The Watchtower 1.8.02: Welcome To The Show

Comics & Wrestling…

No two genres of entertainment endear as much passion and loyalty from their fans as professional wrestling and comic books. Hardcore wrestling fans spend hours a day surfing the net in order to learn everything from whose contract is up to which wrestler pissed off management enough to job to Albert this week. Comic fans speculate for hours about what creative team belongs on which title and exactly why DC editors MUST have it out for Hal Jordan. Wrestling fans could name, in order, at the drop of a hat, all sixteen men to have held the WCW Hardcore title (well, I can at least…stop staring…). A true comic nut can recite every character to have ever been an Avenger in a snap (again…oh, never mind…). Wrestling fans will go on and on about why it doesn’t matter that “wrestling is fake.” Comic fans will go on and on when people tell them “comics are for kids.” Noticing a pattern yet?

So, seeing as both comics and wrestling are, in some form, “soap opera taken to the extreme,” with colorful costumes, intriguing characters and a focus on the ongoing struggle between good and evil, not to mention the boons and pitfalls of a very dedicated fanbase, you’d think that there must be a pretty big crossover audience between the two, right? Well, we here at 411mania are kind of banking on that. Although, as common as the comic/wrestling hybrid fan is, there are also large camps in each fanbase that sees the other as a joke, why is this? As a fan of both wrestling and of comics, I can’t honestly say conclusively. Obviously a large part of it is personal taste, which has to be respected; but I also have another theory.

Both comic and wrestling fans are interested in things that lie on the “fringes” of society (and not the “cool” fringes like alternative music and stuff). No matter how many movies The Rock makes or how well Spider-Man did at the box office, there will always be a stigma on both genres as the “bastard children” of entertainment. This certainly tends to create a defensive attitude amongst fans. Once could see the “rivalry” between comic and wrestling fans as two forsaken children, each seeking validation at the expense of the other…but if you ask me, it’s all pretty silly.

I recently saw the film “Adaptation,” (great flick, read a 411movies review here) and a line that really resonated with me was “You are what you love, not who loves you” (a line, which, as my friend chided me after the movie, “will soon be on the AIM profiles of college students everywhere”). The point is that both comics and wrestling are a good time, not to mention forms of art, in their own unique way. Like the movie said, if you enjoy something, nobody can take that away from you. These days, more and more people are seeing this, and seeing just how cool the “fringes of society” can be; comics and wrestling fans can the same. If you came here because you read about us on the wrestling page, stick around and check us out. Likewise, as long as you’re here, pop on over to the wrestling page (and be sure to check out The Mean…I hear the guy who does it puts so much research and effort in that he can only put out, like, one column every six months…). And while you’re at it, take a look at the sections for Movies, Music, Figures, Games…whatever’s up there on the left…we’re all one big, happy family here at 411 (Ashish & Widro are my two dads…). And remember: reading comics or watching wrestling doesn’t make you geeky or immature, it just means you’re somebody who likes to have fun.

Welcome to 411comics

And, indeed, fun is what we’re aiming to be all about here at 411comics. This is not a site run by professionals; heck, we don’t even get paid. We’re fans, just like you who are reading. Up until a few days ago, I didn’t know what the hell “html” was, but I learned, because I believe this site can be something very cool. And a big reason I’m so excited about this site is because when the Powers That Be told me I was in charge of starting a comics section of 411 (something I’d been waiting a long time to hear), I went out and got the very best, most enthusiastic, most creative, and most fun staff I could find. Let me introduce you to just a few of them…

-If you haven’t played X-Assault, without a doubt the top free comic book game on the web (not to mention a great way to avoid any form of work), you’re missing out. And we at 411 are fortunate enough to have the driving force of NixonVision, and one of the top creative minds behind said X-Perience, here and writing for us. Besides designing X-Assault, Jim Lemoine is a fantastic and insightful writer who has already dissected the “Marvel Age of comics” in a brilliant fashion over at X-Fan. Now, you can read that work, as well as Jim’s other opinions of the world of comics, here on 411, in his column, Did I Think That Out Loud?!

-From the pages of Fanzing, a recently, sadly departed work of webzine art, we’ve got Matt “Starman” Morrison, formerly of The Mount and among the most outspoken voices from that publication. One look at any of Matt’s past work will show you he’s got the knack for humorous, entertaining, and intelligent commentary. Speaking with Matt since he agreed to come on board, I can tell you that he’s got big things planned, and his enthusiasm is downright infectious; get ready to drink from a well of knowledge and check out the first edition of Looking To The Stars

-A guy who I knew I wanted as a part of this staff back when this section was just a pipe dream (and one he actually inspired) is 411wrestling’s very own Pat Brower. You may know him as 411’s own witty Velocity recapper, but what you may not know is that Pat is a comic book store owner and a passionate fan of the medium. He’s got a real insider’s perspective, and I don’t have to tell you that the man can write. In addition to bringing us the weekly list of what’s shipping to stores, Pat writes a column called Behind The Counter that will give you a look at comics from the retailer’s end.

-Ever read a comic so good that it makes you want to punch a hole in Joe Quesada or Paul Levitz’s wall for not promoting it more (insert anybody from Marvel back in the day and the first volume of New Warriors here for me)? Daron Kauppauff has, and he wants to tell you all about it. Each week in Missing The Boat, Daron will tell you about a great comic you may not be reading, and why that may not be your fault.

-It takes a…unique kind of guy to be able to truly wrap his head around mature readers comics, and fortunately for 411, I know such a guy. All the way from Greece, Manolis Vamvounis will bring you a look at a side of comics you may not even have known existed each week in Comics Orgy. Manolis has quite the treat this week, as he brings us an exclusive interview with Nick Derington, the man who will be penciling an upcoming “Hard Days Night” (yep, the Beatles movie) tribute starring Marvel’s X-Statix in the pages of X-Men Unlimited. The interview includes some great preview pictures you won’t find anywhere else on the web, so check it out.

-Speaking of interviews with comic book creators, we’ve got some exciting ones coming up here on 411, and many will come from Tom Toner, the writer of Before They Were Stars. There are few guys with more gusto for what they do then Tom, and believe me, it will shine in every interview he conducts. Who does he have for us this week? Well…if you went to your local comics store today, you probably had trouble NOT noticing a little something called Superman: The 10 Cent Adventure. This week, Tom speaks with the man responsible not only for writing that comic, but the incoming writer on DC’s flagship title, Superman and a guy many say was one of the best X-Men writers of all-time, the one and only Steve Seagle.

-Also from Tom, we’ve got an 80’s retro bonanza review-fest courtesy of him for this kick off: Robotech #2 and Thundercats #5 from Wildstorm, and Micronauts #4 and G.I. Joe #13 from Devil’s Due. Where are the rest of the reviews, you ask? They’re coming, don’t worry, but hey, do you have a title you enjoy each and every month? Would you like to become an official reviewer for that title? Like I said, this site is all about the fans. Drop me an e-mail using the link at the bottom of this article and let me know you’re interested, and soon you could see your name where mine is now (not too soon though…I put a lot of bloody work into this thing).

-Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got two incredibly knowledgeable dudes who will be bringing you the news as well as their views four times a week. Jim Trabold, nicknamed “Mister Marvel” (and for damn good reason…the guy knows his stuff) will be writing Marvel News & Views while George Gebhardt, whose knowledge of the DC Universe is second to none, and who has a great sense of humor to boot, will be doing it’s counterpart, DC News & Views. Now, if you’re wondering “where’s CrossGen? Image? Dark Horse?” or any other of your favorite publishers…there’s another problem you can solve yourself. Want to do a news report on a company that isn’t DC or Marvel? Same e-mail address that you would send a review too…

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg guys. We’ve got exciting interviews on the way, more columns in the works, and some other fun stuff. It’s going to be a wild ride for as long as 411 lets us use the roller coaster…

Why a Watchtower?

If you’ve made it this far, you may be wondering about the title of this column. Quite simply, this is the nerve center of 411comics. This is where I will keep you updated on the happenings and goings on, and give you my take on what’s going on in the world of comics and beyond each week. So, no, it’s not a reference to a Jimi Hendrix or Dave Matthews song (the Jimi version kicks ass though), the Watchtower allusion is indeed to the headquarters of the JLA up on the moon where they can keep tabs on what’s going on down below. Yeah, I could have gone for a BenCave or something, I guess, but this just felt right. Besides, as time goes on, my name may not be the only one you see here by the Watchtower. The 411comics team is kind of like the JLA…or the Knights of the Round Table if you want to be bit less clichéd…well, that’s still pretty clichéd…the 2001-2002 New Engand Patriots maybe? Nah, the wound is still too fresh…point is we’re a team dammit! And it’s looking like this round for me on monitor duty just ended…enjoy the site!

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