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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I often tell people that the publishing industry has been dying for as long as I’ve been in the industry, on toward 25 years now.  Hence, the fact that it isn’t yet dead suggests that the impressions on any given day are not in fact correct.

Today, lots of people are saying that the industry is dying on account of the e-book.  My own impression as we are most of the way through “royalty season,” is that the industry is clearly changing, and almost certainly not dying of e-book.

There are incredible amounts of e-books selling right now, incredible. The growth over just a few short years is truly stunning. Simon Green’s Nightside books are now selling about as many copies in e-book as in print. Charlaine Harris’ Harper Connelly books are selling more in e-book. E-books now represent around 10% of her lifetime US sales of 20 million units even though they’ve only been around for a few years in her 30 year career. This is a good business to be in.

For both authors and publishers. Authors make more money from e-books. I’m making this bold unqualified assertion to make up for all of the people making the other assertion, that authors lose money on every e-book. In truth, you can make both. Authors can lose $2 every time somebody buys an e-book instead of a hardcover, but they can just as easily make $2 for every four mass market paperback sales that turn into e-books. Charlaine Harris has huge-selling hardcovers, there’s a hit to her income as those sales move to e-book. Jack Campbell has six Lost Fleet books never published in mass market, there’s a gain every time those sales move to e-book. So I shouldn’t say that authors make more money from e-books, but nor should anyone claim the opposite, that the e-book is the end of authors, of writing, of culture as we know it.

[You can look at 2010 hardbacks reported sold in PW. Pick any reasonable guess for how many of those sales migrated to e-book from 2010 to 2011, multiply by $2, and you're looking at a big chunk of change in lost royalties. Actually, I have no idea in the macro sense if the much larger # of authors who don't have those hardcover sales and are gaining on the mass market end. But what fun is a blog if you can't make blanket statements that can't be substantiated as firm hard fact that everyone should quote on the internet for sixteen years to come.]

To sum up: royalty statements come in, huge amounts of e-book sales, publishers doing well and many though by now means all authors doing better, too.

This is not the death of publishing.

With two caveats.

1. A situation where an Amazon can set the price level for e-books as a loss leader, they have the ability to bring the entire publishing industry to its heels. They can kill publishing in the blink of an eye no matter how much of it they decide to do for themselves. So, for that matter, could a court decision that declares the agency model an illegal restraint of trade.

2. People will lose places to buy print books faster than their actual desire to buy them. One thing’s for sure, the migration to e-book sales isn’t good for businesses that revolve around the sale of printed books. I think I worry more than anything about this. We could look back five years from now and view 2011 as the final flowering of a dual print/e-book marketplace that will dry up like a three-week-old bouquet into a shriveled e-only marketplace in which vastly fewer total numbers of books are being sold.

Putting aside those worst case scenarios, if the publishing industry isn’t dying of e-book, it’s certainly changing, and changing by the day. Tobias Buckell just kickstarted his 4th Xenowealth novel. Jim Hines has self-published electronically an earlier novel and some short story collections. Things like this leave a reduced role JABberwocky.

I worry and publishers worry about how we remain relevant in this changing marketplace. It’s one reason why we have a limited but growing e-book program at JABberwocky, helping our clients monetize their work in ways that weren’t possible a few years ago. But it isn’t “dying” that I use as the adjective there, it’s “changing.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

the 4th week of the New 52

The 4th week of DC's New 52 was the one week when I was interested enough of the 13 issues to buy a full bundle at a 25% discount being offers by Midtown Comics.  This meant I was getting some comics i had no particular interest in, but I wasn't paying any more for them  

So I guess it's no surprise that there are foru books that I just didn't like very much at all, and won't discuss at any length.  Those are Blackhawks #1, Justice League Dark #1, and Batman: The Dark Knight.  And I Vampire, which I don't remember if I'd actually wanted or not.

I don't know what to say about my relationship with Jonah Hex.  I read this book for a good long time in my earlier comics days, maybe when Gerry Conway was writing it, but I bowed out of the new series that started several years back by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.  I didn't dislike it, per se, but there was something missing that kept me from ever exactly warming to it.  Still, I wanted to see what they were up to with All Star Western #1, art by Moritat, which put Jonah Hex into an urban Gotham City environment.  Nice idea, but same result.  I can't point to anything that's exactly wrong with the issue, but it's very wordy, it reads like work, there's just something about it where I'm admiring it but not really getting any entertainment value out of it.  These writers must be doing something right, their last run on Hex was running well beyond any over/under I would have put on a revival of the character in the current day and age.  This is an interesting idea on putting Hex into the thick of the DCU.  This will do well, my hat's off, but I won't be part of the crowd.

I'm not sure I'd have purchased Green Lantern: New Guardians outside of the bundle, I didn't get any of the other GL books in the New 52, so it was a pleasant surprise.  I've always kind of liked the Kyle Rayner character as much or more than any of the non-Hal Jordan GLs (the DC Retroactive with Jon Stewart was a good argument for him, though, I have to say).  This story is probably, like a lot of these, a little attenuated, not exactly 20 pages, but it led to a fun place.  Power rings from all over the galaxy are making their way to Kyle, and shortly after the rings their former bearers are looking to get their property back.  I'm wanting to see how he deals with this. Written by Tony Bedard, art by Tyler Kirkham and Batt.  The art isn't great storytelling, but it isn't pin-ups either.  Even though it's not exactly what I look for, I would say it more added than subtracted to my enjoyment of the yarn.

The Savage Hawkman is a book I wouldn't at all have expected to want, I've never been a particularly big Hawkman fan, he's one of those DCU characters who's just kind of around and you put up with on occasion.   But a quick browse at the store suggested I give it a try, and I was glad I did.  Written by Tony Daniel, it introduces a Carter Hall who is kind of the reluctant Hawkman, trying without success to get rid of the get-up, soon facing supernatural baddie.  The art by Philip Tan works well for this book.  It's a little rough, shades over clean lines, and if the storytelling is a bit rough as well -- well, I'm always impressed when I find myself not minding the kinds of things I always mind.  It works.  Be back for more.

With all the New 52 excitement, I've forgotten to track down the Teen Titans graphic novel by Wolfman and Perez.  But let's just say that the new Teen Titans, written by Scott Lobdell with art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund, won't be confused with Wolfman/Perez, and I mean that in a good way.  There's an undercurrent of humor to the script and the art both, that isn't like anything we'd remember from the back then version of the Titans.  But it's good stuff.  There's some great art, pages 5-7 are complex but quite easily followed.  The script has a nice take on the Titans, setting the series in a world where teen heroes are the source of agita and approbation.  I'm not entirely thrilled to see the end of this issue tying into the new Superboy book, please no major crossovers, but at least here I am interested in the new Superboy book as well.

The Flash with story and art by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato has been getting some good buzz and deservedly so.  Great?  No.  Good?  More than.  There's a little too much Superman/Lois in the relationship between Barry Allen and Iris West, but it's an interesting and intriguing story overall, and I like how the art handles the speedstering part of the Flash persona.

Another book getting good buzz is the new Aquaman.  Geoff Johns redeems his very disappointing (to me) work on the Justice League reboot with this new take on Aquaman.  Some similarities to the "Superman on the road" thing that was going on over the last year in that book, Aquaman is on land, eating at a diner, being asked obnoxious questions while he tries to eat his chow.  But it helps more than a bit that the art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado suggests that we're playing that for laughs some.  A bit of a high wire act, because it's clear that the menace in the book is supposed to be real.  Where are the creators planning to go with this?  Keep on the high wire and try and balance some humor with menace, or will they end up taking the more serious turn that Johns' extensive experience doing all of these major tie-in events suggests as his default?   I'll be following along to see...

George Perez is writing and doing page breakdowns for art by Jesus Merino in the new Superman.  I hear that Perez will be around only for six issues.  But I'm quite likely to be reading those six.  There's a complete separation between this and the Superman we find in Action, which is fine (and perhaps not forever, it will ultimately be a surprise not to have a story that follows the character along in the different Superman books...).  This story has elements of all kinds of Supermans past, there's the Morgan Edge from two or three decades back as media mogul, the distinction between Clark and Superman is very much something from the Richard Donner Superman movies, etc.  But definitely one to come back to.

Voodoo had such nice clean well-told art (by Sam Basri) that a casual glance said it had to be read, and it ended up being an unexpected treat.  The script by Ron Marz was a tad predictable, you could see five pages before the end where the story was going to go, though that being said I'm not sure I'd have predicted the final panels, and the final panels not what I might have expected, perhaps I can find some more surprises in issue #2.  On the other hand, this is another of the stories that seems to be taking 20 pages to tell  a story that should really needs only 12 or 15.  My tolerance for those isn't indefinite, and the final issues of DMZ are certainly straining my patience for books that feel padded. But I shouldn't quibble too much.  Good script, clean art with excellent storytelling, fun to read.  If it can keep with those virtues, I'll be able to look beyond some of the flaws.

I've been a fan of Firestorm from the first issue of the first run in the 1970s, so I saved the new Fury of Firestorm (written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone, art by Yildiray Cinar) for last. In this version Professor Martin Stein is still dead, as he was left in Flashpoint.  Ronnie Raymond is still alive, and attending the same hgh school as the newer version of Firestorm, Jason Rausch.  So far, so good, I really liked the set-up of the relationship between Raymond and Rausch, and the school scenes overall were for the 2010s what the 1970s origin from Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom was to its day.  The terrorists that cause the arrival of Firestorm here are considerably, um, updated and upgraded from the 1970s versions, no problem there.  And I'm fine with the new idea that Jason and Raymond can each become their own Firestorm.  It's not the original idea, but as variations on the theme go this one is one I can live with.  The one thing I really hate is the newly found idea that the "Fury" in Fury of Firestorm isn't an adjective, but a noun. The idea here is that the two Firestorms can merge to become Fury, when they say Fury of Firestorm they mean it in a very literal way.  And Fury looks silly, the idea overbaked.  Whatever, there's enough good here that I'm going to see where it all goes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New 52, Roundup #3

Finishing my assorted purchases from weeks 2 and 3...

Superboy #1
written by Scott Lobdell, art by R.B. Silva and Rob Lean
I rather liked the Connor Kent Superboy character, and quite liked the recent run by Jeff Lemire and  Pier Gallo so having a new Superboy wasn't at the top of my wish list for the New 52. Perhaps just as well that this is a completely new take that can't be directly compared, and at least a mildly interest new take at that. As with Connor is a clone. There is a hint that as in the new Action the character might not be entirely saintly when he emerges into the real world. The art didn't do much for me, though I did like that the story takes full advantage of the art form with a visual cue that isn't commented upon at the time but which is picked up on a few pages later, requiring the reader to pay attention to both words and pictures. A modest success. 

Deathstroke #1
written by Kyle Higgins, art by Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
Terminator this, if you please. I found this book to be outright dull. The character has been around at the margins of the DC Universe for some 30 years, and seems to have children with father issues in every city in the DC Universe, but never a great character. So this reboot starts out with an instant fatal flaw that nobody wants the guy around any more and the first issue is a setup to get him out of the way. What this guy needs is a good new reason to care about him, not an excuse for me to say "but I DO want the character out of the way. 

Suicide Squad #1
written by Adam Glass, art by Federico Dallocchio and Ransom Getty
The first three pages are great, and then all downhill from there. Two page spread on the Suicide Squad that has me poring over each image with curiosity about who the characters are, what is happening to them. But over the 15 pages following we find out very little about the characters, names or personalities or etc. We get a footnote to refer to Detective #1, which is not good for the second week of the New 52.  The art following is meh, pictures and panels but very little in the way of storytelling. This is a very definite one and out. 

DC Universe Presents #1
Deadman story and art by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang
I think DC Universe Presents is intended as the try-out title like the old Showcase to test something for a few issues. Based on this I do not see Deadman graduating to his own book. Deadman is one of the more interesting of the second tier characters in the DCU, but this presentation doesn't even do much to take best advantage of that, let alone move him higher in the rankings.  The book was so intent on being atmospheric that it didn't do 
a good job of presenting the concept of the series, and the mystery wasn't so intriguing either. The art didn't do much for me either. With a character like this you should either find major talent wanting to do it or some really fresh approach, this middling redo is neither. 

Batwoman #1
written by JH Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, art by Williams
interesting but maybe not interesting enough. I felt as if I was coming in on the middle of something instead of at the start. As a rule if one of the New 52 books is making me feel like I needed to have read something else, I think mission unaccomplished.  I loved some of the pages of artwork immensely, the ones that required good realist storytelling had in spades, and were just a joy to admire the flow. But the mysterious or nonlinear pages seemed unpurposefully unclear instead of purposefully so. With more time on my hands maybe I would see how it all played out.

Nightwing #1
written by Kyle Higgins, art by Eddy Barrows and J.P. Mayer
Since Higgins' Deathstroke wasn't to my liking, it's interesting to find myself liking his work here. Nightwing is Dick Grayson, the original Robin, and ettign back to being Nightwing after subbing for Batman for an extended period ore New 52. That is mentioned here, but it needs only a mention, no sense that you need to have actually read all of those books in order to enjoy this.  After visiting old friends at the Circus which Dick worked for lo those many years ago, he has an extended fight with a villain, a very nasty one, fresh off the bus into Gotham.  I liked the setup, the hints of involvement with the old circus crowd to add some supporting cast, the mysteries to whom this very bad guy villain is. I like Eddy Barrows, he has done other work in the limited menu of DCU titles I have read ore New 52.  Good storytelling, young characters that are nice to look at. Will be back for more. 

Batman and Robin #1
written by Peter J. Tomassi, art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
Much less successful Batman family reboot. I like the dynamic between Batman/Robin Bruce/Damian, but not much else. 

Legion of Superheroes #1
written by Paul Levitz, art by Francis Portella
I do think of Levitz as the quintessential Legion writer, his classic zdarkseid battles from my youth are just that -- classic. But in the context of the anew 52, this series seems to be playing more toward the core Legion fans than to potential new readers. Doesn't start small, introducing us to a few Legionnaires with the ability to build out. A lots of Legion members, lots of story lines.  I yearn for this to be more of a fresh start than it is. 

Resurrection Man #1
written by Dan Abnett, art by Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino
A pleasant surprise, either a good companion to or way too much like Grifter, to the point where you could mix and swap scenes and pages between the two books and have the mashups make sense. Both have guys with weird hair and weird powers with powerfully weird airplane trips and mysterious other people chasing after. All kinds of weird and unknown reasons and motives at both ends. This has some swell artwork that goes really nicely from the "out there" pages to the more naturalistic, though the lines are always a bit rough, the faces a bit out of focus, which works very well for a book like this.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
written by Jeff Lemire, art by Alberto Ponticelli
With weeks 2 and 3 as with week #1, I saved the Lemire for last. When I initially did my week 2 shopping I left this out then went back to add when an enthusiastic review in AV Club reminded me it was Lemire. Think of any superhero group.  Change sleek HQ for twisted-looking orbital, well-muscled tights-wearing heroes for, errr, ummm, how would you describe them. Just turn it all by 137 degrees. Add in art that channels some of the best panels from Frank Miller's Ronin, odd shapes and odd lines that often compel a second or third look to soak it all in. Definitely in for more!!

The week 2/3 batting average is lower than for week 1, but still a few enthusiastic finds. Just luck, taste, or front loading?

Friday, October 14, 2011

More from the New 52

Comments on half a dozen mixed titles from the 2nd and 3rd weeks, I think I want to carry the blogging project through in part to help me remember which books I want to buy second issues of, otherwise without writing it down I am an old man and forget things. 

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
written by Scott Lobdell, art by Kenneth Rocafort
one and out here. This has a lot of the same ingredients as the relaunches I like, a little action and a little back story and a little "ooooh" cliffhanger menace stuff. But when the characters are talking about the All Caste, they may as well be talking about KAOS or SPECTRE for all I care. The depiction of Starfire/Koriander exemplifies the cheesiest pinup mentality that DC is taking some hits on. As a big fan of the 80s Titans reboot by Wolfman and Perez, I found it painful to watch this version slinking around like a centerfold. And Roy Harper and Jason Todd are not drawn with any eroticism. This was a "the ingredients are there" read for me, I want them stirred better. 

Catwoman #1
written by Judd Winick, art by Guillem March
I found this as deplorable and loathsome and reprehensible as I enjoyed Winick's Batwing. Unless you've been spending the past 45 years wishing Lee Meriweather and Adam West had done a three way with Burt Ward and then vivisected Aunt Harriet for kicks after, not that there's anything wrong with that, there isn't much else going on. We see Catwoman take out somebody's heart with her bare hands. She goes casual wearing dominatrix clothing which just on practical grounds doesn't seem like the best approach toward keeping a secret identity. She has torrid sex with Batman. Next issue promises "The Morning After." Which I would rather spend watching The Poseidon Adventure. For all that, the art isn't bad, pretty good in fact. What the art shows, not for me, but I would keep an eye out for Guillem's name on another project.  Winick?  Well, I still look forward to the second issue of Batwing. 

Mister Terrific #1
written by Eric Wallace, art by Gianluca Gugliotta and Wayne Faucher
a little overstuffed. the origins goes all over the place, and none of the places interest me or are more interesting elsewhere. the art is clean,but didn't make an impression either way. At least with Catwoman, I had passion, hated with but passion. This just makes me go " next."

Grifter #1
written by Nathan Edmondson, art by Cafu and Gorder
Hmmmm.  This one was surprisingly interesting. I didn't warm to it in the opening sequence quite the way I should have, it was confusing more in the confusing way than the intriguing one. But as we flashed back, the co. grifting was interesting to me, and then whom is it that grabs the guy and what are they doing, and when we got back to where we were at the beginning... Well, I still dont think i know or that anyone can know what happens on the plane, but still Grifter has questions and yes, I think I would like to know the answers to some of them.  Nice art, the storytelling is crisp when it needs to be and crisply confusing when that's intended, when the art wasn't helping I don't think it was supposed to. 

Batman #1
written by Scott Snyder, art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Clapion
This is a bit of a mood piece, with a script that seems just the tad bit long, but I liked the mood it was setting, of a classic noir Gotham. Did a good job of putting the whole family of former Robins into the picture. Good enough to keep going. But the art is a murky mess, and it is intended to be because in recent years that seems to be the never-ending way of Batman books to be dark and murky. In which case of course Scott Snyder is the perfect writer.  The DC Retroactive with the new Len Weinberg story reminded me that Batman stories could be darker without drowning in it, though. So while I think I may stick with this for a bit because I have been feeling a little queasy that I haven't been reading Batman for years and want a finger in, I will still keep wishing for a different approach somewhere in the Batman line that can keep the dark in the Dark Knight without being quite so glum about it. 

Birds of Prey #1
written by Duane Swierczynski, art by Jesus Saiz
Never wanted to even go near a Birds of Prey, so that I even tried as part of the New 52 is a point to DC. That I may buy the second issue even more so. There are attractive women here that I think pre-pubescent boys can enjoy without having it objectified in the manner of Catwoman or Red Hood and the Outlaws. There is an interesting, twisty story that doesn't require a complicated story structure in order to twist. The ending has some bang to it. Like Green Arrow, I don't think this is the best of the lot by a lot of measures, but it is attractive, fun, nicely done storytelling which I am happy to gave a little more of. 

Observation:  30-40 years ago did an origin story require a looping story structure?   Were readers more patient then so you could show Ron Raymond at school and expect readers to wait 12 or 16 pages before you found Firestorm?  Could readers suffer through some opening pages of Barry Allen, police scientist, before the lightning and the chemicals?  And is it that readers are less patient, or that comic creators lack confidence in their abilities to tide a reader over without a now/then flashback that has the costume or at least some serious action on the first page, or lack confidence in the readers?  Whatever it is, the need to have so much now/then in these New 52 is very noticeable. 

Also, bad things seem to be happening at airport security and on planes these days.  There seems to be more social commentary on the whole state of navigating an airport in the first month of the New 52 than in the entire mainstream media. Or maybe I am just wishfully over putting things in to the books that aren't intended. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The New 52 at DC, my week #1

When I started reading my selections from the first week of the New 52 at DC, with the earliest f these reviews done within days of the books appearing, before life started to get in the way, I had no idea just how many people would be doing series of posts on the subject. Having started in on week 1, I shall finish, too ,ate to even help guide selections on whether to pick up issue #2...

#1, written by Paul Cornell,art by Miguel Sepulveda
Very doubtful I return for a second issue here.  The stuff the story is made of is reasonably interesting.  Mysterious group of superheroes, looking for reluctant nee member. Something super weird strange is going on on the moon. Mysterious bad guy taking over member of team and from there he will take over the all of it. But at least for me it failed to cohere. It jumped around a lot. It assumed more knowledge of the group and if the characters than I think appropriate for the first issue of a reboot.  Any of the New 52 that I try, I did look thru the art first to be sure it wouldn't actively work against my enjoyment of the story. This didn't do that, but I will say over the course of the whole I found it a little too expressionistic, Goya doing superheroes. 

Batgirl #1, written by Gail Simone, written by Gail Simone, pencils Ardian Sayf, inks by Vicente Cifuentes. 
By modern standards this is very nicely drawn, not Dan Spiegle storytelling but there are pages like 1,2,12 that are outright good to watch,and overall there is a nice integration between the words and the pictures.  I might have preferred for a reboot to just forget the whole wheelchair thing ever happened, to the choice made here of a "miracle cure," but there are arguments to be made on both sides of that. I know I don't like just jumping in with a Family Games villain plot, in part because it's so derivative. And the other villain doesn't excite me.  And even though the front cover has a great first issue smiling superheroine pose, there isn't much of a sense of fun in reading this, no fun at all. I want some fun out of these. Liked this a bit more than Stormwatch, but still iffy. 

Men of War #1 is one of the attempts in the New 52 to be doing something other than a superhero.  It starts off with an origin story for a (not yet) Sgt .Rock. Very much in the reluctant hero mode. The usual cliche of a great father, now dead, he has to live up to. But it worked for me. The art was a little bit gauzy for my tastes, but not distractingly so.  I will be back for more. I do wish they had left well enough alone, but there is an entirely disposable SEALs backup story which jacks up the price to $3.99. Find better, or dump the backup and hold the line at $2.99. 

Batwing #1, written by Judd Winick, art by Ben Oliver
This is a keeper!  Kind of like Al Qaeda, Batman has international affiliates. This one is a policeman in an African country whom at night is battling the corruption of the police and the society in other ways. The main character is somebody I'd like to see more of. The art is nice and clean. Script is full of surprises, check out the cliffhanging final pages and panels.  The setting is fresh and different. Very very good. 

Green Arrow #1, written by JT Krul, art by Dan Jurgens and George Perez. 
This is exactly the kind of comic book I was hoping to see as part of the New 52. It is fun!  It has some action. It has some supporting cast. It has a main character whom I find interesting.  I love the art. It has hot guys, which I think is an underestimated virtue in comic books, and I am sure the gals aren't so bad to look at either. The last panel throws I some hot other kinds of things. I think I can understand why this isn't the best reviewed of the 52. I don't think this title has aspirations beyond entertaining. The characters have real life and fictional role models, Steve Jobs or Stark Industries or Wayne Industries. But I had fun with this one on so many levels, the kind of fun I loved having in the best of the DC Retroactive oneshots. Totally back for more. 

Swamp Thing #1, written by Scott Snyder, art by Yanick Paquette
The Swamp Thing tie-in to Flashpoint was one of the only I wanted to pick up for one issue, let alone stay with for the duration. Scott Snyder has been a hot newish writer for American Vampire, I haven't been reading that but have enjoyed the spinoff series. This first issue is a little attenuated, not as bad as the first issue of JLA but probably could be a half dozen pages shorter. The concept here is that Alec Holland is not Swamp Thing but had a kind of symbiosis from which he has now been severed. Superman checks in to see how he is doing. In the end pages we see that there is some red kind of swamp thing like thing that is causing trouble. And then some Swamp Thing and Alec at the end. Enough script wise for me to be intrigued enough to come back but not totally on board. The art has good storytelling from panel to panel, but the panels themselves are often weird looking, Superman with his back arched back in he weirdest posture, or strange facial expressions.  So good enough, at least. 

Action #1, script by Grant Morrison and art by Rags Morales
This has had some controversy because Superman has lots of attitude, boy does he have attitude. But why not. The ongoing problem with Superman is that perfection is boring.  Most of the best Superman arcs I can think of in a long history reading comics are origin arcs, John Byrnes or Geoff Johns or the Kurt Busiek take, because they can be away just a tad from the iconic Superman, which worked so well in Richard Donner's first movie more than as a rule in the comics. So why not go for an origin approach here, with a young and lively whippersnapper of a Superman. 

Animal Man #1, written by Jeff Lemire and art by Travel Foreman and Dan Green. 
I saved this for last because I was a big fan of Lemire's run on Superboy as well as what he had done with his recent Atom scripts. This ultimately wasn't the superlatively wonderful experience I had hoped for, but more than good enough to come back for a second helping. The art is all over the place, it starts out in a kind of realistic vein and then gets a little weird. This works at the very end when we are given a taste of some of the weirdness Animal Man will be contending with as the series progresses, but it doesn't work as well n the action centerpiece where I found the art to be a bit of a distraction, one strike here vs the brilliant art partner in Superboy. The story is classic origin fare. The placid domesticity of the home life seen in the opening pages is maybe too clearly like any horror movie not going to stay that way. Followed by action sequence to show off powers followed by ending designed to ,eave us wanting more. The Superboy run, with it's obligatory crossover diversions and then abbreviated run on account of the reboot didn't fully cohere with the odd stuff Lemire was mixing in, will this be more fully successful, or ultimately less so. 

All told, got 9 of 13, and inclined to be back for a second issue of six of them. Which already makes the project a success for DC. 

Now, do I have the time to read the other stacks from the next three weeks, or to post about them?  The blog has been undernourished for posting in recent weeks, but is this what the world needs me to post about?