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Best 11 for Year of the Monkey!

So here we are another year has gone by. So we are posting our Best 11 comics for the Year of the Monkey.

Eric’s List

So I have 6 old returning favorites and 5 new. As always these are really in no particular order.

1. Darth Vader – This series stayed great all the way up to the final issue. I am sad that I will not have these great book to read over the next year but it is one hell of a ride. If you have not checked it out it is simply the best Star Wars book out and one of the best comics out.

2. Velvet – Another series that ended this year. The spy thriller reads so much better in trade and the art is amazing. YOU will love this book or I will give you your money back.

3. Sunstone – Also ended this year but what a great ride. And hope for side or sequel series in the future. If you like romantic comedies this book is for you. It is sweet, funny, and tender. The art is wonderful and the dialogue is great. I never thought this would be one of my books but it is.

4. Lazarus – Thank god this book is not over. Like the above comics the quality of both writing and art are top of the line. Also something else that you should be reading if you are not already. A lot of people trade wait this one and I can understand why but either way you want to read it just read it.

5. East of West – This book is amazing but if you have not started it you should trade wait it. Sometimes it takes a while for issues to come out and they flow and read so quick that you are stuck waiting a long time for the next. At least with a trade the ride lasts a little longer.

6. The last of the returning titles – Olympians – I am a sucker for Greek Myths. I have always been one. These snap shots of each of the 12 Olympians is very approachable for new readers and still very engrossing if you are a long time myth reader. There is a little bit of back matter in each issue that make this perfect for kids to read or be read to.

7. Superman – Of all the DC rebirths only 2 have really grabbed me and this is one of them. I have long been a Peter Tomasi fan and he continues to be great here. He understands what is great about this character and still finds new ground to cover. If you have never read Kal-El before you are missing out. There is a reason he has been in constant print for 79 years!

8. Wonder Woman – The other DC rebirth book I love. Another Greg Rucka book as well. My one complaint is the back and forth of the past and present story but in trade they will be separate stories. He had an earlier run of WW before the new 52 that was excellent and I was not sure he could find new ground to cover. He does indeed find new ground and every issue is pure joy to read.

9. Future Quest – A dc title that teams up all the Hanna Barbara Cartoons I loved as a child. Jeff Parker has a firm grip on all these characters. Plus who does not want to see Bird Man Fighting along side Space Ghost or the Herculoids!

10. Black Widow – the only Super Hero Marvel title on the list. The art is solid the writing great. But the thing I love most about this book is the thing, at first, I was dubious about. Black Widow never has any internal dialogue. You never see anything that is going on in her head. It gives the book a very interesting tension and a level of surprise one would not expect.

11. Warren Ellis’s Jame Bond – Of the 3 bond comics out right now his is by far the best. This is the best Bond I have seen in quite a while. The movie franchise should hire Ellis to write their next one! His run is that good!

So there are mine and here are Roy’s

The year started with the logical conclusion of dating a narcissist. The year ended with the country electing a narcissist as President. Here are my top eleven comics for the year of the narcissist. (In no particular order)

1. Superman- One of the few mainstream books that I consistently enjoy.

2. Black Hammer- A group of heroes is stranded after fighting a cosmic threat. They are trapped in a small town that they cannot leave. Really good stuff.

3. Black Monday Murders- As any fan of the Syndicate mages in the old White Wolf rpg knows, the oldest and most powerful form of magick is money. Only a few issues in this series has really impressed me.

4. Lazarus- A dystopian future with corporate feudalism, vat-grown commandos, and deadly politics. Read it.

5. James Bond by Ellis- Though it started out slow, I am glad I stuck it out after the first two issues. Great cloak and dagger.

6. East of West- The biblical apocalyptic ride into the cyberpunk old west continues.

7. Clean Room- A great horror comic. What if one of those self-help cult leaders/gurus was really trying to save humanity from…..demons? aliens? We still don’t know. Wonderful read and wonderful art.

8. Darth Vader- The best Star Wars book to come out from the new wave, though Lando was close. But Lando had neither Larroca or Aphra!

9. Future Quest- A really fun book with all the old Hanna Barbara characters facing a crisis.

10. Providence- A great homage to the Cthulhu mythos and a really disturbing read.

11. The Hunt- A great horror book dealing with faeries.

Top 11 for the Year of the Sheep

As always here are our top 11 for the Chinese year ending: Year of the Sheep.

Roy’s

1. Darth Vader Great art and great story. The best Star Wars comic ever!

2. Lando This limited series gives Vader a run for it’s money. Dark and moody.

3. East of West The biblical cyberpunk western keeps up the quality.

4. Lazarus This one just keeps getting better and better. A world where most humans are just waste ruled over by the corporate elite-in other words the future.

5. Nameless Explore the dark side of Kabbalah in this violent and disturbing tale.

6. The Prez Hilarious satire. Every issue is full of laugh out loud moments. Why vote for boring politicians when you can vote for Corn Dog Girl?

7. Starve If you prefer your satire more dark and your humor gallows, this over the top satire is for you. Themes of the haves vs the have-nots, through the lens of a hyperviolent cooking game-show.

8.Velvet A great spy story set near the end of the Cold War.

9. Rebels Short tales set in the American revolutionary war. Really good stuff.

10. Injection. A think-tank takes on some entity injecting itself in our reality. Magic, horror, and theoretical physics.

11. Project Superpowers: Black Cross I have always liked the idea of Project Superpowers, but I have never cared for the execution. This limited series is a very unique take on it.

Eric’s in no particular order save Lazarus

1. Lazarus. I echo Roy’s sentiments about this book and it is my absolute favorite from this year. You will find no better story right now in comics

2. Darth Vader. Roy is right it is a good Star Wars comic but it is also just a great comic in its own right. The art is amazing and they capture the feel of the character perfectly.

3. Sunstone. Also from image. This is a direct to trade book about two lesbians, who are into bdsm, falling in love. The concept was enough to turn me off but one of our married couple customers told me to check it out they thought it was great. They have not lead me wrong before and they did not this time. It is an amazingly sweet love story. If you like romance at all you will love this comic. And if you are like me and just want great art and great dialogue this is your book.

4. Olympians. Another direct to trade series and another year on my list. This is such a great book and a fantastic introduction to anyone interested in the Greek Gods.

5.East of West. WOW this book continues to be great and it feels like it is building to one hell of a conclusion.

6. Velvet. AMAZING ART! Great writing and who does not want to see bad ass older woman James Bond. There is nothing wrong with this book.

7. Archie. the relaunch has been very good. It is a very sweet all ages book with a great modern twist. Plus the essays in the back by Waid on Archie as a historical character are great.

8. Bizarro. A Dc mini about said character and Jimmy Olsen traveling around America. It was very funny light hearted book. Nothing too serious. Now out in Trade.

9. Dying and the Dead. Another Hickman book that had 3 issues last year and is on hold till later this year. The story is compelling and the mystery draws you in.

10. Alex and Ada. Finished up this year. What a great story that explores what it is to be human. Now all out in trade.

11. Copperhead. Scifi/oldwest story of a woman taking over the job of Sheriff on a frontier world. It has great characters and a really interesting back story.

So there you have it. Our top 11 for the year of the Sheep. This year, starting on Monday, is Red fire Monkey and that just sounds like a year of burning away the bad and only leaving the good. Maybe DC will redeem itself this year. I have no hope for marvel. (eric)

Best 11 for Year of the Horse

Though a little late this is our top 11 picks for the year of the Horse which just ended.

As always it was hard for me to get to 11 and Roy was having to pair down. I guess I just have higher standards than he does.

One surprising thing on my list was the lack of Main stream titles and the overwhelming number of image titles (7 on my top 11 list). Though as many of you know that is where the good stories are coming from.

So without further useless babble…

Eric’s Top 11 as always in no particular order

Morning glories: While I am falling behind this is still one of my all time favorite books. And as always I still do not know what is going on or where it is going but it is one hell of a ride.

East of West: Holy crap this is a great book. Post Apocalypse mixed with Mysticism and Old West. You can not get any better than this book about Death and his war against the other Horseman who just won’t leave him the hell alone. Any wonder this is also on Roy’s list.

Velvet: Set in modern times but with all the feel and action of a 60s spy drama except James Bond is a woman. It is do good and Epting’s art is so damn beautiful. Oh and Brubaker can write a good yarn as well.

Lazarus: I was a johnny come lately to this book. Only read it because the Austin Comic Ladies (Who meet here every 1st Sunday of the month) had Michael Lark down for a signing. He art has always been great but this may be his best work ever! Grey Rucka also writes what maybe his best work ever. Another post apoc book though this one seems to be a economic collapse. One of the few books where the hardcover is worth the extra money because of the extra stuff in it.

Alex & Ada: A personal tale of boy meets robot. Boy makes robot sentient. Boy falls in love…well you get the idea but it is so much more. A very fine look at falling in love with who a person is and not what they are. Maybe my second favorite Luna project.

Rat Queens: I can not say enough about this book. This one could have been the only thing on my list and it is still good enough to fill all 11 spots. A very funny fantasy book following an all female adventure group. They are the hardest fightin, drinking, partying, cussing group you will ever meet and it is so damn funny! It is worth checking out. One issue had me laughing so hard I turned red from no air. Really. Ask Mr Potter.

Dying & The Dead: It would not be a Eric top 11 if I did not squeeze in one single issue. Now everytime I have done this it has bit me in the ass. But this Hickman book was oversized so it was as big as 2 issues. A very compelling start to a new series and the art was fantastic. Not sure what all is happening or where it is going but Roy thinks they are Fae and I think they are angels. We will see if either of us are right.

Multiversity: My only main stream book on the list and it is a Grant Morrison book. Though you could also say this is several one shots with a common link. Either way I found most of them to be very entertaining and the feel he is going for in each is very different and very apparent. Some great artists working on the issues. And the best part is you do not need each piece so you can pick and chose which art you like and still get a good story.

Red Sonja: Gail Simone’s books continues to impress with it’s dark humor and no nonsense kick ass character. This fills a much need nitch that old Secret Six use to fill that the new one does not. (Old 6 is now back in Trade check it out!) She is writing some of her best stuff here on a character most people would not give a second look to and that is just too bad cause they are missing out.

Flash Gordon: Just wrapped up by Jeff Parker. He captured the feel of swashbucklely Flash Gordon will still being able to modernize it. The art was good and the stories very fun. The follow up series, not by Parker, is sadly just not as good.

Olympians: This graphic novel series makes my list a lot. It is a great book for anyone with even just a passing interest in the old Greek Myths. The art is good and the story telling of the myths solid. They each focus on a different god and stories associated with that god. There are seven out with another 5 coming.

And now for the democratic response…

Alex + Ada: Great love story and great robot story. Fantastic pacing and use of silence.

Manifest Destiny: It started out strong and has kept up in quality. Lewis and Clarke go on there mission to map the new land. But what they are really there to try to understand all the supernatural threats that come with the new territory.

East of West: The three horsemen vs the fourth, across a fractured old west/cyberpunk future version of the United States. A damn fine book.

Saga: I always try to give a quick synopsis. But shit people, just read Saga.

Wild’s End:
Anthropomorphic turn of the century England gets invaded from beyond. Focuses on a small village. Great characters, humor, and fright!

Red Sonja: Gail Simone’s black humor is a perfect fit. By Crom and Mitra, let her run be long.

Lazurus: Rucka and Lark continue to weave one of the best dystopian sci-fi tales I have ever read. We learn more of the politics in this recent art. Now you may want to sit down, because I will admit that I like this book more than Saga. But if it makes you feel any better, the way Lazurus organizes it’s back matter is confusing, idiotic, and too cute by half. Go take some classes on layout, you stupid bastard. (Yes I hate it that much. Good news is whoever compiles the backmatter for the HCs actually went to school.)

Velvet: Brubaker and Epting omigod. If you like cold war spy vs spy tales with a dirty, gritty edge then this book is for you.It gives Lazurus a run for it’s money for which comic I read last that week.

Manhattan Projects: Still the only comic that makes me laugh out loud every issue. It is satire and mad science and sacred wisdom. Not for everyone.

Wonder Woman: Azzarello’s WW started strong and ended strong. This was one of the few of the new 52 that the changes actually rocked. Chang’s art is a perfect fit, too.

Sinestro: When not being interrupted by ill conceived and ill executed crossovers, this is a damn solid book. When Eaglesham doesn’t make it, the fill in artist have been just as good. A great space yarn focusing on a villain just trying to bring a little order to the universe.

(Honorable mentions to Miracleman(it’s not new), Multiversity, and Jupiter’s Legacy.)

I hope the year of the Goat treats you well. Now I am gonna take this Horse out to the back and shoot him.

Roy

Top 11 For the Year of the Snake

It is that time again!

Roy’s List: (In no particular order)

Honorable mentions go out to Red Sonja, Fatale, The Massive, Velvet, Alex + Ada, and Batwoman.

1. Rat Queens: A funny, violent, raunchy tale of a female mercenary group in a fantasy setting. While there is an element of “gamer humor” in this book, you will still think it is funny even if you have never played a game of D & D.

2. Shadow Year One: This book rarely comes out and I constantly fear it will be cancelled before it wraps up. Having said that, this is the best Shadow book on my shelves. The book has the correct balance of the Shadow being very skilled, but still learning how best to fight evil.

3. Lazarus: It is a world of neofeudalism. Most people are serfs belonging to one of the families. All the families have a Lazarus, a genetically modified and psychologically conditioned warrior. Great art great story.

4. Wonder Woman: This continues to be fantastic. Lots of wheeling, dealing, and scheming amongst the Olympian gods.

5. Sex: It is about vigilante trying to retire. It is about an old criminal trying to come out of retirement. Lots of subtext in this one. Best thing Joe Casey has done in a long time.

6. Deathmatch: All the heroes and villains in a mysterious prison, forced to fight in an arena. They don’t remember anything about how this all came about, until they get in the arena. This was a very fun ride.

7. Saga: I keep thinking I am gonna read an issue of Saga that doesn’t blow me away. It hasn’t happened yet.

8. Manhattan Projects: This tale of wacky scientist run amok always make me laugh out loud. It is a hard one to describe…just read it!

9. East of West: In a world where the U.S. has been broken into a handful of countries following a meteor hit, the three horsemen of the apocalypse search for their estranged sibling, Death. It is old west with cyberpunk and magic.

10. Avenger/New Avengers/ Infinity: It is three books, but it is really just one story. That bothers some people and I understand that. But I like it. Whether it is the political intrigue of Namor and Tchala or Thor smashing aliens, these books always bring a smile to my face.

11. G. I. Joe Cobra Files: Cloak and dagger at it’s finest. The Joe’s special counter-intelligence team faces threats from within and without. Dark and gritty.

And now for the Democratic Response.

Eric’s Picks for the top 11 of Snake. Also in no particular order. Though this is the first year that I only have 3 mainstream books on my list. Almost 1/2 the list is Image because that is the kind of year they are having. Also the first year that Roy and I only have 2 books in common.

1. Rat’s Queens: I agree with Roy about how great this book is. I do not think it has that much gamer humor. But it is a hell of ride.

2. Alex + Ada: Also from Image another Luna Brothers book and they hit it out of the park again. I have loved their other three series (Ultra, Sword, Girls) but this one is shapping up to be my favorite.

3. Velvet (again Image): A spy thriller with a female lead. Brubaker always pleases but this maybe his best stuff since the beginning of his Captain America run. Epting’s art is great, maybe his best as well.

4. Morning Glories (Image again): This has made it every year on my list and if you do not know why you need to pick this book up! Trust me it will blow your mind at the end of every issue and make you want to read the next one immediately. I will admit it reads much better in Trade or chuncks. You pick up so much more stuff that way.

5. East of West (Last Image book): What can I say about this book that Roy has not already said. This is my favorite Hickman book.

6. Forever Evil (DC): The build up to this in Trinity war which started out slow and then ended GREAT! This lead into Forever Evil which I am loving despite a general unhappiness with DC right now.

7. Earth 2 (DC): This has also made my list the last year and only my second repeat. It is still a lot of fun and even with the writer change the book has not suffered.

8. Aquaman (DC): This is the last repeat and maybe the last time this appears on the list. It was the end of Johns’ run this year and it was Magnificent.

9. Elfquest (Dark Horse): This just started up again in December and it is as good as I remember from my youth. I am hoping this means we will see a reprinting of the older stuff now but if you want to read the older stuff it is free on Elfquest’s website. The entire 30 year run.

10. Red Sonja (Dynamite): Gail Simone doing sword and sorcery! This book is beautiful to look at and read.

11. Olympians GN (:01 First Second): A graphic novel series that come out every quarter or so. It is a all ages look at the 12 Olympians and some of the myths involving them. The art is strong and it is great for anyone that wants to learn more of Greek Mythology or brush up on previous knowledge.

Like Roy I have a cheat though only one and not half a list.

Cheat: Miracleman (Marvel): At long last it is being reprinted and will be collected I am sure. One of the few Alan Moore things I still love. If you have never read it you should come get the first issue. Done back when Alan Moore still liked Super Heroes.

Our thoughts on not carrying products for political reasons

Eric was telling me the latest buzz on Orson Scott Card’s Adventures of Superman #1, how some shop in Dallas isn’t gonna carry it. About how a few of our customers have asked us not to carry it. If this was just Eric’s shop that may be the case. But I am here.

Let me make it plain that I have no problem with anyone’s sexuality. I hate right-wing Christians as much as any good liberal should.

However, this is just the other end of the shop in the small town that won’t carry vertigo. The music store in the middle of b.f.e. that doesn’t carry heavy metal or rap because of their political bullshit. I find the thought process behind this disgusting and I will have no part of it.

We will order any book that we feel has a chance of selling off our shelves. We will stop ordering any book that proves it is not selling after month on the shelves. We will do this for the “Gays are Evil” book. We will do this for the “Gays are the Saviors of Mankind” book. We are not here to make those decisions for you.

YOU can decide that we will not carry any product by not buying it. You can decide that we will have to reorder/bump up orders for more of a product by buying it. If nobody buys this new Superman book we will stop carrying it, just like anything else. YOU are the consumer.

-Roy

And while I do not share Roy’s views on this he gets to win this disagreement.  I understand Roy’s side and can not really argue with the sense of it. 

Eric

Top 11 Comics for the Year of the Dragon

Roy’s Top 11 in no particular order:

It is hard to come up with a list like this. At the end of the day, I had to go with which comics produced the most emotional response. Fantastic books in my collection look at me with hurt in their eyes. Honorable mentions to Green Lantern/Green Lantern Corps, Swamp Thing and Animal Man, XO, Chew and Journey into Mystery. There can be only eleven.

1.Punisher:  by Rucka.   Call it Punisher, call it Punisher:Warzone, call it Beans on Toast-just read it. Before this I said if you could only have one/wanted to try out the character that you just needed Welcome Back, Frank by Ennis. Now I have to add this one. It bookends with Welcome Back rather nicely. It is just as dark, but with none of the humor. This story and the people in it have had all the humor leeched out of them.  It follows the cops, victims, and reporters as much as it follows Frank, at least at the beginning.

2. New Deadwardians:  I am not into zombies. I am not overly into victorain/edwardian crap just based on its flavor. But I love Dan Abnett. And I love New Deadwardians. While Abnett always gives a lot of depth to his characters, I know him in comics more for a big old-fashioned adventure yarn. Abnett and Culbard, instead offers a lot of quiet moments here.  And also loud big and empty silences. “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way” as Pink Floyd would say. There was a war, and the old social strata are explored through the survivors-the vampires, the working class, and the shambling dead.

3. The Hypernaturals:  Abnett and Lanning at it again! If the world of Hyperion Cantos and Legion of Superheroes had a baby this would be it. Mankind has spread amongst the stars with sentient AIs. The culture is post Technological Singularity. It is very Transhuman, but it is not gonna let science lessons take you away from the adventure! The Hypernaturals are the government Super team. When the current team goes missing, retired members and a few rookies have to pick up the pieces.

4. Saga: For how this book makes me feel I can only compare it to Fables and Moonshadow. Vaughan and Staples have created a delightful/horrible world. It is whimsicle but not saccharin. The best storytellers can make you love a character in moments. There are two great galactic powers who fight and drag everyone else into it. When two enemy soldiers fall in love and go awol, a hunt ensues for them and their child.

5. Aquaman:  Johns and Reis deliver the best supers book on my shelves. (Okay a lot of the times it is not Ries, but it is still the best)

6. Fantastic Four/FF:  by Hickman. Somebody was talking to me saying that Hickman has Grant Morrison Peyote Big Crazy Disease. I was like “Well, hell yeah!” But like Morrison, no matter how big and crazy it gets, it is still about the people involved. There is still emotional impact. It is hard to describe without giving things away. I will say it delivers what you want from an FF book: Doom, Inhumans, Namor, Celestials, Galactus, and more!  Start at the beginning(Dark Reign Fantastic Four) and know you are in for a long ride. Your patience will be rewarded.

7. Manhattan Projects: Hickman and Pitarra being Peyote Big Crazy. It’s hard to tell anyone about this one. I don’t want to spoil the perverse joy that is this book. It is a world in which the atom bomb is the least scary/interesting thing to come out of the project. It is extreme people doing extreme things. Probably the most unique thing to hit me since Chew.

8. Before Watchmen: Minutemen. (Do you want to know what I think is the most telling thing about the whole Before Watchmen controversy? Moore has said he doesn’t want these works to somehow sully the original one. Then he went off to write another story about Mina Harker. Fuck Alan Moore)

In any case, this was probably the best pound for pound of the Watchmen stuff that has come out. Cooke does a fantastic job, as always. The old Minutemen get a lot of development. The history of the Minutemen as told through Hollis eyes. This is the first draft of Hollis’ book, and there is lot of juicy stuff that didn’t make the final edit. Cooke does a great job of adding new twists without pissing over everything that has come before.

9. Batman & Robin: This is best Batman book on the shelves. Batman runs a close second. This book deals largely with the relationship between Bruce, Damien, Alfred and Titus. There are still villains and adventure, and it does get quite dark. Tomasi always delivers whether on this or Green Lantern Corps.

10. Stitched: Ennis and Wolfer give us a horror story set in the warzones of the middle east. If you have been turned off by Ennis before, trust me in that he doesn’t always feel need to write about drowning in vomit, or shitting on people, or blood speckled semen. I guess he just can’t maintain that level of quality. Or maybe a priest comes by every now and then and the ghost of a ten year old boy is driven out, if only for a time. When these conditions are met Ennis is perfect for delivering military fiction. Its stranded behind enemy lines with a horrific twist. However, I can only recommend the first arc.  Stop reading when Ennis leaves. Or not…to each their own.

11. Uncanny X-Force: Remender’s X-Force is the best mutie book on my shelves. Like a lot of things (Hickman’s FanFour/FF, Morrison’s Batman) you really need to start at the beginning. It’s what you would expect in an X-Force book, a lot of it explores the ethics of killing. It’s not poorly written Punisher/Wolverine where everyone foams at the mouth to killl Kill KILL! But they ain’t gonna cry all night after killing Nazis either. The character mix is great and the hilarious dialogue it engenders is lol worthy, but Remender doesn’t beat you over the head with it ala Bendis/Sorkin. The humor and snark never get in the way of the story. All the characters grow from their experiences on this team, but ultimately the focus is on Warren, Betsy, and the omnipresent threat of Apocalypse.

Now for the opposition’s response.

Eric’s Top 11 (Also in no particular order)

Well 1-3 will be easy as they are repeats from last year: Aquaman, Daredevil, Amazing/Superior Spider-Man:  They are still great and some of the best superhero books on the market right now!

4. Morning Glories: This has made my list every year and every year I tell you guys I still don’t know what is going on but it is GREAT!  That is still true though things are starting to come together, at least in part.  This is the one book the entire staff agrees on.  A very rare thing.  If you have not checked it out do yourself a favor.  First TP is only 9.99 and it is worth the price.  Plus comes with money back guarantee from Tribe.  Don’t like it bring it back we will give you your money back.

5. Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi: A look back at where the Jedi came from.  It is done by the same creative team as Star Wars Legacy another favorite of Roy and myself. It reads better in trade or chucks of individual issues but it is so damn good.

6. Thief of Thieves: A great caper book.  If you liked the Ocean Movies you will love this book.  Image keeps selling out of it but the first arc is collected in TP.

7. Mouse Guard Black Axe: The latest installment of Mouse Guard just finished up and it was great!  I love mouse guard so damn much.  This one should be out collected later this summer.  A book on mice I never would thought I love quite this much but I so do.  Art is AMAZING and the writing compelling.  A great all ages book that is great for adults as well.

8. Journey Into Mystery: I can not believe Roy did not include this book on his top 11 and only gave it a honorable mention.  Kid Loki is the best character to come out of Marvel this decade.  A trickster god given a new start and trying to be a hero by the only way his nature will let him…lying and deceiving the villains and heroes into doing what needs to be done.  It is simply great.  While the series just finished it is done and well worth checking out.

9. Fantastic Four/FF by Hickman: Ok now for a review that will not scare the rest of you away from Hickman’s FF/Fantastic Four run.  While he and Grant Morrison both do grand big tapestry crazy stories Hickman’s stories are what Mr Morrison’s would be if someone would just get him to write after the trip and not during.  Where Morrison sometimes seems to lose the point (and reader) Hickman will bring it all back around and tie it up with a pretty bow.  This maybe the single best run of Marvel’s First Family!

10. Earth 2: Everyone knows I am a HUGE JSA fan.  I was not happy about the whole them being young and starting out again.  Plus James Robinison’s latest stories, prior to this, have not been as good as his earlier work.  Earth Two however is beyond anything I could have hoped for.  The new versions of the Jay, Alan and Kendra are different while still capturing the essence of the character.  He managed to give a post “Big War” feel without having it tied to WWII and the art by Nicola Scott maybe the best of her career.

11. Untold History of Marvel Comics: Ok so it is not a comic book but it is a book that every LCBS should have on their shelves.  If you ever wanted to know how all the sausage was made from Marvel’s start till early 2000’s this is your book.  I could not put it down.  All the personality conflict and management debacles, not to mention all the close calls with bankruptcy.  I coudl not put this book down.  It is well worth your time to give this a read.

And that closes out the Dragon.  It will be interesting to see what the Year of the Snake gives us for comics. 

Giving Report 2012

So here is the annual charity report for Tribe.  This year we tried something different.  As many of you know we started our Keep the Change program when you check out.  For those that do not know what this is we (Roy and I) pick a different charity (usually monthly but sometimes we keep it longer).  If you as a customer want to help us support that charity you just tell us to “keep the change” and we will round up your purchase to the next whole dollar.  The change is then used to support the charity and at the end of the month we add it up and figure out how much. In addition to this we also donated money to other things and gave a lot of product for silent actions and the like to help even more charities.

This year you guys raised $345.15 in small change and we donated another $1202.27 to Randy’s Cancer Fund, The Austin Planetarium, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, ACLU, St Judes, Austin Pets Alive, Conspire Theater, Project OUTYouth, Capital Area Food Bank.

In Product we donated some $21560.82 retail price.  Athena Academy silent action to help a ill teacher pay bills, Rockin Tomato and Jump GYM did the same, auction to help raise money for Crohns, Summer Stock Austin, Give to Game, and of course the Heroes Alliance.

So in all we were able to give $23108.24  our best year yet.  Here is hoping we can do more in 2013!

Two Flus, Two dark warriors: stop worrying and love Nurgle

Mr. Harrison is always saying people want to know about us. That we need to be more active in this bloggytwitty world. So I am sure a lot of you know I haven’t been at the store all week. I have the flu, not the worst I’ve ever had…but pretty bad. So here are some observations from the field.

A few years ago, the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen recorded their Green Lantern show at our store. It was a great night but the next day I woke up with a horrible flu. Now this flu was the worst flu I have ever had in my life. One day was full on hallucinations. (oh the irony of all those experimental trips with lsd and shrooms….didn’t you read the books? didn’t you know that to be a shaman you almost have to die.?)

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I almost died, but I was in a sorry, sorry state. The room was purple, I could see everything. I was awake.  Including Ultraman. By Ultraman I mean the evil Superman from Earth 3. We exchanged verbal communication. He was more real in that moment than my wife, who was at her desk across from us.

If you are like me, you chase such experiences all your life. Whether they are chemical or whether they are spirits are whether they are Jungian or whether they are Freudian makes no difference. Like Uncle Bill attributed to Hassan-i Sabbah “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”

But at this point yeah it’s looking strictly chemical. And like any dream there always deeper elements mixed in the random bits of nonsense. But as humans we always have to be binary, it must be one or the other. I am still secure that it is not time to start the Ultraman cult.

This week’s flu. To be honest it is not so bad compared to Ultraman. I still get a sneak preview of what my life will be like if make it to my 90’s. I took a shower and I felt like I had just ran a marathon, I walked across the room and ran out of breath. I also had the obligatory fever night, just not near as bad. Just the fever dreams.

This fever dream another dark warrior. This time dressed as my Sith Warrior character in SWTOR. Communication is nonverbal this time. Purple is still a component. Orange is added to the mix. Also the same feeling is there. Like it is the same individual. A part of myself. A spirit. A fever induced misfire. yes.

yes.

Looking for the silver lining in the Nurgle colored phlegm,

RSC

So tired of hearing we are not a Game Store

So as the title suggests we get to see me (Eric) go on a Roy rant style bender.  Since our competitor opened we have heard this a time or two (For those keeping track besides word of mouth our competitor also posted these ideas on their facebook. Then on yelp they recommended every game store in town including us but while all the others had what great game stores they were it was only mentioned we were a comic store.)  But I digress  the final straw was last night, at the game night we sponsor no less, was the latest time.   It was pointed out (as business cards for our competitor were handed out) that it was not bad they opened up 3 blocks away.  The reason it was not bad:

-because we were mostly a comic store and not a game store.  

 -we had a small game selection

 -no gaming space

So I would like to address these and then add things I think make us not only a “game” store but the damn good game store.

– Our square footage is roughly 1/2 comics (on walls) and 1/2 for games (all on the floor fixtures).  By their logic I can’t be a good comic store but they seem to think we are.  So if we have a good selection of comics why not games

– Facts about our “small” game selection.  We have extensive lines in Warhammer/40K, Privateer Press, and Heroclix.  In minis we carry 3/4s of reapers entire line.  Over in RPGs we have 71 different systems totally some 371 different books.  On the board game side (for this blog purpose non collectible card games count as board games but for the record we have about 115) Games + expansions we have over 400 games.  If you take out non collectible card games we still have just under 300.  And every week there is where from 1 to 5 new board games.  The one area in which we are weak is CCGs.  All we have is Magic because, to be blunt, the others sold like crap and were not worth the space.

– It is true we have no gaming space.  That is why we help found the South Austin Gaming Group.  They use to meet at Austin Pizza but when it got to big Jonathan and I looked at Rockin Tomato for the new venue.  Which seems to have worked pretty damn well as the group as grown from a few people to 40+.  As a side note I would like to point out that there have been at least 3 stores before we opened that were majority gaming space/ minority product.  You will be hard pressed to find them now, they have all closed.

So now that I have addressed those point let me add a few more things –

– We contributed more than any other game store to Give to Game, not only this year but every year we have participated.

– We were the top sponsor of Board Game Bash both years.  The only game store in town to really get behind Jonathan’s efforts to build a Gaming convention. 

– Our gaming library is with Jonathan and available at any SAG game night. We are addeding games to that every time we get new demo copies. 

– Oh and we were the host for the official Steve Jackson Games 30th anniversary party.

Yeah we totally are not a game store.  What on earth was I thinking.

The $2.99 complaint

So in the past few weeks I have had several customers complain about our poster from DC that says “Holding the line at $2.99.”  They usually make a annoyed sound and complain about the “Many 3.99 comics.”  Roy and I have both pointed out DC only has a few of those titles and they give you additional material.  Most of the time they just shrug.  Sometimes they challenge what we are saying.  So here is an answer to all those that challenge Roy and I on this.  To be fair I will also give numbers for Marvel.  For both companies I am only looking at their core titles and not miniseries or annuals or specials.

DC (Core 52)  There are only 7 titles that are $3.99.  All 7, everyone, has 40 pages.  8 more pages than a normal comic.  That means there 45, I will say again 45 monthly titles, that are $2.99 for 32 pages.  Now 4 of the 7 titles are some of the most popular (Action, Batman, Justice League, & Detective).  So many people will see these prices as oppose to the $2.99.  Batman also started at $2.99 and then went up to $3.99, though they did increase the page count afterwards.  That means that roughly 87% of DC’s core line is only $2.99.  That seems like a strong line to me.

Marvel by contrast has 54 core titles a month. 23 titles at $2.99 for 32 pages.  Roughly 1/2 of DC’s monthly number at the same price.  29 titles at $3.99 over 4 times the amount DC has at the same price point.  And all 29 of these title are only 32 pages!  No additional content for your dollar.  1 title is at $4.99 for 32 pages.  Twelve of these are shipped twice a month.  Of those 1, Iron Man, ships once at $2.99 then again that month at $3.99.  2 others are $2.99 (Captain Marvel and Deadpool)  The other 9 are all $3.99 and are the top selling monthly titles for Marvel.

So overall, DC seems to be “Holding the Line at $2.99” rather well.  And the very few times they do not they give you extra content.  If only every company had the same respect for consumers.