Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This and that: Pull lists, FCBD and a shrinking Marvel?

It's been one of those days, so let's bullet list this sucker:

Today, of course, is new comics day and I'll be picking up a batch made up of books I'm looking forward to and at least one I'm a little wary about.

Kull #6 and Agents of Atlas #4 are sure to make me happy — Kull is my favorite of Dark Horse's R.E. Howard adaptations and Agents of Atlas is always intelligent and fun — and Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye #2 is pure distilled Grant Morrison (make of that what you will). Superman: World of New Krypton has been surprisingly solid, and I'm curious to see what's going to develop in issue #3. And I never miss an issue of Atomic Robo; Atomic Robo and The Shadow from Beyond Time #1 will be no exception.

The wild card will be Flash: Rebirth #2. I was enthusiastic about this title (and the return of Silver Age Flash Barry Allen) when it was announced, but the first issue went a long way toward deflating that. Will things turn a corner in the second issue? I hope so, and writer Geoff Johns' characterization of Barry in the recent Blackest Night #0 gives me a reason to think this title just needs to find its groove before it becomes as good a book as it should be.

There are a few other titles I'm on the fence about (Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #1, Fin Fang Four Return #1, New Mutants #1), but I'd really recommend Alias: The Ultimate Collection Vol. 1 — that's some sweet mashing up of the superhero and noir genres right there, from a time when Brian Michael Bendis could concentrate on telling a good story instead of trying to write almost every Marvel title on the racks.


New comics are going to have to fight it out with the slightly less new stack of awesome I grabbed during Free Comic Book Day, though. My local comic shop (the always great Austin Books and Comics) has a good system set up, allowing customers to select 10 comics from the — as far as I can tell — complete catalog of this year's titles. Since my wife vowed to love, honor and be my partner-in-crime, I went home with a total of 20 comics (aah, don't belly-ache, she's interested in some of them, too ... sorta).

The whole thing went very smoothly, even with a steady crowd and the added degree of difficulty of a tent set up in the parking lot, and I was in and out in about five minutes. I actually spent more time browsing in the store later — which is part of the point, right? Friendly employees, an inviting interior (hellooo, remodeling!) and what always seems to be an obvious love for the product they sell makes visiting my LCS a pleasure, even during a crazy event like FCBD.


Speaking of the FCBD offerings, what's up with the smaller size of the Marvel comics? Making a rough guess, I'd estimate the books lost about a quarter of its trim size. Take a look:

(Sorry about the crappy quality - I took this on the fly.)

I've seen a rumor that this was Marvel's way of testing a smaller print size, which would be a money-saving move (newspapers have been doing the same thing for years). Personally, it doesn't bother me. I noticed the difference in size when I picked up the books, but that disappeared once I started reading. Really, nothing is lost with the smaller size (granted, there may not be as much room for detail, but for the most part paying attention to panel size should take care of that).

I don't see a problem if Marvel wants to print its books in a format somewhere between the average size and a digest — BUT that's only if the price per issue stays at (or in some cases, returns to) $2.99 or the page count is increased, similar to what DC is doing with its back-up stories.

What do you think? Does size matter? And what was your Free Comic Book Day like this year? Let me know in the comments.


Siskoid said...

I have some Mexican comics that are so small, they're two panels to a page. And they don't look like they would cost much at all!

Maxo said...

Do they have those sepia-tone pages? Man, I love those.

I really wouldn't mind if comics went to a size similar to manga and came out once every few months. It hasn't seemed to hurt Scott Pilgrim very much, and that book looks great.

Lisa said...

Tell Igor I am jealous of his foam claws.

Maxo said...

They ARE pretty deadly. He was slashing Kleenex and tissue paper all day.