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For dubbing our San Diego condo “Hive Five Headquarters,” we sure were quiet during the actual convention. Surely, the other blogs were covering all of the actual news stuff (OMG EYE-STABS) while we were out, you know, having fun and stuff. But we wouldn’t be much of a comic blog if we didn’t talk about San Diego Comic-Con itself, so here’s the day-by-day goings on through the eyes of us High Fivers.

Wednesday, July 21

Not much really goes on at Preview Night, but it’s always nice to get the lay of the land. Early access to the floor and first pick of whatever is for sale is cool and all, but that’s more or less all that happens. The highlight of Preview Night (for me) was definitely getting Bill Willingham to sign my copies of Ironwood #7-10 (pfft, don’t judge me). He was shocked when I pulled them out of their bags, and for a minute I thought the whole exchange was going to be super-awkward, but then he jovially asked for our I.D. cards and starting sharing some insider information with us, like how his former studio mates’ mugs are hidden in the cover art of issue #10.

Maggie’s Preview Night highlight? Shaking Michael Dorn’s hand and mumbling “Thank you,” like a big dumb fangirl.

Aside from that, I managed to pick up Power Man and Iron Fist #50, Flash Volume 1 #289 (first Firestorm back-up, the first thing George Pérez ever did professionally) and DC Comics Presents #17 (Superman and Firestorm team-up, a huge hole in my Ronnie Raymond collection). Hell yes.

Thursday, July 22

All the other blogs are putting in their two cents about this, so we might as well follow suit. Yes, Westboro Baptist Church protested Comic-Con and it’s “worship of false idols.” While High Five! unilaterally agreed with Warren Ellis’ plan of “ignore, ignore, ignore,” some attendees opted to counter-protest. Whatever, go for it. My biggest problem was that while most of the signs mocked religious intolerance (I did laugh at “the Cylons destroyed the 12 Colonies for your sins” and Maggie loved the “Kill All Humans!” sign wielded by a Bender),  some of the signs in the counter-protest (namely “Fuck God”) were just as offensive as Westboro’s signs, more or less giving Phelps and crew exactly what they wanted. Oops.

Inside the convention center, we got Hava all badged up and headed straight for the “BOOM! Irredeemable/Incorruptible” panel. Highlights included the potential for character-specific one-shot tie-ins and listening to Waid and Peter Krause discuss their writing process. Oh, and the Irreedemable perfumes by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (friends of Hava’s, plug plug plug).

Later we hit up the “Mondo Marvel” and “DC Comics 75th Anniversary” panels. Holy shit, I could listen to Dennis O’Neil (Green Lantern/Green Arrow!) and Jerry Robinson (creator of Alfred, Robin, and the freakin’ Joker!) talk all day. Fun Fact: According to Jerry Robinson, Batman’s sidekick was NOT named after the bird, but after Robinson’s own childhood nickname.

Maggie and Hava tried to hit up the “Geek Girls Exist” panel but the place was well over capacity and half-full of dudes. Bummer! Still, rather than pout, the girls gave up getting in and held their own Geek Girls panel at a bar on Fifth Street, because this is San Diego Comic-Con, and you can always find something awesome to do when your original plan falls apart. Big congratulations to the Geek Girls’ Network for hosting a massively successful panel!

Later on, Maggie went over to w00tstock and met Wil Wheaton and Aaron Douglas and Matt Fraction while Hava, Jon, and I went to the BOOM! Studios’ Fifth Anniversary Drink-Up and spent upwards of an hour and a half chatting up Peter Krause. Hell of a way to end a night.

Friday, July 23

Friday was Room 6DCE day. After sitting through the “Marvel Video Games” panel (and, I’ll admit, “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” looks pretty rad), the barrage of DC panels began.

First up was “Spotlight on Grant Morrison” and, my god, that was entertaining. Between his bajillion impressions, he announced the release of an Absolute We3 and revealed that Seaguy: Eternal will be coming sooner rather than later.

Next up was the “Batman: The Return” panel. The stage was packed, with Grant Morrison, Bryan Q. Miller, Gail Simone, Paul Dini, Paul Cornell, Judd Winick, Scott Snyder, Frazer Irving, David Finch, Dustin Nguyen, and Mike Marts (I probably forgot somebody). Biggest news was that Morrison will be replaced by Peter Tomasi on Batman and Robin while Morrison starts a new Batman team-up book called Batman Inc. Paul Cornell will also write Knight and Squire (which we’re all pretty psyched for) and a Batman Beyond ongoing was hinted at. Also, the whole panel kept joking about how Dick Grayson is about to get “a bullet in the brain” meaning that I’m pretty sure Jon and I were right (at least about something).

Next was the “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” panel with J. Michael Straczynski, Jeff Lemire, Sterling Gates, Shane Davis, and Paul Cornell. Straczynski discussed his upcoming run on the “Grounded” storyline in Superman (nothing we didn’t already know) and the Superman: Earth One graphic novel he’s writing, with art by Shane Davis. Cornell revealed that Neil Gaiman’s Death will be a major character in Action Comics #894. The biggest news (to us, at least) was that the Phantom Stranger would be a major character in an upcoming Superboy book by Jeff Lemire. YES.

The last panel of the day was “DC Nation.” Dan DiDio, Straczynski, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Jim Lee (flanked by fans in costumes, including a Darkseid who stayed frighteningly in-character) revealed a few future projects, but nothing too crazy. Mostly that Geoff Johns will write a book starring Bart Allen and the other speedsters called Flash: Speed Force, that he’s writing a Dex-Starr Valentine’s Day special, and that he has an upcoming secret project with Grant Morrison.

On the way out, after nearly six hours parked in 6DCE, we ran into fellow blogger Kelson from Speed Force. Who’d have thought people from the internet have, like, faces and stuff!

Maggie and Hava headed over to the Geek Girls Tweet-Up while Jon and I went to Tweet House Party on the U.S.S. Midway and watched William Shatner, Brent Spiner, and LeVar Burton promote a website they knew nothing about and then run away to a VIP area. At least we got to be serenaded by Alice Cooper’s son’s band (Oh God. No).

Saturday, July 24

By this point, we were exhausted, and we still needed to get a ton of shopping done. The only panel we attended on Saturday was “Avatar Press and Max Brooks” where they talked endlessly about Crossed and Lady Death before casually mentioning that Warren Ellis is working on a second volume to Ignition City and that Supergod #4 is fiiiiinally ready to ship next Wednesday. While there wasn’t much news on the Ellis at Avatar front, listening to Max Brooks riff for 45 minutes was a hoot. He even touched on inter-fandom animosity, saying, “Everyone gets to have something, even teenage girls who are afraid of penises. Suck my blood, but don’t touch my tits!”

The rest of the day was dedicated to buying books and gathering sketches (we’ll share those in a separate post) and autographs. Jon managed to track down a sweet copy of October 1976’s Captain Britain #1 (complete with mask) and Maggie got June 1967’s Strange Adventures #201 (featuring an old Animal Man story that’s screaming for the Silver Age Recap treatment).

The most awesome thing of all, however, was talking extensively with Frazer Irving (who drew a three-second Batman for Maggie even though he wasn’t supposed to) and getting a bunch of books signed by Grant Morrison. Oh, and this.

We win at everything.

Sunday, July 25

I guess Hall H had nothing going on because the Exhibit Hall was fucking packed. Everybody walking past the immense line to get signatures and sketches from Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Francis Manapul asked what the deal was and then walked away, unimpressed by some of the best artists in the business.

Maggie gathered 3 out of 4 signatures for her copy of 52 #1 last weekend, with a bit of Con luck on Sunday. We were talking with Greg Rucka at the Oni Booth about some of his upcoming books, including the next issue of Stumptown and a new Queen & Country novel.  As Rucka signed some comics for Maggie, up walked Geoff Johns. Rucka signed 52, then turned around and handed it to Johns for her. The two writers shared an “Aw! Remember the good old days!?” moment, and Maggie did a fist pump because in case you didn’t know, now that Johns is running half the DCU, his signing lines are enormous.

The only panel we attended on Sunday was the “DC Town Hall Meeting.” Dan DiDio and Jim Lee really, really wanted to know what we thought of digital comics. (Answer: We like them, but don’t you dare fuck with our weekly books.) Also, Maggie may have terrfied poor Mr. DiDio. He brought it on himself though, when he asked (albeit jokingly) if she didn’t mean to be at a Harry Potter panel instead.  Sorry, DiDio. You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

We’ve got more San Diego news in store, including some reviews and the High Five! Sketchbook, San Diego edition. Stay tuned!

The passing of Harvey Pekar requires acknowledgment, not just because we’re a comics blog and this is news from our geeky world, but because Pekar was a legitimately important writer who deserves the recognition and appreciation of all of us, whether you’re a nerd or not. With comics’ longevity in our culture comes the sad fact that there are precious few true innovators of the medium left with us. We lost another titan today, as Harvey Pekar passed away of causes yet-undetermined. He was 70 years old.

His creation, American Splendor, was a pioneering effort in independent comics, an autobiographical book depicting the real-life “drama” of the human condition told by an anonymous file clerk in Cleveland, Ohio, far away from Gotham and the center of the comic book universe. His book was populated by Pekar’s own friends, his co-workers, and anybody he interacted with in the day to day, and the stories told within its pages all came from incidents in his own life. The book was illustrated by dozens of artists since its first issue in 1976 (including, famously, Pekar’s legendary buddy R. Crumb) and over the course of its run became recognized as one of the best and most influential creator-owned properties ever.

Harvey’s writing in American Splendor was favorably compared to greats like Anton Chekhov in its narrative focus on the ephemeral emotionalism of moments between moments rather than any definitive set of linear events as they might relate to a traditional style of storytelling. But unlike Chekhov, who wrote initially for money on the side before formally committing himself to the craft of writing, Pekar was never any kind of literary genius. Rather, he was akin to those other DIY-ers that dotted the artistic landscape of latter half of the 20th century, driven by something innate and maybe a little profound, to stay up all night to write down the things that he wanted other people to see in his world, even if it meant being extra-tired during his double shift at the VA the next day.

Following the underground success of American Splendor, Pekar would be “discovered” any number of times in the ensuing years by any number of outsiders who found novelty in glimpsing the mundane existence of this glum little weirdo from the distant Mid-West. In his willingness to indulge potential readers, he even became a bit of a side-show attraction at times, as when he appeared eight times on Late Night with David Letterman, culminating with an acrimonious airing of grievance that once again relegated him to national obscurity, save for those few viewers who might have actually gone on to pick up a copy of his most recent issue.

But Harvey’s insistence that he never be “co-opted” was equal parts a commitment to his art and to himself, knowing that he could not make his comic if he ever believed himself to be another phony. Even as neurotic, cantankerous and put-upon as the man could be, he was also never nearly as self-serious as his public persona might have lead one to believe. How could he be? American Splendor was downright severe in its sincerity, and showed not one iota of inauthenticity in the four decades that it was published. His body of works are paradoxically the least self-aware metatextual texts ever created. It simply couldn’t have worked otherwise.

Harvey Pekar was a Great in the world of comics, if never more than a regular guy in the real one. And he will be missed.

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High Five loves to talk about writers almost as much as we love to talk about superheroes. Today, I’m taking a break to discuss a talent that falls outside of our typical modus operandi while remaining under the larger umbrella of Comics. Americans can be notorious for our ignorance of world events at any given moment. Disinterested in world news, we are often disinterested in world culture as well. We like British writers because they speak English, and we like French comics because they make us feel cultured. But, if pressed to name a Spanish comic most of us would say “Ferdinand the Bull.”

The 1970s were a fantastic era for popular art, film, and music. Rap, electronica, heavy metal, and punk rock were born; lightweight color cameras were invented enabling an explosion of beautiful motion pictures; and Spain saw the rise of artist Miguel Calatayud as he illustrated Los Doce Trabajos de Hercules and Peter Petrake. With boldness and a simplicity that belies its craftsmanship, Calatayud evoked raw emotion from his vibrant landscapes.

What I find most fascinating about Catalayud is the blatant influence of Pablo Picasso. This should hardly surprise us as both men were Spanish. Yet, for as famous as Mr. Picasso is, we rarely consider the influence of his art upon thes in a world of High Art, detached from the simple musings of pop and comics. In thick lines and bold colors Miguel Calatayud shows us this is not always true. contemporary popular culture of his time. Picasso’s art live

Sadly, all or most of Catalayud’s work is out of print. If you want to own his work it may be possible to find something used on eBay, or if you’re really lucky it might turn up in a used book store. If you get that lucky I’ll envy you forever. The rest of us must be content with what is available in the fabulous world of the internet. You can find more information at grainedit.com and bibliotecathule.blogspot.com.

Happy readings,


Heyo everybody! Jonny here. It’s no secret that here at High Five! we love us some BOOM! Studios. Recently I was given the opportunity to interview artist/writer Peter Krause whose work includes pencils for Irredeemable, The Power of Shazam!, and sundry 90s Star Trek comics. Published below is my Q&A session with Mr. Krause, conducted via emails and interwebs:


High Five! Comics: Thanks again for the interview. We always have fun interacting with industry people and getting human faces/personalities for the books we enjoy reading every month. When did you start reading comics?

Peter Krause: Somewhere around 9-10 years old.  We had a drugstore around the corner from where I grew up in south Minneapolis, and comics were stocked on a spinner rack there.  That’s what I spent my allowance money on–comics.  I always bought Superman or World’s Finest.  My brother bought Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans.  Later, I discovered Marvel comics.  Spider-Man and Daredevil became my new favorites.

HF!C: Some people grow up knowing exactly what they want to do, and most of us stumble in to a job that works for us. Where on this spectrum did comic illustration fall for you? Was it something you dreamed of doing as a kid, or something you fell into?

PK: Oh yeah, I dreamed of it.  In grade school, I became good friends with two other guys who also drew all the time.  We’d hang out at each others’ houses after school, draw and trade comics.  But drawing comics for a living remained a dream.  My parents always encouraged my drawing, but somehow I didn’t ever think I’d make a living with my art.  I  graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in studio arts and also a degree in journalism.  My first freelance job after school was a writing gig. It wasn’t until Lisa and I got married that I reconnected with my love of drawing comics.  After several years of working with smaller companies–including a self-publishing stint–I got my first freelance assignment with DC.

HF!C: You’ve been in the business long enough to have been influenced by some of the Silver and Bronze Age artists. What can you tell us about your influences (inside, and outside of comics), and what artists have been most important to you?

PK: The most obvious influence is Curt Swan.  I was a Superman fan–first and foremost.  Curt drew the Superman I grew up with.  When I was showing samples at conventions, Curt Swan’s name was brought up in comparison.  Not that I was as good as Curt, mind you.  But the influence was there.  Curt was a Minnesota guy, like me, so maybe there was something in the water! Other favorites from my childhood were Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr., Gene Colan, Gil Kane, Nick Cardy, Carmine Infantino, John Buscema.  And of course, Steranko.  Steranko just completely blew our minds!  We’d never seen anything like his stuff before!

HF!C: Do you have an artistic philosophy?

PK: Always make your present assignment a bit better than the last.  And don’t be afraid to fail–failure leads to learning.

HF!C: When I read your 90s work I notice a stark (and pleasing) contrast from the exaggerated, often abrasive imagery that was so popular at that time. Did you feel any pressure then to mimic that style?

PK: Ultimately, I think you draw the way you have to draw.  Not that you can’t learn from others, but I was attracted more to the solid, Alex Raymond approach to storytelling.  I remember Frank Miller saying that chasing trends is a fool’s errand.  That can apply to your art as well.

HF!C: Were there any offers between “Power of Shazam” and “Irredeemable” that you turned down?

PK: I did turn down some things, but it wasn’t like comic editors were beating down my doors.  I’m not sure that “Power of Shazam!” was seen as a success at DC–Jerry Ordway has commented on that in his Modern Masters book.  I did get a few smaller assignments from DC–I’m sure that was Mike Carlin’s doing.  But I was getting some interest from local ad agencies and production houses to do storyboards and marker comps, so I turned my attention to that line of work.

HF!C: “Irredeemable” is a year old now. How has the critical and commercial success of the work impacted you or your career?

PK: I can easily say that the last 15-16 months have been the busiest of my drawing career.  I still do some storyboard work–the pay is just too good.  When you put a monthly book on top of that, it makes for many hours at the drawing table. The Eisner nominations–“Best New Series” and “Best Continuing Series”–were a bit of a shock.  What impact that has on my career is too early to say.  But Mark Waid has been very supportive, and my editor Matt Gagnon has worked around the rest of my drawing assignments.  And since I’m giving out kudos, Andrew Dalhouse’s colors have been great.

HF!C: “Irredeemable” has given you a unique opportunity to create characters from scratch. How much of yourself is in these characters?

PK: When we started working on “Irredeemable”, Mark gave me a rough outline of the characters we needed to design.  I actually followed up with some more written details on each of the characters as I saw them.  I’d hate to say that there are aspects of my personality in each of them–that’s what our imaginations are for.  But we have striven to make the characters human with real flaws–some of which have had fatal consequences.  And some of the characters I identify with more closely than others.

HF!C: Do you have a favorite character, and is it because you love or hate that character?

PK: Qubit and Kaidan are my favorites.  Qubit because he’s a bit obsessive and kind of a straight-line thinker–I’m a bit too much like that myself.  Qubit is the closest character we have to Reed Richards–but perhaps without the moral certitude Reed has.  Reed Richards has always been one of my favorite comics characters. Kaidan appeals to me because she likes being part of a team, and also is a bit unsure of her worth.  She’s at heart an optimist, and maybe a bit naive.  All those things make it easy to root for her.  And as you will see in one of the upcoming issues, she discovers another aspect of her powers.  I think Mark has big plans for her.

HF!C: In issue #9 of “Irredeemable” we saw a good deal of role reversal. Tony seemed fragile and human, whereas The Paradigm became much darker and almost sinister. Has your perception of the characters changed as this project moved forward, or have you and Mr. Waid maintained a consistent vision?

PK: I think the Paradigm/Plutonian conflict has not been inconsistent, but it has brought out hidden aspects of the heroes’ personalities.  I think the Paradigm is wrestling with the “ends and means” dilemma, and that’s pushing them to a place where they are a bit unsure.   But that’s a place where we can tell a lot of cool stories.

HF!C: Before we go, is there anything you’d like to plug, promote, or otherwise talk about?

PK: I’m on a bit of hiatus, as my next issue of “Irredeemable” will be #16.  The incredible Diego Barreto will be drawing issues #13-15. I’d just like to thank everyone for supporting the book.  If you haven’t read it, please give “Irredeemable” a try!


Congrats to Peter Krause, Mark Waid, and the rest of the creative team/staff at BOOM! Studios for their much deserved Eisner nomination. Irredeemable #13 is in stores now (sadly lacking Krause’s art, yet pleasantly featuring fine pencils by Diego Barreto). Many thanks to Peter Krause for taking time out of his schedule to mingle with us internet nerds.

Happy readings!


Cartoonist Shannon Wheeler made a name for himself after years of penning the misadventures of not-quite-superhero Too Much Coffee Man, one of the most oddest, funniest and occasionally heartbreaking alternative comic strips of the 1990s . After a long run on the overly-caffeinated, existentially tormented hero in the long red pajamas that includes hundreds of strips, a number of collections and a two act opera, Wheeler has moved on to greener cartooning pastures, providing cartoons to the hallowed halls of The New Yorker. This month sees the release of The Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus by Dark Horse Comics, representing the sum total of Wheeler’s work on the strip. I got a chance to talk with him briefly about opera, television, beginnings, endings and the travails of life on the college paper.

Ian Chant: The Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus comes out later this month, collecting all Too Much Coffee Man comics, from anyplace ever. Anytime I see any omnibus of anything come out, I can’t help but think about something Bill Watterson wrote in the foreword to the big Calvin and Hobbes collection that came out, to the effect of how weird it is to see the length and breadth of a series in a box essentially. Is there something jarring about that?

Shannon Wheeler: There is, I think that’s what causing me some of the mental problems in dealing with it. I mean, just looking at this thing and just going ‘Well, I put ten years of effort and sacrifice to make this.’ Was it really worth it is what you really have to face up against. And of course there’s no answer, and you alternate between feeling a lot of pride and a lot of shame, and ultimately you get to ‘Well, this is what it is and this is what I’ve done’ and you move forward. But it’s a lot of emotions to deal with, definitely.

IC: To you, is Too Much Coffee Man a comic strip, or a weird superhero story, or something else altogether?

SW: I don’t know. I thought it was going to be something that would last one strip. I thought this would be one gag, and I did it sort of as a play. It was just a one off. And then I turned in some ads for a book store, and I thought ‘I can do a comic strip that’s an advertisement.’ So I did a little ad for them, and then I was like, oh, I’ll just do another one, and I’ll do a second issue of the mini comic, and I just kept coming up with stories that seemed to suit the way I thought about things. It became a lot more personal than I thought it would be, too, and it became very autobiographical in an sort of an existential way. A lot of my stuff was always autobiographical, but emotionally I found I could express these thoughts and fears, and it was just so efficient and convenient I just kept having ideas, and I thought ‘If this is my inspiration, why fight it, why do something more artsy… if what I want to do is write Too Much Coffee Man stories. I don’t know, it made me happy.

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The 2010 Eisner Award nominations have been released, and if you’re like me, you probably had a mixed reaction, something along the lines of: “Hooray, comics I like! Boo, comics I didn’t read!”

…which is why you and I shouldn’t be chosen to hand out the industry’s most prestigious and coveted award: we’re amateurs! We’ve got way too many things going on in our lives that prevent us from reading all the comics we wish we could. I mean, right now I’m finishing a masters thesis, sculpting the minds of impressionable college students, and preparing a move across a state that’s bigger than most European countries, and you’re… making some sort of contribution to society that doesn’t require an orange jumpsuit on the side of a road, I’m sure. The point is that comics readers like you and me possess neither the breadth of familiarity with the vast quantity of books that are printed every year, nor the time to read them. Any picks we’d make for the “best” comics of the year would be a woefully incomplete selection from the pool of whatever titles we’ve both read and liked in the last twelve months.

Luckily there’s a group of dedicated professionals behind the most important honors in the industry, right? Well, yes and no. The truth is that while the Eisners are a fine and meaningful flagship institution dedicated to a criminally under-publicized art form, they’re far from perfect. It’s no crime. Every awards system has to revamp every once in a while, and when they do and Sandra Bullock can still end up winning an Oscar for the fucking Blind Side, perhaps they can revamp again. It’s just the way of things. So here now is my three point plan to help make the Eisner Awards the prize they deserve to be.

Point #1: Enlarge the Nominations Committee

The Eisner nominees are currently selected by some of the finest experts available from all types of comics people, be they from the industry, academia, retail or general readership. Their pedigrees are unimpeachable, and they should be, since these are the folks who have to read every submission for potential nomination and then whittle the entries down to just five nominees. Unfortunately, there are only five judges selected every year to comprise the pool of judges.

This is just comically small, and can’t possibly represent the full spectrum of styles and sensibilities spoken to by the massively diverse number of potential nominees every year. I understand that these folks are the crème de la crème, but can’t we keep an acceptably excellent standard in a pool of, say, 25 judges? Not every judge can have 25 years of experience running a store, but there are plenty of folks who have ten years and the time to read the submissions. Widening the pool would also increase diversity, meaning that maybe we could see more than one woman, or hell, anybody that isn’t white.

Finally, this diversity would also translate to a broader spectrum of experience in readership, thus hopefully limited the effects of conventional wisdom that sometimes plagues the Eisner nominations. Too often the judging committee keeps the old guard of previously-nominated books in play for slightly too long, taking away valuable spots from other deserving potential selections. A bigger pool of judges would keep long-running, previously honored books honest, and give every opportunity to elevate younger titles a fighting chance.

Point #2: Reduce the Voters Pool

Here we have a problem that’s the opposite of the nominations process. Simply put, too damned many people get to vote for the Eisners. Of the literally thousands of people will cast their votes for the dozens of nominees, how many do you think were made having read each of the other nominees in a given category?

The current system is susceptible to the same problems as the Academy Awards: with so many voters, it’s inevitable that most folks make selections that are woefully under-informed. Worse still, the system is hopelessly biased toward the major publishers. The companies that have the money to advertise titles and move the most books are more likely to have been read by the voters, crowding out smaller comics in the pages of the trades and capturing the attention of comics people at large. It’s impossible for the little guy to compete. Cutting the pool down to, say, a few hundred voters would likely yield results that better reflect the quality of the nominees than simply what’s been popular lately. The system would benefit from being slightly more selective in whom it allows to vote for the Eisner’s winners.

Point #3: Split the Categories More Fairly

The big versus small dynamic also presents another major problem: No matter if you limit the pool to some respectable degree, the major publishers have an unfair advantage in sheer number of books sold. If more of those books have been read than any other, it stands to reason that inevitably that will translate to those books being voted for more than the others. It’s just unavoidable. So what can we do?

Easy: Split the categories by sales. Books that cross the threshold of X copies shipped/sold (a number that I’m sure can be fairly chosen based on some metrics of sales figures from both the major and independent publishers) qualify for one of two designations: “Major” (X or more sold) and “Select” (X or fewer sold.) A title/writer/artist/publisher should not be punished for the fact that not enough people bought an issue, and this adjustment allows for the books that fall through the cracks to earn the same honor as the best of the big boys.

If this idea proves favorable, you can create as many tiers as are fitting. The true “blockbusters” can duke it out amongst themselves in one category, while self-published books vie for the win in their own. Parity in awards can be restored for quality instead of quantity, and winning an Eisner can truly be called the birthright of the best of the best.

If you want your beloved Disney Afternoon heroes to come back to life in comic book form, apparently all you have to do is ask.

Last October at Long Beach Comic Con, BOOM! Studios hosted a panel on their upcoming titles, including a few from their Disney line; Uncle Scrooge and Mickey Mouse. The second I saw ducks, I shot my hand up and asked when we’d be seeing a Darkwing Duck comic – at the time, the answer was something along the lines of “Not sure, maybe never.” Turns out, they were either playing coy last year or their plans changed because I just received this press release:

March 13th, 2010 – Seattle, WA – He is the terror that flaps in the night. He is the super-hero that is about to make his return. He is…DARKWING DUCK! This June, Disney and BOOM! Studios herald the triumphant comeback of the beloved Disney Afternoon star with DARKWING DUCK: THE DUCK KNIGHT RETURNS. Lanchpad McQuack, Gosalyn Mallard, and the fiercest of Darkwing’s rogue gallery all join the daring duck of mystery in an all-new, completely original four-issue mini-series: DARKWING DUCK: THE DUCK KNIGHT RETURNS!

Whether you’re a Darkwing fan from the hit TV show or want to discover this cherished character for the first time, this new mini-series delivers all the madcap adventurous spirit that made a fan out of millions!

Written by Ian Brill (ZOMBIE TALES) and James Silvani (MUPPET KING ARTHUR), the mini-series sees Darkwing’s city of St. Canard under the control of a mysterious corporation. Darkwing’s been out of commission for a while but when his friends and family are under attack…you better watch out you bad boys! Darkwing fights new villains as well as old, for Megavolt, Quackerjack, Liquidator and Bushroot are on the loose!

“It’s such a dream to bring back Darkwing, a favorite of mine and millions of other’s,” says series writer Brill. “Everyone involved in this book are working tirelessly to make sure this comic has the same feel of anarchic fun of the TV series, while still presenting a whole new adventure in the life of Darkwing.”

Debuting in 1991 as a spin-off of the hugely popular DUCK TALES, DARKWING DUCK brought super-hero action and excitement to the Disney Afternoon animation block, captivating viewers for years. Shown around the world, DARKWING DUCK is still a fan-favorite of pop culture fans everywhere.

DARKWING DUCK: THE DUCK KNIGHT RETURNS #1 is written by Ian Brill with interior art by James Silvani. The debut issues features two covers in a 50/50 split by Magic Eye Studios and Silvani respectively and a 1-in-10 incentive cover by Silvani and Jake Myler.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m more excited about this than I am about the new Flash run. And I love the Flash. We’ll be sure to preview the return of Darkwing for all you nineties kid comic nerds out there as soon as it’s available!

Let’s. Get. Dangerous!

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