Brian tries to be cheerful (or... blame Joe Keatinge)

It is weird, after reading ARSENAL a couple of weeks ago, I feel like a straw broke somewhere for me -- I don't want to READ bad comics any more, let alone say snarky things about them... Aw, let me put a jump in here, this might be long?

I *think* it is just a temporary aberration, because comics (even awful ones) are in my blood, like printer's ink, but twice I've sat down to write something here and twice I thought "why am I wasting my time talking about things I don't actually care about?"

We can also lay a little blame at Joe Keatinge's feet, as he's leaving SF for Portland (man, a lot of people do that!), and he doesn't want to move everything he owns. We got to talking about prose, and Stephen King, and I mentioned that "The Dark Tower" was the only bit of King's output that I've never devoured -- I had read book one a decade or more back and pretty much hated it (a rare response for me with King), and never read the rest of the cycle.

Joe is, as I said, moving and doesn't want to carry stuff, so he said, "Here, let me just give you my collection of DT books, they're great"

That was a week and some 1600 pages ago, and I'm THOROUGHLY absorbed in Dark Tower right now.

Book one? Still not-so-good, though better than I remembered it to be -- I *think* I read the "original" version of DT v1, and what Joe gave me was the "revised and expanded" version, which reads better. Not great, but better.

But with book 2...? Whoa, now I liked that shit, yes I did!

I've got about 10% of book 5 left yet, and I'm really looking forward to devouring 6 & 7, and then maybe my mind will really be ready for comics again.

You know what's weird? DARK TOWER reminds me, in a lot of ways, of everything I liked about LOST -- there's a TON of (surface) similarities: people torn from their lives to deal with crazy weird stuff, there are flashbacks that tie back into current insanity, there are strange occurrences of numbers, there are mysteries which will be revealed, but "a little later", there's strange things going on with pregnancies, and heroin junkies, and raids from Others, and even a character in a wheelchair... and a sense of, in many ways, of things being made up as they go along, but I have a better sense that King will have it all actually make a certain amount of sense at the end of the day.

So, yeah, digging that, and not digging comics all that much the last two weeks.

I started to read some more comics last night, from this week's stash, and I find that I don't really want to talk about BATMAN #700 or whatever -- I only want to talk about things that make me feel like "Wow, comics are wicked awesome!", and of the 12 or so things I read last night before giving up and going back to Roland and his Ka-tet, almost none of them touched me.

In fact, the only thing I liked, really even a little, was YOUNG ALLIES #1...

It wasn't even that I even loved it all that much, but it made me think of, dunno, NEW WARRIORS or something -- a new title that no one really has any faith in, featuring characters that no one would really say "that's my favorite!", but that delivered a solid base-hit of entertainment regardless. the difference between YA and NW is probably more that I have no faith (none), that YA will still be published in a year -- the market is all wrong for a comic like this right now, buried in Brightest Days and Heroic Ages and Avengers relaunches... in fact, the single worst week they could have possibly released a book like YA was this week where Marvel is also launching AVENGERS ACADEMY #1, which has a number of (surface!) similarities, but ties into the Avengers franchise.

Given a choice, THIS reader would rather see YOUNG ALLIES make issue #24, than AVENGERS ACADEMY, though I kind of don't think either of them is going to make it that far, naturally.

YA #1 had *zero* preorders at my store, and that's a REALLY bad sign because, right now, virtually no one is looking to add new titles to their pulls, and if you don't catch them right out of the box, the chances of them coming along a few issues later is extraordinarily small.

I *could* push and promote and really talk up YA (though, actually, it isn't really THAT good to warrant the full-court-press -- like I said, solid base-hit here), but mathematically, there's not a great return that is going to pay off into -- as a comic book retailer, who reads the market pretty well, thankee-sai, I'd be shocked if it made it to issue #13. It is a condundrum.

I thought YOUNG ALLIES was a fairly GOOD comic, and you might like it as well, but if it is unlikely to last out a full year, I'm not sure there's much point into telling you that? I don't know, flip through it at your local store -- it isn't sexy, but it's more solid than a lot of other launches lately.

Hopefully, something a bit later in the stack will light me on fire, but I think Roland's world is where my loyalty will stay for the rest of the week.

Still, I am, I think, genetically predisposed to a certain amount of snark, so this was the one that hit me when I was unpacking the box yesterday...

I wish I had the mad photoshop skills, because all I could think was....


"Pencilneck G!"? HAHAHAHAHA, man the mind just fucking boggles, doesn't it?

That's still not The Sensational Character Find of (June) 2010 -- that one might go to "Freight Train" in this week's issue of OUTSIDERS, who proclaims:

"Choo-Choo, mother--" "Freight Train!"

Yes, the mind boggles, and thankee-sai.

What do YOU think, anyway?