Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #15

New Super-Man #15 came out a week ago and pushed forward the crazy storyline of the New Super-Man, the Great Ten, the Suicide Squad, and the Emperor Superman and his Imperial Army/White China Triad all battling it out in the streets. As much as the action is insane, a true free-for-all, it is the character moments seen between the fights that I enjoyed the most in this book. And that has been a standard  compliment I have given this book. I have read plenty of super-team books and Superman analog books in my time. It is always the strength of the characters that determines if I will continue to read the book.

So it really is the character progression here, more than the punching, that entertained me.

The art on the book is from newcomer Brent Peeples. His work isn't as smooth and polished as Philip Tan so this issue felt like a little bit of a break from the usual feel of the book. But the scenes play out well and the panels are well composed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Superwoman #14

Superwoman #14 was released last week and a lot happens over the 20 pages. A lot. In fact so much happens, with so much progression and some large plot leaps, that I can't help but wonder if this was three issues of stories shoved into one. And anytime I feel like the creative team is trying to stuff all their stories into a book at the bottom of the sales chart, I wonder if the writing is on the wall.

And that is a shame because writer K. Perkins has clearly righted the ship on this title. Lana is in control of her life. She is seeking out answers for who she is. She wants to be a hero. There is character growth. And it is a shame because the art team of Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert are producing gorgeous art.

This book needs a little promotion, a little love from DC. And it sort of isn't getting any.

So this issue sort of suffers by the breakneck speed as so much happens that I am craving the details to fill in the story.

On to the book.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Action Comics #987

Action Comics #987 came out this week finally answering the question of 'Who is Mr. Oz?'. The story is titled 'The Oz Effect' which is appropriate given how Oz manipulates events on Earth to bring about a face-to-face between Superman and him. And the answer is ... well ... interesting if not already hinted at.

The idea has been percolating through the book since the Johns/Romita Jr run. Who is this character sitting behind a wall of TV screens, talking about how he taught lessons to Superman, and capturing Doomsday, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Tim Drake? And why is he doing all of that.

Between the name Oz and the Nostalgia symbols everywhere the initial guess was Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias. Then I thought it might be Vyndktvyx back to teach Superman more hard lessons from life. And then Bleeding Cool came out with the guess of Jor-El or even Zor-El. For me, I can't help but imagine that the identity of Oz has actually changed over time. I wish I could give Geoff Johns truth serum and ask who he planned Oz to be. I doubt it's who Oz ends up being at the end of the issue.

And even now I am not sure if there isn't one more reveal to come. Maybe this reveal is a feint for an ultimate reveal. "Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!"

The art on the issue is by Viktor Bogdanovic and he really shines here. Between big panels, wavy panels, and super narrow panels, the pace of the story speeds up with the art. And there are great images of Superman throughout. If Bogdanovic is being added to the stable of folks who work on this book, I'll be happy.

On to the story ... spoilers ahead.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Supergirl #13

Supergirl #13 came out this week and not only wrapped up the current Emerald Empress storyline but effectively blew up the landscape of the book, resetting it a bit for the year to come. When I finished reading the issue, I sort of shook my head to grasp everything that happened. In some ways this felt like the sort of issue that happens right before a creative team shake-up, a sort of clearing of the playing field. But we know that Steve Orlando and Robson Rocha are sticking around.

I wonder, if after a year of stories, the creative team sort of reassessed the book, looking at what was working and what wasn't, at what stories they wanted to tell and which they didn't, and decided to nudge the book in that direction.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. There was a sense of added energy for me when I was done. Things are going to be shaken up ... and in a good way. And perhaps, most important of all, the characterization of Supergirl despite all the upheaval remained sound. I was smiling. Because it would have been easy for the writers to march down the 'dark Supergirl' road, making Kara bitter. Instead, they have her shine even brighter.

I'll get into particulars in a moment. But I have to add that the addition of Robson Rocha on art has added a lot to my love of the book as well. This was a high action issue and demanded some detail and some dynamism and some 'oomph' and we got it. Add to that the Artgerm covers and suddenly Supergirl is firing on all cylinders.

On to the book!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Supergirl In Wonder Woman Encyclopedia

It has truly been the year of Wonder Woman.

The Patti Jenkins movie crushed at the box office, redefining a DC superhero blockbuster movie and proving that the relentless, dark, gritty vision of Zack Snyder doesn't need to be the primary vision of the DCEU. It amazes me that the movie is still in theaters despite now being available digitally. I loved the movie. And as the news keeps pouring in about it (Patty Jenkins just got hired to direct the sequel!!) , I felt I somehow needed to acknowledge it and honor it.

I also think that the Rebirth Wonder Woman book has been spectacular. Rachel Kimsey's performance of a Saiyan-like Wonder Woman on JLAction has been too much fun. The Professor Marston and the Wonder Women documentary is about to air. And DC Superhero Girls continues to plug along.

Diana is everywhere, deservedly. So why not join in the fun.

I forget if it was for a birthday or Christmas but somewhere along the way someone got me The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia. Put together by Phil Jimenez and John Wells, the book is a fantastic resource. And, more importantly, seems to be cheap these days, stacked in the bargain section of my nearyby Barnes and Noble. Get it as a gift for someone!

But this is a Supergirl blog. So where am I going with this?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Boston Comic Con Recap #3: Ty Templeton Commission

The summer is my convention season and as those who have read prior posts know, I do my best to be completely prepped. I pull books out for signatures, attempt to line up some commissions prior to the actual day, or at least eye the guest list and try to work out some priority list of whose table I'll be running to first.

This year's Boston Comic Con was one of those cons that I felt a but unprepared for. Outside of chatting with Matthew Clark on Twitter beforehand, I hadn't been able to line up much. And I had a list of artists I was hoping to get who I quickly realized were outside of my price range.

But here is the thing. Sometimes it all works out well.

I knew Ty Templeton was going to be at the con and I love his art, especially on covers of Who's Who. I didn't even think about getting a commission from him before the show. I thought, for some reason, that maybe he wouldn't be doing them. When I found out he was, I jumped.

For an absurdly reasonable price, I got this full color, unbelievably gorgeous commission of Supergirl. From the pose to the expression to the detail, it all just sings.

I can't believe I lucked into this piece.

But wait, there's more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rest In Peace Len Wein

It was with great sadness that I read that comic legend Len Wein passed away this week. Wein was truly a prolific creator with a career that spanned decades. He created Wolverine. He started the All-New X-Men team which reinvigorated that franchise. He created Swamp Thing and had a brilliant run on that initial book with Bernie Wrightson. And he had a run on Spider-Man that is lauded. And that is just scratching the surface.

Because he also was a tremendous editor. He edited Camelot 3000. He edited the early Moore Swamp Thing issues. His touch is literally on 100s of books in my collection. Just a force within the comics industry. Legendary. Prolific. Esteemed. Missed.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that he wrote Superman and Supergirl every so often. In fact, two of my favorite stories where the cousins team-up were written by Wein. I have covered them both here in the past but many years ago.

Monday, September 11, 2017

GraniteCon 2017

As I have said many times, I am lucky enough to have a number of comic conventions that are near enough to my home that I can easily attend. One of the ones I have attended regularly has been the Granite State Comicon or GraniteCon for short. GraniteCon is going on this upcoming weekend and I'll be there.

Granite Con is a great con for me. After the hectic 'work atmosphere' feel that I have in bigger cons (like Boston or this year's Terrificon), Granite is a bit cozier and a bit more laid back. Of all the cons I go to, I tend to buy the most comics at GraniteCon because I actually have the time to thumb through books.

This is in no ways a knock to this convention, one of my favorites. The con always gets a couple of creators who I am dying to meet. Some of my best interactions with creators has happened here including (but not limited to) meeting Aaron Kuder, Jeremy Haun, Ron Marz, Jeff Parker, and Rebekah Isaacs.

And that trend continues this year. As I am only able to attend the con on Sunday, I don't know if I'll be able to get a commission ... but I remain hopeful.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: Superman #30

Superman #30 came out this week and finished the side story of Superman battling Sinestro and Parallax. It is something of a free-for-all with all of the combatants fighting each other. This had the feel of a rest issue or an inventory story, a nice pause from the underlying plots that have been bubbling in the super-books while showcasing who Superman really is.

Writer Keith Champagne does a very good job of having Superman rise above and inspire. And this is especially powerful given he is surrounded by those who use fear as a weapon and fighting on the dead planet of Qward. If the Man of Steel can be a symbol of hope in those surroundings, he truly is a hero.

Champagne also gives us a great moment where we get to see Superman's fears. Despite his powers, Superman still can be afraid. And that sort of insight humanizes him, makes him the relateable aspirational figure he is. And his fears are fascinating.

The art is done by a trio of pencillers - Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham, and Philip Tan. The styles are relatively similar so the issue unfolded well. There is a lot of wild, ring-slinging action that is sharp. And the colors by Ribeiro, Morey, and Gho sparkle as they lay out a dazzling array of yellows and gold.

On to the story.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back Issue Review: Superman Family #194

Some of you might be looking at this post's title and the cover of Superman Family #194 and be thinking 'didn't Anj cover this issue already?'

The answer is yes. I have indeed covered the Supergirl story in this issue here:

But remember that Superman Family is an anthology title and the Nightwing and Flamebird story in this issue is one I felt I wanted to cover given some interesting wrinkles in the current post-Rebirth DCU. I always love when I can look at a back issue as a sort of reflection or reference to current times.

In this instance, the mystery of Mr. Oz is about the be revealed to us as readers. One of the leading candidates for Mr. Oz's identity is that he is a version of Jor-El. Back on August 24 (and echoed a week later on Bleeding Cool), I commented that Mr. Oz spelled backwards is Zor-M. I wondered if Oz might be a twisted version of Zor-El.

After all, we have seen Zor-El recently be an insane mass murderer plagued by visions of demons (thanks Joe Kelly!). We have seen him be an unscrupulous scientist who experimented on his own daughter without her consent (thanks New 52)! And we have seen him turned into the Cyborg Superman, willing to kill his own daughter to resurrect himself (thanks New 52 again! The gift that keeps on giving!). So why not turn him into some universal villain.

Well, I can hope not.

But what do the Jor-El and Zor-El theories have to do with this issue? Well, read on.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Boston Comicon Recap #2: Matthew Clark

I continue my review of recent conventions with this look back again at Boston Comic Con this year.

I have been collecting commissions for about 13 years now and I have a couple of basic rules of thumb.
1. I have to like the style of the artist to get a commission
2. It is a bonus if the artist has a connection to Supergirl
3. It is a bonus if I consider the artist one of 'my favorites'
4. They have to be affordable

The top three is pretty easy to figure out. It is that last one that is the tricky one.

I saw that Matthew Clark was going to be going to the show and I pretty much knew I was going to target him for a commission. He drew a Doom Patrol book that I loved as well as the covers for Huntress Year One. I like his style a lot. And he did the Omens and Origins story in Supergirl #38 back in the Gates/Igle run.

And thankfully he was affordable. This three quarter body commission was something of a steal. Just gorgeous with all the copic work. I love the pose with one hand behind the back, adding a bit of innocence or maybe mild insecurity to the feel of Kara. And that expression is just great.

Really a great addition to the collection.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

1955 "Supergirl" Playsuit Ad

Hat tip to blog friend Jon Francis for sending me this fascinating ad from 1955.

That's right. 1955! A full three years before the prototype Super-Girl in Superman #123 and 4 years before the introduction of Supergirl in Action Comics #252.

While the word 'Supergirl' never appears in this advertisement, there is no denying that the pictured girl is certainly reminiscent of the Maid of Might. From the blond hair to the blue skirt (here with red pleats!), this looks like a young Kara getting ready for action! Maybe it even reminds me a little of the Cosmic Adventures Supergirl.

I know the Super-Girl from Superman #123 sported a red skirt, this 'playsuit' just screams Silver Age Supergirl to me.

But it is the timing that intrigues me the most. Did this sell well in 1955 making the publishers think hard about adding the character to the Superman mythos? Did this put the idea in Mort Weisnger's head to ask Otto Binder to recreate the magic he had done with Mary Marvel over at Fawcett? Did Otto Binder or Al Plastino remember this ad when they were writing Action #252? Was it this that prompted the blond hair and blue skirt of Kara?

I'm afraid all of those answers have been lost over time. But it is a fun thing to speculate.

Thanks so much to Jon for sending this my way and making me puzzle until my puzzler was sore. This is an interesting little tidbit for big time Supergirl fans like me.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Giffen Legion Of Super-Heroes Poster

Between my recent reviews of the last newsprint Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen Legion issues over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers to my guest starring on several episodes of the Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes podcast to my interactions with Keith Giffen at Terrificon, I have been looking back at the Legion of the Super-Heroes of the 1980's a lot lately. A lot.

It is a great comic and a great run featuring my favorite super-hero team of all time.

One of the curiosities that I love from that time period is the Legion of Super-Heroes poster by Keith Giffen. Done in 1983, this massive poster included every character that had appeared in the Legion mythos up to that point. It is an amazing piece of art. The sheer volume of characters is amazing. Kudos to Giffen for being able to do this.

But did you know that there is a character that appears on the poster three times?

But before we get there, let's take a look at Supergirl.

This was at the time when she was just switching costumes, going to the red shouldered look which she adopted in (Daring New Adventures of) Supergirl #13. Note the lack of a headband! When the costume was first conceived, she wasn't wearing it!

Anyways, it is a gorgeous rendition of Kara. I love her pose here, graceful and almost playful. Just gorgeous.

But who is represented on the poster three times?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Review: Supergirl Annual #1

Supergirl Annual #1 came out this week, a middle chapter in the current Fatal Five storyline and boy, was this one busy. Writer Steve Orlando keeps things moving forward at a near incalculable speed, switching scenes, having characters move in and out, and revealing plot points in a machine-gun style. This was one of those issues that while I was reading I needed to flip back a couple of times to make sure I knew where the action was taking place. It also was one of those issues that I read twice in the same day to make sure I understood it all.

In some ways, that rat-a-tat style works well for a summertime annual. Like an action movie, the pacing was so brisk that it felt like a roller coaster ride. In some ways, it didn't work for me as the information flowing was happening so fast that I needed to pause and absorb it (or reread it), breaking that momentum.

Perhaps I am being too grumpy. There is a lot happening here. But I shouldn't complain when most of the time I am complaining that nothing happens in comics.

The art here is done by Steve Pugh. Pugh's art has certainly changed over time. His work on the Vertigo Animal Man back in the early 90s is the style that I have imprinted on. This seems a bit more straightforward than that thick-lined style.

Buckle up your seatbelts. We are moving on to the story.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

San Diego Swag Bag

I have been running this Supergirl site for over nine years now. I feel blessed to have met and interacted with so many Supergirl fans. And I am humbled by how generous so many people have been to me over the course of the years.

The latest example is from blog friend Firebird.

I met Firebird back in 2015 at the Boston Comic Con. He had traveled to the con and gave me the CW Supergirl swag bag from San Diego Comicon from that year. I also got the opportunity to see all of his incredible Supergirl commissions.

Firebird also went to this year's San Diego Comic Con and was lucky enough to snag an extra Supergirl swag bag which he sent my way.

It is a gorgeous and relatively huge bag and came with a Supergirl pin.

I can't thank Firebird enough for giving me this great gift. I am truly appreciative and grateful. I doubt I'll ever get to San Diego Comic Con so getting some memorabilia from there is just fantastic.

On top of that, inside the bag was a bunch of programs and con TV Guides. This was definitely a great little bonus. Just to thumb through the program and guides was just brilliant, giving me the best sense of the scope of this event. That Kirby-covered guide is about as thick as a local phone book!

So thanks again to Firebird for this wonderful gift. I can't thank you enough!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Terrificon Recap

Last weekend I spent three glorious days at TerrifiCon in Uncasville Connecticut. Earlier this year, my buddy and I decided that this would be our 'big con' for the season and this con was well worth the time spent.

The con itself was in the convention center at the Mohegan Sun Casino. This meant a spacious main hall for the comic creators and exhibitors, a second floor for panel rooms and cosplayers, and a large entrance way area where the celebrities had tables set up to meet the fans. As a result, the place never felt cramped or claustrophobic. Also, being in the casino meant a couple of perks ... free parking and ample food choices from fancy restaurants to food courts.

But let's face it, we go to these cons for the creators and to shop. And this con, unlike many, was definitely comic-centric. And that made me very happy. The guest list was a nice mix of current stars (Snyder, Capullo, Booth, Rapmund) and more legendary folks (Thomas, Wolfman, Giffen, Pasko, Englehart, Chaykin, Kupperberg, etc.). So for an old-timer like me, this was perfect.

I wasn't sure who I would be getting a commission from beforehand. But once inside, I quickly made the wise decision to finally get a Barry Kitson piece. Kitson has been a favorite of mine since his work on Azrael. And he drew Supergirl during the Threeboot Legion run.

I gave him source material for the Matrix full shirt/red skirt costume as well as the 70s hot pants version and said he could draw whichever one he was more interested in doing. Later that afternoon, I picked up this great full color 3/4 body commission. This is just a stunning piece. From the body position to the determined expression to the background, it all just crackles.

I have been very lucky with my commission purchases recently.

Kitson himself is just the nicest guy.

But here is a little inside information. I asked him if this was the first time he had drawn Supergirl in this costume and he said as a commission, yes. But he then said he is doing a cover of Supergirl in all her costumes and this was one of them. When I asked what the cover was for, Kitson's handler at the table said 'don't say anything.'

Hmm ... maybe a 'Greatest Supergirl Stories' trade in the future?

All the guests I chatted with were approachable and easy to talk to. As I said, it was meeting the writers of my youth that really made me this the con for me to be at.

On Saturday, Robert Greenberger moderated a great Supergirl panel with Paul Kupperberg, Peter David, and Marty Pasko. They talked about the character, the 'need' for a Supergirl, her character development over the years, and touched on the show.

One nugget here was that Greenberger talked about how rigid DC was in the post-Crisis world in regards to characters that could/could not be used or even mentioned ... Supergirl being one of them. Paul Levitz was adamant about it. When I brought up how Sensor Girl was rumored to be Supergirl, Greenberger said (and I am paraphrasing) 'Levitz was in charge. If he wanted Sensor Girl to be Supergirl, she would have been.' Hmmm ...

There was also this ad hoc 'panel' at Marty Pasko's table where I heard Keith Giffen, Paul Kupperberg, and Marty Pasko discuss story-telling, current writing styles in comics, and their approach to characters. Brilliant.

I talked to these three creators the most over the days. In particular, I had a lot of thoughts and questions to ask Giffen (given my utter love of the Legion). You can read more about that here. Suffice it to say, it was great meeting

I got a ton of issues signed by folks, many of whom did not charge instead having a Heroes Initiative donation jar. So plenty of books signed by all, especially Giffen.

But perhaps the jewel of them all, even more than a handful pf 5YL Legion books being signed, even more than Action Comics #500 being signed, was getting Marty Pasko to sign 1st Issue Special #9. This Dr. Fate story is one of my all-time favorite comic stories. And, having run into creators a bunch at cons over the last year, I now have the trifecta of signatures of Pasko (writer), Simonson (artist), and Joe Kubert (cover artist).


I also met Steve Englehart and got him to sign some of his Detective Comics issues. But I also got him to sign his Mister Miracle issues from the 70s, more books from my formative comic reading years.

Most of my comic purchases were from the dollar box, fleshing out my Sojourn collection as well as the recent Sif run on Journey Into Mystery. I also bought a bunch of kids comics to keep in my office and hand out to kids.

The one big purchase was Giant-Size Creatures #1, the first appearance of Tigra. Early Tigra is a tiny niche pocket of my collection. So it was great to finally check this issue off.

So nothing but praise for the convention. I figure this will be one to hit again next year.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

November 2017 Solicits

The DC Comics solicits for November came out this week and included some interesting entries. I have to admit, some of them worry me, some of them intrigue me, some of them turned me off. Here is a link to all the month's solicits on Newsarama:

To start off, there is no mention of Supergirl in Gotham City Garage. And the cover doesn't grab me at all. So my time on that title might be brief. Second, there are a few new books, like Demon, that might be impulse buys. There is one new title I will definitely be grabbing (shown at the bottom). Lastly, there are no *FINAL ISSUE* notices for any of the super-books and that makes me happy.

On to the actual super-solicits.

Variant cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU
“PLAIN SIGHT part one!” This public service announcement is brought to you by the Department of Extranormal Operations! You saw how Supergirl hid a murderer underneath National City right before our eyes. What other dangerous secrets is she hiding? She is not human, and therefore, she cannot be trusted. D.E.O. agents will be stationed at every school to ensure their safety! Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Check out that cover! Okay, I have a lot of faith in this title and the approach that Steve Orlando has brought to Kara, giving us a bright, optimistic Supergirl who is trying to bring hope, help, and compassion for all. And I doubt Jody Houser was brought in to give us something grim.

But that cover and that solicit read a little like what could be the beginning of another 'Dark Kara' arc. And, as I have said since the inception of this blog, Dark Kara never works.

Maybe this is how 'overpowered' Kara looks and the villains are turning people against her?

And now the rest of the books:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Artgerm Covers On Supergirl

Earlier this month, Supergirl #12 came out. It was the first to sport an Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau variant cover. Artgerm certainly produces eye-grabbing, truly spectacular art. And I immediately notice a couple of aftershocks.

1) The number of Supergirl issues on the rack of my dramatically less than usual for a Wednesday afternoon and all the Artgerm covers were already sold.

2) My store thankfully pulled both covers off the shelves figuring it would sell out quickly.

3) That cover was up on walls at Terrificon last weekend and was already tagged at $10

4) I already wondered if these covers would somehow drive up orders/sales.  

Well, lo and behold, it looks like that might be true.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Review: Action Comics #986

Action Comics #986 came out this week, the second and final part of the Only Human arc by the fill-in creative team of writer Rob Williams and artist Guillem March. The story is a fine pause on the bigger storylines of the title, examining the new relationship between Lex and Superman and commenting on human nature.

One of the things that has felt new in the Rebirth era of books is Lex actually being something of a super-hero. While more narcissistic and evil attitudes always seem to be bubbling just below the surface, Lex has pretty much been flying the straight and narrow. And Superman has had to reluctantly accept Lex as being the good guy he has been. I don't know, if I were Supes, if I could ever trust Lex. But Superman is also supposed to be optimistic, thinking humanity is inherently good. And that friction is good grist for the mill. This story kind of peels back the curtains a bit, showing who Lex truly is ... and maybe showing how Lex is struggling to be good as well.

Rob Williams makes sure the right character moments are in here, using a pretty insignificant conflict with the Machinist as the scaffolding that this main character thrust of the story is built on. And Guillem March brings a scratchy sort of urgency to the proceedings. And we get a great Mr. Oz moment at the end to bring us back into the main plotline.

Lastly, I am well aware of the comic history of covers being bait that rarely signifies what is on the inside. But I was waiting for a brawl with Titano that simply never happens.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sales Review: July 2017

July sales are out and there is what seems to be a slow orbital decay for all the ancillary Superman titles that I can only hope is slowed or stops. Otherwise, all these books will stop being printed and they all have been wonderful in recent months. If you are interested in looking at the sales for comics in total, I'll refer you (as I always do) to ICv2. Here is the link:

Supergirl #11 wrapped up the Phantom Zone adventure and Batgirl crossover. For all of those hoping the Batgirl appearance would prop up titles, it didn't happen. And for those (like me) thinking that Aethyr and Psi mentions should make people flock to the book, we were wrong too.

I know, I am not the average DC reader.

So how did it sell?

Supergirl #11 was ranked #104 is sales, surrounded by a number of female led books: Spider-Gwen, Jessica Jones, and Bettie Page! The book sold/was ordered at 21,319 units. This was down about 800 in orders from the month before.

There is room for hope though. The new art team on the book is great. But more importantly, my store sold out of the ArtGerm variant and that book was already selling for $10 at the convention I went to last weekend. Perhaps  ArtGerm variants will lead to increased sales??

Superwoman #12 continued K. Perkins reclamation of the title. It finished up the so-so story of Steel's family members and Skyhook. To be honest, the super-action of that story really took a back seat to the growth in Lana. And that trend really skyrocketed in this month's issue.

The book sold 15,209 which seems to be holding its own spot. There hasn't been a dramatic bottoming out of sales. I really hope Perkins has the time to tell her story and keep readers around. This book is on the upswing for me.

New Super-Man #13 continued the excellent story forming the Justice League of China as they fought Emperor Superman.

This book has been a brilliant mix of humor, action, and character growth. I have loved it since its inception.

But this is the book with the weakest sales. It only sold 12,951units.

I get the sense that the pace in New Super-Man has picked up. Maybe Gene Luen Yang has been told he only has so much more time and want to sprint to the finish?

Anyways, we should support the books we love and talk them up when we can!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Boston Comic Con 2017: Overview & Tom Grummett Commission

I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to head to Boston ComicCon this year. I liked the more comic-centric feel this show has had since its inception. I knew that FanExpo had bought it out and that it would probably have a more corporate, more celebrity-fueled feel to it than in the past. Incredibly, the driving force for me to go was the ardent passion of my youngest two daughters have for Steven Universe. When they heard Zach Callison (voice of Steven) was going to be there, it was a foregone conclusion. We were going.

With that now a fait d’accompli I had to decide my mission for the con. There were a number of creators at the con that I definitely wanted to meet. Peter Tomasi, Tom Grummett, Matthew Clark, Jonboy Meyers, Ty Templeton, and Tom King were all new faces for me. And there were other creators who I had met before that I wanted to run into again, most notably Tana Ford and Joelle Jones. And I grabbed any commission sketches while there that would be gravy. I decided to go Friday by myself to get my stuff out of the way. This way Saturday was a family day.

First things first. The venue, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was massive. It was big enough that people could line up inside and wait in the air conditioning as opposed to outside in the baking sun (like at the old venue). There was a lot of space so the con didn't feel claustrophobic (although the comic area did feel somewhat cramped). And there was a food court inside the building which made lunch easy.

The pass I got allowed me to enter the con space at 2pm as opposed to official opening of 4p. Amazingly many of the comic creators also filed in early. As a result I got much of the 'heavy lifting' out of the way.

I was also able to get a sketch book into the hands Tom Grummett. He signed issues for free. And a full body commission was very affordable. Despite being that early I was already something like 6 on his list so he told me to check in on Saturday afternoon.

Sure enough, the following day,  he presented me this fabulous commission. I am thrilled. There is a nice little feeling of mischief behind that innocent look. And she looks young, like the current Supergirl should.

I'll post the other commissions I got on later days. But I thought I would share some of the Supergirl specific issues I got signed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: Super-Sons #7

Supersons #7 came out last week and finished up the quick 2 part Titans crossover while reintroducing the Forgotten Villains to the Rebirth universe. As has been the norm for this title, this book was a heck of a lot of fun, showcasing the difference between the two title characters and maybe giving Jon a little more confidence in his dealings with Damien.

As I said above, this is a quick two part story and that rapid pace is perfect for this book. There is this free-wheeling, over the top action that is just perfect. Even with the brawls and confrontations, writer Peter Tomasi continues to add wonderful little character moments that bulks up the friendship/rivalry of Superboy and Robin.

Add to that crisp, brilliant art of Jorge Jimenez! Jimenez knows when to stretch the anatomy of his character to complement the story. At times there is a sort of cartoony action and even Looney interaction a la Bugs/Daffy between Jon and Damien. And so that sort of stylized art just work here, bringing some oomph to the story.

Plus, as a long time reader, seeing the Forgotten Villains again was an added treat! On to the book.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Superman #29

Superman #29 came out last week and was a nice little read, merging the Green Lantern mythos and Superman. The usual plotting team of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are not here. Keith Champagne, who I know mostly as an inker is writer here. Doug Mahnke is on art.

Champagne does a good job of bringing us the inspirational hero that Superman should be. Between tirelessly looking for missing children to spouting some words of wisdom to public to sacrificing himself for others, Superman is very much the classic hero. I even like how Champagne describes Superman's vision powers. As for the story itself, Superman as a symbol against fear makes perfect sense.

And Doug Mahnke brings his usual powerful style to the proceedings. In particular, the end scenes with the villain are incredible. Even the title page is fabulous, an almost poster worthy pose.

But this grand, superhero fights supervillain story was a bit welcome after the last history lesson issues. Trust me, I loved those issues. But getting back to the super-stuff was nice.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bullet Review: DC Comics Bombshells #33

DC Comics Bombshells #33 came out this week, the last issue of this volume of the characters and my last issue reading this. When this series started out, I was very impressed at writer Marguerite Bennett's ability to weave a very solid story about World War II and the arrival of super-women fighting the Nazis. The first year was fabulous.

But since then, since the battle of London around issue 12, it has felt like the book has lost its way. There are a lot of ideas in this book but the stories haven't read well. It's like those ideas haven't gelled into a narrative. As a result, the book has been something of a mess. On top of that, there has been a bit too much cutesy dialogue recently ... something that I might have tolerated more of the story around it was stronger.

And so this last issue wraps up the story. Bennett has brought a bunch of subplots together into a large battle in Russia. So Supergirl's grief and Raven's familial issues and Lois's optimism are all here. But it seems so scattershot. So much happens with little explanation. The moments in the story where I have said to myself 'I guess I have to roll with that' were numerous. Now I will admit that I haven't been paying significant attention here. Perhaps my laziness as a reader because I haven't been engaged has been part of the problem.

One of the things that hasn't been a problem on the book has been the art. In particular, I discovered Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, and Sandy Jarrell in this book. All three are here and shine. In particular, Mirka Andolfo has become a favorite in my mind.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

This Weekend ... Terrificon!

I haven't even done my overall take on this year's Boston Comic Con and I am already heading off to my next convention.

Terrificon is a convention a little south of me in Uncasville Connecticut and I am considering this my big con for the season. For me, this just seems to be a convention more built for me. There are a ton of comic creators that are going to be there who had huge impact on me in my salad days of comic reading.

Yes, there will be current mega-stars there. You don't get much bigger these days than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. And I will be hoping to get on commission lists for Brett Booth and Barry Kitson.

But it is the veterans that are going to be there, creators who I haven't met yet at other cons, that is the big draw. And so I'll be there with bells on!

Let's start out with Keith Giffen! Keith Giffen!!!

He plotted/drew Legion of Super-Heroes in the Great Darkness Sage era.
He wrote/drew/created my beloved 5YL Legion.
He wrote the bwa-ha-ha Justice League.
He wrote the Doom Patrol.
He wrote Justice League 3000/3001.
He wrote 52.
He wrote/drew/reinvented Dr. Fate.

I seriously could probably fill a whole long box to bring to have him sign. So distilling this down to my usual 8-10 books is proving to be difficult. I may need to head to his table once each day.

Seriously, I am geeking out that I will be meeting Giffen.

But there's more!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #14

New Super-Man #14 came out last week and continued to story of the Justice League of China fighting the fascist rule of the evil Emperor Superman. Once again, writer Gene Luen Yang provides a very entertaining issue, moving the plot ahead, stuffing in an incredible amount of character development, throwing in a great throwdown, and ending on a cliffhanger. What more could you ask for?

And yes, this ultimate throwdown of three super-teams from China is a great action piece. But for me, no big surprise, it was the personal moments - specifically between Bat-man and Wonder Woman that made me the happiest. This is a book basically about kids becoming heroes. And there should be growth. Given the tenuous shelf life that most comics have these days, Yang isn't taking the long road on some of the subplots here. And kudos to him for that. For the readers enjoying this book, we deserve to see these moments.

The art is again done by Billy Tan and I just loved the polished look of the book. It somehow fits the tone here. Tan is able to bring the right feeling to both the action sequences and the quieter scenes. Yang and Tan together really click.

I wonder how much more I'll have this book to enjoy. Everyone should be reading this book. It is a ton of fun.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Superwoman #13

Superwoman #13 came out this week, and like Supergirl, I think it might be the best issue of the title so far.

Writer K. Perkins weaves story for us. We have a framing story set in the present day where a mind controlled Lana is fighting Lex Luthor. But we also get a flashback tale of Clark and Lana's adolescence back in Smallville. It all ties into Lana's origin and how she has maintained her Superwoman powers. (Of course I would pick the sepia-soaked nostalgia of the Renato Guedes variant).

Now there is no doubt that I am an absolute sucker for Smallville Lana stories and most of this issue is a flashback to those early years. That always works for me. But Perkins updates some of this story slightly. Gone is the vapid cheerleader Lana conniving to reveal Clark as Superboy (who I know doesn't exist in the current DCU). Instead we get a smart, independent, young woman who is bored with the idyllic small town life. This Lana better jibes with the Lana that we have now. And it isn't such a dramatic change to make me think 'this isn't Lana'.

And the art by Steven Segovia and Art Thibert is powerful. There were times that I was reading this issue that I paused on a page to just take in the art and make my eyes smile. I hope these two stay on the book.

Put it all together and you have a Superwoman book that seems to have put the first vexing arc behind us and sifted through the stabilization issues. Now we have stories moving forward instead of fixing the problems present when looking back.

Seriously, kudos to Perkins for wringing a story out here, complemented perfectly by the art (and colors by  Hi-FI!). I hope DC and readers notice what is unfolding here!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Action Comics #985

Action Comics #985 came out last week, a new arc with a guest creative team of writer Rob Williams and artist Guillem March. I suppose after the superb Superman Revenge Squad story as well as the upcoming Mr. Oz reveal, regular writer Dan Jurgens deserved a little bit of a breather.

This issue explores the new dynamic between Lex Luthor and Superman. With Lex being a 'hero' now and part of the Superman Family, but still having some nefarious history with the Man of Steel, this relationship is suddenly fresh soil to till. From the God-Killer arc to Revenge to this Only Human, it has been interesting to see a Superman struggle with a Lex who seems to be on the right side of humanity.

As a reader it has also been hard to take Lex at his word. Every so often he says a line which makes me think he is the same old Lex, just wearing a sheep's clothing.

Writer Rob Williams (who I know best from the quirky DCYou Martian Manhunter book) tells a solid tale of trust and mistrust even if he brings back The Machinist as a villain. I have to say very little of the Geoff Johns/JRJR run on Superman has stayed in my head. Was the Machinist part of Hordr? Did he die? Do I need to go back and look?

And I know Guillem March best from good girl art and covers. His art here isn't that style at all, bringing a rougher edge than what I am used to.

On to the book.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Supergirl #12

Supergirl #12 came out this last week and is probably my favorite issue of this run to date. This is a fast moving issue with intrigue, action, and some teenage angst. There is punchy dialogue. There is a some mystery. There is just incredible art by Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques. And there is a Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau variant cover. If this title started out like this, we might still be selling 40K a month.

It's not that I disliked the first year of stories. But the Cyborg Superman arc was something of a bummer to start out on. And Brian Ching's somewhat loose pencils were definitely a style I needed to become accustomed to.

Now with the opening arc behind us, we are moving out of 'origin' and into adventures.

Steve Orlando is crackling here. This is the Cat Grant I want to read. These are the villains I want to see fighting Kara. And this is the caring Supergirl still reaching out to those who have hurt her as she moves forward. Plus, there is a lot of Legion working its way into this arc. Maybe Supergirl will join that team when we eventually meet them in the Rebirth DCU.

And I just have to say one more time in this introduction how much the art just sings on the page. This is detailed, energetic work which just sings. You see every clothes wrinkle, every hair strand, every crackle of energy. I hope everyone out there in comic land notices this book and trumpets it.

On to the story.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Boston Comic Con 2017

We finally are entering my convention season!

Boston Comic Con is this weekend (!!) and I will be going at least 2 of the three days. I have been going to the con since its inception when it was a tiny show in the basement of an insurance building. It has grown immensely over that time.

While that growth has meant that I have met a ton of creators, it also has meant a sort of creep in scope to now include non-comic, pop culture celebrities. And then, last year, the local coordinators who ran the show sold it to Fan Expo. I honestly worry that the feel for the show will change.

All that said, the guest list this year of comic providers is just as fantastic as in the past. I have a list of creators that I am hoping to run into and chat. Unfortunately, unlike prior years, I haven't been able to set up any commissions beforehand. And I have also noticed that over the last couple of years the price of commissions has skyrocketed meaning I probably won't be able to get as many as I used to.

So here is a list of the folks I am eyeing for a commission as well as some folks I am pumped to meet. I'll have a small stack of books for all the creators listed below to sign (hopefully).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bullet Review: Superman #282

Earlier this week I appeared on the DigestCast show of the Fire and Water Podcast Network to discuss The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest: The Many Lives of Supergirl. One of the stories in that digest was from Superman Family #165, a tale where Linda Danvers becomes a guidance counselor at the New Athens Experimental School and wonders if she should continue a career as Supergirl.

That time period, of Kara questioning being a super-hero, isn't one of my favorites. I like the Supergirl who is fierce in her defense of the helpless and a warrior for justice. Rereading that story reminded me of the back-up feature in Superman #282. In that story, Superman tries to impart some wisdom to Supergirl, telling her a tale from Krypton that in some ways reverberates with her current dilemma. Now Supergirl is really a small part of this story, only part of the framing sequence. But it is worth reviewing.

This story is also the first appearance of Nam-Ek, one of my favorite Kryptonian villains.

Lastly, this issue is also worth obtaining for the main story, 'Lex Luthor ... Super-Scalphunter.' That story, written by Elliot S! Maggin with art by Curt Swan, is a bit bonkers. Luthor vows to scalp Superman and wear the Man of Steel's locks as a toupee. He also dons his famous purple and green battle suit for the first time.

But onto the Supergirl story!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bullet Review: DC Bombshells #32

DC Comics Bombshells #32 came out this week, the penultimate issue of this run.

The storylines of all the Bombshells have all come together in Russia. Faora has been revealed as the villain pulling the strings from behind the scenes all along. The Kryptonian general is hoping to create an army of super-powered army through cloning  so she can overrun the world.

Supergirl has overcome her grief. She has put the death of her sister behind her. It still motivates Supergirl but she isn't weighed down by it. The rest of the Bombshells are ready to fight Hugo Strange's army of creatures.  And a bulk of the issue is devoted to Raven's origins.

But I am running on fumes with this title.