When I was a younger man things were a lot different than they are now. Not all of it was for the better. As depressing as the internet can be it does make it easier for everyone's dirty little secrets to come to light. I don't miss that part, so much. But what I do miss is the way comics used to be priced. Back in the day, I could scrounge some change out of my Gran's couch cushions and take it to a local recycled bookstore that was renovated out of an opera house my family used to own. I would swagger through the front entrance tipping a derby at the doorman, and flashing a glint of silver between my fingers. The cashier nodded, and pressed a button under the register. A bookcase slid across the floor revealing an iron wrought staircase, and I descended it into what I always imagined was what used to be the orchestra pit under the theater. That is where I found what I desired: Rows and rows of white boxes filled with every comic book imaginable, illuminated by soft white light that somehow filled the entire room. A subtle series of bells sounded from an unseen source, and a single poster board said the words I would never forget "All comics $.25." It was a magical time, but unfortunately one that would not last.
Then quickly things changed, and comics were no longer $1.25. Suddenly they were $2.50 and came with a bullshit trading card I already had. Put a crappy Wolverine Hologram on the cover, and now they are $3.00. Make that cover two pages and it's $3.25. Make the Hologram 3D, and now the book is $3.50. The whole pricing point just kept getting worse and worse. At one point a comic book fan and affluent banker looked at me condescendingly through a monocle and said "Outrageous prices, you say? Perhaps if you would stop being so lazy and get a second job you could afford comics". Then he cackled like the Penguin and drove off in a Ford Escort trailing exhaust and laughter in his wake. Comic book fans all over cried out for a Champion. We needed a man so large in stature and girth that the truth could not escape the pull of the gravity of his conclusions.
We needed Jude Terror. For a time, things were good. Jude's Legendary "5 Comics for Under $5 Dollars" articles were a big hit. At the height of their power, they did something that no one thought was possible. Jude's article caused DC Comics to reduce their entire line below the $5 dollar pricing point. Maybe it had to do with something else, maybe not. But something inescapable changed in Jude. Someone offered him money, and suddenly he could afford $5 comics. The internet cried out for help again.
I answered that desperate call. Rising from the ashes of the success of Judas Terror, I give you the phoenix reborn! Welcome to ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT SAY NO TO $5 COMICS NOW!
IDW Publishing – Optimus Prime #2 - $3.99
By John Barber and Kei Zama
In an age of abominable Transformers films, a new IDW Transformers series is always a welcome thing to find. The story is very interesting so far and the timeline is split between Optimus Prime helping protect the earth after it joined the Council of Worlds, and Orion Pax on Cybertron, 4 million years in the past. It is an interesting contrast to see the modern versions of the characters juxtaposed against the robots they used to be in the past, and I look forward to seeing where this comic is going.
Here's the solicit:
NEW CYBERTRON! A massive corkscrew-shaped space ship has drilled into Earth, bringing with it a surprising disruption to OPTIMUS PRIME's plans. Meanwhile-ARCEE fields a dangerous offer that may be too good to resist! Guest starring G.I. JOE! The new world order continues as OPTIMUS PRIME struggles to bring Earth into the cosmic community! Plus-how ORION PAX first met BUMBLEBEE!
Valiant Entertainment – Faith #7 - $3.99
By Jody Houser and Meghan Hetrick
I've been hearing good things about this comic for quite some time and was pleased to see that this issue was a pretty good jumping-on point. After Faith prevented an alien race from overthrowing humanity, she attempted to return to the way things were. This issue was a very provocative look at the trauma and sacrifice a superhero must endure in the line of their heroism.
Here's the solicit:
Faith Herbert has lost many allies throughout her life? Her mother. Her father. Even a fellow Renegade. Despite this, Los Angeles' high-flying hero has always defined herself by more than tragedy. But what happens when Faith must literally confront the ghosts of her past? A mysterious force is wrenching the passed spirits of Faith's most loved ones back from beyond the grave...and into our world to break her mind and spirit! Can Faith overcome her greatest fear?or will these ghosts soon make her one of their own? Jump on board the best-selling independent superhero series of 2016 right here as rising star Jody Houser (Mother Panic) and acclaimed artists Meghan Hetrick (Red Thorn) and Marguerite Sauvage (DC Comics Bombshells) push Faith into the crosshairs of a frightful new foe!
Graphic India –18 Days #19 - $3.99
By Grant Morrison and Ronilson Freire
There is nothing quite like a bit of Science Fantasy to brighten your day, and this book looks to be no exception. Penned by Grant Morrison, it looks like he created a very interesting version of Earth caught in an eternal cycle of rebirth and destruction. My only regret is I haven't looked into this before, I will definitely be following this book in the future.
Here's the solicit:
Grant Morrison's epic creation continues. The conclusion to the grand hunt! Abhimanyu and his cousin Gatok must hide in the dense jungles from Emperor Duryodhana's unstoppable assassins: the insidious Ashwatthama, and the deadly Durma! Hope is running out as the inexperienced duo find themselves prey to the deadliest predators in the history of the world!
Dynamite Entertainment – Army Of Darkness Xena Forever And A Day #1 - $3.99
By Scott Lobdell and Elliot Fernandez
It's no secret Dynamite's area of expertise is licensed properties, and it stands to reason if one licensed property is good then two are fantastic. In a move inspired no doubt by Lucy Lawless appearing on Ash vs. The Evil Dead, Ash will be transported to a time of petty gods and ruthless warlords to assist Xena in battling the Deadites. Could Hades have something to do with this catastrophe? I can't wait to find out.
Here's the solicit:
You're Xena the Warrior Princess and your thousand strong army has fallen to an implacable and ancient evil. What do you do? You suck it up and summon the only ally who stands any hope at all of helping you prevent the end of the world. Unfortunately, that lone man is the wise ass, ass kicking, time traveling, woman kissing, boom sticker known as Ash!
Pick of the Week: Devils Due/1first Comics – Squarriors Vol 02 Summer #2 - $3.99
By Ash Mackzo and Ashley Witter
Are you looking for a new indie fantasy book to add to your collection? Let me remind you of Squarriors, a book with art so beautiful it could make a grown man weep. Set in a visceral world where tribes of rodents are ruled with an iron fist by a feline emperor, and the rodents are mere prey for the amusement of his forces. It's a very fascinating world that is a homage to classic fantasy like Chronicles of Narnia, and the different tribes of animals make for a very interesting read. As beautiful as the art is, it doesn't distract from the story.
Here's the solicit:
The Maw and Amoni begin their march to the Tin Kin compound, Tree Jump and Crash retrace Pasha's Southern journey, and the Tin Kin must decide whether to shelter or refuse a group of unusual refugees.
That was a fairly interesting first article of the year, and I look forward to a great many things to come in 2017. Happy New Years, Outhouse! Don't forget to let me know what comics you're looking forward to in the comments!