Author Archive

ReadComics Podcast #044 – Bookclub #17 – Runaways

July 23rd, 2010 by Martin

This month we talked about Runaways, the early issues, written by Brian K. Vaughan. We had Florence and Marty, Jason, Angela, Susie, and our neighbors David and Alexis. You may also hear random babbling from Colleen (4 months) and Ruby (8 months). This was more of an introduction to the series for Angela, David, and Alexis, who hadn’t read any of it before. The rest of us reminisce about way back when we read ’em the first time.

We also decided on our next book club, when we’ll be discussing Hellboy, the 1st TPB, by Mike Mignola.

Listen to Podcast Episode #044 (36 MB, 78 minutes)

Graphic Novel & Comic Book Writing and Illustrating Conference

May 26th, 2010 by Martin

The Loft is hosting a Graphic Novel & Comic Book Writing and Illustrating Conference next month on Saturday, June 19:

Keynote Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese, the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award, will lead the way through this one-day conference.

Registration opens Saturday, May 22nd, online at:

You may also register by phone on or after May 22nd at 952-847-8800.

Sessions will include:

  • Craft talks on illustration and writing
  • Breaking into graphic novels and comic books
  • Zines, self-publication and promotion

    When you register (it’s FREE through some deal with the library), you get to specify which sessions you’re interested in. Aside from the keynote, of course, I’m particularly excited for “Writing for Comic Books & Graphic Novels with Zander Cannon”. I’m signed up, anyone else want to join me? (Thanks to my co-worker Michael for the heads up on this!)

    ReadComics Podcast #043 – Bookclub #16 – A Distant Soil

    May 2nd, 2010 by Martin

    For this relatively short-notice podcast, Susie, Florence, Jason, and Marty read the first TPB of Colleen Doran’s A Distant Soil.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #043 (25 MB, 52 minutes)

    Go pick up Love and Capes #13 …today!

    May 1st, 2010 by Martin

    Today is Free Comic Book Day, (as probably most of you know), and I was looking forward to all the free comics, but of course I have a special place in my heart for Love and Capes, and I have to say issue #13 absolutely did not disappoint. Author/creator Thom Zahler has just an amazing knack for making the lives of his characters feel incredibly real, and also incredibly funny. This is (in my opinion), the best kind of superhero story.

    It just goes to show that free comic book day comics can be really good! Love and Capes has been one of my favorite comics since back in 2007, when I picked up issue #4 in a stack with all the other Free Comic Book Day comics. I’m not sure, but I think there may have been a L&C issue in every free comic book day since then. interviewed Zahler for our first — and so far only — creator interview. If you haven’t read any Love and Capes, I highly recommend picking up the first couple trade paperbacks. (You probably don’t have to read them from the beginning, but it is a continuous story, so not only would you be spoiled, but you’ll definitely enjoy them more if you do.)

    Anyway, after I got back home from braving the lines of comic book fanatics at The Source this morning, I devoured issue #13, laughing out loud every other page, and biting my tongue so as not to read every punchline out loud to Florence and Susie. When I finished the comic, I was excited to read in the back of this issue that Zahler is finally getting a chance to give Love and Capes the dedication and regular attention that it deserves (13 issues in how many years?) with the announcement that IDW will be picking up L&C for a monthly five-part miniseries! But that announcement also came with some bad news, as apparently Zahler is going to “take a break” from L&C for a bit after that. I hope to be reading L&C long into the future, at least until Mark and Abby become empty-nesters. Here’s to another fantastic issue of Love and Capes.

    Next Book Club – A Distant Soil

    April 23rd, 2010 by Martin

    Pretty- (ok, super-) short notice for our next comic book book club. This is Susie’s pick, and she’ll be in town for the book club! We’ll be reading A Distant Soil, Vol. 1, by Colleen Doran.

    The usual location (Marty & Florence’s place), probably around the usual time (say 3 PM?) on Sunday, May 2nd.

    That’s only a week and a couple of days to get your eyes on this comic.

    Kick Ass Spoiler-Free Movie Review

    April 14th, 2010 by Martin

    I saw an advanced screening of the movie adaptation of Kick-Ass last night, and I’m happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised.

    We’ve talked a lot about Kick Ass here on readcomics. I posted a trailer a while ago (there are more over at apple). Jason reviewed the first issue back in March of 2008, a little over two years ago. (That’s right, comic to movie in two years.) I gave my impressions of the first two issues the next month, and formalized our protest of the comic because it used gay labels in a negative context. We also talked about the comic in various podcasts, but I’m not sure which ones. Definitely in episode #27.

    Even though I said I wasn’t going to buy any more Kick-Ass (I didn’t!), I still ended up reading the whole series before seeing the movie. And thankfully, I can feel good about writing a positive review, because the gay-bashing found in the comic did not appear in the movie. Those who have read the comic will know there is one other gay-themed plot point, and if you found that offensive in the book, you’ll probably also find it offensive in the movie, but I actually felt it was handled rather well. Without giving too much away, it’s one of those “it’s supposed to be funny because people think he’s gay even though he’s not” situations. Not necessarily original or good writing, but it certainly could have been worse.

    On the topic of writing, you can’t deny that the comic was a page-turner. It was hard to put down, and I felt like that sense of urgency carried over into the movie. There were several great quips and one-liners, perhaps the most notable was: “With no power comes no responsibility.”

    We talked after the movie about the acting, and while I don’t consider myself to be a great judge of it, nobody I spoke with was disappointed. I thought Chloe Moretz stole the show as Hit Girl, with her foul mouth and adult demeanor. And lets just say that this was one of the better roles for Nicolas Cage in the last few years.

    There were several notable differences from comic to movie, but they were actually rather minor, and didn’t mess with the overall plot too much. (Only one really pissed me off. Lets just say they really hollywood-ized the love story.) I also think they gave the comic-book-readers in the audience a couple of curveballs intentionally so we had some real surprises, especially one big reveal toward the end of the movie.

    Overall, this Kick-Ass was a great movie!!! Easily a must-see for fans of the comic book, and also equally enjoyable by those who haven’t read it at all. It makes a great addition to more cerebral superhero movie genre, but had plenty of action for those who just want to see some kick-ass fight scenes. Highly recommended.

    iPad as ultimate comic book reader

    April 3rd, 2010 by Martin

    I’ll be purchasing one of Apple’s shiny new iPads tomorrow morning. Mostly because I’m a proud indie game developer, (and already working on a game or two for the device), but also because I see enormous potential for it to become my go-to device for consuming traditional media in digital form.

    eBooks are cool, but lets face it, this thing is going to make digital comic books look gorgeous. It’s so obvious that Marvel and IDW already have iPad optimized versions of their libraries available for download. (The aptly named Comics app looks to be another good one, offering Marvel, Image, Red 5 and Zenoscope titles.) All of these apps offer comics for purchase. Looks like pricing is one or two dollars per comic.

    Speaking of libraries though, lets say you have some comics on your hard drive in .cbr or .cbz format. (Or even in .pdf or .zip!) You already have two choices at launch for viewing them on your iPad:

    The first is Mobi Reader, which I think looks to be the stronger of the two contenders. It’s got .cbr, .cbz, .zip, .rar, and .pdf support, right out of the proverbial box. All you need to do is transfer those files to your iPad somehow. (The app’s description says the syncing tool is not yet available on the iPad version. Boo!) This is also the more expensive option, at $14.99.

    Your second choice is Comic Zeal, weighing in with a pricetag of $7.99. Comic Zeal doesn’t support all those fancy file formats, but there’s a desktop app you use that does read them, and presumably also manages the syncing to the iPad.

    I’ll probably try out both of these apps in the next few days and hopefully report back with my findings. Let me know if you have any tips or suggestions in the comments!

    ReadComics Podcast #042 – Bookclub #15 – Books of Magic

    March 28th, 2010 by Martin

    This podcast is an episode of the ReadComics Book Club where we talk about the first four issues of The Books of Magic #1-4, the issues written by Neil Gaiman. Angela, Florence, Jason J, Jason T, Marty, and Susie all give their opinions and impressions. Tangents abound, of course, and other topics include: various other Vertigo titles (Sandman, of course), Harry Potter comparisons, and “annotated” versions of comic books (Watchmen, Grant Morrison, Crisis on Infinite Earths). We hadn’t read (or known about) David Goldfarb’s Books of Magic annotations until mid-podcast. Enjoy!

    Listen to Podcast Episode #042 (32 MB, 70 minutes)

    Scott Pilgrim Trailer!!!

    March 25th, 2010 by Martin

    Excited about the Scott Pilgrim movie yet? Watch the new trailer on apple!!!

    (Via io9.)

    Next Bookclub – Books of Magic

    March 7th, 2010 by Martin

    It’s my turn to pick a book for the book club, and since we’re into this modern fantasy genre with the Unwritten (we still need to record a follow-up podcast talking about the last 6 issues or so), I choose The Books of Magic. It’s often cited as Harry Potter contemporary, and I’ve had a signed copy sitting on my shelf for at least a year now waiting for me to read it. (As of this writing, I’m actually about 3/4ths of the way through it.)

    Since most of our regulars have probably already read this, I’ll encourage everyone to read as much as possible of the series, so we can discuss more than just the first TPB, but we’ll probably focus on that as a starting point.

    I propose we meet near the end of this month–Sunday, March 28th at 2PM. We have plenty of time to reschedule before then.

    ReadComics Podcast #041 – Bookclub #14 – The Unwritten #1-5

    February 7th, 2010 by Martin

    This episode of the ReadComics Podcast is Florence, Jason, Mike, Marty and Susie discussing The Unwritten issues #1-5 (the first arc). We go off on tangents about meta-fiction (including Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, Fables, and The Magicians by Lev Grossman), and talk about The Unwritten‘s obvious comparisons to Harry Potter and Books of Magic. We do spoil these early issues, so you’ll want to stay away if you mind that. They’re well worth reading, so go pick up the TPB if you haven’t already!

    Listen to Podcast Episode #041 (37 MB, 120 minutes)

    Kick-Ass trailer is seriously Kick-Ass

    December 23rd, 2009 by Martin

    I don’t know how long this has been out, but this Kick-Ass trailer I just found on youtube mostly features Hit-Girl… kicking ass.

    I don’t really know where this came from, but I think it’s way more interesting than the official trailer, personally.

    ReadComics Podcast #040 – Bookclub #13 – Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    November 22nd, 2009 by Martin

    No introduction can describe what will follow in this podcast. Mike says: “Listen, and godspeed.” Jason says: “Listen and god help you.”

    This is actually only fifteen minutes of podcast #40, and the rest is podcast #41, since we lost everything of the first podcast after a hard-drive write-error. Mike, Jason, Susie, Florence and Marty all read and discussed the recent Marvel adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by Eric Shanower and drawn by Skottie Young.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #040 (35 MB, 77 minutes)

    ReadComics Podcast #039 – Bookclub #12 – Echo

    September 23rd, 2009 by Martin

    Yet another fascinating and tantalizing podcastical tribute to comics! This book club issueissode focused on the awesome Echo, by veteran comic creator Terry Moore.

    Marty, Florence, Mike, Jason and Susie wax your ears off with unquestionable eloquence, only straying satirically from the subject for brief but satisfying interludes. (We’re segue savants, so of course you probably won’t even notice.) This episode is best enjoyed in the company of a well trained room full of monkeys with typewriters.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #039 (27 MB, 58 minutes)

    Blank It comic interview tomorrow

    August 19th, 2009 by Martin

    blank_it_interview_300x300Jackson Ferrell, of This Week in Webcomics has interviewed the co-creators of the Blank It webcomic, Aric and Lem. He is going to post this interview tomorrow in webcomic form, and was kind enough to send over a sneak-preview for readers. (Unfortunately, I didn’t check my email all day, and it’s not much of a preview anymore, but hit the jump below for a couple of images from the interview.)

    Update: The full interview has been posted, so you should go over there and read it!


    ReadComics Podcast #038 – Bookclub #11 – American Born Chinese & The Eternal Smile

    August 16th, 2009 by Martin

    This book club episode of the podcast was composed of the melodic and intellectual voices of Marty, Florence, Mike, Jason, and of course the disembodied Susie, whose choice it was to read American Born Chinese & The Eternal Smile, by Gene Luen Yang (with Derek Kirk Kim on The Eternal Smile). Both books are well worth a read, and we go into great detail about their plots and allegories and meanings contained therein. As with all our bookclub episodes, it’ll be a more entertaining listen if you’ve already read the books in question. Feel free to leave your own commentary and opinions in the comments.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #038 (24 MB, 52 minutes)

    spam subject lines and iPhone interactive comics

    August 3rd, 2009 by Martin

    29_09spam21While I was out of town, a co-worker sent out a link to these awesome one-liner comics inspired by spam email subject lines. As you can see, an ironic meaning is often illustrated, rather than the one the often broken english subjects are meant to invoke. The illustrations/comics are drawn by graphic designer Elliott Burford, whose other projects (in the site’s navigation) are well worth checking out.

    Also in my inbox this morning, (or, perhaps in my twitter stream) was a link to Opertoon‘s iPhone/iPod Touch app Ruben & Lullaby, which is a self-described: “digital comic/game (we call it an “opertoon”) that lets you shape the emotions of a quarreling couple with a touch”. I haven’t downloaded this yet, but I will be checking it out sometime in the near future. It looks quite interesting.

    Dr. Suess Goes To War

    July 15th, 2009 by Martin

    DrSuessGoesToWarI finished my cover-to-cover reading of this amazing book this morning on my way to work. Upon first glimpse, I figured I would simply be reading the cartoons and be done with it, but when I dug in, I actually found the commentary by Richard H. Minear to be so integral to the viewing and understanding of Dr. Suess’s political cartoons that I simply couldn’t proceed without devouring every paragraph. (I even read his analysis at the end, which while it was not quite as entertaining as the guided tour of Dr. Suess’s brilliant cartoons contained within, was still quite entertaining and enlightening.)

    Essentially, Dr. Seuss was the editorial cartoonist for a New York political magazine called PM, for two years from 1941 to 1943. In that time, he was incredibly prolific, and wrote/drew over 400 cartoons.

    One thing I took away from this book was the evidence that Dr. Seuss was unfortunately, not immune to the plague of racism that he himself rallied so strongly against. His treatment of the Japanese, even before the bombing of Pearl Harbor was pretty despicable, (although some might argue justified given the circumstances, I would tend to disagree). However, to his credit, and at least partial redemption in my eyes, he actually visited Japan in 1953, and subsequently wrote Horton Hears a Who.

    This book is a must read for fans of Dr. Seuss, and I think it’s also a very handy history lesson (from the perspective of someone who has never successfully completed an American History course). If you want to just read the cartoons, or supplement the book material, the University of California San Diego’s website hosts an awesome archive of all 400 of Dr. Seuss’s political cartoons. (Only 200 are reprinted in the book.) I wish they’d been scanned (or made available) at a higher resolution, since the details really are what makes this work stand out, but nonetheless it’s an awesome archive of an absolute master of the art.

    ReadComics Podcast #036 – Bookclub #10 – Annihilation

    July 11th, 2009 by Martin

    Today we sat around and shared our impressions of the Annihilation series. This was Chad’s pick for the book club, and he, Florence, Marty, Mike, Jason, Susie (and Tony, who joins us after a while) all give their impressions of the series, or what they read of it.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #036 (36.1 MB, 78 minutes)

    cool superhero mural in San Fran

    June 30th, 2009 by Martin

    san_fran_muralMore photos of this awesome mural (and some backstory) over at Mission Mission. Additional photos on my old friend Doctor Popular’s blog and flickr stream. And some more over at what I’m seeing.

    X-Men Relationship Map

    June 25th, 2009 by Martin

    xmen_relationships_smallSharyn (whose birthday it is today, happy birthday Sharyn!!!) sent me a link to this crazy relationship map. Click the thumbnail to see it full size. She found this over at, which appears to have a whole crap-ton of x-men comic synopses, as well as loads of other x-men content.

    Jason points out that, in all those characters, he could only find one same-sex relationship in the whole map, and two same-sex crushes.

    ReadComics Podcast #035

    June 16th, 2009 by Martin

    This is another “what are we reading” podcast, touching on the following topics: Bean World, The Unwritten, (and various other black-haired bespectacled wizard boys), Chew, The Gaylaxicon booth at Pride this year, Jan’s Atomic Heart, by Simon Roy, Richard K. Morgan’s sci-fi novels, including Altered Carbon and Market Forces, Hawkeye’s new limited series, The New Mutants, Garage Band by Gipi, Gigantic, Ignition City (Warren Ellis), Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, Civil War, and the deaths and subsequent rebirths of various super heroes, including Captain America and The Flash.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #035 (34 MB, 75 minutes)

    ReadComics Podcast #034 – Bookclub #9 – Green Lantern Sinestro Corps Wars

    May 17th, 2009 by Martin

    This comic book book club had us all reading Green Lantern. This book was selected by Jason J, who forced Chad to join our regular cast, Marty, Florence, Mike, Jason T. and Susie. We shared our opinions about the comic, and the many decades of backstory leading up to this run. We also allowed Chad to choose next month’s book club pick: Annihilation. Finally, special thanks to Ookla the Mok, whose song Theme from Super Skrull we use to close out the episode.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #034 (42 MB, 91 minutes)

    ReadComics Podcast #033

    May 13th, 2009 by Martin

    The usual cast of pods in this episode: Florence, Marty, Jason, Mike and Susie. We hope you enjoy listening to this as much as we had fun making it. Topics in rough order of appearance:

    • Handknit Heroes
    • Love and Capes
    • Piperka
    • the new Star Trek Movie
    • Star Trek the original series (on hulu and off)
    • Wolverine
    • possible Deadpool Movie
    • Marvel Zombies
    • Tony Kushner this Saturday
    • superhero musicals, including spiderman
    • Batman Cacophony, written by Kevin Smith
    • Dollhouse & Fox TV
    • various Simpsons comic topics

    Listen to Podcast Episode #033 (22 MB, 49 minutes)

    Next Comic Book Book Club: Green Lantern, The Sinestro Corps War

    April 28th, 2009 by Martin

    green-lantern-sinestro-corps-war-hc-2The next ReadComics book club is planned for Saturday, May 16th, or two weeks from this coming Saturday. We hope to have all the regulars, and some supporting cast for this book club, when we’ll talk about Green Lantern, The Sinestro Corps War, volumes 1, 2, and if you can get your hands on it, Tales of the Sinestro Corps, which collects the final (auxiliary?) bits.

    Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War (Vol. 1, 2, etc.)
    Saturday, May 16th 3PM
    Florence & Marty’s apartment

    ReadComics Podcast #032

    April 17th, 2009 by Martin

    Jason, Marty, Mike and Florence are mostly all drunk, talking (slurring) about the following comic-related subjects (and many others less so): twitter and comics and facebook, Scott Pilgrim, Bomb Queen, New Mutants, Dark Avengers, Grant Morrison, Runaways, Frank Miller’s Daredevil, The Webcomic List,, Susan Boyle and Marty’s mom. We hope you enjoy this rambling masterpiece.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #032 (17 MB, 37 minutes)

    Comic Book Catchup

    April 12th, 2009 by Martin

    batman_ripForgive me ReadComics, for I have sinned. It has been AGES since my last post.

    I’ve read tons of stuff lately. Two TPBs by Grant Morrison, in particular. First was Batman R.I.P., (pictured) which was basically about convincing us that Batman might die, or at least go insane, no maybe even die, no, just loose his mind, no, just die. I think in that order, although it hardly matters. It was only slightly more coherent than Kid Eternity, which was essentially about some folks in hell trying to get mankind to grow up and figure out this whole living on earth thing sucks. At least, I think that’s what the story was about… in the end. Both stories had lots of WTF moments, and neither really ties everything up to any satisfying degree. Both had incredible art, however, that, at least in the case of Kid Eternity, really went a long way toward making the trade worth consuming.

    There have also been numerous single issues in the last few weeks. Florence and I have kept up on our pull, and last week in particular there were at least four new comics to read, including Sword, Echo, Doctor Sleepless and a new one by Warren Ellis called Ignition City. I’ll admit that I devoured Sword, (which had a satisfactory, if not overwhelming amount of content again this month) and Echo (which unfortunately didn’t) right away, but have yet to get to the Warren Ellis stuff. I’m behind on Freak Angels too, and in general have a lot of webcomics to catch up on when I get around to it.

    I also want to announce that we know what comics we’re going to be reading for our next book club, even if we don’t know when it’s going to take place yet. Jason J has announced that we’ll be reading the Sinestro Corps War stuff. He hasn’t let me know exactly which comics yet, but wikipedia says it’s an “11-part saga was originally published between June and December 2007“. It goes on to say that “in addition to the main storyline, four supplemental “Tales of the Sinestro Corps” one-shot specials and a Blue Beetle tie-in issue were concurrently released.” So there are potentially sixteen comics for us to read. It looks like there are at least two trade paperbacks, and possibly a third with the supplemental stuff. Anyway, we should know soon enough when the Book Club will be, and there’ll probably be another post about what books to read then.

    ReadComics Podcast #031

    March 25th, 2009 by Martin

    Tonight’s podcast was just Marty Florence and Jason when we began, but then Susie joins us about ten minutes in. It’s a shorter one, but we manage to at least mention offhandedly the following topics: The Muppet Show Comic Book #1, Boom Studios new Pixar licensing, DC’s After Watchmen …what next? campaign, Ex Machina TPB #7, Batman RIP, old standby topics: Grant Morrison and Walking Dead, Angel: After The Fall, Blank It webcomic, Menage A 3, Piperka, Sister Claire, Promethia, and all female comic book podcasts: Comic Racks and Birds of Geek.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #031 (18 MB, 38 minutes)

    ReadComics Podcast #030 – Bookclub #8 – Thor #1-600

    March 14th, 2009 by Martin

    This bookclub podcast was all about Thor, issues #1-600 (all 13 issues). BRAKKA-DOOOOOOM! We have Florence, Marty, Jason, Mike, Susie (actually present!), and Jason Johnston with us for this lively discussion of Straczynski’s run of Thor.

    Listen to Podcast Episode #030 (26 MB, 57 minutes)

    MarsCon Webcomics Panel

    March 10th, 2009 by Martin

    picture-1Thanks to Jason, I actually knew when MarsCon was this year (for the first time). I went to a few panels, and the highlight of the ones I made it to was the WebComics Panel, with Rob Balder. Rob is the writer for Partially Clips, which I had seen before, and Erfworld, which I hadn’t. I hadn’t been particularly interested in Partially Clips when I discovered it the first time, and a re-visit today confirmed that it’s amusing, but again holds very little interest for me. Erfworld, on the other hand, is now something I’m totally going to devour in little chunks until I catch up to the 131 pages they’ve got in the archives thus far.

    Once I do catch up (and even before), I’ll be using the awesome Piperka to keep track of my progress! Rob mentioned Piperka in the panel, and it’s basically a very light-weight site designed to do nothing more than keep track of your progress in all the webcomics you read. The sweet thing is that it lets you know which comics have new entries since you last visited, making it a perfect one-stop location for webcomic reading.

    Rob (and the other panelists) also mentioned a bunch of other webcomics, including Menage a 3 (which florence and I just read all the way from the beginning–contains mild nudity). If I find more good ones, maybe I’ll post them here also.