Friday, April 28, 2006

May Day, May Day (5-3-06)!!

Before we begin, let's talk about a little somthing called FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. It's coming up fast, folks! Free Comic Book Day is SATURDAY, MAY 6. That's the day we give away free comics to everyone who walks in the door. And not only that, we're going to have awesome HeroClix demos and Star Wars Minis demos to show you how to play some of the coolest games out there right now. Please come out and support Haven for Free Comic Book Day and help make it an awesome event for everyone!

OK, now on to the comics...

Action Comics #838
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 (OF 4)
Archenemies #2 (OF 4)
Atomika #7 (OF 12)
Batman: Journey into Knight #9 (OF 12)
Book of Shadows #2 (OF 2)
BPRD: Universal Machine #2 (OF 5)
Civil War #1 (OF 7)
Detective Comics #819
Exiles #80
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8
Fury: Peacemaker #4 (OF 6)
GI Joe: America’s Elite – The Hunt for Cobra Commander
Gold Digger #75
Haunted Mansion #3
Infinite Crisis #7 (OF 7)
Inquest Gamer #134
JSA #85
Justice League Unlimited #21
Marshal #1 (OF 4)
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #15
Medieval Lady Death: War of the Winds #2 (OF 8)
Mickey Mouse Adventures vol 9 TP
Mouse Guard #2
Necromancer #5
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere #7 (OF 9)
Outsiders #36
Punisher #33
Rex Libris #4
Robotika #3
Samurai: Heaven & Earth TP
Season of the Witch #4 (OF 4)
Sentinel Squad ONE #5 (OF 5)
Sonic X #8
Spider-Man Unlimited #15
Supergirl #6
Tales of TMNT #22
Teen Titans #35
TMNT #27
Ultimate Spider-Man #94
Ultimate X-Men vol 7: Blockbuster TP
X-Men: Apocalypse vs Dracula #4 (OF 4)
X-Men: The End – Men & X-Men #5 (OF 6)
Y – The Last Man #45

Civil War #1 – Alright, Marvel Fans, here’s the moment you’ve either been waiting for or dreading; Civil War is here. After the New Warriors goof up on national television and an entire small town pays the price, the government enacts the Mutant, er, Superhero Registration Act (I knew that sounded familiar). The Marvel Heroes are split right down the middle on the legality/morality of such a law, and this is going to tear the Marvel Universe apart. Hopefully all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will be able to put it back together again…

Detective Comics #819 – I’ll be honest with you; the past couple of years or so, the Batman books have just done nothing for me. The art has been bad and the stories have been worse. Now, finally, in the 1 Year Later thing they’re doing, it’s back to being Batman again, back to being books I really can sink my teeth into and care about. What does that mean for you, loyal reader? It means you ought to be picking these books up again too – they’re officially good.

Haunted Mansion #3 – SLG’s comic tribute to the fan-favorite Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland/Walt Disney World has been very weird and a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of the ride, you’ll definitely want to check this series out.

Infinite Crisis #7 – Infinite Crisis is coming to a close – now we can all find out exactly what the heck has been going on and, hopefully, it’ll all turn out alright. There’s really no telling. I, for one, want to find out exactly where Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman all disappeared off to for a year.

Samurai: Heaven & Earth TP – This was one of the best mini-series to come out in recent years. It features a fantastic Ron Marz story and absolutely gorgeous Luke Ross art. If you’re thinking these guys sound familiar, well they used to work together at CrossGen, and this book is what CrossGen was aiming for when they were at the top of their game (right before their inglorious fall into wrack and ruin). I HIGHLY recommend that you pick up this trade!!

See you at Haven!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Graphic Novels...

I don't agree with everything this guy says, but he hits the nail on the head with a lot of this. Check it out:

Cashing In On the Kid in You:

By Joshua Elder : BIO| 24 Apr 2006

Graphic novels -- the bound, novel-length comic books -- are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry. A brand new audience -- one composed primarily of teenagers reading imported Japanese manga and adults who go for more high-minded literary fare like Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust memoir Maus -- has emerged to fuel the graphic novel explosion.

It's rapidly becoming a very big business. Book publishers Del Rey, Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins are all getting into the graphic novel game in a big way. Stephen King is writing a graphic novel prequel to his highly popular Dark Tower series, and the latest graphic novel in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series debuted on the New York Times fiction bestseller list.

There's also a growing synergy between film studios and comic companies. It's best exemplified in Sir Richard Branson's new multimedia venture Virgin Comics and Animation. According to Chief Creative Officer Gotham Chopra, the company's mission is to create not only a publishing empire but to also use comics "[A]s the R&D factory for properties which we hope to aggressively leverage into other media platforms."

Graphic novels are well on their way to becoming a legitimate mass medium. Just like comic books used to be.

A 1945 market research study1 cited in the book Comic Book Nation found that approximately half the U.S. population -- nearly 70 million people -- read comic books on a regular basis. That included not only 90 percent of all children between the ages of six and eleven but also 41 percent of men and 28 percent of women aged eighteen to thirty.

To put these figures into perspective, weekly cinema attendance hovered between 50 and 60 percent of the total U.S. population during the same time period.

So what happened? How did comic books go from mass medium to niche medium in the span of a few decades?

The comic industry's decline began with the publication of the anti-comic polemic Seduction of the Innocent by prominent psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham in 1954. This led to an investigation of the entire comic book industry by the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. With the threat of government censorship looming, a consortium of family-friendly comic publishers and distributors decided to censor themselves instead by forming the Comics Code Authority, a regulatory body that kept all but the most wholesome entertainment out of the marketplace, thus giving superhero publishers like Marvel and DC a virtual monopoly.

This was a disaster. It reinforced the general public's perception of comics as a juvenile medium -- and one for nerdy juveniles at that -- and brought the artform's evolution to a halt. As superheroes became the dominant genre to the exclusion of all else, girls and adults of both sexes abandoned the medium in droves over the subsequent decades. Making matters worse, comic prices increased faster than inflation and the comics themselves gradually disappeared from most mass market venues.

Today the only retail outlets that typically sell comic periodicals are comic book specialty stores which too often are unkempt, uncool and unwelcoming to anyone who isn't a hardcore superhero fan. This made it next to impossible for any comics other than superhero comics to succeed in the marketplace. And by alienating the general public, it ensured that comic sales would continue to spiral downwards since there was no way to recruit new fans as the old ones died off or left the hobby.

This caused the market for comics to shrink even further to the point that February's top selling comic periodical, Astonishing X-Men #13 only sold an estimated 140,655 copies (compare that to the approximately 1.6 million copies per month the eponymous Superman comic book was selling in 1946).

Enter the graphic novel. It's superiority to the comic pamphlet is found in a better price point -- and therefore greater perceived value -- along with a certain cultural legitimacy. The general population finds them far more appealing than comic books, and even some of the most devoted superhero fans have stopped buying comic periodicals altogether, preferring instead to wait for the inevitable graphic novel compilation.

I should know; I'm one of them. I've liquidated around 2000 comics -- more than half my collection -- in order to fund my graphic novel habit. I'm spending less and reading more than when I was buying single issues. The graphic novel is the "killer app" that the comic book industry has been waiting for. Respectable. Affordable. And actually kind of cool.

Comics have power. The Danish cartoon controversy has taught us nothing if not that. In a sense, comics are more real than reality. As cartoonist, author and comic book philosopher Scott McCloud writes in his book Understanding Comics, "The cartoon is a vacuum into which our identity and self-awareness are pulled, an empty shell that we inhabit which enables us to travel in another realm. We don't just observe the cartoon, we become it!"2

The Japanese have known this for some time. Manga makes up 40 percent of all printed material published in Japan every year. Practically everyone -- young and old, male and female -- reads manga because there's a manga for everyone, and it's available everywhere. It's a true mass medium -- an example of what the comic industry in America could have been, and what it may yet become.

Joshua Elder is a free-lance writer based in Chicago, Illinois. His book, Mail Order Ninja will be released this July from HarperCollins. It's not actually a book in the traditional sense at all -- it's a graphic novel.

1. Sanderson Vanderbilt, "The Comics," Yank: The Army Weekly, 12 November 1945.
2. McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. 2nd ed. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1994. Pg 36.

Friday, April 21, 2006

April's Last Shot (4-26-06)!!

All New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4
Amazing Fantasy #20
Amazing Spider-Man #531
Annihilation: Ronan #1 (OF 4)
Army of Darkness #6
Astonishing X-Men #14
Batman #652
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #
Black Panther #15
Blue Beetle #2
Catwoman #54
Checkmate #1
Clive Barker’s Great & Secret Show #2 (OF 12)
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #2 (OF 6)
Daughters of the Dragon #4 (OF 6)
Fantastic Four #537
Four #29
Hawkgirl #51
How to Self-Publish Comics #3 (OF 4)
Incredible Hulk #94
Ion #1 (OF 12)
Iron Man: The Inevitable #5 (OF 6)
Lucifer #73
Lullaby #3
Marvel Previews #33 MAY 2006
New Avengers Annual #1
NYC Mech: Beta Love #6 (OF 6)
Previews vol XVI #5
Red Sonja vs Thulsa Doom #3 (OF 4)
Runaways #15
Savage Dragon #125
Sentry #8 (OF 8)
Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #4 (OF 4)
Shrugged Beginnings
Skye Runner #1
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adv vol 5 TP
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #4
Star Wars: Tag & Bink: Episode 1 – Revenge of the Clones
Storm #3 (OF 6)
Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #17
Superman #651
Teen Titans Go! #30
Thing #6
Tron #1
Ultimate Fantastic Four #29
Uncle Scrooge #353
Usagi Yojimbo #93
Villians United: Infinite Crisis Special
Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories #668
Warlord #3
Warren Ellis’ Black Gas #2
Wizard Comics Magazine #176
Wolverine #41
X-Factor #6
Young Avengers vol 1: Sidekicks TP

Annihilation: Ronan #1 – Ronan the Accuser now stands accused. Of course, this wouldn’t be any fun unless he were innocent and had to go out and clear his name. So methinks that’s what he’s going to do.

Astonishing X-Men #14 – This book probably doesn’t need any hype, but when Joss Whedon says this issue leads into the coolest thing that’s ever happened to Wolverine, you listen. Coming from just about anyone else, you shrug your shoulders and say, “Meh.” Hang on to your hats, true believers; I think this ride is about to experience some turbulence!

Blue Beetle #2 – That’s right – the scarab has chosen, and this new sap is in the suit. Let’s see how he handles it.

Checkmate #1 – This mysterious organization that’s been operating in the shadows of the Batman books all this time finally gets their own chance to show what they’re all about. All you DC fans are going to want to check this book out for sure. DC told me so.

Ion #1 – Kyle Rainer, former Green Lantern, has got his own book now that Hal Jordan has come back to take the Green Lantern title back over. Kyle will be out in the universe kicking cosmic tail; so if you’re not signed up for this one, you better get it quick; it’s going to sell like the proverbial cakes of hot.

Tron #1 – This new series from SLG is expected to be very, very cool indeed. Who’s expecting that? Me. That’s right. You should read it because I think it’s going to be cool, and all the cool kids will be reading it.

X-Factor #6 – I LOVE THIS BOOK. Peter David is having the time of his life writing this series; it’s hilarious; it’s poignant; it’s twisted; and it’s going someplace – just nobody seems to know where exactly. Layla Miller, she who knows stuff, is going to be showing a little of what she knows and, if we’re really lucky, a little bit of how she knows so much. Definitely check it out!

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is coming up, folks. Saturday, MAY 6 – come on out to Haven for a great time. Show all the folks who will be coming by that day why Haven is such a great place to hang out.

See you at Haven!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Check this out! (4-26-06)

Angel: Old Friends #5 (OF 5)
Annihilation: Nova #1 (OF 4)
Astonishing X-Men Sketch Variant #13
Batman Thrillkiller TP
Birds of Prey #93
Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit #1 (OF 5)
Black Coat: Call to Arms #1 (OF 4)
Book of Lost Souls #6
Captain America #17
Conan: Book of Thoth #2 (OF 4)
Cyberforce #2
Daredevil #84
Donald Duck & Friends #339
Ex Machina Special #1 (OF 2)
Fury: Peacemaker #3 (OF 6)
GI Joe: Snake-Eyes, Declassified TP
GI Joe vs Transformers vol 3: Art of War #2
Goon #17
Iron Man #7
JLA Classified #20
JSA Classified #11
Justice #5 (OF 12)
Lilo & Stitch vol 1 GN
Man-Bat #1 (OF 5)
Manhunter #21
Mickey Mouse & Friends #288
New Avengers #18
New Mangaverse #4 (OF 5)
Nextwave: Agents of HATE #4
Nightmares & Fairy Tales #16
Red Sonja #9
Red Sonja/Claw: Devil’s Hands #2 (OF 4)
Rising Stars: Untouchable #3 (OF 5)
Robin #149
Sable & Fortune #4 (OF 4)
Scooby Doo #107
Sensational Spider-Man #25
Sentinel Squad ONE #4 (OF 5)
Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #4 (OF 6)
Sonic the Hedgehog #161
Spider-Woman: Origin #5 (OF 5)
Squadron Supreme #2
Testament #5
Wolverine: Origins #1
X-Men #185
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 (OF 5)

Batman Thrillkiller TP – This great Elseworlds story is finally being republished! This story has been out of circulation for a while now, but now you can finally get it again. If you’ve never read it, this is one of the coolest of the Batman Elseworlds stories ever told.

Black Coat: Call to Arms #1 – This new series from Speakeasy Comics is not your ordinary tights-and-capes kind of superhero. This story is set against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War, and it’s exactly the kind of historical book that gets my attention; it has a feel somewhere (improbably as it may be) between Rex Mundi and Athena Voltaire. Yes, I know – it’s weird – but check it out and give it a read.

Justice #5 – Alex Ross’ JLA story has been really unusual: the JLA is nowhere to be seen – they’ve all been taken down – and it looks like the villains of the DC Universe have not only stepped into the JLA’s shoes; they’re doing a better job at taking care of people than the JLA ever did. But something is rotten in the state of Denmark – it’s all about to unravel, and I want to see what the heck happens when it does. What’s happened to the JLA?! Hopefully we’ll find out soon…

Man-Bat #1 – One of the more pitiable villains in Batman’s rogue gallery is getting his own limited series. Most of the time, a regular guy, but he occasionally reverts into the form of the Man-Bat. Now, inexplicably, he turns to Man-Bat and the change is permanent. What is Batman going to do about it?

Squadron Supreme #2 – On the heels of the Supreme Power maxi-series, Squadron Supreme is now set. We’ve met all the team members and we’ve got at least a rough idea of who they all are and what they’re all about. The only question now is this: What is the threat? It’s going to be big and it’s going to be dangerous. Can’t wait to find out!!

Wolverine: Origins #1 – Now, ever since House of M, Logan has all his memories back, even the ones he didn’t want, the ones that will now haunt him for the rest of his days. The new, ongoing Origins series is going to fill us in on the gaps in Wolverine’s past, all the things that happened to him before we met him in The Incredible Hulk #181, before Weapon X, before any of that. You’re definitely going to want to read this!

See you at Haven!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And then there were two...

If y'all know any subscribers, customers, gamers, etc. who frequent Cosmic Odyssey, be sure to recommend Haven to them. We just learned that their store is closing, and those folks will need a new home for their comics and gaming.

We at Haven would like to extend a warm welcome to all from Cosmic Odyssey. We're sorry to hear that your shop of choice is shutting down, and we hope we can become a Haven for you in its stead.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Ides of April (4-12-06)!!

30 Days of Night: Dead Space #3 (OF 3)
Amazing Adventures of the JLA
American Virgin #2
Annihilation: Super Skrull #1 (OF 4)
Archie #565
Astonishing X-Men: Sketch Variant #13 – SO for #14
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #203
Batman: Year One Hundred #3 (OF 4)
Battle Pope Color #7
Battle Pope vol 1: Genesis TP
Blade of the Immortal #112
BPRD: Universal Machine #1 (OF 5)
Captain Atom: Armageddon #7 (OF 9)
Crisis Aftermath: Battle for Bludhaven #1 (OF 6)
Desolation Jones #6
DMZ #6
Donald Duck Adventures vol 17 TP
Exiles #79
Fables #48
Fantastic Four: First Family #2 (OF 6)
Firestorm the Nuclear Man #24
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7
GI Joe: Sigma 6 #5
Girls #12
Gold Digger #74
Green Arrow #61
Grimm Fairy Tales #5
Loveless #6
Majestic #16
Marvel Spotlight: David Finch & Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Ms. Marvel #2
New X-Men #25
Nightwing #119
Noble Causes #19
Portent #2 (OF 4)
Sins of the Fallen #4
Son of M #5 (OF 6)
Star Wars: Boba Fett (1-shot)
Star Wars: Rebellion #1
Strangers in Paradise #81
Superman #651
Tales of Alvin Maker: Red Prophet #1
Thunder Monkey #1
Thunderbolts #101
Tick: Days of Drama #5
Transformers: Infiltration #4
Ultimate Extinction #4 (OF 5)
Ultimate Spider-Man #93
Uncanny X-Men #472
Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories #667
Warren Ellis: Black Gas #2
Wizard Comics Magazine #175
X-Men: Complete Age of Apocalypse Epic Book 3 TP
X-Men: The 198 #4 (OF 5)
Young Avengers vol 1: Sidekicks TP

Annihilation: Super Skrull #1 – The cosmic mayhem continues! Annihilus, an old, old enemy of the Fantastic Four is wreaking havoc in the Marvel Universe, and an unlikely group is assembling to keep him from destroying, well, everything. Check out Super Skrull getting his own limited series as part of this!

BPRD: Universal Machine #1 – BPRD, from the pages of Hellboy, has continued with a collection of limited series, all building toward the end of the world. A lot of questions long unanswered in Hellboy are being answered here, and this new series looks to be particularly geared toward satisfying the readers’ curiosity. If you’re even remotely a fan of Hellboy, you’re going to want to check this series out.

Ms Marvel #2 – The first issue sold out within hours, and this one is likely to do the same! At the end of the first issue, Ms Marvel flew off to check out what just happened to a small town that more or less went black. When she gets there…well, the cover to #2 says it all: THE BROOD! Let’s see how she fares…

Star Wars: Boba Fett (1-Shot) – Yes, I’m recommending a Star Wars book. It’s been a long while since a Star Wars book caught my eye, but this one focuses on everyone’s favorite bounty hunter (“No disintegrations.”) and, judging from all the promo material, this one’s actually going to be a cool story with good art. It’s definitely worth giving a look-see.

Tales of Alvin Maker: Red Prophet #1 – If you’re an Orson Scott Card fan, you’re going to want to check out the comic adaptation of his alternate history Alvin Maker series. This is one of Card’s most popular series, and the artwork for this comic is top notch. Definitely check this out!

Ultimate Extinction #4 – Here comes Gah Lak Tus! Professor X has tried to make mental contact with the completely alien hive mind of Gah Lak Tus, but with no success. This swarming creature is here for lunch, and nothing they’ve discovered so far is going to dissuade it. This issue will have you on the edge of your seat as all the heroes and great minds are grasping at straws, trying to save the planet from destruction. My money’s on Reed Richards…I think he’s got the Ultimate Nullifier up his sleeve…

Young Avengers vol 1: Sidekicks TP – This collection is finally in paperback! The series came out of nowhere and surprised everyone (me more than anyone else) by its quality: interesting stories, intriguing characters, and great art. A hardback edition of this trade has been out for six months, but they are just now getting around to letting the public have this series in paperback. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Check it out – you’ll be glad you did. This book is nothing like you expect and everything like what you’d want to read.

See you at Haven!