Saturday, February 11, 2012

Celebrity barber

I went to get my hair cut this morning, and it turns out the guy who won £45 million on the lottery this week is a regular there. His dad was actually in there as I came in.

Then I went to Nottingham, and bumped into Wayne from Boots, which is always a good ego-booster, because he always says I look like I've lost weight. I weighed myself on the machine in Boots to see if I had, and I haven't, but who are you going to believe in sensitive matters like that? A soulless machine or Wayne from Boots? I know who I choose to believe, anyway.

Really have to get off the cherry coke, though...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Making a living

You know what, no more accountancy. It's a rubbish career. I finish my temp job on Friday, and then I'm going to make a concerted effort to find a way to make money in some way I enjoy. You all have to ask me what I've done to further that aim every day.

Next week's answer will be "go away, I'm on holiday", but the week after that...

Monday, February 06, 2012

Those fifty-two again

I'm almost as interested in the sales figures for DC's New 52 as I am in the comics themselves. Which probably isn't that much of a compliment, if you think about it. Here's the ranking of their sales for January, with Dec-Nov-Oct-Sep in brackets:

1 (1,1,1,1) JUSTICE LEAGUE
2 (2,2,2,2) BATMAN
3 (3,3,3,3) ACTION COMICS
5 (4,4,4,4) GREEN LANTERN
7 (8,8,7,6) SUPERMAN
8 (6,6,5,5) FLASH
9 (9,9,9,9) BATMAN AND ROBIN
10 (10,12,15,15) AQUAMAN
11 (11,10,10,12) WONDER WOMAN
12 (12,14,13,14) TEEN TITANS
14 (15,13,12,16) BATWOMAN
15 (13,11,11,11) BATGIRL
16 (16,17,18,19) NIGHTWING
17 (17,16,16,13) GREEN LANTERN CORPS
18 (19,19,20,22) SWAMP THING
19 (18,18,17,17) RED LANTERNS
20 (20,21,21,24) CATWOMAN
21 (22,24,24,25) RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS
22 (23,23,23,23) SUPERGIRL
24 (21,22,22,18) JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
25 (25,25,27,35) ANIMAL MAN
26 (26,26,26,28) SUPERBOY
27 (27,27,25,21) GREEN ARROW
28 (28,30,30,32) SUICIDE SQUAD
29 (30,28,29,29) STORMWATCH
30 (29,29,28,26) BIRDS OF PREY
31 (31,36,41,40) ALL STAR WESTERN
32 (33,34,37,43) DEMON KNIGHTS
33 (34,33,32,31) LEGION OF SUPER HEROES
34 (35,32,35,36) BATWING
35 (32,31,31,27) SAVAGE HAWKMAN
36 (36,35,33,33) DEATHSTROKE
38 (39,40,38,37) DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS
39 (40,39,36,34) LEGION LOST
41 (41,42,43,42) RESURRECTION MAN
42 (42,41,40,46) GRIFTER
43 (44,43,42,38) BLUE BEETLE
44 (43,46,48,49) I VAMPIRE
45 (45,49,47,47) VOODOO
46 (46,44,45,41) HAWK AND DOVE
47 (47,45,44,39) CAPTAIN ATOM
48 (48,48,49,52) OMAC
49 (49,47,46,45) MISTER TERRIFIC
50 (50,50,50,50) STATIC SHOCK
51 (52,51,52,51) MEN OF WAR
52 (51,52,51,48) BLACKHAWKS

(American market sales to comic shops as per Diamond distribution, returnable comics arbitrarily adjusted, returns data not included, etc etc... hey, real sales figures aren't published, we have to make do with what we can)

There's some interesting things to see there - naturally, the old established heroes sell much better than the new ones. But Superman is having a bit of a renaissance - before the relaunch he was threatened by comparative johnny-come-latelies Green Lantern and Flash (created in the late fifties, based on heroes created in the early forties...) but now Action Comics (Superman's not-named-after-him comic) is a safe third place behind Justice League (all four of the above heroes, plus Aquaman and Wonder Woman) and Batman.

Detective Comics, the second Batman comic, was underestimated in the initial retailer orders but has now knocked Green Lantern off fourth place. And the second Superman and third Batman comics knock the Flash down into eighth place. First-string heroes are definitely outselling second-stringers now. What does that mean? Beats me.

Aquaman (a great comic) has risen above Wonder Woman (a pretty terrible one), which suggests there might actually be some quality issues involved here too!

At the other end of the chart, Blackhawks once more takes the coveted wooden spoon from Men Of War - they're both pretty dreadful and won't be missed. Static Shock, though, will, by me at least. It's really impressively stayed the 50th-best-selling of the 52 ever since the start.

Biggest climber since September is now Demon Knights, biggest faller is Firestorm. I'm not a fan of either of them.

I like this kind of analysis. Gets my geekiness in full flow.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

I'll tell you what IS a good comic, though

Strikeforce: Morituri! Marvel have just released a paperback collection of the first 13 issues, with the promise of two more volumes to collect the complete 31-issue series and five-issue sequel, and the first one is just awesome. I've never read it before (it came out in the mid-eighties) and have always sort of wanted to, so this new release is just my cup of tea. There's a possible movie in production, apparently, hence the revival, although a planned TV series came to nothing amid arguments between Marvel and Peter B Gillis.

The first 13 issues are supposed to be the best - Gillis (a great writer) left after twenty to be replaced by James D Hudnall (not at all a great writer), but I'm a sucker for complete stories, so I'll be getting the whole set. And the art is almost good throughout - this first collection is drawn very nicely by Brent Anderson, with one fill-in by the equally nice Whilce Portacio, and the later issues were mainly the world of Mark Bagley. And even though John Calimee, who did three issues, is supposed to be about the worst artist ever employed by Marvel at the time, I quite like his work on Alpha Flight in a weird way, so I'll look forward to seeing his work on Morituri too.

But the whole premise of the series is more-or-less original science fiction of the type the big companies don't do any more, so it needs encouragement. Go out and buy the too-expensive paperback, now! Or buy the old comics for cheaper, if you can find them...

The Return of Super Sunday!

We're now in month six of DC's new comic 'reboot'. The best ones are selling well - consistently out-performing Marvel Comics' range of heroes, which is an important thing to some people - but the rest aren't so spectacular. DC announced midway through last month that they're cancelling the six lowest-selling comics (Hawk & Dove, OMAC, Mister Terrific, Static Shock, Blackhawks and Men Of War) and replacing them with six all-new series.

Actually, the sales of #4 available on the internet say that Hawk & Dove is selling very slightly more (97 copies) than Captain Atom, but presumably DC had access to worldwide figures, returns data, maybe even the sales for #5 before they made their decision, so the Captain gets reprieved. But he still has to be on thin ice, which if you come to think of it probably wouldn't bother him too much, since he's got super-powers.

Whether anyone will read the replacement six is another question, since presumably there won't be so much publicity this time round. But there are Batman connections in most of the new ones, so they'll be okay. I worry about "Dial H", a reimagining of the old comic "Dial H For Hero" about a boy with a magic telephone, but in a dark and gritty 21st-century way. It might actually be good, but on the other hand it will probably be awful.

There are several really quite good comics among the 52, but nothing really great. There's nothing that people will look back on in twenty years and say 'that was a great moment in comics'. In fact, there's really nothing that people will look back on in twenty years at all, which is a bit sad. Comics really needs a Watchmen moment. And speaking of which...

To add to the excitement, DC have announced that they're giving up on the idea that Watchmen is sacrosanct and making more Watchmen comics would stop people buying the original - now there's a movie out, we're going to have a huge pile of prequel comics by the likes of J. Michael Straczynski, the man who wrote a Spider-Man story saying that the radioactive spider that bit him was actually on its way to bite him and give him powers anyway, and getting zapped by radiation was just a coincidence. And another one saying that his old girlfriend Gwen Stacy had sex with his arch-enemy Norman Osborn and gave birth to twins, all during the period while they were both regulars in the comic. I can't wait to see what he does with Watchmen!