The Midnight Comic Club Episode 3 – The Vertigo Sampler

This meeting of the club revolves around five fairly easy to find trades that will give you a good idea of what the early days of Vertigo were like, while also suggesting whether you might enjoy some of their more seminal works like Sandman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer and more!

Here are the Amazon links for the books I mentioned, which usually leads you to Comixology versions if you’re interested: The Books Of Magic, Black Orchid, Free Country: A Tale Of The Children’s Crusade, Death: The High Cost Of Living and Hellblazer: Pandemonium.

If you’re interested in reading all of the Children’s Crusade installments, you can find them on Comixology here.

That’s all until next time. Hit me up in the comments with any suggestions, ideas or, well, comments!

Halloween Scene: Vertigo Visions – Phantom Stranger

phantom stranger one shotOne of my favorite things about comics is when companies allow their characters to be experimented with in wild and different ways. It worked really well with Afterlife With Archie and was also a huge staple of DC’s Vertigo books for a while. Concepts like Sandman, Black Orchid and even Prez received more serious looks thanks to the imprint.

And so did the Phantom Stranger in this one shot, called Vertigo Visions – Phantom Strange written by one-time Vertigo editor Alisa Kwitney and drawn by Sandman Mystery Theatre and B.P.R.D. artist Guy Davis. I knew nothing about it, but Davis’ involvement was enough for me to spend a quarter on it.

As it turns out, this one-shot is worth far more than that. The story follows a woman named Naomi Walker who’s on her first day working in an asylum called Paradise Gardens. The more she gets used to the surroundings on her first night, however, the sooner she realizes that something is very wrong with the situation. As you and Naomi ease into the story, you know something is wrong, you just don’t know how wrong it really is until things pick up.

While Naomi is definitely the main character of this tale, it all revolves around the Phantom Stranger, or at least the two parts of him featured in the story. She’s the one who brings us into the mystifying action and is also the one who is truly in danger from the supernatural demonic threats hidden in Paradise Gardens.

I won’t go too much further into details, but really appreciated how this story takes your basic creepy asylum tale and then just goes nuts with it. At first it feels like something Vincent Price could have starred in but it turns into something more akin to Clive Barker’s dark and twisted worlds. Kwitney does more than impress as the story transforms into something horrendous and Naomi strives to survive it all and Davis’ artwork actually made my skin crawl a few times during my read through.

I will definitely keep this issue in my collection, most likely throwing it in a bag and board for easy storage on my trade shelves. It also reminded me that I have the VV issue starring Doctor Occult somewhere around here and will try to dig it out by the end of the month. If you see this issue around and like monstrous horror, grab it and give it a read.

Casting Internets: My Halloween Writing

Hi All, you might have noticed that I haven’t posted much here on UnitedMonkee.com recently. That’s because I’ve been pretty darn busy between work and the home buying process (which officially ends today!). I pitched a lot of different Halloween-themed freelance ideas this month, many of which got picked up. Now that they’re finally coming out, I wanted to share them with you.

john dies at the end

 

I worked on two lists for Spinoff Online focusing on horror movies from this decade. I was super impressed with everything I saw. Hopefully I can get to a roundup post soon.

5 Recent Slasher Flicks to Take a Stab at For Halloween

5 Recent Indie Supernatural Horror Movies Worth Watching

 

legion of monsters

 

Over on Marvel.com, I write four Halloween Spooklights on various scary characters from the Marvel U:

Halloween Spooklight: Morbius

Halloween Spooklight: Dracula

Halloween Spooklight: Man-Thing

Halloween Spooklight: The Legion Of Monsters

 

Michael Myers Halloween

Finally, I did two lists for Topless Robot that took a lot of work (if reading comics and watching movies can be considered as such):

John Constantine’s 10 Nastiest Moments from the Early Days Of Hellblazer

Michael Myers’ 10 Craziest Kills From the Original Halloween Franchise

 

Casting Internets

Got some pretty old and dusty links as usual. Think there’s still some interesting stuff in here so enjoy!

My buddy Kiel Phegley interviewed the wonderful Jim Rugg about his upcoming magazine/comic mash-up Supermag which sounds pretty amazing. (via CBR)

I’ve talked about my pal Alex Kropinak’s blog before, but it’s worth mentioning it again to bring up an animated TTT from our ToyFare days that I had completely forgotten about. Muppets!

I’m really enjoying the DC Showcase Tumblr which, as you might expect, just shows all kinds of DC covers, pin-ups and interior pages.

A game designer invented a game called A Game for Someone and buried it in the desert so future people could play it 2000 years from now. Fascinating. (via Polygon)

Tom Junod’s Esquire piece about how the anti gay marriage talk has negatively tinted adoption is pretty fascinating.

On a lighter note, Esquire also posted a story about The Asylum, the company that puts out all those bullshit mockbusters like Transmorphers.

Horror Movie A Day has come to an end. Thanks for all the years of great reviews BC! Glad to hear he’s going to still review flicks when he as the time and desire, that’s the way to go in my opinion.

My lovely wife sent me this Jezebel piece about how lots of people will be freelancing in the future. Writer Lauren Beck’s assessment of the positive and negative sides of the freelance lifestyle are dead-on in my opinion. I wonder if Jezebel’s looking for another writer…

Once again, Jim Zub is dropping all kinds of creator owned comics knowledge. A must read for anyone interested in taking this route creatively.

I fully support Patrick Duffy’s idea of doing a Step By Step reunion special. Make it so! (via THR)

I always wondered why there wasn’t a Wayne’s World 3, according to this THR piece, it was because there were a few feuds going on between Mike Myers and Dana Carvey and also Myers and director of the first film Penelope Spheeris. It’s been so long since I started acquiring links that this has now already happened and been covered by Deadline.

Hero Complex talked about the evolution of superhero entertainment by way of the old Shazam! show and the Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman TV movie.

Scott Snyder has a new horror comic called The Wake in the works with Sean Murphy. This is very good news. The only negative? It’s not through Vertigo which means I didn’t get to interview them about it for CBR. Don’t worry, Josie Campbell is more than capable and did a bang up job on the piece.

No joke, I was just thinking to myself, “I wonder if there’s anywhere I can download those Mickey Castle/World of Illusion games. And now they’re getting rebooted DuckTales style. This is all very good news. (via Topless Robot)

Buffy’s Anthony Head being on Warehouse 13 makes perfect sense. I have no idea if I’m caught up on that show or not. (via TVLine)

I love a good martial arts tournament movie and Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi looks might it just be that. Cool. (via Collider)

In other movie news, I thought it was pretty interesting and not super surprising that the rights for the Daredevil movies reverted back to Marvel Studios. Not sure how that will fit in with the larger film universe — and I’m not sure it really has to — but here’s hoping for a solid flick. (via CBR)

Y: The Last Man Deluxe Volume 1 Trade Post

y the last man deluxe vol 1Y: The Last Man Deluxe Volume 1 (Vertigo)
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Pia Guerra
Collects Y: The Last Man #1-10

A few months before Y: The Last Man ended in 2008, I’d never read a single issue. I was working at Wizard at the time and had heard rave reviews about the Vertigo series from just about everyone, but just hadn’t picked up an issue. Then I heard that the series was coming to an end and not long after one of my co-workers handed me a stack of issues the encompassed the entire run up to that point. I think this might have been two or three months, so I was able to read through 50-some issues and get caught up heading into the final issue. I remember reading the issue in the Research office and having to choke back a tear.

But that’s about all I remember from that first reading. Of course, the basics are still clear: a mysterious plague kills every male animal on the planet except for 20-something Yorick Brown and his pet monkey. He gets hooked up with a secret agent known only as 355 and a Dr. Mann, their goal being to figure out what happened to all the men and why Yorick survived. Yorick’s kind of interested in all that, but mostly wants to fly to Australia to see his girlfriend/almost fiance Beth.

To get into a few more specifics about this first book, Yorick meets up with his mom who is a member of the House of Representatives and now one of the few surviving politicians in the country. His mom’s the one who sets him off with 355, first to find Dr. Mann and then to move on to her back-up lab in California get samples that were destroyed in a lab fire. Along the way, the gang runs into a gang of man-haters called Amazons who are lead by your basic charismatic psychopath, one who utilizes the Amazons need of supplies and emotional support to get them to do whatever she wants. Yorick’s sister Hero fell in with this crowd as well and the two eventually meet up in Marrisville, Ohio which is currently populated by a group of former prisoners. Yorick has a brush with romance in town that’s brought to an end by his sister’s presence.

The fun and worrisome thing about going back and reading a series that you really like is seeing how you might react differently to the material than you did the first time you read it. In the time between Y’s last issue and my current re-reading of the series I feel like my ideas on social relationships has really come into focus. I also think I’m a little bit more mature and have found myself reacting differently to some of the characters than I might have the first time around.

The biggest difference I can note is that I find Yorick to be pretty annoying. Not John Connor-in-Terminator 2-annoying, but not too far away either. This 20-something kid thinks he knows everything and wants to throw as many references as possible in just about every sentence to let you know he knows stuff. But, it’s like Hero says towards the end of this book, he’s just regurgitating facts and information he memorized from books. There’s no real life or experience behind this character and that was front and center for me upon this reading. I don’t remember exactly how I reacted to Yorick when I first read Y, but I imagine I found him to be pretty clever and dynamic. Now I see him as a boy who’s on a journey that will either make him a man or dead.

I find myself sympathizing with Hero a lot more this time around. It’s nearly impossible to really put yourself in the right head-space where you can imagine not only losing your loved ones, but also an entire half of the population. That’s just such a huge, terrible thing to happen it’s hard to rationalize. These days, though, I think I can get inside her character a little bit more and understand how that loss and the subsequent hell of life she lived in Boston would lead her down the road of brainwashing at the hands of Victoria. While Yorick’s journey in Y is about experience and accomplishment, I think Hero’s is about redemption and making amends (if memory serves).

I also reacted even more negatively to Victoria’s manipulations. Here’s a woman who could have gathered women together with her charisma and obvious leadership abilities and done her best to help heal the community, but instead she took every negative aspect of society and used them to enrage and motivate her people. This just leads to more negativity and awfulness, which we see when anyone happens to disagree with her or the Amazons. I think what really got under my skin while seeing her actions in 2013 is how much she reminds me of groups like the Tea Party that so clearly feast and thrive upon the fears of people for their own gain.

From an art and design perspective, I’m still in love with Pia Guerra’s artwork. It’s not hyper detailed and yet you’re never wondering what you’re supposed to look at in a scene. This book could have been done in a million styles, but this one just fits so perfectly it’s hard to imagine anyone else drawing these stories (I know there’s fill-in artists down the line, but don’t remember how much of the action they get in on). It’s also interesting reading these books after hearing Brian K. Vaughan talk at NYCC a few times and interviewing him myself in the meantime. He said something at a writer’s panel in NYCC that really stuck with me and that’s that he usually sticks to writing five panels per page. It’s something I adopted while writing my own comic script. Reading through Y, I noted that most of his pages use this method. It’s something I never would have noticed otherwise, but it’s kind of like he gave me one piece of information to help me see the Matrix.

Vaughan and this book of his in particular are known as the kind of comic you can give to someone who doesn’t read comics and get them interested in the medium. That’s partially because it doesn’t have superheroes or an existing mythology you have to understand, partially because it ends at issue #60 and partially (mostly, really) because Vaughan is a great damn writer. I got the impression while listening to him talk at NYCC that one of his tenants when conveying information both to audiences and his artists is to keep it simple. I don’t meant that the plots are simple, but that there’s an ease of entry and conveyance to what’s going on that anyone can understand.

One last thing I want to say before finishing up this review is that I really don’t remember much of the following 70 issues or so which is pretty excited. Like when burning through a show on DVD or Netflix, I absorbed so much material and information in such a short period of time that it didn’t quite all stick. For instance, I remember the astronaut stuff coming up (which was also seeded throughout this book, of course) and the moment in the last issue that made me cry and something about Yorick’s potential reunion with Beth, but just about everything else — including the actual reason for the plague — remains a mystery. This actually makes me all the more excited to read through again. Considering I knocked this first book out in a few days, hopefully it won’t take me long to get through the whole series.

Casting Internets

If you want to see what I’ve been working on lately, head on over to my author page on CBR. I talked to Paul Pope and John McLaughlin and also did another installment of my collectible column Toying Around!justin aclin's star wars comic

My pal, one time boss and all around rad dude Justin Aclin talked about writing a Star Wars OGN for Dark Horse over on his blog. As you  might expect, I’m super proud of him and super jealous at the same time.

Karen Burger leaving Vertigo is pretty huge when you think about all the amazing series’ she helped foster. Good luck to her! (via The Mary Sue)

Everyone interested in comics and comic production should read Jim Zub’s breakdown of costs and profits for such books. Then he wrote about digital comics. Eye-opening stuff.

I fell in love with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere when I first read it. I’m very excited about the BBC radioplay version that will include James McAvoy, Anthony Head, Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Lee! (via Hypable)phil noto 70s storm

I love Phil Noto‘s series of original art pieces that are supposed to be photos from Hank Pym’s collection. Dig this Storm he posted.

Esquire scored an interview with June Diane Raphael, the wonderfully funny co-host of one of my favorite podcasts How Did This Get Made and a  recurring player on the equally wonderful New Girl.experiencing nirvanaI’m pretty curious about Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt’s e-book about Kurt Cobain and Nirvana in Europe in 1989. $5 isn’t too steep, but is it only available on the iPad? That’s no good. (via Rolling Stone)

Billy Corgan talked to Rolling Stone about my first ever Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Rolling Stone talked to Jimmy Page about his days in the Yardbirds. I’m sure I knew most of this stuff from Hammer of the Gods, but it was still a nice read.

Speaking of music, I discovered The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” by way of a cover and fell in love with it. This Guardian story about the song’s origins are pretty interesting.

Whoa, this skateboarding video posted over on One Cool Thing A Day is AMAZING. Tricks you’ve never seen before, guaranteed.

I hope you’re enjoying 25 days of Doctor Who goodness over on the BBC’s Adventure Calendar.

I’m pretty excited about Comedy Central giving shows to Nick Kroll, Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik. Here’s hoping I’ll actually know when they’re on. (via THR)

Speaking of funny people, Louis CK answered the Proust Questionnaire over at Vanity Fair.

Lastly, I’m grown to really love Judd Apatow’s movies. I always liked them, but as I get a little older I can relate to the truth and honesty in them a lot more. As such, I’m very excited for This Is 40, though I have no idea when I will see it. Until then, I’m happy reading interviews about him and Leslie Mann from The Chicago Tribune.

Ad It Up: Sandman

Sandman was one of those comics that I always knew about, but never really got into. I started reading around 1992 or so and the book had been going strong for about four years at that point. But, I was way more interested in the adventures of Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, not some guy who looked like the world’s biggest cure fan. Later, in high school, I knew some older guys who read comics and wore ankhs and I laughed at them for being too serious about everything. I didn’t know anything about Sandman and I was okay with that.

Then, I started working at Wizard and some dudes whose opinions I really respected recommended I check it out. Now, it’s one of my top five comic series’ (the other permanent spots belong to Starman and Preacher with the other two changing depending on how I feel that day). It’s just such an amazing book. Anyway, I wonder what people must have thought when it first came out and they saw ads like this in issues of COPS (this one’s from #7, which I reviewed over here). A lot of people say they don’t like those first six issues, that you can skip them or that they’re not as connected to the rest of the series, but I completely disagree. Those issues not only set the tone and the story but also give superhero fans an easier way into the comic than a comic like that would these days. I’d say if you’re reading the book for the first time, just make sure you have the second volume on hand (or get the Absolutes, which I have). Together, those two will give you a good idea of what you’re getting into with one of the most complex and deep stories in all of comics.

100 Bullets Trade Post

100 Bullets is one of those books I have a history with. I think I heard about the book by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso where a mysterious man handed people a briefcase full of untraceable ammunition and evidence of who wronged them, giving them the chance to right wrongs, first from Wizard. It sounded interesting, so I gave it a look. I think #8 was the first issue I ever picked up and I was hooked. I went back and got the issues I missed and was then in for the long haul. Well, almost the long hall. As I’ve mentioned before, when I went to college in 2001, I would only read comics when I came back home, so there would be months between issues or groups of issues for me and I would forget a lot. So, I put the 100 Bullets issues aside to read them all at once kind of like trades. Eventually I got through college and moved out to New York to work at Wizard and I unfortunately lost track. Even though this was the first long-form creator-owned type comic I ever got into, it was so dense that I didn’t want to read an issue while at lunch and completely forget what happened by the next. So, I fell off. Then the book ended and I started looking for the trades. I got the first seven through a Sequential Swap, but only just got the very last one I’d been waiting on for my birthday earlier this month.

With that, I got to re-reading/finishing a pretty important book to my comic book-reading history. I should note that, back in 1999 when this book started and I began reading, I was reading mostly DC books and only superhero comics. This book really introduced me to the variety of titles under the Vertigo umbrella, Azzarello s a writer whose work I have really enjoyed over the years (his run on Hellblazer got me into that book too) and a world of comics filled with some bad, bad people who do bad, bad things. You wouldn’t see the things in this book in Superman: Man of Steel.

I was honestly nervous to go back and read the entire series. I had read the first seven volumes all together when I got them a few years back and really enjoyed them, but you just never know how something is going to end. I spent a good deal of time collecting and reading the Ex Machina trades and, at the end of the day, the ending of that book didn’t make the practice worthwhile. Thankfully, that’s not how I feel after reading all 13 volumes of this book. I won’t claim to understand everything that happened, but I do like how it ended. It felt true to the story that had been set up in the previous volumes and even had a kind of choose-your-own-adventure, Sopranos type thing that I liked. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it started off as the gimmick about the titular ammunition, but moved into a much more complex story about an organization controlling America and the men formerly tasked with keeping them on the up and up.

I’m not going to get into a volume by volume review here because that would take forever and I didn’t take proper notes, but I don’t want to note a few things. First off, I highly recommend reading all of these books in fairly close succession. There are so many things going on that pop back up at different times throughout the series. I’ll also say that, in talking to some friends about this book in general, it’s been called over-written. I didn’t understand that when I first heard it, but I get it reading through this time. The dialog has a very planned cadence packed with double and triple meanings that can get pun-y and possibly annoying, but I liked it because it reminded me of something like a classic noir or gangster story or movie. If that’s not your thing, you might not dig this book, but I figured I should mention it.

A few more things about the book that jumped out at me on this reading include the fact that this is not a book about nice or even good characters. I have a tendency to try and see the good in people and I kept trying to do that with the characters in this comic without success in many cases. At some point, I just realized it and let my hopes for redemption or whathaveyou go and I was a lot happier just experiencing life through these very different people. Lastly on the story perspective, I really appreciate how dense this story is. Like I said, I got a lot of what happened, especially the parts I had read before a few times, but there’s a lot that I’m still note quite sure about, but in a good way. I get the feeling it’s all there whether actually written on the page or drawn in the book, I just need to dig in and figure it out. That’s re-readability which is a great thing.

On the art side of things, Risso murders every page in this book. This guy is so good, it’s almost shocking. And, the best part, is that some of the most genius bits don’t exactly jump off the page and slap you in the face with their brilliance. Many of them deal with creative angles for various panel shots. I remember one that stuck out where a character is talking to another who’s painting, the painter is actually painting on the surface of the panel we’re looking at. There’s a lot of little things like that that were really fun to look for. Risso also excels at scenes where two stories are being told. Azzarello sets plenty of scenes in outside locales where the two main characters are talking to one another and another story is being told in the background that eventually collides with the main characters. Obviously, some of this stuff is in the script–heck, all of it could be, actually–but the way Risso brings those moments to the page is fantastic.

So, at the end of the day, the whole experience was worth the wait. It was worth being excited about this book over a decade ago, sticking with it and having the pleasure of revisiting it again now. I will proudly display these books on my shelf along with my other favorite series’ like Sandman, Starman and Preacher.

Casting Internets

Goodness gracious, I really do have the best intentions when it comes to these Casting Internets posts. I save all kinds of good links and want to do them on a more regular basis, but then I get tired of sitting in front of my computer and wind up with six or seven pages of Read It Later links. Sometimes I wish the internet would all collectively take a few days off so we can catch up. Now that I think about it, that’s what the weekend is, but who wants to sit on the computer over the weekend?! Anyway, here goes.

Jeez, I’m still catching up on NYCC stories! I believe this is the last one for CBR, but I covered the Robert Kirkman spotlight panel. For Marvel.com I did pieces on Scarlet Spider and Deadpool!

In other Marvel.com assignment news, I talked to awesome dude and fellow Ohioan James Asmus about his Five Favorite Avengers!

Back over on CBR I did a piece calling out the five creepiest moments from Image’s excellent Severed for Halloween!

My pal Sean T. Collins annotated A Game Of Thrones! He also wrote a story in Spider-Man Marvel Adventures #19 that I greatly enjoyed.

Sean also gave me a shout out in one of his Mad Men posts. I’m flattered and glad I could help solidify an idea or two!

My former professor Dr. Rebecca Steinitz has written a book called Time, Space and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century British Diary. I would buy it but it costs nearly $70 on Amazon! TVLine showed this pic of chefs on The Simpsons! Has this episode aired yet? I have no idea how behind the times I am anymore.

Tony Iommi talked to Rolling Stone about his upcoming autobiography Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath and now I want to read said book. I also want to know if that Sabbath/Led Zeppelin jam session was caught on tape!

Speaking of Black Sabbath, I had no idea that Ronnie James Dio and his band put together a supergroup charity disc that Dio’s widow will be releasing. Not much of an 80s metal fan, but I’ll check that out. (via Rolling Stone)

I dug Lucy Knisley’s two part Halloween strip! That second installment is a great design.

If you’re like me, you’ll open this post where Kurt Busiek answers questions, do a search for “Astro City” and get some good news!The Vertigo blog revealed the cover to the upcoming Flex Mentallo collection by Frank Quitely. Can’t wait to read this one again.

Really glad to hear that DC and Mattel have extended their toy-making relationship!

I love that the people of Detroit are angry that Nickleback will be playing the annual Thanksgiving game. I went to that game one year, I think 3 Doors Down or some such band played. (via Rolling Stone)

My pal Kiel documented the Halloween adventures of many of my other pals over on the Cool Kids Table, give it a read!

This video of two people dance/sword/knife fighting is almost Lynchian. Do you think it ends so abruptly because one of them stabbed the other? (via IHC)

As a fan of The Wallflower’s Bringing Down The Horse, I’m glad to hear they’re getting back together. (via Rolling Stone)These TARDIS and Dalek ornaments are wonderful. (via Doctor Who Merch)

The new Bond movie is called Skyfall and will star Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, Spinoff has the rest of the deets. I am quite excited about this movie.

Spin did a list of the 40 Greatest Comedy Albums of all time. I want to own them all, but I actually own four of them, but at least I’ve got #1.

Speaking of comedy, THR announced that Shout Factory will have a new Richard Pryor CD/DVD set that will include his comedy records, concert films and “TV special highlights.” Color me excited.

Stephen Merchant wrote a piece for Esquire about eating on the road throughout the world.

If this Wired headline doesn’t grab you, I don’t know what will: There is a Real-Life Jet Pack School Where You Can Learn to Fly.

The Prop Store has some amazing Return of the Jedi behind the scenes pics taken by a fan who camped out near the Tatooine set. Awesome. My pal Ryan Penago posted this awesome original costume Daredevil piece by the amazing Rafael Grampa. That guy should draw everything. Speaking of Marvel art, I haven’t read Secret Avengers, but that Rick Remender sure knows how to write good comics. And with covers by the glorious Art Adams, that book is even more appealing. (via CBR)

Finally, this CBR article I just read said that the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man game will be more like the Spider-Man 2 game for PS2. As that is my all time favorite latter gen video game, I am excited about these developments and hope they can live up to the growing hype inside my brain.

Casting Internets

I’m actually surprised how long I’ve been sitting on some of these links. Seems like I read a few of these months ago. And awaaaaaaaay we go.

Interviewing pals-turned-cowriters Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft for CBR about their new Image book Severed got me really excited about that book. I also wrote about Epoch and Rodd Racer.

I also wrote about Black Knight’s wonderful wardrobe for Marvel.com.

This isn’t so much of a link, but I discovered while doing some research for that Marvel.com freelance piece that not only did a comic called Hulk Comic exist in the UK, but it also featured Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. stories drawn by Steve Dillon. That’s one of my all time favorite characters drawn by one of my all time favorite artists. How do I now have a collection/issues of this?

Also not a link, but once my daughter starts walking, I kind of want to make her a Godzilla costume and build a tiny city for her to smash. Is that weird or ingenious?

The Beat tells me that the sixth Diary of a Wimpy Kid volume is coming out in November. I think I’m more excited about this than any other comic announcement I’ve heard in a while.

I really liked this Topless Robot list of the 6 best and lamest Planet of the Apes toys.

I’m not much of a risk taker, especially when it comes to potentially getting hurt, but I would absolutely try riding this hoverbike. Just not through a wooded area…at least not on the first try. (via Wired)

According to Rolling Stone, the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album will be rather dark. I’m not really sure how to take that, I’m just hoping it’s got a little more speed behind it than their last few more proggy records.

Speaking of new, dark records from bands I love, apparently Fountains of Wayne will also be less upbeat than previous offerings. They’ve never disappointed me before, so I don’t expect them to now. (via Rolling Stone)

My buddy Chris sent this Video Games vs. Real Life post from Behance to a few friends in an email. It is fantastic.

I’m excited about the possibility of a 100 Bullets TV show, but David Goyer’s involvement is iffy. He was involved with Christopher Nolan’s Batman flicks which is a plus, but the movies he directed himself are not so good. (via /Film)

After reading Brian Hibbs’ most recent Tilting At Windmills where he explains some of the math behind the direct market and considering the crappy financial climate we currently find ourselves in, I’m shocked that the comic book industry hasn’t scaled back more. He makes the point that it’s better to sell lots of copies of a few books instead of a few copies of a lot of books. That makes a lot of sense and you’d think trimming down the number of comics sold each month would not only save you in production costs but also give readers the sense that they can actually keep up on an entire universe if they’re so inclined. Does anyone think that way now? I sure don’t.