The Roundtable

NOTE: The individual opinions of each Roundtable contributor is their own, and is not representative of anybody but that contributor.

Free Comic Book Day 2005 set for May 7th in an attempt to establish a regular date for the event (the first weekend of May) rather than base it around movie openings (the other prospective day was June 18th, to tie in with the opening of Batman Begins)

Mike Maillaro (The Nexus’ head chef): As much as I love the concept
of Free Comic Day, the execution has really stunk so far. I think Free Comic Day blows for getting new readers into comics, although I discovered Ballad of Sleeping Beauty because of left over comics from this year’s promotion. These books should be available at movie theaters, arcades, libraries, schools, book stores, toy stores, Walmarts, etc. not just comic shops. You are really only preaching to the choir by providing these books to comic shops.

“Starman” Matt Morrison (Writer of Looking To The Stars): As one of the poor shlubs who walked around a 4th of July parade handing out flyers and sat in a movie theater handing out Spider-Man books to all the kids going to see Spider-Man 2, I can attest to the effectiveness of putting books outside of the store and telling people that there’s more than just superheroes. I had parents who were shocked that there were comics based on some of their favorite shows, like 24 and CSI.

As such, I see this as a big mistake. A lot of the comic stores hype for Free Comic Book Day was based on cross-promotions with movie theaters and other local business. Making it a set day every year will eliminate this opportunity, especially if the day comes before the start of the summer blockbuster season.

Why May the 7th anyway? If we’re going to make it an annual event, let’s pick a significant day, like the first day Superman #1 hit the newsstands. Or Jack Kirby’s birthday, even.

Maillaro: I can just see millions of potential (hell, even some current) comic
fans saying, “Who’s Jack Kirby?” But, on the bright side, that will be a great teaching opportunity.

Jamie Hatton (Writer of Diner Talk & Nexus reviewer): Mike, I have to disagree with you about how the execution has gone down. It’s not really something you can judge as a customer. It’s solely based on your local comic book store to promote this idea. Marvel/DC/DHP/Image and all of those indy companies are all doing the HARDEST part for the retailer. They are saying “HERE IS SOME FREE
PRODUCT” which most retailers wouldn’t consider at all. (Giving something away)

From there, it is the retailers’ job to get the info out there that they are offering to people these free books. Libraries, Movie Theatres, Schools, wherever. Promote the hell out of it.

I do understand that they are trying to synchronize it with big movie times, but a movie theatre is just one idea in billions. It’s generally a proven fact that movies aren’t helping bring kids into comic book stores, so I say put it MORE on the retailer. Make the retailer actually do some work other than lay out some free books and say to all their regular customers ‘Oh, go take your freebie’ … and then go grumble off.

Ben Morse (Co-Editor-In-Chief of The Nexus & writer of The Watchtower): I was inclined to agree with Mike about the “preaching to the converted” thing, but Matt reminds me that I’m only privy to my small section of the comic reading world. Still, I think Mike is still right about the need to extend FCBD to venues beyond comic book stores. I see your point about retailer responsibility, Jamie, but to say that the publishers shouldn’t have to do anything beyond provide the product seems wrong to me; this is something that should be a concerted effort on the part of publishers, retailers, fans, web sites, etc. to promote the cause.

I do think that FCBD has succeeded in giving people who are already comic book fans a cool thing to rally around and reason to celebrate our love for the medium. From this standpoint, I understand the desire to have a fixed date for it, making it more like an actual holiday people can look forward to.

Morrison: Exactly. So far, aside from printing the books and some other advertising, the publishers aren’t doing as much as the poor retail shlubs like me. And I did what Mike suggested about trying to reach out to the public past the fans. I went out months before Free Comic Book Day, talking to other local businesses about putting up signs, handing out books themselves… coffee houses, movie theaters, family restaurants; all of them.

And yet, one commercial shown on Kids WB during Yugi-Oh would reach SO MANY MORE people.

RUMOR: John Taddeo (formerly of Big Entertainment and Tekno) bidding on both CrossGen and Acclaim/Valiant assets; Top Cow also in the bidding for Valiant assets (credit: Lying In The Gutters)

Matt Morrison: Is it really an accurate description to call the rights to publish “Turok: Dinosaur Hunter” assets? Assets imply some kind of financial worth. Holdings seem more accurate.

Ben Morse: I vow still that Ninjak will belong to the Nexus before the day is done!

Peter David & Lee Weeks’ “Tempest Fugit” mini-series to run in the regular Incredible Hulk title, possibility David will return as the title’s regular writer

Tim Sheridan (Nexus reviewer & Aquaman’s #1 fan): This isn’t a big surprise. They have been hinting toward this for quite some time now. I am of two minds about this: while I am excited for his return, because I did enjoy his 12 year run, I have been pleased that Hulk went in a different direction. On the whole, I liked Jones’ run on the book. Perhaps I will feel differently after David returns though. Of course I will pick it up, which I guess is what really matters to Marvel. Peter David was very frustrated back in the late 90’s when he had to cowtow to Marvel editorial, and altered many of his stories due to various crossovers, not to mention completely interrupting things for a whole year with Onslaught. He had a a lot of stories that were unresolved, and some he still wanted to tell, so hopefully he’ll get a chance to tell them.

John Arcudi named new Aquaman writer as of December’s #25

Tim Sheridan: So how much longer till this series is cancelled? I’m betting it goes til 36! Any takers?

Mike Maillaro: At first, I loved his work on Doom Patrol, but I got bored of it
pretty quick. I would love for Ostrander to have been the regular writer. His fill-ins were the best issues of the series.

Ben Morse: This one has me baffled. No offense to Mr. Arcudi, but while I don’t read Aquaman, it was my understanding that Will Pfeiffer has generated the most buzz on the book since Peter David, while Arcudi’s last two regular series, Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts have both been cancelled (with Thunderbolts getting seriously panned); how is this a good move?

Mike Grell’s Jon Sable returns

Mike Maillaro: I will definitely be picking this up! Jon Sable is one of my favorite characters, and I love Mike Grell! Chris should be pretty happy about

Chris Delloiacono: Freelance (Co-Writer of Near Mint Memories): Mike hit the nail on the head. I am extremely excited about this
announcement. Jon Sable: Freelance is one of my all-time favorites. It’ll be great to see collections of the original series, but even better to have a miniseries. Just the fact that Mike Grell will be doing some comic work again is reason to rejoice!

Mark Waid confirms that continuity for the new Legion of Super-Heroes title will be starting from scratch again

Matt Morrison: I wish I could say I was surprised, but at this point… the whole series is a wash of continuity problems so confusing that even hardened veterans like ME won’t go near the title. And I understand how the Spider-Clone Saga worked!

Honestly, a clean cut is probably for the best at this point. And I can think of no one better to try and start the whole concept from scratch than Mark Waid.

Mike Maillaro: Another restart? Gee, didn’t I call that two months ago. Another ten years of Legion continuity down the drain!

Ben Morse: As excited as I am for the new Legion book, this news really saddens me, especially since Waid has been saying for months that this would not be a reboot.

I can see why Waid and others may feel a reboot is necessary and don’t think they’re wrong in choosing to go about things this way, but this is the era in which I discovered the Legion, and I’ll simply miss the characters as they are; I imagine this is much the same way Legion readers felt after Zero Hour.

James Marsden (Spike from Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel) to TV Guide on Joss Whedon directing X3: “There bloody well better be a part for me.”

Jamie Hatton: Oooo, now we can start figuring out who he could be in the next
movie.. I will throw a couple ideas out there with their possible bits of revision.
1 – Warren Worthington – It’s not hard to make Warren British. Spike would be perfect to be a snobby British blue blood.
2 – Remy Lebeau – I don’t know if he could pull off a Cajun French accent, but if he could, he would be ideal as the sarcastic bo wielding sob.
3 – Banshee – An interpol operative that is investigating the X-Men and the legend of Logan.
4 – Mister Sinister – He has those evil eyes”¦it’d work.
5 – Deadpool… ok, he’s not right for the part, and Pool just will never appear in an X-Film”¦but I’ll keep suggesting every actor that comes through to it until someone listens to me.

Ben Morse: At first I was thinking, “ladies and gentlemen, we have our Gambit!” but Jamie’s Banshee suggestion has really got me thinking now.

Regardless, I would love to see Marsden end up in X3, not only because he’s an amazing talent but because he’s got the potential to be a breakout star on the level of Hugh Jackman.

On the downside, I will now accidentally confuse him and James Marsters (Cyclops) in conversation even more.

Odd that Marsden apparently retains his fake British accent in text interviews though”¦

Nick Piers (Nexus reviewer): Hmm. They could always make him Havok. Blonde hair, big bad attitude, etc.

Marsden and Marsters! Attack of the Killer James M’s!!

Nova the Human Rocket to return in Marvel Team-Up #2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben Morse: All the horror of Avengers Disassembled is forgiven!!!


What title is the most underrated one you are currently reading?

Matt Morrison: PS238. The latest issue said more about the current political climate through a child’s non-political eyes than any “issues” book I’ve seen written. And it had one of the best “movie” moments of any comic I’ve read all year.

I’m not saying any more than that, as I want you all to go out and read this title.

Mike Maillaro: Fallen Angel. A great book that doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

Jamie Hatton: Funny, I was going to mention PS238 myself. It’s just a great book all around with a new take on the whole Superhero/Kid genre. I will also throw these titles into the hat:

Video, which will have a review up this week, is a great starter book from Lost In The Dark Press. It’s got a Kirkman, Walking Dead kind of feel to it concerning ‘What would happen if the 2nd Coming came’.

District X – I’ve given it two 9+ reviews, it’s the best secondary X-Book out there, and the art is wonderful. It doesn’t deserve to be in the same grouping as Jubilee, Rogue, and Gambit.

Ben Morse: I’m going to follow a similar line of thinking to Jamie (which terrifies me more than you could ever know) and select a secondary x-title that I don’t think gets the critical attention it deserves and probably scares off a lot of readers who think they’re “too good” for the x-titles by virtue of that: Cable/Deadpool.

This is a fantastic book that really has everything going for it: humor, action, a deeper meaning”¦it can range from garbage humor to profoundly philosophical in the course of a page. It’s a light-hearted fun book done very well that will surprise you every so often with a serious turn. If anybody thinks Fabian Nicieza is at all to blame for the horrific X-Force currently poisoning the market, please read this book and see what he can do on his own.

Patrick Zircher is also a criminally overlooked artist and I hope he stays here for a while.

The issue that came out this week was just amazing.

Paul Sebert (Nexus groupie): Hmmm… I’m not sure if “underrated” is the proper word for it, but I firmly believe that Stan Saikai’s Usagi Yojimbo should go down in history as one of the all time great comics. Not one of the great anthro comics. Not one of the great indy comics. One of the greatest books ever written that everyone should read, and heartbreaking finale of the Jotaro arch a few months ago is indeed a triumph of story telling.

Oh and as far as superhero books go, I’m digging Amazing Fantasy because Anya’s a cutie.

Will Cooling (Writer of Across The Pond): I don’t really want to put this down because its so cliche and predictable for me to say it but I’ve gotta go with 2000AD. Not only does it offer stories of an unbelievable quality and variety but the influence its head on modern American comics is second to none. Without 2000AD and its precursors Action and Battle you wouldn’t have had the gritty and imaginative British style that the likes of Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis so popularized from the mid eighties onwards as it was 2000AD that finally dragged British comics out of the 1950s. The impact on comic art is even more pronounced, as it was 2000AD that first used young British artists as opposed to South American and European artists who due to being cheaper and more flexible than their English counterparts had been preferred in most English comics of the period. Therefore without 2000AD you wouldn’t have had the likes of Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, David Lloyd and Frank Quitely. 2000AD should be revered as the most influential single title in the history of modern American comics and equally should be acknowledged as the greatest comic of all time. To not do so as Bill O’Reilly would say is ridiculous.

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