Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – March 28, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Dark Knight Metal #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: All roads lead…to darkness. In the devastating and epic conclusion to DC’s cataclysmic event series, heroes from across the universe make their final charge into the unknown to battle the forces of the Dark Multiverse! Space and time, dreams and nightmares, all will collide – and what is left at the end will leave the DC Universe irrevocably changed!

Why we love it: Better late than never, I suppose. DC’s lucky that Metal has been rock solid, or else I wouldn’t have bothered. But I can’t look away now, not when the end is at hand. Every issue in this series has ended on a note of hopelessness, with our heroes facing increasingly hopeless scenarios. During last issue’s finale, Batman and Superman had been disintegrated at the World Forge, Barbatos and the dark universe had succeeded in crossing over into our universe and the world had basically gone to hell. I can’t imagine how they’ll get out of this mess in one issue but here it is, the conclusion to Dark Nights Metal.

The Mainstream One: Doomsday Clock #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The series you thought you’d never see reaches its fourth issue with a shocking revelation about the aftermath of Ozymandias’ actions and how they reach into even the darkest corners of the DC Universe. Don’t miss the latest chapter by the acclaimed team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank!

Why we like it: The countdown to Doomsday continues, only now it’s counting down at half speed after the announcement that issues would be coming out every other month. We are almost 2 years post Rebirth and it boggles my mind that many of the mysteries seeded back then still haven’t borne fruit. What was the deal with the multiple Supermen? Where is Dr. Manhatten and what role did he play in creating the New52 universe? What was up with the 3 Jokers reveal? With so many loose plot threads still dangling, the clock’s ticking to deliver answers or else I fear fans will just stop caring.

The Indie One: Saga #50

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: SAGA TURNS 50! To help their friends, Hazel and her parents risk everything to visit a dangerous new world. Celebrating 50 consecutive issues by the same award-winning creative team. Plus, the winners of the latest SAGA COSTUME CONTEST are revealed exclusively in ‘To Be Continued,’ the letters page showcasing the best readers in comics!

Why we like it: I know I said that I would stop highlighting Saga every week that it comes out, but this is a milestone issue for what I consider to be the most important independent comic being published right now. If you haven’t been reading Saga, now is not a good jumping on point as the last two issues have been foreshadowing some serious shit going down in this arc. And if you haven’t been reading Saga, I would highly recommend that you remedy that situation immediately.

 The #1 One: Bruce Lee Walk of the Dragon

Publisher: Darby Pop
Words: Nicole Dubuc, Shannon Lee, Jeff Kline
Art: Brandon McKinney

What it is: Philosopher/teacher/real-life superhero Bruce Lee is back. And, let’s be honest, the world needs him now more than ever. Taking a brief respite from battling an otherworldly evil, Bruce Lee attempts to navigate modern-day Southern California despite still suffering from amnesia and having been ‘out of the loop’ for over 45 years. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a simple ‘lunch run’ soon turns into a comedy of errors involving mistaken identity, a Film Festival,’ and the pokey. And despite never being one to initiate fisticuffs, Bruce continues to find it difficult to both hide his martial arts skills – and keep his shirt on.

Why we like it: I’m a huge fan of Bruce Lee, but not necessarily his comics. These Darby Pop comics are being produced under the watchful eye of Bruce’s daughter Shannon and it’s definitely aimed towards a younger audience, lacking any gratuitous violence, controversy or compelling drama. I enjoy the “man out of time” hook and watching a newly unfrozen Bruce navigate modern society is entertaining. But otherwise these are fairly vanilla stories that focus on fun, comedy and morality.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Damnation Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Sebela
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: DAMNATION TIE-IN! Johnny Blaze takes the fight to a different devil than he usually faces – Mephisto! But Mephisto will show Johnny his own brand of suffering – and give Johnny PLENTY of reasons for vengeance. Rated T+

Why we like it: Hot damn, this cover is straight fire!


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – March 21, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile:  The Mighty Thor #705 

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Russel Dauterman

What it is: THE DEATH OF THE MIGHTY THOR Part 6 The epic showdown years in the making finally explodes across the heavens. Thor battles the unstoppable Mangog, with the fate of all Asgardia hanging in the balance. Is Thor willing to pay the ultimate price in order to save the gods? The tragic and heroic story of Jane Foster finally reaches its heart-rending zenith. You knew it was coming. The Death of Thor is here at last. Rated T+

Why we love it: Seems like Jane Foster is losing her battle with cancer. Grab a box of tissues and get ready for the feels.

The Mainstream One: Doctor Strange Damnation #3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Syzmon Kudranski

What it is: Wong’s makeshift Midnight Sons (Iron Fist! Blade! Moon Knight! The Scarlet Spider?!) stand against a whole platoon of Ghost Riders! Rated T+

Why we like it: Doctor Strange used his magic to raise Las Vegas up from total annihilation, but he didn’t count on Mephisto bringing a casino and the hoards of hell along with it. Oh yeah, and the Avengers have all been transformed into Ghost Riders under Mephisto’s control.

The Indie One: Descender #28

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: ‘OLD WORLDS,’ Part Two The origins of the Harvesters are finally revealed as we jump back thousands of years to see the dawn of the robotkind and the the secrets of the Ancient Robot and how it connects to Tim-21 in the present. Secrets that have been building since issue one are finally revealed in this shocking new story arc. Each issue in this arc will feature ‘Little Descender’ variant covers by DUSTIN NGUYEN in his ‘Little Robot’ style.

Why we like it: They teased us with the reveal last month, but apparently THIS is the issue where we finally learn the truth about the Harvesters and their connection to Tim-21.

 The #1 One: Weapon H #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Cory Smith

What it is: AWOL Part 1 The Weapon X Program has done it again! At the cost of their own destruction, they’ve completed their biggest and possibly most dangerous experiment yet… With the strength of the Hulk and the rage and claws of Wolverine comes WEAPON H! It’s been some time since Weapon H escaped and destroyed his creators. Now, our hero is on the run, as he tries to escape his mysterious past and seclude himself from the rest of society. But when a new kind of Wendigo threatens the lives of others, will Weapon H be able to shirk his responsibility? Does any of his humanity remain? Only the creative team of Greg Pak (INCREDIBLE HULK) and Cory Smith (X-MEN BLUE) can give you the answers! Rated T+

Why we like it: Marvel’s breakout character of 2017 get his own series with Weapon H #1. Part Wolverine, part Hulk, one hundred percent bad-ass.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batwoman #13

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Fernando Blanco
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: ‘The Fall of the House of Kane’ part one! After her deadly trip around the world hunting the infamous Many Arms of Death, Batwoman returns to her childhood home in Brussels, the site of her most brutal losses and memories. As the clock begins to tick on a new cycle of violence, Kate must overcome her haunted past to prevent an attack more terrible than any before!

Why we like it: Lee Bermejo gives us one of the best Batwoman covers of all time.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

Posted on

Comic Shop Pop Culture Talk Video Blog 3/18/18

We talk about Marvel’s Black Panther (0:00-16:33), as well as two other theatrical films including Annihilation (16:34-22:20) and Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish (22:21-28:32), the Han Solo trailer (28:33-37:54), Star Wars Rebels (37:55-47:22), The End of the Effing World (47:23-53:10), and Voltron (53:11-56:15).

Thanks for watching!

-The Great Stories Team

Posted on

Comic Shop Talk Video Blog 3/16/18

Our first video blog from the new shop location. Thanks for your patience in our absence!

(0:00-42:25) Our Marvel topics include Infinity Countdown, Amazing Spider-Man’s Red Goblin character, Thanos, Moon Knight, the prospector fascination with Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #28, Star Wars Thrawn and DJ, and we finish up with some talk about the upcoming reboot of the Marvel Universe!

(42:26-52:54) Our DC talk delves into Brian Bendis entrance into DC’s Superman Universe, Doomsday Clock delays, Dark Knights Metal, and Raven Daughter of Darkness!

(52:55-1:01:54) Indie talk includes the new Kirkman book Oblivion Song, Gideon Falls, and a little bit of news on an upcoming Sandman Universe!


Have a great weekend!

The Great Stories Team

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – March 14, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Mister Miracle #7

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: Mister Miracle and Big Barda are in a panic. The war with Apokolips isn’t going well. And it’s Barda’s turn to have her past come crashing back into her present as the Female Furies appear on the scene with blood on their minds. Continuing the acclaimed miniseries that Entertainment Weekly called ‘by far the best comic on the stands right now.’

Why we love it: I don’t know what powers made Entertainment Weekly the authority on what is the best comic on the stands right now, but I grudgingly have to agree with their assessment. This is one of those series that pushes the limits of the comic medium and tells a visual story in a new way. King and Gerad’s Mister Miracle is real heady stuff, not a book that you will be able to just pick up and catch up on. If you haven’t been keeping up, you’ll definitely want to hunt down the first 6 issues or wait for the first trade to drop next month.

The Mainstream One: Avengers #684

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Joe Bennet

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 10 THE AVENGERS WEEKLY EPIC CONTINUES IN THIS OVERSIZED ISSUE! Back from the dead! He cannot be reasoned with. He will not be stopped. Bruce Banner isn’t home right now. There is only THE IMMORTAL HULK. Rated T+

Why we like it: There was never any doubt if, it was just a matter of when. And this week Bruce Banner is back. I read a synopsis of Immortal Hulk and it almost sounds like he’s going to have some kind of zombie power where he can rise from the dead? Sounds kind of silly, but I’m digging this No Surrender story line and that Mark Brooks cover is dope.

The Indie One: Infidel #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Pornsak Pichetshote
Art: Aaron Campbell

What it is: A haunted house story for the 21st century, INFIDEL follows an American Muslim woman and her multiracial neighbors who move into a building haunted by entities that feed off xenophobia. Bestselling editor PORNSAK PICHETSHOTE (Swamp Thing) makes his comics-writing debut alongside artist extraordinaire AARON CAMPBELL (The Shadow), award-winning colorist and editor JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA (Promethea) and letterer / designer JEFF POWELL (SCALES & SCOUNDRELS).

Why we like it: Very intriguing premise. I think many minorities are haunted by the specters of fear and prejudice.


The #1 One: Eternity Girl #1

Publisher: DC Young Animals
Words: Magdalene Visaggio
Art: Sonny Liew

What it is: Caroline Sharp has been a lot of things, including both a superhero and a super-spy. But now, with those days behind her and her powers proving unreliable, Caroline finds herself stuck in a life weighed down by her depression and an inability to change. You see, Caroline is going to live forever, and there is no escape to be had. The very act of living reminds her that, to the rest of existence, she is an anomaly. All of that could change, however, when her old foe, Madame Atom, comes to her with an intriguing offer. Madame Atom can give Caroline the power to end her life; she just has to destroy the rest of the world. This brand-new DC’s Young Animal miniseries spins out of the Milk Wars event, written by GLAAD Media Award-nominated writer Magdalene Visaggio (Kim and Kim) and illustrated by Eisner-winning artist Sonny Liew (The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye).

Why we like it: Another new series with an interesting premise. Life is a gift, but only because we know that someday it ends. But what if it didn’t? Eternal life seems glamorous at first but I would be that after several hundred years of watching your loves die, it would start feeling like a curse.

The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover:

Just too much outstanding cover art this week. Here are some of my favorites and, get this, they are ALL cover price.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20

Detective Comics #976

Justice League of America #26

SuperGirl #19

Deadly Class #32

Doctor Strange #384

Darth Vader #13


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – March 7, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Extremity #12

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Daniel Warren Johnson 

What it is: SERIES FINALE In this extra-sized finale, the Paznina and Roto go to war, with Thea caught in the middle. But in war, there are no winners…

Why we love it: Extremity was such an unexpected delight that I was shocked to learn that it was ending after a scant 12 issues. There was enough world building for this to go on for 30 issues, easily. But creator Daniel Warren Johnson stated that he had a definitive end to his war story and we get to witness it all go down on Wednesday. Why does everything I love go away? Sigh… 

The Mainstream One: Amazing Spider-man #797

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dann Slott
Art: Stuart Immonen

What it is: GO DOWN SWINGING Part 1 The Green Goblin is back – and scarier than ever! Dan Slott has saved his most harrowing Spider-Man story for last as he and Stuart Immonen kick off the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN story ten years in the making. Osborn got his crazy back and has a plan that’ll make all his past plans look like child’s play. Peter Parker and the people he loves (ALL of them) are in deep trouble. And who or what is the RED GOBLIN?! The only way Spider-Man survives is to GO DOWN SWINGING! Rated T

Why we like it: Marvel has been really milking the Red Goblin reveal. And just like Dan Slott’s run on ASM, it’s gone on way too long. He’s been teased for at least the last three issues and he still hasn’t made his full appearance. I’m guessing we won’t see him in all of his glory until issue #800, but maybe we get a cameo this week.

The Indie One: Gideon Falls #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: A brand-new ongoing series from the acclaimed bestselling creative team of Old Man Logan and Green Arrow! The lives of a reclusive young man obsessed with a conspiracy in the city’s trash, and a washed-up Catholic priest arriving in a small town full of dark secrets, become intertwined around the mysterious legend of The Black Barn, an otherworldly building that is alleged to have appeared in both the city and the small town, throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake. Rural mystery and urban horror collide in this character-driven meditation on obsession, mental illness, and faith.

Why we like it: Jeff Lemire makes his triumphant return to Image with Gideon Falls and he’s bringing along Andrea Sorrentino. Their run on Marvel’s Old Man Logan was one of the highlights of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different campaign. I like Sorrentino’s expressive and atmospheric art, but his scratchy line work and use of washed out colors can make for confusing compositions. Still, I’ll read just about anything that Lemire writes and the buzz ahead of this book is solid. Don’t miss out on this one. 

 The #1 One: Oblivion Song #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Lorenzo De Felici

What it is: A decade ago, 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were suddenly lost in Oblivion. The government made every attempt to recover them, but after many years, they gave up. Nathan Cole…won’t. He makes daily trips, risking his life to try and rescue those still living in the apocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion. But maybe…Nathan is looking for something else? Why can’t he resist the siren call of the Oblivion Song?

Why we like it: After Invincible ended it’s epic 100+ issue run, Kirkman wasted no time starting out on his next saga, Oblivion Song, which drops this week. There is a lot of excitement for this series premiere because a) it’s Kirkman and b) the advanced previews look amazing. The print run on this book is going to be massive, so don’t expect this #1 to raise to the levels of Walking Dead, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out what looks to be a seriously cool sci-fi book.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: She Hulk #163

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mariko Tamaki
Art: Diego Olortegui
Cover Art: Rahzzah

Jen Walters has gone through some stuff. She’s fought golems made of rage and fear, faced monsters twice her size and won tough court battles. What’s next for Jen? Well…let’s find out. Rated T+

Why we like it: Between Luke Cage and She Hulk, Rahzzah has been putting out some sweet cover art. I believe #163 is the final issue of this She Hulk run. Last issues will typically have a small print run, so don’t sleep on this one if you like it. She will be back when Avengers gets rebooted in May, but that’s a whole other discussion for another time…

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

Posted on

A Trip to Totalcon 32

This past weekend Cards and Counter team member Gary visited Total Confusion. Gary has 38 years of gaming experience both as a player and as game runner. With 8 years as a professional, taking the gaming experience across the country to large and small conventions; including Gen Con and Origins Game Fair. So I would say he knows his way around the table top and here is what he has to say about his weekend.


Total Confusion or Totalcon for short. Totalcon The convention has grown since its origin in 1986 and is always held the weekend after Presidents Day in February for 4 days ( Thurs-Sun ). It is now one of the largest gaming conventions in New England. Totalcon caters to a very large selection of games.

Totalcon 32 had a pirate theme for the weekend. Convention goers dressed in various modes of “Pirate”, from a ren-faire shirt over jeans and sneakers to full blown outfit with boots, pants, shirt, long coat, hat, eyepatch and skeletal bird perched on their shoulder. On Saturday night there was a costume contest for the best pirate outfit.

The bulk of events are RPG’s of one sort or another. With the vast majority of those being Dungeons & Dragons of one edition or another. Other RPG’s included Call of Cthulhu, 7th Sea, Doctor Who RPG, Shadorun, Brass & Steel and Kobolds Ate My Baby.

Most tabletop RPG’s are played in four hour slots, though there are some that run only two hours and some that run eight. The majority of these games are similar in that you sit at the table and the person running the game hands out pre-generated characters for use in the scenario. This has the advantage of making sure that the party has all of the necessary skills, abilities or powers that will be required to complete the adventure. The other games allow you to bring your own character to the game, and to use them in other games that take place under the umbrella of one organization or another. The two that I can currently think of are the D&D Adventurers League, Wizards of the Coast official games; and Stormgate a local game to be played at New England conventions and at participating gaming stores.

I spent the majority of my time this year playing Stormgate. This was the inaugural year for this ongoing campaign. It is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition game. We started at first level and at the end of the weekend we had attained 6th level. The full set of Stormgate games consisted of six games, played out over twenty-eight hours. To me this was all well worth the investment of time. I may be looking for Stormgate events at Gaming stores.

Prepping for the game was easy. The rules for making your character were to use the point build in the Player’s Handbook to determine your basic stats, with maximum hit points at first level. The only book available for use was The Players Handbook. Other books will be opened for player use during or after Stormgate events.

Board Games included: Aquire, Arkham Horror, Empire Builder, Talisman, Fury of Dracula, Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan (the winner of the weekends tournament won a trip to Origions for the national championships), Diplomacy and Blood Bowl.

Necromunda, Warhammer 40K, Battletech, Formula De and X-Wing were represented in the miniatures area. There were even events set up for young gamers.


Here is the link to take to Total Cons site. Make sure to watch out for next years schedule.


And always be sure to watch Great Stories events schedule for up and coming new games and plans at the shop.