The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

The Weekly Comics Wrap-up: Feb. 25, 2008

Written by: Ron Bricker

Image The world of comics is complicated, with multiple companies (and universes) to keep track of. Luckily, CC2K has Joey Esposito, our resident expert on all things pulpy and good. Each week, Joey will break down what's happening in the world of comics, so you can pick up right where he left off. he reveals which comic is the next Watchmen. And it's not what you think.

So first things first. The most random thing to happen in the world of comics this week would have to be the announcement from the the Foo Fighters' folks that the band would be suing Marvel Entertainment, among others, for copyright infringement. Apparently, a couple of their songs were lifted and used to promote a new X-Men cartoon in a trailer. I think that's pretty funny. Not only did Marvel think "Best of You" was a parallel to the X-Men franchise, but they used it like they were a  film student fanboy. But, I digress.

The week in comics was full of exciting (and worrisome) news, and the books themselves, at least as far as my pull list goes, was pretty solid. I must say though, something has to be done about these horrible awful ridiculous delays on books. I'm speaking, of course, of Marvel's Runaways. It has been four months since I last read an issue, and as I stated in my review of the book, not even a recap page is enough to jog my memory. Both companies have gotten somewhat better at tackling this issue, but in an industry already rife with continuity, they shouldn't be making it any harder for a new reader to jump on board.

These months long delays affect readership because even if a new reader jumps on board in the middle of an arc and goes back to read what he missed, what hook is there to keep him coming back when a monthly book is coming out every four instead? The whole comic business is periodical based, and there really is no excuse for a company or a creator for that matter, to be putting out books on their accord. I understand that some artists take longer than others to complete their work, and that many writers are swamped with projects. But isn't that the whole reason they are employed by someone? The publishers need to monitor their work and learn their writers' speed before allowing them to tackle a dozen different projects, so as to make certain that anything he or she is working on will be put out on time.

On the other end of the spectrum of course, is DC's solution to delayed books: pump them out anyway. Aside from things like the All-Star line of books, which come out with an official release date of "whenever", DC, although generally good at keeping their promised dates, usually will deliver a monthly installment of their titles regardless of creator. For example, last year, the Geoff Johns and Richard Donner penned Action Comics arc was on a delay due to art issues, and DC instead published one shots or two issue story arcs by another writer and artist in order to keep the schedule. Again, this affects new readership because if someone was brought to the book because of a certain story arc, all of a sudden this story is interrupted with no word of when the next installment of the desired arc will be coming out. But alas, what can we, as mere readers, do? As long as we keep snatching up the newest installments of oft-delayed titles, they will continue to publish them as they see fit.

Regardless, this past week was full of a great stack of releases, many of them a surprise. One such example is Dynamite's new series, Zorro. Much in the same vein as it's current The Lone Ranger, Zorro is not at all a re-imagining of the Zorro legend, but rather a new, and so far impressive, way of telling it.  Not so surprising this week however, is the superb Ex Machina #34. This is the one book that I think is worth waiting any length of time for a single issue, because it's always good. Always.

Ex Machina is the kind of series that can get anyone to read comics. We all know that there is this portion of society that still can't see past comics being "funny books" or "for kids". And while you can rant and rave about things like Maus and Watchmen, I think those books are almost too much of a step in terms of people that  don't see beyond Superman and the X-Men. Ex Machina bridges that gap by presenting a story that essentially is super-hero drama, but with politically commentary that is relevant to today's world. Before you all throw a fit, yes, Watchmen is the ultimate example of such a thing, but I challenge anyone to argue that Watchmen is a long and difficult read. It's one of the densest works of literature, though there is no doubt to its greatness. What I'm arguing is that Ex Machina provides that first step into a larger world of comics that is ruled by books like Watchmen. If you have a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, dad, whoever – that disses your comic reading, give them the first trade of Ex Machina and allow them to shut their mouths.

This week's must read list:

Ex Machina #34 (Wildstorm)

Zorro #1 (Dynamite)

Countdown to Final Crisis #10 (DC)

Catwoman #76 (DC)

CC2K is currently putting together an official comics section to the site, that will include reviews of weekly books, trades, and coverage of alternative comics and graphic novels. We have plans for convention coverage, comic news, and more! But to do all these things we need devoted, passionate writers! If you have an interest in comics, buy books weekly, and have the writing chops to put together reviews, drop me a line at You should include a writing sample of your work (preferably comic-related), as well as a pull list of your weekly books and any relevant information you feel you'd like to share. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. I hope to hear from you all soon!