Thursday, March 21, 2013

Part 2 | The Guard HQ

Part 2 | The Guard HQ

The Guard-Web Fiction

Part 2

by CM Towns

   Araminta’s eyes fluttered open and close. She felt light, comfortable under sheets, dreaming of dreaming. Finally a shock of memory came rushing back and she popped up-smacking her already hurt head into the bunk above. She groaned in pain, rubbed the top and looked up then she looked around. Araminta was in a room with a couple dressers, a closet, a nightstand by the bed she laid, and a bookcase by the metal door with no handle. There was a type of electronic lock to its side and Araminta got nervous that she had been abducted.
   Her mind raced back to the attack at the school, Reina Tit├ín coming to her rescue only to leave her and-“I must’ve gotten hit,” she said aloud.
   Araminta got up and was surprised by the cold tiled floor. She than noticed she was wearing PJ’s. Rather plain ones but another disturbing thought came to mind of being undressed by perverts. A shiver ran up her spine, she grabbed herself and looked at the door.
   What am I gonna do? Raced inside her head. A sense of nauseousness came up from her stomach into her throat but she fought it down as a the pounding of fear slammed the walls inside her head.

Read the rest at the link above.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comic Fans Want To Have Their Cake, Eat It Too and Maybe Get Some Ice Cream and Have a Parade

So... You want to keep reading your favorite comic books, with your favorite creators and hopefully new fans will find it and the numbers will shoot up and the industry will be saved? Sure...

I guess I'm gonna have to defend the NEW 52 or DCnU or whatever you feel like calling it today. I have to 'cuz this sort of attitude that DC is making the biggest mistake ever and comics are going to suffer is stupid. Why? Because comic book fans HAVE NO OPTIMISIM. They want a magic answer to all that ails the industry without it fucking up their beloved Supergirl run well guess what? Not happening? That indy book you love is not gonna magically go from selling around 7K one month to 50K in a years time. That wonderful superhero comic thats selling 40K? Its gonna need a kick in the ass to double its figures.

Don't get me wrong-when DC announced this, like when they or Marvel announce events/reboots/relaunches, I roll my eyes. I know stuff is going down that I don't care about. I also know there are those IDIOT FANS who decide all hope is loss and decide to leave. You know the ones, so much faith in the big 2 they can't process sticking/trying to alternative comics or manga.(I try to match my superhero budget with non Big 2 books. BTW-check out Echo Complete Edition. Awesome stuff.)

Fans of comics are jaded. I know the message boards isn't usually a good barometer to measure an entire audience but the sales figures agree. Its been a bad year especially.

So DC has their plan. Could it have been a better plan? Of course but better a drastic plan that can be improved than sitting by and hoping that 4th Wonder Woman relaunch works(we're on four right?) or that people will wise up and realize that there is more to their superhero line up than Green Lantern or Batman.

So now the launch is underway, some people are completely avoiding it, that's their call. Those same people are already hoping it derails so they can pop out and say "I TOLD YOU SO."

"So... you're happy the industry is dying?"


"Than what would you have done?"

"Keep producing quality stories and showing your existing customer base that you care?"

"And do these quality stories exist without decades of continuity so that the proverbial 'new fan' can some how figure out why Dick Grayson is Batman in Detective Comics while Bruce is Batman in Batman Inc.? Or will you tell them to buy this trade or that trade to catch them up? How about what happened to Wonder Woman and why Supermans walking the Earth? Explain the last four years of Green Lantern to sum up how there are several different rings and we went through Sinestro Crops War to Blackest Night to War of the Green Lanterns?"

I know I want to have THAT conversation.

Continuity-important to comic geeks and a giant wall to non-comic reading audience. Its BS to think that all superhero comic writers can just create stories that will somehow allow them to pull some character that you haven't seen since the 80s and give it a new gloss for existing fans and new fans alike. Yeah, some writers can, most can't.

Create new villains? Yeah-that worked for Wonder Woman almost every time out right? Name a villain of hers that was created in the last 20 years that keeps being used in her book. Let me help you-NONE.

How about those fans who hated everything published between this year and that year?You know-those years that have influenced the work YOU LIKED. They probably are not checking out the same books.

Someone just watched Batman: TAS for the first time, wants a Batgirl book with Babs, gets Stephanie Brown. Really confused.

Continuity is why the argument falls flat. Perception form the mainstream of the industry also doesn't help.

So DC relaunches everything with a new #1. New continuity in their main line. Similar to the 80s(with the exception all new #1's). So while I totally understand the anger about the relaunch(Batman Inc on hiatus? The new Birds of Prey line up? No Stephanie Brown? The current Teen Titans team and creative team gone? NOOOOOOOOOO!!!) I just can't understand the desire/pessimism to see it fail because the point is to try and help the market-you comic fans want that right?

Justice League #1, the kick off book on the last day of August, is expected of over 200K orders. That's impressive. Even more so September's #1's looking to place 6 in the 100K area. How long has it been since more than 2 books broke 100K in the same month? One of those titles is Batman written by Scott Snyder. He wrote that Detective Comic run everyone likes(I haven't read it. Waiting for someone to describe it without the worlds psychological, grim n' gritty, or James Gordons son could be a killer"). Thats 100K vs. the current 40K. On Twitter writer Gail Simone said Batgirls numbers were looking really good. I mean, yeah, the figures will go down but can we hope for a moment that maybe the books will be good enough that they stabilize above the 25-35K mark. Because that would be progress. Can we hope that DC's digital comics plan somehow works well and those people who can't find their LCS or just prefer everything digital try out the new DC books?

Now-maybe this will fail because the stories are not good. However, maybe they are. Maybe they are real good and a whole slew of people are going to miss out because they are angry. I hated the fact tat after I looked up the new solicitations that I was buying slightly more DC. 12, up from 8. Yeah-not a significant up turn but still. I didn't like the solicitation for Green Arrow but I like the character and have been itching to read a book with him for a while. So I'm going to try it. I didn't put Superboy on my order form but I hear Rose Wilsons showing up so maybe I'll look into it. Plus I am excited for Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics and Justice League Dark. These stories have a sot at being good and judging them all as terrible just because of frustration at DC's notion to relaunch is stupid. This is not a couple new #1's this is a whole line with some the classic characters, b-listers, and strange choices.

Look-DC is trying something that will kick their sales in to gear. Are they out to save the market? More like making sure they make their new bottom line but that bottom line is a shot in the arm the industry needs because I'm really not interested in seeing this headline again: "Green Lantern now lowest selling #1 issue of all time."

Okay-thats it. Stop being so negative and hope that the stories are good and that this will help comics out a bit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My September Order Form

Due to complications, can't risk doing videos on Youtube right now. So back to blogging. I'm going through my Mail Order Comic form and something I threw on Amazon pre-order to show you what I will be buying off the September Previews.

Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee-Truth be told I'm burnt out on Johns(and he has killed my interest in Green Lantern for the time being) and while I grew up on Lee's artwork and generally like him, I'm not a super fan. That said, I'm going to give this a chance. Why? Because fuck it-Johns and Lee can do huge things in the right environment. Johns' JSA work is my favorite team superhero run only second to the classic Claremont X-Men run. Jim Lee can draw big fights, big characters, and bring the dynamics. If this book fails I'll be surprised but at its worst it should still be popcorn comics.

Justice League International #1 by Dan Jurgans and Aaron Lopretsi-This I'm mixed on so I'm giving it a few issues. I like old school JLI but Jurgans, when taking over the book back in the day, lost the charm. But I like most this cast and Lopretsi is an underrated artist. If this sucks or is boring its gonna be because of Jurgans. So don't drop the damn ball.

Wonder Woman #1 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang-No artist has ever drawn Diana better in a new costume than her classic costume. Chiang is very much the same but Chiang is gold and Azzarello killed on 100 Bullets though the little superhero work I've read from him was 'meh.' I know there have been raves on both these guys Dr. Thirteen book(just ordered) so I'm hoping they can bring the heat and kick ass on Wonder Woman. My girl Diana needs to start kicking some serious ass again.

Green Arrow #1 by JT Krul and Dan Jurgans-Dan is the artist on this book and thats fine because I like his art better than his bland writing(discounting original Booster Gold. That was the epicness). JT Krul is considered bad news but I was digging his Teen Titans and honest to whatever deity I need some GA action on paper. I know he's in Justice League but it's been a long while since I picked up a GA book. That said, the solicitation sucked: Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice…by breaking every law.
Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.
Also, the cover sucks Brett Booth.

Mister Terrific #1 by Eric Wallace and Roger Robinson-Three black superheroes getting books but I'm only buying this one because Terrific is my favorite black hero. Been a long while and I'm happy to see this despite the fact the new outfit is bad. C'mon DC, what the fuck! The JG Jones cover is nice though. Don't know the creators so whatever. From the solicit it sounds like Terrific will be a player and beating up on mad scientists. The first part is a roll of the eyes but the last part is sweet.

Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales-It's Morrison so I'm buying it. The fact it's Superman is a bonus(All Star Superman for the win). The fact Rags Morales is on makes me wonder if the book will be on time. That said, Rags is cool.

Batwoman #1 by JH Williams III and W. Haden Blackman(also Amy Reeder)-Williams co-writes and alternates arc duties with the Amy Reeder on Batwoman, the only Batbook I care about. Funny how the relaunch killed my Batfamily books. No Batman Inc. until next year, they changed Batgirls, and I don't care about the four different Batman titles. Williams is a fucking awesome artist, best in the biz. He is slow so Amy Reeder, whose good herself, does the alternating arcs. I don't know about the Blackman or Williams himself as far as the writing goes. Fuck-where's Greg Rucka? Thats right, DC pissed him off and he up and left.

Catwoman #1 by Judd Winnick and Guillem March-So, okay, Batfamily book. My feelings on Catwomans always been mixed but I'm trying it just because. Winnick gets a forever free pass for that Superman/Shazam: First Thunder book. One of my all time faves and March is an alright cheesecake artist.

Justice League Dark #1 by Peter Milligen and Mikel Janin-Three Justice League books? And I'm buying them all? Yep and this is the one I'm most interested in. Despite the new look for Zatanna(which is just goth chick clubbing versus Magician outfit) I'm in. Despite his long history I have never read anything by Milligan and I just looked up Janin online and I dig what I see. Plus Ryan Sook on covers is always nice. This book was announced with all 'the Dark' titles for more supernatural and weirdness. The best books announced because I'm picking up three.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli-I like Franky from Seven Soldiers story by Grant Morrison. Don't know this team other than cover artist JG Jones but I'm hopeful that this book will be a big guns drawn monster killing super bash! Come on and impress me.

Voodoo #1 by Ron Marz and Sami Basri-I like Voodoo, she's my fave of all the WildCATs characters Jim Lee created. Dont know the creative team but I hear Marz was killing it over on Witchblade for years and looking at Deviant Art, Basri gots a neat style. I'm down.

Stormwatch #1 by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda-I didn't care for what I've read by Cornell despite everyone else being entranced. Don't know Sepulveda's art. My knowledge of Stormwatch and Authority is limited. So why buy it? I guess I'm just plan curious with all this integration of the Wildstorm superheroes. Plus I want to see Midnighter break in the face of a gay basher.

Gotham Central Book 3: On the Freak Beat by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and others-The new softcover collection collects Renee Montoya's excursion to Keystone City and the Dead Robin arc. Nice.

Tiny Titans #44 by Art Baltazara and Franco-Awww yeah!

Fables #109 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham-Still one of the most dependable books on the market on top of being one of the best. I don't know what else to say as this continues plot points form two different stories. All I know is a definite buy!!!

Lovestruck OGN by Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon-Solict reads: It's a love story, but not like you think. There's no boy meets girl or star-crossed soul mates. Love is a billion-dollar industry. Cupid's the megalomaniac CEO. And Kali Monroe gets paid to break your heart. Love is all around us. These are the pricks who control it. Sound sintrguing enough to try it.

Hack Slash #8 by Tim Seeley and Daniel Leister-The twisted slasher/horror film inspired craziness continues. These being solicited months in advanced I have not read any of the first parts to FAME MONSTER arc but imagine I will soon. This is good times right here.

Morning Glories #13 by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma-The big alternative book right now is weird, mysterious and pretty dark. It's so good instead of a real solicit they just threw a short quote from a review on it to tell you its good. Normally I don't like that shit but since I'm already reading I don't care.

Vescell #2 by Enrique Carrion and John Upchurch-Don't know squat about this, just trying it out. It won't be till August that I see this title.

Suicide Girls Vol. 1 by a number of people-I hear this book is CA-RAZAY!!! Okay, moving on...

Broadsword Comics
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #70 by Jim Balent and Holly Golightly-The THIRD LONGEST RUNNING UNINTERRUPTED FEMALE HEADLINED TITLE ON THE MARKET continues. Solict reds: Two warriors clash. One from a world of deep blue waters and one from a world of magick. An assault takes place in a sacred temple.
Treasures are stolen and a mermaid is left to die. Not all Witches seek harmony in the world and not all mermaids sing under the sea.
By the way, the first is Femforce(I think its on #163) and the second is Witchblade(#150). Take that DC comics and the constant relaunches!

Avengers Academy #19 by Christos Gage and Tom Raney-Fear Itself tie-in! Fuck that, all I care about is Avengers Academy because this is my favorite comic book right now. Its fun, its action packed, it moves quick, its what superhero comics is all about.

Punisher #3 by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto-Buying it for the Rucka

X-Men #17-18 by Victor Gischler and Jorge Molina-Gischler is back, don't know Molina, all I know is X-Men is on a roll. Even if the Fantastic Four are involved I'm down. Because this book is X-Men at their most action packed and fun. I wonder whats gonna happen to this book with the team split after Schism. Hmmm....

Deadpool MAX #12 by David Lapham and Kyle Baker-The last issue of the book? Nope, it's coming back which is cool. This craziness is proof that Deadpool 'can't stop, won't stop.' Seriously ow many comic book characters become so popular without their own cartoon or movie these days? At AX people were taking pix of a cosplayer dressed as him like crazy.

Avengers West Coast: Sins of the Past by Various-I got the last West Coast Avengers trade, I think I'm missing one before that but I don't care. The last one collected the start of the series and I was having a ball with it so I'm picking this bad boy up. $35? Not after my MOC discount. Under $22? Sounds better.


Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vol. 16-If you don't know 20th Century biys you are just missing out. The book is awesome, epic, and everythign else you can say. Urasawa kills just about all the comics out there right now with this book.

Skip Beat vol. 25 by Yoshiki Nakamura-Shojo goodness.

Bamboo Blade vol. 10 by Masahiro Tosuka and Aguri Igarshi-The continuing adventures of the kendo club. Like the anime, love the manga. This and Skip I put on Amazon so I can purchase later. Trying to keep my order form under a certain budget.

Thats it. Holla at yo' boy!