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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/6/2016

Salutations comic book fans, and welcome to the first episode of the Crank File for 2016. It’s the start of the new year and like many collectors, a part of my resolutions list includes comics that I will be targeting to purchase in the coming year (the top of my want list, for those of you interested, is a mid-grade copy of Avengers #4).  Having goals is an essential part of any good collection. Impulsively collecting everything that catches your fancy is a great way to accumulate a lot of stuff, but without focus and direction you’ll find a good chunk of  your money going towards random pieces and then not having funds for the key pieces or sets that would really add value, whether monetary or sentimental, to your collection.  Take a moment to assess your collection, identify a few pieces or trends that you want to get into in 2016 and then do lots and lots and lots of research. Determine a price range that you can afford and then come up with a budget to help you save up for it. Collecting should be rewarding, and there is nothing more rewarding then getting exactly what you want, for a price that you are comfortable paying. If setting collecting goals wasn’t on your resolution list in 2015, I hope that it’s there in 2016.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Star Wars #14



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jason Aaron

Art: Mike Deodato

VADER DOWN, PART FIVE CHEWBACCA VERSUS BLACK KRRSANTAN! What else do you need? Marvel’s first Star Wars event continues! 


Darth Vader #15



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larroca

VADER DOWN: THE CONCLUSION! Luke Skywalker–captured by the Empire! Darth Vader–beset by enemies on all sides! The finale of the biggest Marvel Star Wars story yet!

There has indeed been an awakening in the force. Fresh off complete domination at the box office, Star Wars returns to comics with not one, but two concluding issues to the incredible cross-over miniseries, Vader Down. There’s no stopping the Star Wars empire right now and these two books will undoubtedly be among the best sellers this week.


The Mainstream One: Spiderman Deadpool #1 (Del Mundo variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Joe Kelly

Art: Ed McGuiness

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! The Webbed Wonder and the Merc with a Mouth are teaming up for their first ongoing series EVER! It’s action, adventure and just a smattering of (b)romance in this episodic epic featuring the WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER HERO and the star of the WORLD’S GREATEST COMICS MAGAZINE. Talk about a REAL dynamic duo! 

Marvel’s two greatest wisecrackers finally get their own team-up series, and I’m guessing that it’s going to be hysterical. Marvel is bringing in the creative team that was largely responsible for Deadpool’s current popularity. In 1997, Kelly and McGuiness defined the character and what we typically now think of as Deadpool during their run on his first solo series. They’re back with more insane adventures for everybody’s favorite, smelly merc and his wall-crawling pal, Spidey. (Did you notice that the title is not “Deadpool Spiderman”? Spiderman takes second billing to no one!)


The Indie One: Fade Out #12



Publisher:  Image

Words: Ed Brubaker

Art: Sean Phillips

SERIES CONCLUSION It all ends here! The dramatic wrap-up to the mystery and to Brubaker and Phillips best-selling and most ambitious project yet!

I was not expecting to enjoy The Fade Out as much as I did. The end of its run will leave a void in my pull box that is unlikely to be filled by another title. Unlike 99% of comics, there were no supernatural forces at play here. No special powers or abilities. No rogue technology, no zombies. No secret magic and no hidden evil besides what already lies within the hearts of men. The Fade Out is all about well-developed characters and plot twists that will read like a movie in trade paperback format. Don’t attempt to jump on this one, you have to begin at the start, but definitely don’t miss it.


The #1 One: Swamp Thing #1



Publisher: DC

Words: Len Wein

Art: Kelly Jones

Swamp Thing returns in an all-new series written by his co-creator, legendary writer Len Wein! Swamp Thing has received an ominous warning, and now he finds himself under attack from the forces of dark magic. These are more than just your average monsters-and there’s something much worse looming on the horizon for Alec Holland!

Swamp Thing is on my all-time, top-5 list of comic book heroes from the big two. Plus, one of Swamp Thing’s original creators, Len Wein, is back on writing duties. This one is a no-brainer.


The Ones I’m Buying for the Covers: A-Force #1 (Hughes Hip Hop variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: G. Willow Wilson

Art:  Jorge Molina

A-FORCE, ASSEMBLE! From the ashes of Battleworld, Marvel’s newest hero SINGULARITY has risen and entered the Marvel Universe. But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the most fearsome threats from across the multiverse, Singularity will summon the world’s mightiest team of Avengers to her side: SHE-HULK. CAPTAIN MARVEL. DAZZLER. MEDUSA. NICO MINORU. Together, they are A FORCE to be reckoned with! 

This gorgeous Adam Hughes cover also features Marvel’s cleverest hip hop cover swipe yet, “Straight Outta Comics!” a play-on NWA’s breakout album “Straight Outta Compton”.


Detective Comics #48 (Adult coloring book variant)



Publisher: DC

Words: Peter J. Tomasi

Art:  Marcio Takara

In the wake of the Robin War and globe-hopping with the Justice League, Jim Gordon is looking forward to getting back to what he, and Batman, do best: taking out crime in Gotham City. But lurking in the shadows at home is a case from Jim’s past that may decide the future of Batman

The marketing department over at DC had me directly in their sights when they cooked up this “adult coloring book” variant campaign. I will be purchasing two copies of Detective Comics #48. One cover will be given a complete, psychedelic crayon treatment, while the other copy will be carefully preserved in bag with a board in pristine condition. I’m also reading just about all of the current Bat books as we approach issue #50, which I suspect will be when we see the return of Bruce Wayne as Batman.


Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/23/2015

Happy holidays comic book fans. This time of year always get crazy hectic and a light week of new books is a welcome relief from too much yuletide spirit. Christmas came early for geek nation as the new Star Wars movie launched to almost universal acclaim. The Force Awakens death starred all previous records for opening weekend box office sales and the world breathed a communal sigh of relief. There’s no real secret recipe at work here, it’s a beloved franchise that consistently delivers high-quality product to its rabid fan base.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.


The Top of the Pile: The Dark Knight Returns III #2 (Jim Lee Variant)




Publisher: DC

Words: Frank Miller

Art: Andy Kubert

DKIII #1 delivered a strong premiere issue for the miniseries. The action and storytelling felt focused and the shocking ending to issue #1 promises a completely original Bat story and I’m totally in for the ride. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read DKIII #1 and you plan on reading this series at some point. Do not read the following description and avoid looking at the regular cover to issue #2 if you don’t want to ruin the surprise.

The unexpected finale to the Dark Knight saga continues as Carrie Kelly gets caught…that is, she finds herself…she gets into—well, you’re just going to have to read it yourself.



The Mainstream One:  Darth Vader #14



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larocca

VADER DOWN, PART FOUR Han & Luke take on Vader’s forces…and more? Meanwhile…Leia makes a hard decision.

Unquestionably, Star Wars rules the pop-culture galaxy. Need proof? Currently, Marvel’s Star Wars comics franchise accounts for about 10% of all comics sold each month. Darth Vader is my favorite Star Wars comic series out now, and the whole gang is reunited as the Vader Down crossover approaches critical mass.



The Indie One:  Saga #32



Publisher: Image

Words: Brain K. Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Marko and Alana learn something.

No surprise to anyone, Saga is back with a new arc and back in my pull pile. This modern space opera continues to be my hands down favorite ongoing series.



The #1 One: Patsy Walker Hellcat #1 (Sophie Campbell variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kate Leth

Art: Brittney Williams

Patsy Walker has managed to escape her past, her enemies and Hell itself (literally), but nothing compares to job hunting in New York City! Between trying to make rent and dodging (literal) bullets, Patsy barely has time to deal with her mother’s exploitative romance comics about her childhood resurfacing, much less how they start to interfere with her work and dating life. As she goes from living a double life to a triple, what the Hell is Patsy Walker supposed to do? Raise your (literal) claws for Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!

Actress Rachael Taylor’s depiction of Patsy Walker on the Netflix Jessica Jones show helped revitalize this classic character with an all-new, all-different kind of vibe. Digging this Campbell variant, even though it’s not by that Campbell.   



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman #47 (Harley’s Little Black Book variant)


Publisher: DC

Words: Gene Luen Yang

Art: Howard Porter

Cover Art: Lee Bermejo

What would happen if the powers of all of Superman’s foes were contained in one villain? You’ll find out when you meet the Amalgam of Composite Superman Foes-and this is one nightmare a semi-powered Man of Steel may not survive! Join series writer Gene Luen Yang and guest artist Howard Porter for an unforgettable new epic! This issue features open-to-order variant covers by Lee Bermejo that will be shipped in opaque polybags.

I think the cover speaks for itself.


The Speculation One: New Avengers #4


Publisher: Marvel

Words: Al Ewing

Art: Gerardo Sandoval

Out beyond the nether dark lurks… Moridun, Master Magus of the Fifth Cosmos! He’s not just an evil wizard – he’s an evil Space Wizard! But when the space dust settles, who will be… the King of Space? Seriously, everything’s cooler in space. How cool will the New Avengers be in space? THEY WILL BE PRETTY COOL!

The first appearance of a new cosmic villain, Moridun, a character who looks suspiciously similar to the classic Lovecraftian nightmare, Cthulhu.



Carpe Comics!