Next show: Orlando Megacon

My next comic convention will be Megacon in Orlando, Florida, on May 17, 18 & 19. You can pick up copies of my self-published books Shanghai and Extraterrestrial. I’ll also sign any Tick or Ultraverse books you bring – signatures are always free!

Jeff Whiting at Orlando Megacon

Comics and Controversy – Diversity, SJWs and Self-Publishing

I’ve been reading about all the “comicsgate” stuff in the comics business. It seems so stupid that people go so far out of their way to spread animosity and hate toward other comics creatives. One of the things I always liked about the comics industry was that we never seemed in competition with each other as artists and writers. If I liked what someone had made, I would buy it. I didn’t have to choose one thing over another. If I don’t like an artists style, it’s just not my personal cup of tea. It doesn’t mean I think they’re a bad artist. I still respect that they’re making comics and love what they’re doing. There was always room for more good comics, though.

Extraterrestrial comics cast

I also can appreciate diversity in the comics industry – both in creators and characters. I try and be mindful of this when creating my new books. I want the cast in my comics to look like my community (with aliens, monsters and robots added in). At the end of the day, I’ll buy comics I like, and won’t buy books that don’t appeal to me. If a creator engages in abusive or disrespectful behavior, I’ll probably avoid them. There are people I’ve encountered over the course of my career that were pricks to me or someone I liked. I probably would not work with those folks again, given the chance.

When I was buying comics in the 70s and 80s, I didn’t know what race, ethnicity, or sometimes, even what gender a creator was. They were just names on the title page, and I enjoyed their work. I wanted to be one of them. If sales of comic books are declining, maybe we should stop being assholes to each other and just make good comics.

I’ve seen some comics creators trying to start new companies to publish their work free from the constraints of the “social justice warriors.” What a crock of shit. I’ve been doing this for years. Nothing is stopping any of these people from publishing their own work themselves. I’ve been self-publishing since the 90s. It’s not hard to do. I don’t sell many books, but I tell my own stories and put out exactly what I want to publish. I can’t be black-listed from publishing comics. Nobody knows who I am. I’m probably more on the side of the “SJW” label.

If you want to put your own work out there, and push your own agenda and ideas, then have the stones to take that leap and do it yourself. Self-publish your own comics. I would love to sell more books and have more people know who I am. The only way that’s going to happen is if I tell good stories and draw nice art, and I promote it. I would love to do more work for Marvel and DC, but they don’t owe me anything. I’m happy putting out my own books, with the hope that someday I’ll find a bigger audience. I love what I do, and I love that some people get enjoyment out of reading my stuff. Life is too short to spend time whining about other creators are doing. Make your own comics.

Amazing Spider-man #800, plus the past two years – comic book review

Amazing Spider-man #800

I started reading the adventures of Spider-man in issue #176, back in 1978. I’d fallen way behind on my comic reading lately. Over the past few days I finally caught up with Amazing Spider-man through issue 800. What a jumbled mess. A lot of the run was completely incoherent because it crossed over with other books between issues. I had no idea what was going on. Characters appeared and then were gone. Endless retreads of goblins, clones, Venom varients, and characters coming back from the dead.

I loved the Superior Spider-man run. After that, it seems like everything went sideways. I didn’t enjoy it at all. When Otto took over as Spider-man, I thought it was a very cool twist on an old charcter. Dan Slott told it well. I knew things would not remain that way. I was hoping to see Peter take some of the things Otto had done when he returned as Spider-man and make positives out of them. Otto’s inevitable return should have made him a much more complex and interesting character. What I saw of him just kind of put him back where he was. I have not read the Clone Conspiracy books yet. There may be something I’ve missed.

Amazing Spider-man carries what I think is one of the larger problems Marvel has with storytelling. Forced crossovers. It would direct me to go to an issue Clone Conspiracy as I was reading. Then another book along the way. I read the next sequential issue instead. I had no idea what was going on. I can’t stand that the first page of every book has to be a “the story so far” with a damn flow chart of connected characters. I believe you have failed as a story teller if you need to give readers a flow chart. I want to be able to read a book in sequential order and be able to get an entire story from one issue to the next. Spider-man failed at that. It is a complete and utter dud when read by itself. I don’t blame Slott’s writing for this. The problem is more likely the editorial team, wanting to sell more Spider-man books.

I was digging the art when Humberto Ramos was drawing Spider-man. For Marvel’s top book, I was not impressed with much that I saw after he left Spider-man. I don’t like to slag my fellow artists. There were some great pages and panels in there. The art is not something I would continue to buy this book for. The cover art by Alex Ross was very cool. I’d love to see Spider-man find a new long-term art team that really fits the character well.

Superior Spider-man was my top book back in the day. The current run has fallen flat for me.

Comic Reviews for Week of 1/28

Here are a few of the comics that I read this week. Not a whole lot in my bag this time, but I have a lot I haven’t read yet –

Thor #4
9/10
This is turning out to me a really fun book. There’s still a lot of mystery about who is under the helmet, and how she deals with the return of the original Thor is nicely done. The art is superb, and there’s a lot to like about this new book. It’s one of the reasons I have some doubts about the upcoming Secret Wars event. There’s a good story going on here, and I don’t want to see it hijacked by a gimmick. Hopefully, this character will find her way into the new version of the Marvel universe.









Harley Quinn #14
9/10
Still one my my monthly favorites. The past year has really seen Harley gain a lot of dimension as a character, and she’s surprisingly down to earth while still retaining a bit of psychotic edge to her personality. The art was fantastic on this one, and there’s a lot of levels in the story, all of which are fun.

 

Comics | Secret Wars Thoughts

I’ve been hearing a lot about Marvel’s big event for this year – Secret Wars. It’s going to change the face of the Marvel universe forever! Again!

I guess I’m fine with it. There are so many years of history to sort out, that I suppose it’s a good thing to make a fresh start every so often. It’s not supposed to erase the previous years of history – all of that still happened, but a new unified timeline will come out of it. Some old characters will change or go away, and some new ones will find a more permanent home.

I really loved the Superior Spider-man run, and was in a way sorry to see Otto lose the job. He was a breath of fresh air as Spidey and did some great things with the character. To be able to have Peter Parker back in the driver’s seat and Otto as the Superior version co-existing? I’ll take that ride. I’m not so sure about Spider-Gwen and a few others, though. I hope there aren’t too many Spider-People running around.

There are a few new books that I’m really enjoying that I don’t want to get derailed by the event. Thor has been excellent, and they’re teasing us with who’s really behind that mask. Antman is off to a good start as a really likable book. I don’t like it when writers are forced to shoehorn an event into n existing story line they’ve got going, so we’ll have to see how those play out.

It should be fun, though, and I’m sure they’ll get a bump in sales from it. What happens after that only time will tell.

Comic Reviews for this Week

Here are my reviews for what was in my comic bag this week.

The Sandman: Overture #1 (of 6)

10 out of 10
My favorite book this week. I’ve never been a big reader of Sandman before, but this may get me to go back and read all of the old issues. Everything about the book was beautiful – the layout, the use of text and images. There was a lot of lettering for a comic, but it was so well written, I really enjoyed it. As a starting point, this book make me want to learn more about what was going on, which is perfect.

Danger Girl: The Chase! #2 (of 4)

7 out of 10
This was not too bad. I really miss seeing regular J. Scott Campbell art, but this book captures the fun and feel of the original series. It’s a bit gratuitous, but it was an enjoyable read that didn’t require knowing years of back-story and crossover issues to follow, which is nice.
7 out of 10
Still my favorite on-going series. Otto has laid some brilliant plans for Peter Parker and Spider-man. but they’re starting to come unraveled, and Carlie finally knows who he really is. How much longer can he keep it up? The entire Superior story arc has been a great exercise in an old question – if you suddenly found yourself running someone else’s life, could you make it better? And if so, why can’t you do it with your own life?

The art in this issue was great in a few spots, but near the end I thought some of the pages looked a bit rushed and not quite up to the standard. Still, a very good read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8

4 out of 10

I’ve really looked forward to this book every month, but this one was a bit of a let-down. The art is normally filled with detail and expression, and this book looked sketchy and flat to me. It’s just not a style I like. To make matters worse, it’s part of the big Infinity crossover, which makes the story part of a much grander mess. Hopefully they get back on track next issue.

Infinity #5 (of 6)

6 out of 10
The art in this book was very good, but I’m really not a fan of the big multi-book crossover events after Age of Ultron. Nice visuals, but the story is a mess. There were some good scenes, so it was,’t terrible, but I’m just not motivated to follow the entire thing in the intended order.
3 out of 10
Meh. The art didn’t really do it for me at all. I think they were trying to go for a retro look, but nothing about this book really appealed to me.

6 out of 10
I haven’t read an issue of Witchblade in years, so this issue was my re-introduction to the series. Like many other books this week, there were some really strong, good-looking pages, and then there were some that just didn’t seem up to par, looking like the same amount of time and care didn’t go into the entire book. The main character seemed to come off more like a man to me, which was a little jarring. Not too bad, though.

7 out of 10
This one was pretty good. The art and story were really in sync, and the character seems to be heading toward what could be a finale. Kaine is a very different kind of Spider-man, and there’s plenty of angst and redemption themes going on.
5 out of 10
Why does DC seem to do some many alternate universe/future books? This story takes place a few years down the road, and seems to kill off a few major names. They seem to really make big leaps and take chances when it’s not part of the main continuity. The art was very good, but the dialog really sounded like a comic book – and not a very good comic book. Seeing Sandman in the same week and having a yardstick to measure just how good the writing in the comics medium can be, this was a big letdown. Not a bad book, but not great.