So, today was our first Comics For Christmas event of the year and I have to say... it was an amazing experience! The staff was very welcoming and appreciative, the parents were also very happy with us for, as one mother told us, "taking the time to brighten up our kid's day" and more importantly; the kids we're happy. Amongst the things we brought for the kids were: back packs, pencils, note pads, toys, coloring books, crayons, color pencils and of course comic books! It was great watching the kids going through the items inside their brand new back packs and seeing their eyes light up when they recognized Spider-Man or the Hulk! We loved every minute of it!
But we didm't just bring them gifts, we also played video games with them, drew some sketches for the kids that wanted one, interacted with them and made them laugh. At first we were a bit overwhelmed because you just don't know exactly how sick the kids might be or what level of pain they may be going through, but once we were introduced and the kids acknowledge us; it was all smooth sailing from there on out. We met this wonderful little boy named Gideon whom we found out, wears a cape with a big letter "G" on it every time he's getting shots. His mom approached us a asked if we could make a sketch for her representing that cape with the big letter "G" on and of course; we had to comply! You can see the results in the picture below. :)
It's safe to say that the event was a success when the staff already invites you to come back for as many times as we'd like and they want us to set dates for next year! We are so blessed to have been allowed the opportunity to interact with such wonderful parents, kids and staff that we immediately agreed to come back! Days like this make all the sacrifices, the long hours, the back pain, the reading the comics to make sure they're appropriate for children... seeing the reactions on those little kid's faces, seeing those smiles on the parents faces; seeing how grateful the staff was; it makes it all worth it! This is only the beginning, expect a lot more from Comics For Christmas!
Ever since I found out that Gal Gadot was chosen to play Wonder Woman I've been on a fanboy rampage against her for many reasons. Maybe she wasn't "my" Wonder Woman, maybe Gina Carano was my perfect choice or maybe I'm sick and tired of Hollywood choosing impossibly skinny females to portray heroes when there are plenty full figure women that could do just as good a job as any skinny broad; if not better. But regardless, I've been upset about this whole thing for a few months and didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel... until today.
Today Zack Snyder, director of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, released the first footage from the movie as well as three HD images of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and I have to say; I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. Batman and Superman look great, but to my surprise; Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman looks amazing! As of now, I'd like ot apologize for this past few months bashing on her for not being right for the role because of her appearance and I'll say that I'm all in for this movie. I hope her acting surprises me in the same way her image as Diana just did!
Manuel A. Carmona
As am Im sure most of you know by now Marvel Comics has done it again! Sigh... just a few hours ago they announced (on The View of all places) that they're switching Thor from male to female. At first glance this seems like a novel idea, but once you look into the matter more closely you'll see where this is all very wrong. The first question we have to ask ourselves is very basic... why? Most answers from fanboys defending Marvel's decision may vary from: "girls need powerful role models in comics", "now my daughter can follow a book based on Asgardian warriors", "they're trying to stay relevant", "they're trying to mix it up", "they're trying to get new readers", "they're trying to get more sales fro the book", etc. To those... I SAY THEE NAY!!! I can, and will, refute all these very common answers with concise rebuttals because you see, there's something you might not know about me... Thor is my favorite fiction character ever; in comics and otherwise. As you might imagine, I'm more than a little upset about this switching gears on my favorite character.
For those of you who might not know, making Thor a female is not a new bad idea, it's an old bad idea that's been done more times than I care to remember and all with the same level of success or appreciation from the fans; none whatsoever. It was done in an old Marvel Comics series called What If? in which writers told stories that were too "out there" to be written for the "real" series. When What If Jane Foster Had Found The Hammer Of Thor? came out, the story was goofy at best, and in my personal opinion it was so bad, you'd think the mere thought of making this same mistake again would never cross a writer's mind; much less an Editor in Chief! But guess what? The high ups at Marvel Comics have become such media whores that's they'd resort to this nonsense yet again.
Here's Radio Free Asgard #68, on this episode Tom Harris discusses What If? #10. In his own words: "And now for something completely different - We open with a few shout-outs, and then we thrill to the return of Jane Foster as we review What If? #10 from 1978!! What If Jane Foster Had Found The Hammer Of Thor?? Need I say... unbreakable thong? Plus... endless fun as I try to pronounce "possesseth"!"
Now, if you think that this will bring more readers to the book you're mistaken; and here's why. Thor is a character (much like his evil brother Loki) with a HUGE female audience, that audience love these characters for who they are and what they represent; they don't want or need the characters to be female in order for them to read the book. Thinking that female readers need characters to be female as well in order for them to read them is not only false, but also patronizing to female comic book readers everywhere. Female readers love good stories as much as males do; sometimes even more! The gender of the character isn't what you should focus in order to bring in female readers, your focus should be to hire writers and have them write great stories involving female characters that already exist and aren't being used in the proper way; or simply create a brand new female character that both men and women can get behind. It's been done before with characters like Carol Denvers, Black Widow and even the new Miss Marvel; so that should tell you that you don't need to swipe genders in order to attract new readers.
This is especially true when you have two of the most amazing female characters ever created, that are both Asgardians and that aren't being used... AT ALL!!! Enter one of the most badass characters in comics, male or female; my fair Lady Sif! Lady Sif is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most recognizable Asgardian characters to fans of comics and the public in general; mostly because of the global success of the Thor movies and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show. Sif is a character that the female audience can get behind if only her books were pushed by the Marvel Comics advertising machinery like they posh the male dominated books. For one reason or the other, that's never been the case with this character and as cool as the character is, as many Cosplayers that dress up like her, with as many female readers looking for strong female characters to follow; you'd think a Lady Sif book would be a no-brainer for Marvel to put all their efforts behind and bring in those coveted female readers...
Let me sell you a comic: the story is fun, action packed, epic in scope and the lead character is a beautiful, powerful and independent female Asgardian warrior who's covered up in armor from head to toe, wields a huge sword, kicks ass first and asks questions after; if that doesn't make you wanna read a comic book series I don't know what will! Sadly that book existed and was cancelled by Marvel. The last time we saw Lady Sif was in that exact book: Journey Into Mystery. Written by Kathryn Immonen with art by Valerio Schiti, this books is something to behold! So, Marvel cancels this amazing book because it wouldn't sell, but they never put any effort in pushing this book to stores, to the media, to the fans; nothing! Now, it's been more than two years since we've seen Lady Sif in comics and instead of using this power that Marvel has to start a new series focusing on such a wonderful female character such as Lady Sif, they use this power to go on a tv show to promote such a bad idea as making Thor a female... yet again! And they think females are going to feel empowered by this? They think this will attract new readers? Or generate new sales? Sigh... we'll see.
(check out my Lady Sif Pinterest album: http://www.pinterest.com/dumerill/lady-sif/)
Now, another great character from the Asgardian family of books is none other than the powerhouse Valkyrie! I've always thought of Valkyrie as the female version of Thor because out of all the Asgardians, she's the strongest female warrior; and one of the strongest Asgardians period! Valkyrie is another amazing female character that deserves her chance in the spotlight. Why not use this character instead of switching genders on characters? Why not spotlight a female warrior chosen by Odin himself to lead his order of the Valkyrie? How powerful she must to be called "the female version of Thor"? How badass must Valkyrie be that Odin himself chose her to lead his elite Valkyrie Order??? According to the way Marvel has treated her, not so badass after all.
(check out my Valkyrie Pinterest album: http://www.pinterest.com/dumerill/valkyrie/)
The last time we saw Valkyrie was in Fearless
Defenders... sigh, talk about an awesome book!
The series, written by Cullen Bunn with artwork by Will Sliney, centered on the Valkyrior, a team of female superheroes led by Valkyrie and Misty Knight. Despite favorable reviews from critics, the series ended in December 2013 after thirteen issues due to poor sales. Yet another example of a great book not having the economic support (advertising) of the publisher and being cancelled because of low sales. Again, instead of using a small percentage of the money they use to advertise the Avengers books or Wolverine books (which we all know are going to sell), why not use that money to support a great book that needs the push to catch the readers attention?
I wrote all that trying to make my point, and my point is this: we as comic book readers need to take a stand and stop supporting mediocre books just because you "trust" the creator, because guess what? More times than not, these creators aren't telling the stories they want to tell, they're telling the stories that the publishers want them to tell in order to make money. This is a business and they'll do whatever they can to get your money, that's why it's our responsibility to make them understand that we're not as stupid as they think we are. Thor is my favorite comic book character, I have a deep affection for the character and it's creator (Jack "King" Kirby), and it's because I have this deep appreciation for the character that I have to make a stand and not support this idea, an idea that's proven to be a bad one time and time again. Even if I wanted to give it a chance I can't, not when there are amazing characters that aren't being used, not when there have been great series that were cancelled because they didn't sell copies, not because of how good they were; but because there wasn't any marketing behind them. Fans, please don't support gimmicks anymore; don't let anyone insult your intelligence by giving a cheap gimmick instead a good story. Don't let anyone feed you a hot dog and tell you it's a lobster, you know what a lobster is; and it is not a female Thor.
Long time no see but like the song says, here I go again on my own! Anyhow, today I want to talk about something I’ve given a lot of thought to and finally made peace with, binding my comic book collection. Now I know what immediately comes to mind “you’ll ruin the books”, “they’ll loose their value” or “are you crazy?”. Well, the answers to those questions respectively are: not really, I never intended to sell my books and no, I’m not crazy; or am I? Jeje The reality is that my intentions were never to sell my comics, on the contrary, I want to pass them along to my son and I hope he’ll do the same to his son. The problem with passing the malling as single issues or “floppies” as we comic book geeks call them is that they get damage fairly easily because they’re just paper, but, if you bind at least 10+ of them, they’ll be harder to destroy and they’ll also be more accessible than digging through thousands of comics.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and it became clear to me that I had to do this because I’m collecting my definitive Batman timeline, with all the books I feel should be cannon, and I feel that binding them in volumes of 20-24 comics in a hardcover format, with the specifications on the spine would not only be easier to access, but also be easier for anyone to grab and read and they’ll look beautiful on my bookshelf. I plan to do this not only with Batman, but also Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwing and the entire Bat Family so I’ll need to plan this very carefully. The reward will be when I start getting those volumes and I flip through them, when I show them to my friends and when I pass them along to my sons; I can’t wait to see their reaction. My oldest son four years old and he already is a Batman fan so I know he’ll love these when the time comes for him to inherit them. I have another one on the way so my oldest can share the collection with his younger brother.
I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about messing up my comic book collection, but this is something I’ve put a lot of thought into and in the end; I know I’ll enjoy the books and I’ll read them more frequently than by keeping them in long box after long box. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter and if you’re interested in doing anything like this to your collection, or at least part of it. If you’ve already done it, I’d love to hear about your experience as well. Do you regret it? Do you love it? Would you doit again? Maybe you’ll save me from making a mistake or encourage me into actually go through with it.
Here are some videos explaining various ways to bind your collection. Enjoy!
Getting Comics Ready For Binding
A Comparison of Comic Book Binding Styles
Comic Books made into PDF and Comic Binding
-Manuel A. Carmona
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As promised, here we are again with a brand new Cosplayer Spotlights and today were going to give a fun interview to one of those truly special Cosplayers whom we are fans of. This time we're spotlighting the one and only Ysa Marie!
Truthful Comics- How long have you been Cosplaying?
Ysa Marie- I’ve been cosplaying since I was 14 years old!
TC- Cosplay or Crossplay? Or both?
YM- I’ve never done crossplay actually, but never say never!! : DD
TC- Why do you Cosplay?
YM- I cosplay, because I can take the creative side of me for a walk! I love the arts and being able to create something that I can wear brings joy into my life!
TC- Is Cosplay a hobby you consider yourself doing for a long time?
YM- I think I do! And even if I stopped cosplaying at some point in my life (I really doubt it) then I would still go to the conventions and walk around.
TC- Homemade Cosplay or bought/comissioned cosplay?
YM- Always homemade! Creating it is my favorite part!
TC- Do you have a current Cosplay fav?
YM- For now, my most recent one, Black Cat! Because it was comfortable to wear the whole day and I just love her personality!
TC- What is your most expensive Cosplay?
YM- Hmm... I think Morrigan from Dark Stalkers, (details..details) o.o
TC- What Cosplay has gotten more attention from your fans?
YM- Well my Tifa Lockhart was the most that got attention and got me where I am now.
TC- What is a Cosplay pet peeve of yours?
YM- I don’t think I have any, but I guess when veteran cosplayers make fun of rookie cosplayers it reaaally annoys me.
TC- What was your first convention? What was the reaction?
YM- My first convention was at a DCC convention in Puerto Rico and I thought it was the most amazing place I’ve ever been, because it was full of people who I felt that understood my excitement for anime, video games and comics. It was my first interaction with other geeks haha!
TC- Photoshopped or un-photoshopped images?
YM- Photoshop! So you can add some bad ass backgrounds and or effects!!! >: D haha, but I also love naturally looking pictures.
TC- How do you pay for your Cosplays?
YM- With money that I make from work? Haha
TC- When do you do Cosplays? At conventions only?
YM- Not really! I also make them for photoshoots!
TC- What got you into Cosplaying?
YM- The being able to dress up as my favorite characters really intrigued me to start cosplaying! Trying to look as much as the character possible!
TC- Thank you for a fun interview. Hopefully we'll do this again soon, maybe spotlighting your newest Cosplays. If you want to see all of Ysa Marie's photo galleries visit her official Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/YsaMarieCosplay and tell her the good people from Truthful Comics sent you. :)
Best Comic Book Movie
Thor: The Dark World
In a year of great comic book related movies one stood above the rest as the best of all, at least in my opinion, and that was Thor: The Dark World. I really enjoyed the first one but with the sequel Marvel/Disney went all out. The scope of the film is truly epic and fans worldwide agree, Thor is a force to be reckoned with, both in the comics as well as the films and thanks to the massive success of The Dark World, we'll be getting another one of these fantastic films.
Best Cover Artist of 2013
Francisco Francavilla is an amazing artist any way you look at it but in my opinion, this year has been the year in which he's established himself as THE cover artist in the comic book world; especially with his work for Dynamite Entertainment. As a fan of Pulp characters like The Shadow and The Spider, I've had a great time collecting all these series coming out from Dynamite and Francavilla's covers are one of the main reasons to get these titles. Here's only a few of them...
Best Cover of 2013
The Man of Bronze Doc Savage
Artist- Alex Ross
Publisher- Dynamite Enterteinment
Best Writer of 2013
Brian Michael Bendis
(Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Powers, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Favorite Penciller of 2013
(Avenging Spider-Man, Savage Wolverine, Inhumanity)
Best Inker of 2013
(Batman, Birds of Prey, Batgirl)
Best Creative Team of 2013
Kathryn Immonen (W)
Valerio Schiti (A)
Journey Into Mystery
Favorite Male Hero
The Mighty Thor
Without a doubt 2013 was in my opinion the year of Thor thanks in part to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic's epic "Godbomb". If you haven't read Thor: God of Thunder or you haven't seen Thor: The Dark World, you definitely must've been living under a rock because they've been impossible to avoid; and for good reason. Thor 2 recently surpassed Iron Man 2's $623 million global haul to become the third-highest grossing entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a worldwide total of $627 million. On the comics front, Thor: God of Thunder has been praised by fans and critics alike and it's one of the best comics in the stands month by month. Truly mighty is the son of Odin!
Favorite Female Hero
If 2013 was Thor's year, it shouldn't surprise us that his ally, friend and/or his companion wouldn't be far behind. Lady Sif also had a great year although on a much lesser extent. Her Journey Into Mystery run has been nothing short of extraordinary and her appearance in Thor: The Dark World have made the fair Lady Sif one of, if not THE most powerful female character in the Marvel Universe today. Read her Journey Into Mystery run once and I guarantee you'll become a fan of the character. She's funny, sexy, powerful and commands the respect and admiration of any and every character she comes in contact with. I hope 2014 will be an even bigger year for one of Asgard's greatest warriors; man or female!
Best New Ongoing Series
Title: Red Sonja
Publisher: Dynamite Enterteinment
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Giovanni
Before reading this new series, never had I read a Red Sonja comic book in my life. Nothing against the character, I just never got around to it. But, after reading issue #1 of this new series I have to say that I'm hooked! I find myself intrigued by her and I enjoy her adventures very much. It's safe to say that I'll be reading this book for the foreseeable future.
Best Superhero Team
Title: Fearless Defenders
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Will Sliney
Fearless Defenders has been without a shadow of a doubt one of the most fun books of 2013. Unfortunately it ended at issue #12 because of low sales but I'm happy I have twelve great issues to enjoy over and over, and pass them on to my son when he gets older. Such a cool book!
Favorite Event of 2013
Publisher: Dynamite Enterteinment
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Dennis Calero
Covers: Alex Ross, Jae Lee, Francesco Francavilla, Ardian Syaf
This was a book straight from my wildest dreams. As a pulp fan, I couldn't have asked for a better book. Loved every page from start to finish and my only gripe was that I wanted Alex Ross to draw the entire mini series, but that's just my personal taste. The mini was such a great read and it's an automatic favorite of mine.
Best Publisher of 2013
Well, I guess it's my turn to name my "Best of 2013" list in the comic book world. It's always extremely hard to name just one out of hundreds of titles and creators, but regardless, here we go...
Best Mini-Series of 2013
Title: The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Paul Smith
This was a pleasant surprise that when you first see it, you don't expect it to work but surprisingly; it absolutely does! This is must have for everyone who loves The Rocketeer, The Spirit, pulp heroes or simply fun comics!
Best Ongoing Series of 2013
Title: Ultimate Spider-Man
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
From issue #1 Ultimate Comics Spider-Man has been, in my humble opinion, the best title being put out by Marvel Comics month by month. Miles Morales is one of the best characters and his development has been nothing short of amazing. With all the speculation surrounding the end of the Marvel Ultimate Universe, the rumor going around is that Miles will become part of the main 616 Marvel Universe and I can't wait!
Favorite Ongoing Series Ending
Title: Journey Into Mystery
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
One of the classic titles remaining from the silver age of comics came to an end this year... and it was glorious! The last story arc revolved around the powerful and beautiful Lady Sif and it showed why she deserves respect amongst all of Marvel Comics' characters. I pray to Odin that she either becomes the main character on another series or at least is featured in another series like Thor or even The Avengers.
Favorite Superhero Team of 2013
Title: Fearless Defenders
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Will Sliney
This series was a fun ride for 12 straight issues and it's a shame that it ended so early. The covers were nothing short of amazing, the roster was different to say the least, the story was interesting and the artwork was good. Why this book didn't get the fans support is beyond me, but I have to say I enjoyed the entire run and it'll be something I re-read over and over throughout the years.
Best Web-Comic of 2013
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: MIke Miller and Jheremy Raapack
Based on the hit game Injustice: Gods Among Us came a Prequel in the form of a comic. With the game being such a hit, the pressure was on the creative team to deliver a comic that not only measured up to the hype, but also that it added something to the mythology and in all honesty; they stepped up to the bat and hot a home run! This is a great book.
Well my friends... I think my pull list is about to get a big hit in terms of how many print books I get on a monthly basis. Here's the thing, last Christmas my wife gave me a NOOK from Barnes & Nobles as a present and, even though I loved it, I was kinda ignoring it because I felt that if I read too many digital comics I'd be turning my back on this medium that I love so much. As it turns out, prices on comics keep going up, page count keeps going down, plot lines are being dragged on way too long in order to sell trades and my bank account keeps suffering because of it I feel I have to support the comic book industry. So, last night I got my NOOK, charged it and I said to myself: "the heck with it"! Today i took my NOOK out at lunchtime, downloaded Thor: The Mighty Avenger Vol. 1, read it, took it all in and... I LOVED IT!!! The colors were as vibrant as they were intended to be, the pages moved just like a comic would, the prices are far less than the print versions and more importantly; I can carry 100+ books anywhere and everywhere I go without a problem. I absolutely love my NOOK. So, from this day on I solemnly swear that I'll cut my "pull list" at least in half and I'll be reading the trade version on my NOOK. Thanks Barnes & Nobles and thank you NOOK! (This read like a paid advertisement for NOOk and/or Barnes & Nobles but I swear it wasn't!) LOL!
Sometimes I wish everyone had my same moral compass and I'll tell you why. I say this because in this day and age, it seems that wanting fairness for everyone makes you naive or an idiot in society's eyes. I feel we should treat others the way we want to be treated no matter who we are or what we do, that's how I was brought up; that's how I live my life. I say this and the example I want to present to you is how unfair the comic book industry has been, is and if we don't act on it; always will.
One of my biggest gripes is the fact that the comic book industry was built on the backs of a few, very talented artists and writers like Jack Kirby, Bill Finger, Steve Ditko, Gary Friedrich and many more that simply got taken advantage of by greedy individuals who only cared about dollar signs. But this is not exclusive to the comics industry, I'm just expressing my disgust with the industry as whole due to this important fact. The thing is, corporations made, and are still making millions upon millions of dollars while those people who actually put in the work and created these characters got nothing in comparison. It's sickening really!
I understand they signed those contracts, I understand they had a choice (if you can call it that) and I know that the "Big Two" aren't doing anything "illegal", but just because something is legal, doesn't necessarily mean it's right. Like the great Dr. Martin luther King Jr. once said: "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal". Now I'm not comparing these corporations to Hitler, my point is that wrong is wrong, it doesn't matter if the law covers your heinous acts, if you treat someone unfairly; you're still wrong!
I do know, without a shadow of doubt, that those creators who started this medium we love so much should've had a far better compensation and recognition than what they got; regardless of what the the law stipulates. I wish I woke up tomorrow and when I checked the news I find out that the "Big Two" were announcing that their golden age creators were going to get a % of the sales from those characters they created, that the Kirby heirs would be getting a piece of the pie, that Bill Finger would be credited with being the co-creator of Batman and all those characters he created and his heirs would be getting a retroactive payment of what he should've had in the first place if it weren't for scumbag lawyers taking advantage of honest
and hard working creators. Now THAT would be super heroic.!
-Manuel A. Carmona
Here are some links so you can understand what I'm talking about and why I'm so angry about all this.
Why boycott Marvel?
Jim Starlin on Cosporate comics
Jack Kirby Documentary
In Search of Steve Ditko Documentary
-Manuel A. Carmona
This is the Blog about all things Truthful Comics. Looking forward to reading your posts!