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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – January 9, 2019

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. If you haven’t come by the new Great Stories location yet, what are you waiting for? Get on down here and check out our awesome new home. Every Wednesday is new comic book day, a perfect day to visit a comic shop near you, 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: Murder Falcon #4

Publisher: Image
Words and art: Daniel Warren Johnsom

What it is: The reunion tour of Brooticus gets off to a rough start as Magnum Khaos unleashes his monstrous minions on Chicago. Only the mighty musical attack of Murder Falcon and the band can turn the tide… but where is Jake when his friends need him the most?

Why we love it: It only took 3 issues for Murder Flacon to rock its way to the top of the pile. This series is so freaking metal, I love it. I’ll cop to the fact that the concept of a cyborg, falcon beast that draws its power from heavy metal music to fight fights demon monsters is sophmoric. But this book is so much fun to read and it has a ton of heart. Can’t recommend this series enough.

The Mainstream One: Thor #9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Michael Del Mundo

What it is: MEET EARTH’S NEWEST DEFENDER: ROZ SOLOMON! With S.H.I.E.L.D. gone, Roz Solomon has been left adrift in a world full of homeless gods and mislaid hammers. Now this Asgardian ally is about to take on a surprising new role – and make a million new enemies. For the War of the Realms is coming…and the invasion of Earth may have already begun. Cue the Frost Giants! Rated T+

Why we like it:  Roz is a favorite minor character of mine, and I’m happy to see her getting a featured story. Originally an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. until it disbanded, Roz recently became an agent of Wakanda and she probably got her hands on some of that sweet Wakanda armor and weaponry.

The Indie One: Die #2

Publisher: Image
Words: Kieron Gillen
Art: Stephanie Hans

What it is: ‘FANTASY HEARTBREAKER,’ Part Two Remember last time, when we said ‘Goth Jumanji’? As the bleak, austere fantasy-horror ramps up, we start underlining the word ‘Goth’ in black marker until we cut a hole through the page.

Why we like it: Issue #1 was good enough to warrant a second. I was pleasantly surprised that the story was a lot more creepy and horror tinged than expected.

The #1 One: Young Justice #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: Superboy! Wonder Girl! Robin! Impulse! Amethyst! They’re all united in YOUNG JUSTICE #1, the debut issue of a brand-new series that also introduces new heroes Teen Lantern and Jinny Hex! When the nightmare dimension known as Gemworld invades Metropolis, these teen heroes reunite to deal with the situation-but they’re shocked to discover the battle may be the key to the return of Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy! This mix of fan favorites and new legacy heroes will be the center point for some of the biggest goings-on at DC! As if that weren’t enough, Bendis reunites with all-star artist Patrick Gleason (SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) to bring the new heroes of DC’s Wonder Comics to life!

Why we like it: DC’s newest team of teen derivatives. Normally I wouldn’t care but the new #1 from the latest volume of Young Justice has a few things going for it. It is being written by the  literary wizard Brian Michael Bendis and it introduces two new characters, Jinny Hex and Teen Lantern.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Spider-Gwen Ghost Spider #4

Publisher: Marvel
Seanan MacGuire
Rosi Campi
Cover Art: Bengal

What it is: In the aftermath of SPIDER-GEDDON, Gwen Stacy has a unique ability all her own – one that will set her apart from other Spiders for years to come. But with that unique power, there will also come a unique – and grave – responsibility. One that Gwen will have no choice but to bear alone… Rated T

Why we like it: In a week where both Alex Ross and Adam Hughes have covers for Captain Marvel #1, French artist Bengal takes home the coveted Cover of the Week award with this striking scene. I just love the colors and composition on this cover and can’t wait to get it up on my wall.


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

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Comic Shop Talk Video Blog: July

Hey Everyone,

We are a bit late in getting this video out to you but summer vacation schedules were the theme of the month.  But fear not, we are back!  This month we talk about lots of the new Marvel relaunches including Thor, Immortal Hulk, Tony Stark Iron Man, and Venom.  We also look at continuing series Champions and the wind down of the X-Men Gold book.  DC is not totally forgotten in this month’s edition as we discuss Teen Titans.  And we finish up by spotlighting the amazing Gideon Falls series from Image, which has just been optioned as a TV show!

Comment on our Youtube page and let us know what you would like us to discuss next month!



-The Great Stories Team

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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!

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The Female Perspective: Lady Thor and Gender Roles

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

While it’s not news that Thor is now a lady, I think it IS newsworthy to discuss the fact that Lady Thor is outselling Man Thor by 30% – that’s a pretty staggering number considering the news of a lady Thor was met with mixed reviews. According to the Telegraph;

According to distributor DC Comics, the first five issues of the new female Thor series have outsold the same issues from the previous ‘God of Thunder’ series in 2012, featuring a more conventional male Thor – some by up to 36 per cent. And those figures don’t include digital copies.

Lady Thor is outselling her Male counterpart by 30%!
Lady Thor is outselling her Male counterpart by 30%!

This brings joy to my feminist heart because there were so many traditional comic book fans who though that making Thor a woman would be a terrible idea and there were those who openly opposed it. Well, I guess this proves something…women do buy comics and that a controversy CAN improve sales. We’ll have to see if Lady Thor continues to rock the market but for now, she has a pretty comfortable lead in terms of sales.

That being said, I came across a meme the other day that both amused the holy heck out of me and annoyed me. Below is the meme in question:


Here’s my issue with it, why is this supposed Mom poo-poo’ing her daughters wishes because Thor is male? Why can’t young girls be whatever the heck they want for Halloween (or any day)? Who cares if it is a traditionally male or female role? Why can’t a young boy decide he wants to be Wonder Woman or a girl wants to be Thor? What are these pre-ordained gender roles that we all have to fit into? Shouldn’t that be the stuff of the past?

Now, I am not a parent, but I have been around my friends (and lived with) kids quite a bit, I have watched my friends parent their children (both male and female) with equal parts distress and ease. I have watched one of my friends young sons want to wear a one-piece bathing suit and read princess books and not once did his mother tell him that that was for girls. She allowed him to express who he was without shame. That is how it should be, kids should be allowed to experiment with different gender roles in order to figure out who they are! That shouldn’t be squashed simply because someone eons ago decided some stuff was for boys and some for girls! Who made that decision? It needs to end, boys should be able to do boy or girl stuff and girls should be able to do boy or girl stuff. Simple as that (and, by the way, I feel that this holds true for adults as well).

A funny example is the 80’s movie Adventures in Babysitting – a great movie, by the way. One of the lead characters, a young girl of about 10 or so was obsessed with Thor! She dressed like him and wanted to be him and I remember thinking, what a cool chick! Let’s face it, Thor is not only a pretty face, he’s a pretty awesome character,

From "Adventures in Babysitting"
From “Adventures in Babysitting”

Here’s the thing, we need to stop boxing people into specified roles. People are malleable, wonderfully complex human beings and if they want to defy the “rules” then I say go for it! I used to love the male characters in the films I saw and I would actually try to emulate them in certain ways. It’s both sad that there were so few female role models that I identified with and pretty funny that I much preferred the male characters. Why did I prefer them? Because they were tough, they were never the damsel in distress and they always came out on top. Today, the choice of female role models is wider and more diverse – look at characters like Agent Carter, Black Widow, even Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast & Furious movies. These are all strong, powerful women who go toe-to-toe with their male counterparts. It’s really awesome and I’m glad to see it!

The simple fact is, we need to let go of stereotypes. They’re boring and without merit. We need to instead embrace the unusual, the unique and let people be who they want. Don’t tell a little boy he can’t dress as a lady if he wants to, it might be a phase or it might truly be who he is. Don’t tell your little girl that she can’t be Thor because, as we’ve seen, Thor is a pretty mighty hero, whether Thor is a he or a she.

What do you think? Do you have kids and would you allow them to cross-dress (for lack of a better term) if they wanted? Sound off in the comments!