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I’ve been meaning to write this review for some time now. Daytripper by brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon from Vertigo comics is a comic I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. I don’t want to reveal too much about the story, only that it follows the life of the son of a famous Brazillian author, Bras de Oliva Domingos. And that’s all I will say, as there is a twist to the story that I can’t just give away, and for that this review will be short.

What the Brazilian brothers accomplish is a well paced, thought invoking tale about life and all the little moments that it encompasses. The brother’s greatest combination is their ability to draw (no pun intended) their readers to one panel, which then asks the reader to take an extra second to let the emotions that are taking place set in before they can move on to the next panel. It’s a great technique that they use from time to time when the story wants the reader to slow down and think for just a second.

Separately, the brothers excel at their portion of the story. Ba writes some excellent dialogue and orders his events so you need to know what happens next, or what happened before. This is also great for defining who Bras is, as well as the supporting cast around him. Moon creates a variety of scenes, scenes with scope that seem to look past the horizon, as well as scenes of closeness, where he gets right in your face and gets you to feel whatever the characters are feeling. Moon clearly has a cartoonist style that relies on a few lines to express any emotion that is going on, and it synchs with Ba’s  story telling, allowing panels to blend together when need, which are smooth and natural.

There is more I could say about this book, but the less I say means the more you get to experience. This is a powerful piece of work, and I highly suggest you find the time to read it and read it in one sitting; you’ll thank me later. One more thing, Please pass this book along if you can. The more people who read this, the more people who can see how comics can evoke some great emotion and be a great read, the better.

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I thought I was done with this topic. If you read my Picks of the Week post this week, you’ll know how angry I was with this issue; from the way it was market to the issue itself. Well, last night I read Skottie Young’s latest blog, which is about people being negative about the industry, but not giving positive examples of how to improve it. For those of you don’t know who Skottie is, he is an amazing cartoonist and comic book creator, who is currently working on the Marvel’s Wizard of Oz book. Check his site and his work out if you haven’t already; the man can draw.

As soon as I read Skottie’s post, I immediately thought about my PoW post from Wednesday; it really was a negative post with no real positive solutions or suggestions. So, I decided that I would take Skottie’s advice and give some of these positive suggestions on what could have been done different to market Fantastic Four #587: The Last Stand of Johnny Storm.

Pre-Release Marketing

Many of you already know that Marvel marketed this issue pretty heavily for the last five months or so, letting the comics community know that in this issue, a member of the Fantastic Four would die. This can be a common practice for the death of a major character in a superhero book. Earlier this year, the X-Men’s Nightcrawler and Cable were also killed, and leading up to his death, Marvel solicited that during the X-Men event, Second Coming, that two X-Men would die. This makes sense from a marketing stand point; let readers and retailers know ahead of time that way retailers can order enough books for the readers to find out who gets killed, and how it happens. On the other hand though, when Captain American, Steve Rogers, was killed about 4 years ago, it wasn’t announced in the solicitations and it took everyone by surprise (more on this later).

Announcing a character is going to die ensures sales rise; retailers have to order their books from Diamond months in advance, and if they know something big is going down in a particular issue, and they know that this something big is the death of a character, then they can be prepared for the readers who are going to want to read this issue. If you also read my post on Comics Aren’t for Everyone, you’ll know that I mentioned Marvel EIC Axel Alonso’s view on how readers want to keep up with everything that is going on in that particular universe. It makes sense then that readers would pick up this issue of Fantastic Four so they can continue to be caught up on continuity. Announcing the death then is procedure in the comics community. This obviously isn’t the best method as it gives away a piece of the story well before hand, but the way comics are bought and sold right now, and I don’t have any good ideas for that.

The Infamous Polybag

A lot of fans were taken aback and down right confused when Tom Brevoort announced that issue #587 would be placed in a polybag, thus keeping secret the member who would die. My problem with the polybag is that, as I said in my PoW post, it is an old piece of marketing that was used in the 90s when everything was over the top and every first issue and major event was a collectors item, and is a marketing tool that is made fun of today. Using it now can be seen as a bit of nostalgia, but in a time when readers want comics to be considered more than just funny books and wish that they reached a bigger audience, using the polybag is sort of Marvel telling their fans that they don’t care to move forward, they care that this issue becomes a collectors item and that it sells a lot.

Comics aren’t collectors items any more. Sure you can collect them, but they aren’t going to worth anything in the future, not when they can be reprinted as many times as Marvel wants and can be released digitally. Digitally though is where Marvel should have gone from the very beginning of marketing for this book. Releasing this digitally first would secure that the death remains a secret until its release; fans could even download it early, and as soon as the release date hits, it becomes unlocked. Think about how many people with apple devices, PC’s and Android phones could have read this that aren’t reading comics, and those fans that do have these devices. There are so many more options too when you release this digitally.Have the entire arc available digitally at a reduced price, get people to read the entire story, not just the end of it. Hell, give them away for free, that will really ensure people are reading the whole thing, plus it will highlight to people how stories work on an issue by issue basis. You could even sell and have ready other major comics where characters died, such as Captain America or Nightcrawler, and once the issue has been released, put on some more big Fantastic Four books, especially ones involving Johnny Storm (after writing this I checked my Marvel app on my iPhone, they do have a not of Fantastic Four books featured for $1.99).

Early Release and the Press Release

Last week Marvel quickly turned their lets-keep-this-book-secret-by-putting-it-in-a-polybag strategy to lets-make-this-issue-a-collectors-item by announcing that they would allow shops to sell this issue a day early, and then this week put out a press release telling the word who died. We know what happened, people flocked to a LCS and bought the issue. I’ve given my opinion on this decision, but what would alternatives could there been? If you are releasing the book digitally, why not release it early digitally instead of in the shops? Fans my cry foul to this, but I think a lot of them have cried foul over everything that has happened anyway. And if you are going to spoil it by sending out a press release, why not have the press release tell people how to get it digitally. Think about the press Marvel could have gotten if they promoted digital comics; it could have been great for the whole industry and not just them. Or do the best of both worlds, have the hard copy and digital copy released at the same time.

I am sure there are a ton of other ways that Marvel could have marketed this book without promoting comics as a collectors medium, as well as spoiling fans, these are just come of them. What are your ideas though? What could have Marvel done differently to promote and sell this book? Did they do the right thing, and I’m the odd man out? Tell me that too.

It’s Monday, so that means it’s time to look at what I’m getting from my LCS. As always, I pull my comics at iFanboy, and you should too, it’s a really great site.

What’s big this week? Not too much. I’m probably mostly excited for THUNDER Agents #2. I have another two DC books out this week too, Flash #7 (didn’t number 6 just come out?) and Superboy #2. I really enjoyed Lemire and Gallo‘s first issue, but I will be giving them a couple more issues to really wow me in order for me to stay.

I have only one Marvel book this week; Thor #618. This series is starting to let me down, and that mostly has to do with the story, a story I have no idea where it’s going, and that’s not a good thing. The Pasquel Ferry art is what’s keeping me here for now. It has some great scope, and lots of clean lines.

I’ve read the first two volumes of Layman and Guillory’s Chew, and have been loving it so far. It’s really a crazy book with awesome art and crazy ideas. I’ll be picking up the third volume with the rest of my comics. 

P.S. I want to thank the great response to my Aquaman article, especially the guys over at Aquaman Shrine for linking Panel Flow!

I only have two books this week: American Vampire #9, the last issue of the 2nd arc that promises to be crazy, and Brightest Day #15, staring the new Aqualad. Not a big week, but it will be good one none the less.

It’s that time again everyone. I made my picks at www.ifanboy.com, so check there for an extensive view.

I’m most excited about Scott Snyder and Jock‘s Detective Comics #871; it stars Dick Grayson as the Batman of Gotham and sounds like it’s going to be a cross between CSI and a psychological thriller. I’ve read a lengthier preview and it got me really excited. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s my pick of the week for best comic.

Another book that I should mention is Invincible Iron Man #32. It’s the last part of the 8 part Resilient story line and the last issue before the series goes back to its original numbering with #500.

It’s Monday, so it’s time for my pull list! It’s another DC week for me; lots of Brightest Day stuff, including Brightest Bay. It’s nice to see The Flash back; Francis Manapul is one of my favorite artist right now. He makes his pages really move, and you know I love that in my comic art. This issue is also the last in the first arc by Johns and Manapul. The other Brightest Day title is Green Lantern#59. This title has been okay since the end of Blackest Night. I’m really waiting for Hal to get back to being a space cop, which I hope is soon. The last title I am picking up is the first issue of Batman Inc. I wasn’t initially going to get this book, as I noted earlier, but after Batman and Robin #16 and the final of the Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman’s new status quo seems to interesting to pass up.

It’s Monday, and it’s time to look at what I will be picking up this week. Check out my picks at iFanboy. I have a pretty big week with a good mix of Marvel, DC and Vertigo. Most looking forward to Dan Slott and Humberto RamosAmazing Spider-Man #648. It’s kind of new a creative team, but it’s a whole brand new story! I appreciate those who got the joke. I also decided to pick up a book i just read the preview for, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 by Nick Spencer, a new writer who’s been making the rounds as of late. The Return of Bruce Wayne also come out this week, and it’s the last issue of the six issue mini-series, and coupled with last weeks Batman &Robin #16 pushes the Batman titles to its next phase; Batman Inc.

I can’t wait for Wednesday.

The Hollywood Reporter has released the ratings for the first episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, which garnered 5.1 million viewers on the initial broadcast alone, the highest premiere of an AMC show at 3.3 rating for adults 18-49.

The success for Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard’s first episode can be chalked up to a number of factors. The comic book already had a cult like following, and couple that with the show’s presence at San Diego Comic Con, where footage was first shown, hyping up the already hyped show. And of course, the show’s premiere on the scariest day of the year, well, who doesn’t want to watch zombies on Halloween.

It will be interesting to see what the ratings will be like in the following weeks, and hope that just because the show was on Halloween isn’t the reason why most people stayed up to watch it.

Superboy #1

My first full week of blogging is ahead of me; tomorrow will be my first article, which corresponds today’s quick post.

I’ve pulled my comics at http://www.ifanboy.com, and you can see them here. It’s a DC week for me apparently; looking forward to Superboy #1 by Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo.
Tomorrow’s post will breakdown what I am currently reading, what I’m dropping and what I want to read. Come back on Wednesday for my quick Picks of the Week, and again on Thursday for reviews of those picks.

Can’t wait for Wednesday.

I finally finished the Outfit, a crime revenge novel by Richard Stark that has been adapted and illustrated by cartoonist  extraordinaire Darwyn Cooke. The story is a simple story of revenge that follows Parker, a career criminal who is trying to escape the reach of the criminal organization The Outfit. When the Outfit keeps after Parker, he decides to end it once and for all.

For readers who are familiar with the tropes of any revenge or crime story, they won’t find anything out-of-place in this book, but what they will find is a beautifully drawn and incredibly creative book that breathes life into a familiar tale. Think of Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven as a comparison. Cooke matches the familiarity of the crime/ revenge story with his 60’s art style that he is known for, but he changes his style when it comes to explaining how the Outfit garners all its profits. Each new style is unexpected, but while it still harkens to the different 60’s art styles, it becomes unique and fresh, and turns a repetitive portion of the story into an anticipated read.

Cooke illustrates a smokey atmosphere that melds panels together, creating movement to an other wise static medium. It’s Cooke ability to create motion in his work that makes him a master story-teller, and makes this book more than just the average crime/revenge tale. It becomes a book you want to read.

I recommend this book to an artist looking for great example of story telling, as well to anyone looking for something similar, but a bit different at the same time.

Panel Flow

Kyle Lawlor

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