New Comic Wednesday: February 22, 2012
"The Flash #6," written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, comes out on Wednesday.
February 22nd, 2012
10:02 AM ET

New Comic Wednesday: February 22, 2012

Hello again, fellow comic readers!

You probably think you already know everything you need to know about The Flash. You should pick up DC Comics “The Flash #6,” which comes out this week, anyway. (Like CNN, DC is owned by Time Warner.)

It’s a crossover issue that builds on the pre-existing story and artwork by the always brilliant writer/artist Francis Manapul (“Witchblade,” “Legion of Super-Heroes”). It manages to bring that story to a conclusion and nicely set up issue No. 7’s introduction of the New 52’s vision of Flash’s nemesis – Captain Cold.

Our friend Daniel Dean from Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, thinks you should read "The Flash” simply because Manapul writes the book.

Francis Manapul, simply put, is "an artist who's never afraid to try something,” Dean said. “He usually succeeds, even on projects undeserving of his talents.”

“The Flash” has always been a divisive property, with different incarnations and different “definitive” takes on the character stretching back to the ‘30s. In the end, I think there’s a place for all of them. But the shifting around has understandably rubbed some comics readers the wrong way.

I went back and read some older issues of “The Flash.” I found that sharp thinking, a mind for science, and above-par intelligence were always at the heart of the comic.

Batman always wants to be better than his enemies. Superman always wants to represent a greater good. And The Flash always wants to be smarter than his enemies - and he wants to win. That's the jock and the nerd rolled into one. FULL POST

New Comic Wednesday: February 15, 2012
“Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #1” cover. Writer: John Ostrander; penciler: Jan Duursema; inker: Dan Parsons; colorist: Wes Dzioba; cover artist: Gonzalo Flores.
February 15th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

New Comic Wednesday: February 15, 2012

Hello again, fellow comic readers!

Dark Horse Comics and writer John Ostrander are teaming up again for “Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #1.” While the recently released MMO “Star Wars: The Old Republic” is set long before the events in the “Star Wars” films, “Dawn of the Jedi #1” is set earlier still (long, long ago, if you will), dealing with the very foundation of the Jedi order and the events that helped shape their philosophies.

You can easily see a direct line between this story and story of Luke eventually finding Obi-Wan Kenobi in the deserts of the planet Tatooine. Our friend Daniel Dean from Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, has high hopes for the book.

“My store sees a lot of ‘Star Wars’ fans. It seems like every week, I have five new ‘Star Wars’ comics come out and I have customers who not only buy them all, but who would also buy more. My love of ‘Star War’s isn't quite as oceanic, but the waters do run deep.”

I'm a fan of new releases like comics, novels and video games that take thematic elements from the original “Star Wars” story but divorce them from the so-called “Expanded Universe” that acts as a sort of official timeline.

It allows developers and writers to tell an engaging, multidimensional story using elements so familiar that even people who haven't seen "Star Wars" will recognize them - but without the audience feeling like they have to track down random other bits of “Star Wars” lore to understand and enjoy it.

“I had a teacher who liked to say the reason ‘Star Wars’ was such a hit was because it was about good and evil, and everybody can appreciate good and evil," Dean said. "I don't think that's true. I think if you go back to that first movie, “Episode IV A New Hope,” it is an individual's capacity for good or evil, and the fact that they aren't mutually exclusive, which makes the characters and trappings really stick with people.”

“Dawn of the Jedi” takes readers back to a time when adherents to the Jedi order learned this lesson the hard way. It shows how early events shaped the views, and future actions, of the order.

This book offers a lot of good lore, a couple of “Expanded Universe” nods, an ominous antagonist and a big bad-guy throw-down.

And of course we get John Ostrander, who has been writing “Star Wars” titles for Dark Horse for more than a decade. So, yeah, I think those five-a-week "Star Wars" customers might have just added a sixth book.

So, until next week, go forth and read, my people. And the reading will be good!

Is there a comic out there that you really love? Let us know in the comments. We’re always looking for tips on good comics!

Here are some of the comics scheduled to hit the shelves on February 15, 2012. Your local retailer will probably have these and others, so make sure to check with them for more details.

FULL POST

How Kevin Smith learned to love the mainstreaming of comics
Kevin Smith, foreground, and his 'Comic Book Men.'
February 10th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

How Kevin Smith learned to love the mainstreaming of comics

“It’s a glorious time to be a geek,” Kevin Smith said.

The filmmaker's new reality series, "Comic Book Men," is set to premiere Sunday night on AMC after "The Walking Dead." The show is designed to pull the curtain back on comic book store culture. Though such a spotlight may be brighter than fans are comfortable with, Smith said it's time for comic book store owners, creators and readers like himself to make a few sacrifices.

“You gotta give up a little bit of innocence,” he said. “If you love something so much, it may bug you when other people jump on the bandwagon, but if you love something, you just want to share it.”

Original Media, the producers of "Comic Book Men," came to Smith for "geek programming" ideas, he said.

“What you’re gonna see is not what I pitched,” he admitted.

Originally, he saw a comic book store version of popular series like the History Channel's "Pawn Stars" in which comic books and nerdy collectibles were priced and sold.

Instead, "Comic Book Men" is about Smith's friends Bryan Johnson and Walter Flanagan, the inspirations for two of his comic book and sci-fi-obsessed movie characters: Randal in "Clerks" and Brody in "Mallrats," respectively. FULL POST

New Comic Wednesday: February 8, 2012
Adventure Time #01 cover Writer: Ryan North Artist: Shelli Paroline
February 8th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

New Comic Wednesday: February 8, 2012

Hello again, fellow comic readers!

This week's pick is all about a shape-shifting, magical talking dog named Jake from the Land of Ooo - that's right, it's Boom! Studio's "Adventure Time #1."

"Adventure Time" is best known as an animated series shown on the Cartoon Network (which, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner). It follows Jake, the above-mentioned talking dog, and his 13-year-old human friend, Finn.

It's developed a cult following of both teens and adults, with its tales of their adventures together in a strange, surreal and sometimes dark world.  The shows are often a bizarre fantasy romp through everything producer Pendleton Ward and his fellow writers and animators ever loved about dragons, wizards, vampires, minotaurs, "Dungeons and Dragons," video games, and yes, even comics. No doubt you've seen kids walking around with those yellow laplander hats - the face on those hats is Jake.

If you're part of that Jake and Finn army, you’ll love this new title from Boom Studios. But even without a compendium of knowledge about this franchise, this is an enjoyable book. FULL POST

New Comic Wednesday: February 1, 2012
"Magic; The Gathering #1" from IDW Comics is filled with revenge, backdoor deals, heists and magical melee.
February 1st, 2012
02:59 PM ET

New Comic Wednesday: February 1, 2012

Make sure all your manna is tapped before attacking this week’s pick.

If you've ever walked into a comics shop, you've probably seen people playing “Magic: The Gathering” or, at the very least, seen the cards for sale.

“Magic” is one of the best-selling tabletop games of all time and the biggest name to emerge from the collectible card-game boom of the early ‘90s. This, of course, was after the big comics and card game boom of the early ‘90s.

Not a big “Magic” player myself, I reached out to my go-to guy for all things comic and gaming-shop related, Daniel Dean from Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, and asked him to let us in on the secrets of “MTG.”

"'Magic: The Gathering' has stood the test of time for three reasons," Dean said. "Deep and complex gameplay that builds from a simple thesis of 'have land/do stuff,' the shrewd marketing and official play support of [game creator] Wizards of the Coast, and the continued availability of the product not just in comic shops but major retailers like Wal-Mart or Barnes and Noble.” FULL POST

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