iFlashback! March 17th, 2004

It’s time for an iFlashback, a weekly feature in which we take a look at some comics that were on sale nine years ago. So jog down memory lane with me. The date is March 17th, 2004 (it was a leap year in 2004, so we are a day off now) the number one film at the box office is still The Passion of the Christ and these are some of the books that are on the stands at your local comic shop.


Robin #124

By Bill Willingham, Francisco Rodriquez de la Fuente, Aaron Sowd


Wolverine #12

By Greg Rucka, Darick Robertson, Tom Palmer


Walking Dead #5

By Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang #3

By Tony Bedard, Mike Perkins, Drew Hennessy, Laura Villari


Negation War #1

By Tony Bedard, Paul Pelletier, Dave Meikis, Laura Martin


New X-Men #154

By Grant Morrison, Marc Silvestri


Fantastic Four #511

By Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo, Karl Kesel


Smallville #7

By Clint Carpenter, Tom Derenick, Tom Grummet

DC new Frontier3

DC: New Frontier #3

By Darwyn Cooke, Dave Stewart

That was the week that was in comics. Grant Morrison concludes his run on New X-men, Wolverine has a David Lynch-esque dream issue, and the Fantastic Four meet their maker, literally. So, did you read any of the books that came out this week? If you did be sure to let us know what you thought of them.


  1. That’s a really good line-up. I forgot that Silvestri was on New X-Men for a little while and I totally forgot about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which I only read a few issues of but remember enjoying. I wonder if Marvel will ever release those Crossgen collections digitally or something, I’d love to give them another read.

  2. I read “DC:the Frontier”, Waid’s “Fantastic Four”, and “the Walking Dead” of course. It’s funny that in that issue of FF their “maker” is Jack Kirby. I just finished “Marvel Comics:the Untold Story” so that casting choice takes on all sorts of meaning now.

  3. I always forget that Crossgen was basically finished by 2004. It was such a defining period of my comic reading life that I often think it lasted longer then it did.

    The fact that Negation War never got a conclusion is one of comics greatest tragedies. Also, that first issue there? One of the greatest two page opening ever. Paul Pelletier ownzone.

    • What is Crossgen by the way?

    • God damn it. This means I’m old now right?

      Crossgen was an independent publisher that lasted between 2000 and 2004. They were unique in that they focused primarily on fantasy and science fiction comics rather then Super-Heroes. Their line of books was tied together in a shared universe, one where each title was stand alone, but most of the main protagonists were branded with a ‘sigil’ that imbued them with various powers, often in personally unique ways. The mystery behind the source of these sigils was a major universe wide mystery for most of the line’s history. And it was finally coming to a head in the Negation War mini-series. Until it all came crashing down when Crossgen with years of selling at a loss finally caught up to them. Crossgen’s biggest mistakes was trying to expand their comic line too fast, and into then experimental publishing formats. Such as ‘manga style’ reprint anthologies, motion comics, and some of the earlier attempts at Digital comic distribution. Crossgen had some of the hottest talents around at the time, some of which have gone on to be big names at Marvel and DC.

      Disney would latter buy up all the Crossgen IP rights, and Marvel would make a half-hearted attempt at a reveal that ended up a text book case of trademark squatting.

      The failure of Crossgen is one of those great tragedies. They were bringing something really different, consistently and at a high quality to the comic book market. I honestly wonder if they hadn’t expanded their line so fast, and hadn’t dumped so much money into failed distribution experiments if they’d still be around today. The comic world is lessened without them.

    • I hope you don’t mind my adding two things Adventurer (I was also pretty into Crossgen, particularly Way of the Rat and Ruse). Crossgen was also different from other companies in that their talent were salaried employees with benefits, which let them draw a lot of good writers and artists into the fold. I don’t remember if it was last year or the year before, but Marvel released a Ruse mini series written by Mark Waid, the original author of the series, that was definitely worth checking out if you can find it.

    • For those interested, Ron Marz’s memories of working at CrossGen:

      Part 1:


      Part 2:


    • Crossgen was amazing. Big gaping hole in my reading when they ran out of money and stopped paying their talent. Way of the Rat, Negation and route 666 are classics in my opinion and brath, sojourn, meridian, and scion were pretty good as well. When i was reading Negation i thought it was so amazing.. like i hadnt seen anything like it since i watched star wars as a kid. It had an epic quality about it. Tony Bedard has been quoted saying he doesnt care about negation or crossgen so… negation continuing is slim to none.. to my great dismay.

    • Those are interesting articles Conor. Thanks for shedding light on them.

    • You are all awesome. Negation was one of my favourite books ever, and the reason I often give a new Bedard book a shot. It’s never the end of Negation War though, so I’m always a little sad.

    • I never read much CrossGen, but I did read Ruse and El Cazador. I enjoyed both (EC had gorgeous art!). Kiss Kiss Bang Bang sounds like a book I would have liked, too bad it didn’t last longer.

    • Thanks for the explanation, I wasn’t reading comics back then! 😉 Any trades I should try to look out for particularly?

    • @ Kill the G1mp.. hi
      I would suggest Negation if you like epic space drama/adventure (T Bedard). Way of the Rat if you like mystical, martial Arts, exotic adventure (C Dixon). Route 666 If you like Horror/ Thriller with a bit of humor and adventure in their as well (I forget who wrote that and most of the plot but i loved it though). Brath would be my fourth recommendation Historical Celtic warrior fighting against Romans if i remember correctly. It was a long time ago. As much as i usually like Ron Marz writing .. his stuff was some of the worst of Crossgen so i would avoid those. Worst of crossgen is pretty good though because at its worst crossgen was still pretty good. Sojourn, Meridian, and Scion were all pretty good as well if you like fantasy swords and sorcery stuff. The whole point of Crossgen was to get away from straight up superhero stories. They were the best in the business at that for a while.
      @kenyyg.. Ya Ruse and El Cazador were pretty good too.

    • @ kill the g1mp.. If you cant find the trades very cheap on amazon.. mycomicshop.com has them in single issues for 1 dollar each. I bought some for a friend last christmas off that site.

  4. Crossgen…how I miss thee…..

  5. Wow. It was great to see Waid an Wieringo’s FF. I really wish marvel would give Waid some omnibus love. How about a Cap or FF omnibus of Waid’s issues. Just sayin.

  6. Funny how in about 8 years writers and directors butcher what Robert Kirkman wrote in the early days of Walking Dead. Say what you will about the series quality now but re-reading the first couple of trades (before finding the prison) are some good comics.

    Here are some other notable news, births, and deaths to occur on March 17th:

    -2008: For all of you New Yorkers, today is the 4th Anniversary of Eliot Spitzer resigning after a scandal involving a prostitute.

    -1919: Nat King Cole

    -2011: Michael Gough (He played Alfred in all four Batman films before the Nolan trilogy)

  7. I was at my local comic shop buying Smallville #7 on that day…. Oh how I miss the TV show, time to go back and revisit the series. I really enjoy season 11 of the comic book. Anyone else?

  8. I read New Frontier, New X-Men (love the sentinel on that cover), and Walking Dead.I love how Darwynn Cooke & Dave Stewart captured the feel of the era so well, I love animated movie adaptation too but wish they would’ve made that a 2 parter, so much more material that gave the story a deeper meaning, Hourman! Greg Ruckas run on Wolverine I still wanna read, Brotherhood in particular. Negation War looks good, I almost forgot about Crossgen, I know I have some of they’re stuff in my collection. Never knew Bill Willingham of Fables wrote Robin and dig the minimal cover.