What Every Collector Should Have on Their Shelf

The Holidays are around the cornered, and that means it’s time for hastily put together lists of stuff you or literally anyone you know might like!

Thankfully, Mike excels in comic book knowledge and lists (writing poems about John Elway came in 3rd), so here are his thoughts on what books are worthwhile additions to your libraries.

  1. Elfquest: The Original Quest, I consider that to be the all around finest story ever crafted.
  2. Stray Bullets, Fits into the crime category but it’s about people. Very simply and beautifully done.
  3. Bone, by Jeff Smith. This changed the face of comics in the Modern Age.
  4. The Ultimates. Just the first 12 issue series. Not only did it lead the charge in making comics real but when you see Samuel Jackson’s face, go back to the indicia page and look at the copyright date in the small print.
  5. Batman: Son of the Demon.
  6. Batman: Ten Nights of the Beast.
  7. Supreme Power, This is the Justice League in the Marvel Universe written by J Michael Straczynski.
  8. Will Eisner’s Contract With God, It’s not anything you’ll look for as a superhero fan but you’ll discover why the most prestigious award in comics is named after this man.
  9. After Death, A Scott Snyder book post Batman (actually during Batman). If you’ve ever suffered a loss this should be very powerful yet it’s slow and will creep up on you.
  10. Bloodshot, Rai, and X-O Manowar from Valiant right now (Harbinger, too). Those are damn good series. Doesn’t hurt that Bloodshot will soon be a movie and you’ll know who he is before that happens.
  11. Preacher, One of my all time favorites. Get past the offensiveness to the search for God. It’s only 56 issues and some specials long.
  12. Blacksad, Imported and translated into English. You’ll never regret it.
  13. Fables, Holy crap your childhood will never be the same.
  14. Thor by Simonson, It encompasses two omnibus’ and it’s the basis for the movies one of which features a cameo by Simonson himself.
  15. Thor by Stracynzski. He left Marvel before he finished his story but it’s still one of the best ever.
  16. Barry Ween, Boy Genius. You will laugh your ass off. It’s definitely not for kids!
  17. Locke and Key, I don’t do horror but this is phenomenal and I’ve rearranged my life’s goals around this.
  18. Maus, preferably complete (it’s two volumes). Based on true history it is the only comic to ever win a Pulitzer Prize.
  19. Rasl, is also based on true history.
  20. Rising Stars, influenced a lot of work, including television, coming after it.
  21. Spider-Man: Fearful Symmetry, Classic. Classic. Classic.
  22. X-Men: Mutant Massacre, A classic that changed the way comics were made.

‘The Boys’ Picked Up by Amazon

A TV version of Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson’s comic series ‘The Boys,’ was picked up by Amazon this week. Frankly I have trouble keeping track of all superhero shows right now, but having never read the series I love the premise. Maybe this is the first Amazon original series that I can stick with. Is The Tick worth watching? It feels like the joke is that he’s dressed like the Tick. I’ll pass I guess.


Bing Con! This Saturday!

Bing Con, everyone’s favorite local comic convention is this Saturday, October 28th! I don’t think I have to tell you how good it is to support your local comics scene, but Halloween is around the corner and you could be kidnapped by an action figure brought to life or something so perhaps it’s best to live those last days to the fullest, yes?

Bing Con, woo!


Good Luck Danielle!

Well this is it. Danielle Murray is college-bound, and Mike asked me to post some of his thoughts:

Good bye and good luck to Danielle. We’re losing our manager as she’s already gone and now moved into her dorm for college in Rhode Island. Years ago, Michael Uslan told us, in writing, how special Danielle is.

Danielle & Michael Uslan,  2011

Danielle & Michael Uslan, 2011

Clearly, he was right. Three years after starting high school she’s graduated and now at Johnson and Wales for the Culinary degree in Baking and Pastry Arts.

It’s important to remember that Danielle (and Mike) never show us a time sheet for how long they’ve worked on our orders each month. We’ve had the benefit of a hard working young lady (and Mike) donating her time to our comics when I’m sure there was some fidget-spinning contest (what are teenagers into now?) she would have rather have attended. Thanks for all your hard work, Danielle!


Advance Review – Bloodshot: Salvation

Writer:   Jeff Lemire
Art:  Lewis LaRosa & Mico Suayan
Colors:  Brian Reber
Letters:  Simon Bowland

The constant waffling of Marvel and DC when it comes to publishing orders, stopping & starting a series, and re-stopping & re-starting a series, makes efficiently collecting books nigh impossible. Investing in a particular ongoing can be difficult when you have no idea whether it will be published in four months, or if it will even feature the same characters. Lucky for us, Valiant feels our pain.

The Bloodshot series re-launches under a new subtitle roughly every 25 issues, so Valiant’s repeated series debuts come off more as narrative choices or natural endings/beginnings. Thankfully Jeff Lemire stays on as Bloodshot: Salvation’s scribe following his successful stint writing Bloodshot: Reborn. Art duties are shared by Lewis LaRosa & Mico Suayan, both of whom worked on Reborn as well. Again, consistency is nice.

The main plot is easy to swallow, and at the outset feels uncomfortably familiar to the latest Wolverine film, Logan. A man with anger issues and healing powers granted to him by a secret military operation needs to find a little girl (who also has the same powers) when is taken from him and now he wants her back. Yeesh, that’s like the entire premise of both stories word for word. Thankfully Lemire knows what he’s doing. To make up for the obvious initial plot he gives the reader as little information as possible, and utilizes flashbacks to keep the story moving and worth reading.  I’m under-selling the story here, I think, because I really enjoyed it – however it certainly isn’t something we haven’t seen before. I honestly don’t feel too comfortable discussing plot in any detail, as the only elements that would set the story apart are also spoilers. Then again, it’s an action/revenge tale, and we’ve seen a million of them, the formula is proven, and this book has that formula down and then some.

Now I know what you’re thinking: a gritty, military-based revenge yarn is probably accompanied with a rougher, exaggerated art style and yeah, that’s essentially what Larosa and Suayan bring to the table. For the most part it’s very good, and does a lot to keep the story moving. Every hardboiled grimace is different and vivid, and the characters all seem to visually connect with each other. I’m not much a fan of the colors or the inks, though. There are a few stylistic changes that happen over the course of the story, and the final two thirds of the book are colored and inked in such a way that everything looks muddied and, frankly, kinda cheap. Brian Reber is clearly talented, but all the characters pop from the scene so much that they don’t look like they belong in the world. Perhaps it’s the lack of background detail by the penciler, because sometimes the characters look so out of place it’s as if they were photo shopped into the image. It was probably done intentionally to push the reader through the many exposition panels and better connect with Frank, but it does not look like a high quality product, and drags everything else down a little.

Ultimately Bloodshot: Salvation isn’t the most original book, and the art may be an issue for some readers, but still succeeds as Valiant’s latest offering in the Bloodshot series. Frank is a stilted government killing-machine who earned my sympathy in the first issue, and I now want to see him get revenge, and thanks to Lemire’s careful breadcrumb laying there’s still much to look forward to.

Bloodshot: Salvation #1 hits stands 9/20/17.


Trailer – The Death of Stalin!

While a growing number may lament  every other film hitting screens these days being inspired by comic books there’s still a wealth of untapped stories ready for the Big Screen. Then again, The Death of Stalin isn’t your average superhero popcorn flick.

I’d never heard of the Titan Comics property the film is based off of, but I’m certainly interested. The trailer is quirky and disjointing, presenting a generally gray and stone faced subject matter in and interesting way, and the star-studded cast certainly warrants another look.

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