend Mr. Ron Frenz. This is his version of Sandman, lol. His is actually the first sketch in this sketchbook. Remember how I said that the original theme was suppose to be Sandman in my book? At least Ron was nice enough to oblige me. I like his version of Sandman, he looks rather muscular. I believe this is when we first had Ron out at the shops, back in 1993. Mr Frenz is one of our favorite creators. He's old school all the way, and he's drawn just about every major character at Marvel over the years he's been working for them, and his share of DC characters too. I believe we had him out at the shops for the release of Marvel's Thunderstrike in 1993. Thunderstrike isn't around anymore, but the shop was SO excited about Thunderstsrike, Dave painted him as one of 3 characters on the windows at the Calumet City store. If you've never ventured to the Cal City shop, you would see these great action shots of Thunderstrike, Animal Man and Daredevil on the windows. We've had Ron out at the shops several times over the years, since he's such a great guy, and super talented to boot!

The sketch on the top is from 1994. We were lucky enough to host Jon J. Muth for a signing at the Frankfort shop. This was right when The Mystery Play graphic novel shipped from DC. Ah, I remember that signing SO well. The Mystery Play is a Vertigo graphic novel written by Grant Morrison with beautiful painted art by Jon J. Muth. You may remember Muth from his beautiful painted work on Moonshadow. Moonshadow was a 12 issue "mature readers" title originally published by Marvel's Epic imprint. Vertigo was in the middle of reprinting it when Muth was at the shop. Ok, so we have J out for the release of The Mysery Play. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, it was a great signing and it was a joy to meet and hang out with the incredibly talented Jon J. Muth, but there were some problems. The promo poster that DC had made for The Mystery Play read in BIG letters "GOD IS DEAD." Well, you can imagine how a huge window display of these GOD IS DEAD posters went over in little Frankfort, you know "The town with the 1890's charm?" Wow, folks were VERY upset over that, lol. I can laugh about it now, many years later, but at the time it was quite disturbing, what a conservative, conservative town. Frankfort is better now, thank god, but I still don't think it would be very well received if I pulled another stunt like that one.

The sketch in the middle is from Shannon Wheeler, the creator of Too Much Coffee Man! I was lucky enough to meet him at the very first San Diego Con I went to, back in 1994. Great guy and a very fun book! To this day it is still one of Adam's favorites. You remember Adam? He worked at the Frankfort A/F for many years and still comes in and helps out on Wednesday mornings. He just recently got a Too Much Coffee Man tattoo. If you run into him, ask him to show it to you, it's pretty damn cool. Two years ago at the SD con, or maybe it was last year, time just runs together for me at this point in my life, there was a special presentation of the Too Much Coffee Man opera. Yep, you read that right OPERA. I was too busy and didn't get a chance to attend that, but the reviews were VERY good!

Well, that's it for this instalment of my Sketchbook Archives. More next week!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lots of events happening at the shop!

Saturday June 27th 11am-7pm
Sunday June 28th 11am-5pm
at the Frankfort Amazing Fantasy only
20523 S. La Grange Rd.
Frankfort IL 60423

Let me just say, if you've never ventured out to our annual sidewalk sale, you really should do so. It's a once a year clearance event. We gather misc. overstock and clearance merchandise from all 4 stores, mark it all WAY down and sell it on the SIDEWALK, hence the Annual Sidewalk Sale. You never know what you may find. Usually we have an assortment of 25 cent comics, select graphic novels, lots of manga, action figures, t-shirts, dvd's, statues, Hello Kitty, board games, lots of RPG books, and more! Always worth the trip! In these touch economic times, it's a great way to load up on entertainment without spending a ton of cash!

Amazing Fantasy is proud to host
V for Vendetta co-creator
for a one day only signing!
More details soon!
We do know that it will be Saturday August 1st.
He will be signing first at the Frankfort Amazing Fantasy
and then at the Calumet City Amazing Fantasy later in the day.
David will be on hand to sign books and chat. We will have plenty of copies of the
V for Vendetta TPB for sale as well as plenty of copies of his crime-noir graphic novel Kickback published by Dark Horse, and other his works too.
This is a rare opportunity to meet this incredibly talented British-born artist!
More details soon...

We have a date and time selected for the Marvel 70th Anniversary Party, but details are still forth-coming. I just wanted to give everyone the heads up so they can mark it on their calendar.
This is a Marvel sponsored event. The Frankfort Amazing Fantasy will be participating, and possibly some of our other locations too, again more details soon.

Marvel's 70th Anniversary Party
Tuesday, August 11th
Amazing Fantasy
20523 S. La Grange Rd.
Frankfort, IL 60423

There will be CAKE! A Marvel Trivia contest with prizes, hosted by The Colonel himself! The X-Men may be making a guest appearance! Marvel sales and specials! Plus: this will be a pre-release event for Marvels Project #1 and the Marvel Comics 70th Anniversary Special. Not only will we be able to sell both of these books starting at 9pm that night but we will also have special Anniversary Variant Editions of both of those books ONLY available at this Marvel-sanctioned party! This August 11th marks the 70th Anniversary TO THE DAY that Marvel's very first comic came out, called appropriately enough: Marvel Comics #1.
More details as they become available!


JSA Vs. Kobra Art Team Signing
Saturday, September 12th 12pm-3pm
Amazing Fantasy in Frankfort
Cover Artist: Gene Ha
Penciler: Don Kramer
Inker: Michael Babinski
Colorist: Art Lyon
Come on out to get books signed and chat with the ENTIRE art team on this great DC comic!


Saturday, October 3rd
24 Hour Comic Book Day
For the first time ever Amazing Fantasy will be a venue for this once a year event!
At the Frankfort location, starting at 11am running until
11 am on Sunday, October 4th.
A limited number of spots will be available for artists to come in and draw 24 pages of a comic book in 24 hours. More details soon!


We have other surprises in store, stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Must Read of the Week!

After all is said and done, Captain America #600 was actually a good read. And the #1 that I would recommend this week is Batman: Streets of Gotham #1.

Starting with Captain America #600. For the life of me, I have NO idea why they felt the need to push this book out on a Monday, but that aside, it's an excellent anniversary issue. Well done throughout. Its hefty price tag of $4.99 is, believe or not, worth it. 104 pages, you get a lot of bang for your buck, or 5 bucks as the case may be. There is the obligatory golden age reprint, which is always loads of fun, and the 2 page spread at the beginning of the book is a reprint from the Captain America: Red, White and Blue collection from a few years backotherwise it's ALL NEW. Brubaker's story in particular is a great jumping on point for fans. This issue is a tribute to Cap in every sense of the word. It's a reflection on who Cap was and commentary from the current cast of regulars. Does Steve come back to the land of the living in this issue? Well no, but the seeds are planted for his REBORN. I want to read Reborn now, believe it or not. I guess it is pretty easy to believe since Reborn will be written by one of my all-time favs Ed Brubaker. (That man can do no wrong in my book, his X-men stuff aside). I give this book 4/5 stars, the only thing holding me back from giving it 5/5 stars is the whole marketing fanfare that accompanied this issue.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #1
By Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen
Contains a second feature: Manhunter
The first of the new $3.99, secondary feature books from DC. At least we do have the nice back-up, but that will only last for 12 issues, I'm sad to report. As expected this book focuses on the non-costumed Gotham residents. Batman and Robin do appear briefly, again, as expected. It was fun to see Harley out of costume, but still acting like Harley. I think I liked the Manhunter backup better, but I have a soft spot for her. I'm glad to see that DC found a new home for her, at least for the next 12 months. I will pick this up, at least in the short term, just to get a chance to read about one of my favorite Gotham residents: Commissioner Jim Gordon. He's a damn sexy man. I can only conclude that it must have something to do with that trench coat!
3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Robert Kirkman's TOO DAMN FUNNY Press Release

Official Press Release

Berkeley, CA - In an unprecedented move, writer Robert Kirkman and illustrator Ryan Ottley have made a cryptic, semi-confident promise that INVINCIBLE #63 might be kind of a big deal for reasons they wouldn't say and plan to back it up with a special Wednesday shipment direct to comic shops!

"All I'm saying is INVINCIBLE #63 reorders should be double or triple over all retailer's orders combined plus fifty thousand," Kirkman stated. "I even heard President Barack Obama might call a press conference to discuss the contents of this very special issue, because there may be something of national interest in there. Also, every newspaper ever could possibly make it a front page story. Who knows?! All I can say for sure is every single human being on the planet, regardless of whether they read comics or even know what they are, will definitely be extremely interested in this issue, maybe even enough to buy a copy!"

INVINCIBLE #63 might even possibly be the biggest comic book event of all time, up there with The Death of Superman, The Death of Captain America, The Entirety of the Early Nineties and Action Comics #1! The only certainty is everyone must place a ridiculously massive order for a non-returnable product they may or may not make a profit on sometime in the near future. Or never. Don't ask - just buy it! You trust us, right?

Added Image Comics Publisher ericstephenson, "There's a chance this could very possibly an event of undetermined importance, both for comics fans and people of all walks of life, with only the most passing familiarity with comic books, or even books, period. We can't really say what happens in this issue, but trust, something does happen. And it might even be something interesting. Best not to jinx it, though, so let's just go with, 'Something happens.' It's somewhat likely a number of people we have yet to identify will want one. "

INVINCIBLE #63 (APR090384), a 32-page full color comic book easily worth around $500, but costing only $2.99, will be in stores June 17th, 2009.


Ah...this press release made me laugh out loud! Those crazy cats over at Image having too much fun at Marvel's expense. Good stuff! Just wanted to share this with everyone, just in case you missed it on every other comic new site in the universe. If only I had known about it earlier, I could have flown Kirkman out for a Non-Event EVENT. Man, it would have been awesome! We could have sat around talking about how cool Invincible is and how everyone should buy at least 5 copies of every issue because you just never know what might put your kids through college!