David Finch in Manila

David Finch (Avengers, Batman, Moon Knight) is coming to Manila to sign ALL THE THINGS! I'm assuming that anyone who cares about comic books already knows this, has bought a couple tents and is planning to camp out where ever the signing will take place. Just to make sure, I'll lay out some details here just so everyone's on the same page.

Here's his schedule:

Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 3:00PM - Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street for a book signing. Bring ALL your Moon Knight issues.
Monday, March 12, 2012 from 1:00PM to 4:00PM - DLSU-CSB, SDA Theater, 5th floor SDA campus for a talk and a book signing. For the talks, you may register here.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 from 1:30PM to 3:00PM - UP College of Fine Arts Auditorium/ Lobby for a talk and a book signing.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 4:00PM - Fully Booked Katipunan for a book signing. This is his last one, so make sure you catch him here. For the talks, you may register here.

If you've got nothing for him to sign, but you'll show up at Fully Booked anyway, might as well pick up these books there.

Read more: David Finch in Manila

Writer of the Year (THE COMIC BOOK GROUP AWARDS 2011!)

Scott Snyder: Two Years

by Sean Tiu

Scott Snyder spent 2010 establishing himself as one of DC’s hottest writers by creating the incredibly successful “American Vampire,” and his beginning arc on “Detective Comics” quickly became a fan and critical favorite. Clearly not resting on his laurels, he spent 2011 establishing himself as one of the best writers in the comic industry. From his consistently remarkable work on “American Vampire,” to his riveting take on Batman, Snyder has accomplished more in two years than most other writers have in the span of decades.

Especially remarkable about Snyder’s year is the sheer number of books he released, having his name on the credits for Detective Comics, Batman: Gates of Gotham, Flashpoint: Project Superman, Batman, Swamp Thing, American Vampire, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest and Severed. While several creators have buckled with simply releasing one book, Snyder released an astonishing eight, with nearly all of them being critically acclaimed.

Snyder continued his run on “Detective Comics” by slowly evolving “The Black Mirror” from a detective story with noir underpinnings to a full-blown psychological thriller. Under his masterful writing, “Detective Comics” went from “that other Batman title” or “that Batman title not written by Grant Morrison” to theBatman title. Snyder’s acute understanding of what made Dick Grayson and Jim Gordon tick, allowed him to create villains that truly represented a dark foil for his two lead characters, and gave them challenges that felt like actual threats. By the conclusion of the arc with issue 881, it was plain that Snyder had written a modern classic, and one that could be held as being among the best Batman stories ever.

Cover to  Detective Comics #875 by Francesco Francavilla (DC Comics)

Read more: Writer of the Year (THE COMIC BOOK GROUP AWARDS 2011!)


We Can Be Heroes

Comic books, for the most part, is seen as a vehicle of entertainment, with little to no enriching value. It's an idle man's pastime. Non-fans would most likely scoff at the thought of wasting about $3 per book, on which you'd waste 15 minutes reading. Unfortunately, there isn't much ground on which we fans can argue that point. It really is just hobby, and the industry is making millions from our fanboyism. That's why when I saw the We Can Be Heroes campaign, it just made me feel good that DC Entertainment is using its marketing muscle to do something worthwhile.

Now, I've been working in marketing for a few years, and though I can quite easily say I have no idea what I'm doing half the time, I've been around the block enough times to know that campaigns like this, more often than not, are nothing more than an attempt to earn brownie points from the target audience.

Maybe the new Justice League didn't test too well and kids weren't buying their merchandise. What would DC decide to do? They find a cause, and they use the considerable reach of Warner Bros., Turner Broadcasting, and Time, Inc. to make people identify the new Justice League with doing a good thing, a real world superheroic cause where you, as the consumer, can feel empowered and be a hero, just like the new Justice League. If they're successful, every time you see one of the new Justice League heroes on a shirt or cup or pencil case, you'd recall the real good they did for the world and how altruistic they made you feel and you buy their shit. You know what I say to that - who gives a shit if it's all marketing? This is a genuinely good way to use a popular franchise to do some real good.

This campaign will be supporting Save The Children, International Rescue Committee, and the Mercy Corps. Go ahead and click on those links. You can afford to buy comic books, man. When was the last time you thought about being a superhero and helping out? We eat cheetos until we pass out; we should be able to spare something.

Go to WeCanBeHeroes.org and for every dollar you donate, DC will match it 100%, up to a million dollars. You can buy awesome DC merch, and 50% of your purchase goes to the cause. If you're thinking they should just give the money and stop tooting their own horn, then you're missing the point. Think about what the Justice League stands for. It's all about unity. Even if the purpose is to uplift the image of the brand, as long as it helps some people who really need it, then that should be good enough for us.

To find out more about this campaign, click here to go to the DC blog.


Non-Superhero Title of the Year (THE COMIC BOOK GROUP AWARDS 2011!)

“They’re dead and we’re not. We’re alive… so we live. At a certain point we just have to move on. – Michonne

The next time somebody tells you that comic books are for kids, I suggest you grab issues #80-92 of The Walking Dead and slap them across the face with it. If they’re really persistent, a 50-issue-compendium blow to the jaw will most probably shut them up. Fact is, there is much pathos to be found in The Walking Dead.

This was evident in 2011 with the “No Way Out” arc starting the year and the introduction of Paul “Jesus” Monroe ending the year. We’re definitely looking at more stories of human drama and conflict in the year to come. Yes, TWD is commonly perceived as a book about the zombie apocalypse. After an issue or two, you will definitely conclude that the undead are usually relegated as an afterthought. But don’t get me wrong now, the undead are still the primary threat. They are and always will be the persistent arch-nemesis here.

The comic book medium is more than just stories of people zooming around in colorful tights, dastardly mad scientist's plots of world domination, and the fate of the cosmos do not depend on Rick Grimes’ decisions. Rick is just a normal man who tries to single-handedly (Hehehe) assure the survival of his crew and his son, Carl, in a post-zombie-apocalypse America. The Walking Dead engages readers because of Kirkman’s great characterization and Charlie Adlard’s ability to capture emotions and scenes and artistically depict them on a page. If you were to find a technical reason as to why this ongoing series is such a success every year, simply treat it like soap opera. There are so many crucial subplots that marinate on the side that you will be hard-pressed to figure out where the next major conflict will come from. This is where the suspense lies in TWD and it is this style of storytelling that keeps people coming back for more. Comics and TV writing are cousins, in a sense. They both employ the use of “beats” and lateral plot development to build an ongoing series’ conflicts through several issues/episodes; however, the AMC TV show has never been able to recreate the same kind of simultaneous lateral storytelling that the comic has done for 92 issues. The emotional twists and turns that fans of the comic book have come to expect is still present in the TV series.  In fact, watching a zombified Sophia shamble through the barn doors is my personal choice for the best moment in TV for 2011. We all saw it coming but nobody was actually prepared for it.

Read more: Non-Superhero Title of the Year (THE COMIC BOOK GROUP AWARDS 2011!)


Avengers VS X-Men #1 Cover Match-up Analysis

The Avengers VS X-Men #1 cover was released today, giving us a glimpse of the magnitude of the kind of match-ups we should expect from the next major Marvelevent. Magnificently rendered by Jim Cheung, the cover looks like something that could easily be used as video game box art for a Marvel VS Capcom-esque fighting game featuring the Earth's Mightiest Heroes and The Children of the Atom.

Even though we've been seeing teaser art mash-ups by great artists like Adi Granov, Mark Bagley and Leinil Yu for weeks now, the release of this cover still pretty much rocked our collective nerdy socks off just because it looks amazing. It also reveals a few things - Wolverine is siding the the Avengers. Also, it looks that the numbering in this series will be counted like Jeph Loeb's Daredevil: Yellow, as rounds instead of issues, and for some reason that just excites me. Just for a little bit of fun, I figured I'd analyze the match-ups in this cover. Let's start from the very back until we get to the two generals (or captains, if you're so inclined), front and center.

Spider-Woman VS Angel

A match-up between a spider-powered spy with venom blasts against an amnesiac spawn of Apocalypse with razor sharp wings might not be as cut and dry as you might imagine. If we were talking about the X-Force Angel, then we can easily give the edge to him, but we're not. This guy's a mere shell of who he was after X-Force stopped him from ending reality and bringing the Age of Apocalypse to this world. I'd say Spider-Woman wins this with a solid venom blast to the face. Also, Bendis is writing it and we all know he's got a hard on for her.

Winner: Spider-Woman

Read more: Avengers VS X-Men #1 Cover Match-up Analysis


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