Panelology - Random Thoughts

by Brandon

My first column of this year focuses on some random thoughts I have about comic book collecting. I figured that might be a good place to start. My brain is going all over the place. I’m swimming in thoughts of DC, killing off Batman, Barack Obama, comic book storage issues, LCS pseudo-sales, and even the smell of comic books. Step on inside to take a gander at the thoughts bouncing around my head.

Give DC a Chance
Many people who have read my column know that I’m not exactly fond of DC. I make no bones about how uninterested I am in anything resembling the Infinite/Finite/Final/Indefinite/Uninspired Crises that DC has been constantly churning out for the better part of eight-hundred years. There’s a bit of hyperbole involved there, but the nugget of truth that is there is that DC is awash in hefty continuity. One hand often does not know what the other is doing. Modern DC just looks like this behemoth that has gotten to high on its own history. I don’t want to touch a DC book that has been published in the past few years with a ten-foot long box. However, I am on a personal quest during this New Year; I want to read some good DC. Mind you, I don’t want recent DC, but good DC. Stand alone DC. I actually do want to be sold on DC. I plan on starting with Kingdom Come and The New Frontier. From there, God knows where I’m going. I’m open to suggestions. Have any?

R.I.P., Batman

I don’t read Batman regularly, but this whole killing off Batman thing just sounds dumb. Bruce Wayne is Batman. This story just smacks of idiocy. Add a dash of “been there, done that,” and we have the makings of a story that will be overturned so fast that most fans will be embarrassed by it in a few years.

Barack Obama is MINE!

Do you know that Barack Obama has been inaugurated as our 44th President? Do you know that he has been on approximately one zillion magazine covers? Do you know that he has also appeared in comic books? Like Santa Claus, Barack Obama is everywhere, even in the comic book world. A little controversy was sparked by this when Marvel decided to put Mr. Obama in the pages of Spider-Man. Erik Larsen took offense to this because apparently his usage of Barack Obama was better than Marvel’s usage of America’s savior. I understand Larsen has been a longtime supporter of Obama and his character Savage Dragon has used Chicago as a base of operations. The Obama connection makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is his supposed outrage at Marvel. With all due respect to Mr. Larsen, I love his comics, but his ire over the use of Obama is pretty stupid. The outrage runs counter to what Barack Obama believes and embodies, don’t you think? It’s time to get over it.

…And those have to go as well.
I’m getting married in June. With nearly five months to go, the home planning and improvements are now in full swing. Jenn is definitely in nesting mode and I’m pretty much stuck in the usual male temperament of being a bachelor. Having thousands of comic books is cool, until you get married. The closer we get to the date, the more ruefully Jenn looks at my comic book collection. I feel like a paranoid schizophrenic, but I think she may have it out for part of my collection. The times, they are a’changing. Planning for the future together is awesome. Planning where all these freaking comic books go is not.

LCS Psuedo-Sales
I went to a comic shop somewhere in South Carolina this past weekend. I want name names because this shop officially pissed my inner and outer el cheapo off. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I drove up to the store to see huge sale signs on all the windows. Jenn can ell you I was literally giddy with excitement, like it was Christmas morning and I knew I was going to get some ridiculously awe-inspiring present. Got it? Now, imagine my disappointment when there was no sale going on at all. The store had opened what they called their “vault.” I wouldn’t have called it that. I would have called it a “roomful of expensive ass comics.” While I’m sure collectors who have that kind of money were thrilled, I am definitely the bargain bin variety of collector. Nothing else was on sale. No deals on their trades. No special bargains for their back issues. No discounts on their titles on the shelf. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zero. They only wanted to discount your wallet with their fine collection of idiotic variants and Little Lulu back issues. When a comic shop says “Sale,” I expect just that. And yes, I’m still pissed.

Comic Books Stink
Am I the only person on earth who smells their comic books? Please tell me I’m not the only freak! 99.9% of the time it is the first thing I do when I get a comic, or any book for that matter. I smell it. I can’t explain it, but there is something alluring about smelling comic books. And not just from any age or era. Comic books from the mid-1980s smell the best to me. They don’t even smell good or pleasant. It’s just a comforting smell. I don’t get weird about smelling comic books or anything like that. I don’t wear leather things and spank my own ass as I read through a back issue of Uncanny X-Men. I just smell them. That’s all.

Ultimate Ultimatum

Do any of you really think that the Ultimate Universe is gone? Between reading two or three issues of each Ultimate title last week and the recently solicited “Final” issues of all the Ultimate titles, it sure looks like the Ultimate universe is coming to a close. But why? You would think in these poor economic times that Marvel would want to keep some of their solid performers around. Instead, the Ultimatum body count is ever increasing and the books appear to be gone according to the solicitations. I can understand the nay-saying argument that the Ultimate Universe makes the regular Marvel Universe less special. Yet, the Ultimate titles have been entertaining at the very least, and when they are on their “A” game, they are solid. The talent on the Ultimate line has also been topnotch for the most part. With its power creators and rock-solid stories, I bet these titles and this universe won’t be gone for good, but one has to wonder if there will be much of the Ultimate Universe left to come back to. I would hope so.


Guy Mann said...

I am getting married in two weeks and I am nearly eliminating the purchase of single issues. I'm buying tpbs almost exclusively. When a comic comes out that is interesting I will buy it. If it reads well I'll collect the storyline or run. Once it's finished it goes right on eBay, donate them to kids in my classroom or give them out at Halloween. If the run was super good and I know I'll want to read them again I use the money from eBay to buy the tpb either on eBay or Amazon at ridiculously low prices.

Doug Smith said...

Regarding the Ultimate line: I'd actually like to see them do a 100% reboot. If the point of the Ultimate line was to have a group of books that weren't bogged down by decades of continuity, then starting fresh every decade makes sense.

The General said...

Doug's got an interesting point and idea about the Ultimate Universe. I used to be a fan, but have to admit that my interest has wained over the last couple years, and only collect Ult. X-Men out of habit. I'd be fine at this point if they just folded up the line. But, the idea of a reboot has merit too.

Re: Comic Smells - I used ot notice the smell of comics, but don't really notice the new ones having a smell. I think that the gloss paper doesn't have that same "comic smell."

Oh, and Re: Marriage and Comic Collections - That's what basements are for! Actually, at somepoint, I need to go through my comics and get ride of probably 2/3rds of them... but I've been saying that for going on 10 years now, so who am I kidding, right?