I’m just back from the comic shop again this week. Another slow week for me as I got no comic books at all. But my shop was having a 40% off sale on their trade paperbacks so I picked up a couple of $15 trades for $9.

The first is “The Gray Area: All Of This Can Be Yours” By Glen Brunswick and John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson. I’ve never heard of the writer but the art team is good and I remember looking at the issues on the stands and being interested but the cover price was too high. I’ll let you know if it is any good.

The second is “Hawaiian Dick” by B. Clay Moore and Steven Griffin. I picked the first issue of this up when it came out and never a second. I remember kinda liking it but the name seemed so stupid and smug to me that it put me off. I’m giving it a second try because I do like the artwork.

That is the report from the comic shop.

I was an X-Files fan. But the X-Files was one of those shows that ended so badly that I forgot it used to be a good show. For the first time in a decade I am watching season one. It is entertaining me as I ride the boring stationary bike (a real bike ride is so much more fun).

Not only had I forgotten how good a show it was but I think it is a better show the second time around. That is because the I never liked the big over all alien conspiracy part of the show. I found it impossible to pay attention to. The problem with big conspiracy shows is that they can’t actually leave enough clues so for the viewer to figure out what is going on. They want the show to keep going on and on because it is their job to make TV shows. So in the X-Files there were layer upon layer of clues and false clues and whatever they felt like writing in. My brain just turned off during the conspiracy stuff and turned back on for the monster of the week adventure part.

Producers of shows like this going back to Kolchak The Night Stalker have always said, “Well we didn’t want to turn it into a ‘Monster of the Week” show. To which I have always asked (since the interviewer never does), “Why not?”. If you are going to do a show about monsters, aliens and things that go bump in the night it seems logical to me to have a monster every week. What is the point of a monster hunting show with no monsters? I don’t give a crap about a monster hunter’s personal life. I don’t care if they feel good or bad about hunting monsters. I just want a good story told well. But anyway, back to the X-files.

A funny thing happened around season six or so; (my memory is fuzzy but it was after that bad movie they made) they revealed the conspiracy. It was anti-climatic at that point being that I hadn’t cared about the conspiracy in years but now in watching season one over again I don’t have to ignore those parts. Knowing the answer I can now appreciate that part of the story line and enjoy trying to figure out which clues were real and which weren’t. And trying to tell if the writers even knew. Knowing the answer actually helps the show. It doesn’t detract from it. So check out the X-Files again and you will be pleasantly surprised that it holds up well.

P.S. “Lost” is a show that is currently like the X-Files was. It is a good show but they will never give anyone enough clues to figure out what is really going on (if the writers even know) because then people will stop watching it. As Josh Whedon said, “TV is about questions; Movies are about answers.” And “Supernatural” is a good monster of the week show.

Just back from the shop and this week I got: Strangers in Paradise #80, Local #4, Red Sonja #7, Jonah Hex #5, Ex Machina #18, and XIII #2. That last one is based on some old video game and looks like it was published in a different format originally. The first issue stared a guy who was modeled after Lee Marvin (I just checked the Lee Marvin comic was a different one not XIII but I can’t remember its name).
The disappointments from last weeks books were the two first issues I picked up. Warlord was typical of modern origin issues because nothing happened. And The Portent was pretty but nothing happened and it was not well written.

Well I tried. I worked up my sense of childish wonder and planned on going to my first comic con in about six or seven years. I had been getting e-mails from WizardWorld (though their name isn’t actually on the con) for about a month to buy advance tickets but I knew better than that. I don’t know how it is with comic cons around the country but my experience with the ones in NYC is that they will take your money and run. No advance tickets for me because too many things can go wrong (and have) and they will already have your money. Plus I still would have to pick up my tickets at the box office and have to wait in line to get them.

My buddy John came down from the northlands to pick me up and we drove into the big city. An uneventful drive and a price jacked parking lot latter we were hitting the Javitz Center. The show started at 11:00 AM and it was 1:00 PM when we arrived. There was a long line of people on the outside of the Center but about 6 out of 10 of them were female so we knew that couldn’t be the comic con line. John asked a woman with a comic con badge where the line was. That is when we found out that the fire marshal threatened to close them down and there were no more tickets being sold for that day. Wonderful.

This wasn’t even my first fire marshal comic con closing. Back in the early 90’s when they held conventions at one of those big NYC hotels I was at two in a row that the marshals shut down. But I was already inside those ones. I’m not sure if the fire marshal closings were what directly lead to the end of the big NYC comic cons but that is what I heard back in the day. It couldn’t have helped anyway.

We walked aimlessly away from the Javitz Center and got on the blower and tell our friend Ed what had happened. He was supposed to meet us at the con. Ed had purchased his ticket earlier that week at Midtown comics and was anxious to see if they would let him in.

For consolation John and I headed off to a nearby comic shop; Jim Hanley’s Universe. So did a lot of people who couldn’t get into the con because they were crowded and we stayed only briefly.

Next we wandered midtown until we hit the NY public library (the famous one with the lions out front) and saw they had a show of maps. The map show was good. It was free too.

Then we waited for Ed. As disappointed as John and I were with the day Ed was even more so. He had already paid for his $25 ticket. He met us on the library steps and told us how they wouldn’t let him in nor would they give him his money back. He was told it was a five hour wait to get in. This was at 1:30 PM for a show that ended at 7:00 PM. Do the math. They were willing to take his ticket and mail him a refund but this is NYC the rip off capital of the country so he wasn’t falling for that one. Midtown Comics, the place he purchased the ticket from, was Ed’s next destination. They just didn’t care there either. 25 bucks down the crapper.

The pain didn’t end there. We decided to go see a movie. There was nothing out that any of us really wanted to see so we just picked one starting soon. I don’t go to the movies very often so this might not be that bold a statement but it was the worst movie I have ever sat through in a theatre. It was “The New World” and it was long, boring, pointless and ugly. Stay away. I came out of there with a headache.

To end on a positive note I had some good pizza afterwards. Of course that was after I got home so there was no reason to actually hit NYC that day. Uh-oh, I think I lost my positive note. Maybe I’ll try again in 6 or 7 more years.

I just got back from the shop and I got four new comics. Two regulars: Usagi Yojimbo #91, The Savage Dragon #123 and two first issues. I got issue #1 of the relaunch of the Warlord from DC. Bruce Jones is writing it which is good and Bart Sears is drawing it which isn’t as good. But I’ll give it a try. I also got The Portent #1 from Image. It’s by a writer/artist who I have never heard of but it looks good so another gets a try this week.