boston_comic_con_banner517491478For some time now Rob and Amanda have been trying to talk Trebuchet and me into attending San Diego Comic-Con with them, making their case with enticing details such as:

“You can’t really walk there. It’s more of a shuffle-step. Be prepared to throw an elbow.”
“The only place you might get trampled to death is the toy floor.”
and, most disturbing: “There’s no Dunkin Donuts.”

While we haven’t quite worked up the enthusiasm to fly cross-country and spend five days in the middle of a mob, we did think it was time to check out the much closer (though still two hours away) Boston Comic Con. If you have read Rob’s and Amanda’s recaps, this was not the tiny regional con we anticipated – but as it turned out, in spite of the growing pains, the unexpected crowd actually made the event more exciting.

Yes, Wednesday evening, the end of Rob and Amanda’s broadcast day. However, as I was dying from a head cold over the weekend (and have since miraculously recovered), I’m turning in my homework a bit tardy.

I first heard about the Womanthology project shortly after their fundraiser wrapped up in 2011. If you’re unfamiliar with Womanthology, it all began with a tweet from artist Renae De Liz asking if her fellow female creators would be interested in creating and publishing an anthology to benefit charity. By the end of that day, over 100 contributors had taken up the call, and shortly thereafter, IDW came on board as publisher. The project quickly coalesced into the 300 page anthology, Heroic, with over 150 female contributors whose experience levels ran the gamut from professional to beginner.

I finally picked up Heroic this summer and have been all “what the hell took me so long” ever since. I have been slowly working my way through the volume, and although I’ve only reached the halfway point, as soon as I saw the announcement for the Womanthology: SPACE series, you’d better believe I was on the phone with my local shop to pre-order it.

As Trebuchet can attest to, I often amuse myself to no end anthropomorphizing our dogs. So, although I’m late to the party in learning about the existence of these characters, I knew I had to pick up a copy as soon as I saw the description for Beasts of Burden in the weekly Dark Horse Digital newsletter:

The four-legged occult-investigating team—a heroic gang of dogs and one cat—are doing their best to protect their home, Burden Hill, from a chicken-stealing goblin, a frightful basilisk, and a strange lost herd of sheep!

Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch is actually a collection of three short stories originally printed in Dark Horse Presents #4, 6, & 8 back in 2011.

Food Run sets the stage with Rex (dog) and Orphan (cat) teaming up to take on the aforementioned chicken-stealing goblin. I was immediately drawn into the world by Evan Dorkin’s dialog and Jill Thompson’s beautiful watercolor illustrations. Food Run is fast-paced and action-oriented, and at its conclusion, I couldn’t wait to dig into the rest of the book.

Since Rob and Amanda are off in San Diego, risking life and limb dodging furries and trying desperately to avoid the dreaded ConSARS, they’ve asked me to write up my thoughts on Kirkman’s centennial issue of the Walking Dead.

Last night I caught up on the last several issues of The Walking Dead in preparation my review of issue 100, and, after reading through the past few books I was disappointed to find:

  • Carl still won’t stay in the fucking house
  • A stranger appears with a too-good-to-be-true offer from a nearby community
  • This community, it could change everything, they could have lives again!
  • Rick opts to tie up the stranger instead of putting an e-fence shock collar on Carl

It reminded me of daytime soaps and their lather, rinse, repeat storylines; though here it’s even less surprising when a character comes back from the dead. As I finished up #99, I found myself growing tired of the repetitiveness, and yet still eager to read issue 100, hoping for an interesting turn rather than more of the same.

Spoilers Ahead

A couple months ago I read a preview blurb for a new Image book about a young female assassin, called Song, who had come down with a case of amnesia. The book was Epic Kill – created, written, & drawn by Raffaele Ienco.  It sounded fun, very Jason Bourne, so I threw it on my pull list & then proceeded to forget about it until the clerk handed it over this morning.  Though neither Trebuchet nor I could remember adding it, when the clerk asked if we still wanted it, we said “Sure!”

The storyline is alright, though I had to read through it a second time to realize this because on the first pass the art pulled me in multiple directions, one of which was straight out of the story. When it comes to the art, Ienco has a great, sketchy style and nice coloring. Present day panels have a warm toned color palette, and flashbacks a cool tone which provides an immediate reference as to which you are viewing.  However, there were several problems which made me immediately want to set this book aside without finishing it.  For everything that Ienco did right, he did something else very wrong or very strange.

If you haven’t read any of the four issues of Action Lab’s comic series Princeless, stop reading this review and go buy them.  Right now, I’ll wait.  You back?  Good.  A princess who is fed up with the locked-in-a-tower trope opts to rescue herself, rather than wait for some charming irritating prince to come along.  That’s my kind of princess.

When her mother reads her a fairy tale as a child, Princess Adrienne is aghast, and makes it perfectly clear how she feels about the typical princess.  Cut to her teenage years, where she is now living the “fairy tale” life: locked in a tower by her domineering father The King, and guarded by Sparky (the cutest dragon ever!)  Shortly after berating and summarily dismissing her most recent suitor, she finds a sword hidden in her room and begins forming a plan to escape and rescue her sisters, who are locked in towers of their own.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Crisis On Infinite Midlives is proud to introduce our newest contributor: Pixiestyx. Pixiestyx is relatively new to reading comics, and therefore brings a different perspective to the comics world then Amanda and myself, who have been around the block enough to know who to curse at by name and general description. She’s been leaving great, interesting comments recently, and we’re glad to add her to the Crisis On Infinite Midlives team!

Does the comic industry really want to bring in new readers? If they did, one would think that the publishers would want to make it as easy as possible for a new reader to find a storyline that interests them, as well as figure out where to begin following that storyline. I have been an occasional comic reader for just over two years, yet when it comes to much of the comic world, I feel very much like Hal Jordan, having been told to speak the oath of the Green Lanterns without knowing what that oath is – completely lost.

I know how to do research; how to comparison shop, read reviews, and decide what to buy. However, most of the publishers’ websites have not been very helpful. They are good at listing the new books for this week and what’s coming out next week; but other than great cover art images, they do a very poor job of drawing me in and telling me why I should begin reading a series. They tend to have a busy layout and are unintuitive if you don’t already know what you are looking for. The UserWiki on Marvel’s site offers series background information, but the volume of information is inconsistent – a page and a half on some, non-existent on others. It appears that Marvel’s primary focus is on getting visitors to buy a Toyota Yaris instead of their comics anyway.