Many cunning stunts ahead!

*Before we start, I just have to jump ahead into DC’s February solicitations for a few seconds. I’ll be doing a full breakdown when Marvel’s show up, or maybe even earlier than that, but really there’s one item of interest that needs to be covered right now:

The “Promethea” wrap-party do-it-yourself art spectacular!

So now the last issue of the famously twisty visual treat by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III is literally a bit of a puzzle. You can read it straight through, like a comic. Then it seems you can rip all of the pages out and glue them together and it’ll form a pair of secret bonus images (I suppose it’ll be laid out in the book with piece 1A on one side of the sheet, then piece 1B on the other side, so both images will be simultaneously created, one on each side). The last ‘destroy part of your comic for added pleasure’ trick I recall was that old “Shadowhawk” gimmick where you’d tear off part of the cover along an indentation, thus removing Shadowhawk’s helmet and revealing his secret identity; like many clumsy lads, I managed to tear the cover right off (in case you haven’t noticed, much like Rome in ancient times, all roads eventually lead to “Shadowhawk“ on this blog). But "Promethea" goes a little further: now you have to physically destroy your comic in order to fully enjoy it, which is a sweet thought, kind of a final chortle of defiance as the industry spirals further back in time to days when comics were sometimes bagged and not read at all. But then, I suspect many people are just going to buy two copies of “Promethea” #32 anyway, so it can most certainly be argued that this is a bit of a cash-in too (although at this point every regular reader of “Promethea” buying two copies of the book still isn’t going to send sales exploding into outer space). I’m just getting one copy myself. I never tried any of the cut-out art projects in "Acme Novelty Library" either.

Oooh! And don’t forget the 1000-piece limited edition poster variant! All of the pages of issue #32 pre-assembled into a lovely single-sheet, with a special bonus 48-page cover gallery book signed by Moore and Williams. A mere $50! But I have to confess, I’m tempted. Apparently, the cover collection will eventually be available separately. I loved “Promethea”, and sometimes I can’t quite believe the whole thing actually got published, so it’s ok if everybody wants to make a little extra coin before they leave. At least they’re doing it in an amusing way (as far as variants and multiple-purchase suggestions go).

Hey, whatever happened to inker Mick Gray? His credit disappeared from the book in the last few issues, even after William’s art calmed down a bit.


*Um. It’s very light. Very very slow week.

Spider-Man India #1: Well, here’s something that‘s at least interesting in concept. I’d really like to see how well this does in India, where the supposed target audience is. How can we discover how well it sells? I know that Gotham Entertainment Group (whose website I cannot locate) is handling the overseas distribution, but I’d like a means of gathering sales figures. Of course, any such figures will have to be taken in the context of the general sales atmosphere of Indian comics, with appropriate attention paid to typical release schedules and formats, not to mention audience size. I think the first four-issue arc is already out in India, initially intended to coincide with the “Spider-Man 2” movie’s Indian release date, which was back on July 23 according to Box Office Mojo, but delayed for a month according to Cinescape. So does anyone have any info on how well the book actually did? An article I found in the online English version of The Hindu dated July 29 had some mixed reactions among university students to the announcement of the comic‘s publication:

College students from Manipal College Ashfaq Umar and Susannah Macwana can't stop laughing. "I would read it if I wanted to read trash," Ashfaq says. Elaborating a bit, Susannah adds: "I don't think it would be a success. It doesn't really go with Spider-Man. Since India's such a growing place and there are so many different cultures and so many students from different countries, I don't think people will accept it…” Telling people about the desi version of Spider-Man (umm, Makdi Manav?) brings a uniform pattern of reaction: first surprise, then wonder, and finally, a doubtful frown.

Well! That target audience sounds really stoked! Granted, we probably ought to be looking at the reaction of Indian comics readers, not college students in general. But I can’t find a damn thing on any of that. I can’t even find anything on the Indian release of the book dated after summer of this year. Any comics news reporting messiahs want to step up to the plate and dig up some info?

Ex Machina #6: Really unsure about this; despite the huge acclaim, this book just hasn’t been doing it for me. We’ll take a peek on the stands.

Terra Obscura Vol. 2 #4 (of 6): Nice regularly released superhero stuff. “Terra Obscura” has become an old reliable; I know I’ll mostly enjoy it, and it shows up just when I expect it to. This also means there’s often little to say about it, although I liked last issue’s play on the contemporary Batman personality, and there’s some fun little juggling of 'returning to the past' themes that certainly resonate with comics today.

The Punisher MAX #14: Yes, that’s right, the last issue of this just came out two weeks ago. Not that I’m complaining; this new arc is already 109% better than “Kitchen Irish” so now we won’t all have to wait to see if the quality level takes a serious drop. Convenience! That last arc had a half-decent first issue too…

Hardy Boys #1: Sorry, until someone brings back Encyclopedia Brown I’m just not gonna bite. It’s a neat experiment NBM is doing here, releasing this as floppies and its companion “Nancy Drew” title as a digest-only series. Maybe kids will like it. This stuff just doesn’t hit the nostalgia buttons with me through. But Bugs Meany, rendered in manga style? Like crack cocaine.

Space Ghost #1 (of 6): Oh dear. Looking into the future, I see that Zorak is indeed among the villains participating in this new ‘serious’ “Space Ghost” book. You know, I understand that maybe a few people think the whole talk show comedy angle is insulting to the Space Ghost character. But did even the original cartoons seem very serious to you? Not me. They were goofy action cartoons, utterly featherweight fun. How is revamping “Space Ghost” into some dank, stolid space opera being any more faithful to the spirit of the original than the talk show is? Is it just automatically a better option because it’s ‘dark’? Gah. I'll take Adult Swim if given a choice.