The iFanboy Letter Column – 01/08/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s searching for the ultimate party where on the way, you and your friends get stuck in a 1980s movie-esque adventure. For others, Friday is the day you put on 55 layers to go buy milk.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —



I got a question regarding Daredevil. I recently purchased Frank Miller’s Daredevil :The Man Without Fear (the holofoil ones, 1-5). I really enjoyed the art, writing and everything else about the book but it’s the only Daredevil comic I have ever read do you guy have any recommendations? And whats your opinion on the on-going stuff ?

Sal from Kennewick, Washington

Oh, Sal, how lucky you are right now. You see, you’ve stumbled onto my favorite moment for any comic reader. The moment you tried something new, liked it and now want more. You see, at this very moment, it’s as if you’re standing at the door, which is slightly ajar, and there’s light coming through the cracks from the room beyond that door. What’s on the other side? The sheer bright light and intensity of a room filled with awesome and amazing comics for you to enjoy!

As far as Daredevil goes, you’ve got two directions you could go in. You could go to the past or you can go to the more recent stuff. Since you enjoyed Frank Miller’s Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, you may want to look into some of Frank Miller’s character defining work on Daredevil in the 1980s. Some amazing stuff including a ton of Bullseye, the introduction (and first death) of Elektra, as well as some great stories.

From there, you could make a stop over in the late 1990s and check out the character re-starting run on Daredevil by Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada. The title that started Marvel Knights and really ushered in the current age at Marvel. A great story with probably some of Quesada’s best art of his career. Once you complete that story, then it’s time to crack open the work Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Recently collected in Omnibus, it may be easier to find in trade paperbacks, but if you ask me, the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil was one of the best runs of the 2000s, if not one of the best runs of all time for the character. Bendis wove such an engaging ongoing story and Maleev totally defined the look of Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen. It was so good that it was a tough act to follow for Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, who followed them. You can pick that stuff up too, as it’s really quite good, but not quite as good as Bendis/Maleev.

As far as the current work of Andy Diggle and Roberto Del La Torre, the jury is still out. I am giving them a shot with it, and I’ve been enjoying the story, but as a Daredevil newbie such as yourself, I’m not sure if it’s worth your time right now as the story involving Daredevil taking control of the The Hand is a bit continuity intensive and not quite sure you’ll be able to enjoy it as much if you haven’t read the Bendis and Brubaker runs.

Hope this helps guide you into the world of Daredevil and you enjoy all that you read! Daredevil silently became one of my favorite books and characters during the 2000s and has given me some of the best comic reading of all time.

Ron Richards

I’ve been re-reading some of my older comics lately and stumbled upon an annoying trend. Joe Casey (Wildcats, Vo1. 2) and Brian Bendis (Black Widow storyline in Daredevil #61-65) had characters speak a significant amount of dialogue in another language and failed to have the translations printed in a footnote or a page at the back of the comic. Am I the only person that finds this extremely annoying? And, in this age of extremely narrowly-focused blog posting, is there a blog/website that’s devoted to posting English translations of foreign language dialogue in comics?


While I can see why readers might find this extremely annoying, I think I’d go against the grain here, and tell you why it doesn’t bother me.  There’s something about comic books where this can work in a way that it can’t work in a novel, for example. Similarly, it can work in films as well, with actors speaking a different language, with no subtitles, and you, as a reader or viewer, are forced to glean the content from the context. If it’s a movie, you’re looking at the characters, and how they’re behaving, the tone of their words, if not the literal meaning. From that, you can usually sort out what’s going on, as long as you are willing to put the effort in. It works the same with comics, or it should anyway. The writer and artist should be aware that all their readers aren’t going to be fluent in that language. Others might know some key words. But most people are going to have to sort it out. I look at it like a challenge on both the creative and consumer’s part, and that actually kind of excites me.

Specifically, I remember a story from Queen and Country with a particular sex scene, and the characters only spoke French. Now I know some French, so I could tell that some dirty business was going down, but I was mostly forced to figure it out. The art was all dark and more suggestive than graphic. I thought it was a very successful bit of comic book work. But I can see the other side as well. If I were you, I’d look at it like a game, and realize that you don’t necessarily need to know exactly what people are saying as much as the basic idea of what is going on, and how that affects the overall plot.

As far as blogs go, I’m not sure, but you can get a basic translation of most things through google if you really want to, but again, I suspect that’s not the intent of those kinds of scenes. Au revoir!

Josh Flanagan

I was wondering if Blackest Night is what Secret Invasion should have been? Blackest Night was set up through Green Lantern and Secret Invasion was set up through The New Avengers, both turned into a universe-wide event but Blackest Night has been moving and the tie-ins have been good on the other hand Secret Invasion was slow and tie-ins were bad.

Pat from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Quality issues aside I think the real issue here is that we’re seeing two very distinct philosophies from the Big Two on how to handle big events.

If you were a DC Comics reader and you wanted to avoid Blackest Night it’s much easier than if you were a Marvel Comics reader and you wanted to avoid reading Secret Invasion. If you don’t want any part of Blackest Night then it is, so far, as simple as not reading the main book, the two Green Lantern books and any of the special mini-series or one-shots. Except for a few issues here and there you can continue to read your Batman books or Wonder Woman or your Titans books or whatever, and you won’t have to see any blood spewing kittens or corpse hunting black ring.

Blackest Night vs. Secret InvasionBut when Secret Invasion was in full swing, it was hard to avoid the story because almost all of the major series seemed to tie into it. With a few exceptions, if you were reading Marvel Comics at the time you were reading Secret Invasion. Personally I think the DC model is better — as a reader I’d rather have the choice to opt into an event rather than have no choice in the matter.

(With their newest event, Siege, Marvel seems to be easing up on the tie-in books, just a little bit.)

So in a structural sense I think that Blackest Night is what Secret Invasion should have been. But that’s coming from a reader perspective. If I was in charge of the money for either company I’d probably go with the Secret Invasion model.

From a quality stand point, if you are enjoying Blackest Night and you didn’t enjoy Secret Invasion, then yes you could say that in comparing big company-wide event to big company-wide event, Blackest Night is, so far, what Secret Invasion should have been.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. The English translation of the French sex scene from queen & country was later printed in the back of a later issue…it rivals most pornagraphic film diologue in it’s dirtiness

  2. it’s like sal just ate chocoate for the first time. Yes, there’s more. And yes, it’s awesome

  3. I’m a big fan of what DC has been doing with their events.  I think it’s a great structure, and in a weird way, it gets me to buy more comics because I still continue to read the regular books along with the tie-ins that interest me.  

  4. The Marvel U. has been all about big continuity-spanning events ever since Civil War. DCU was like this with Infinite Crisis, but seemed to back away from that a bit with Final Crisis. Blackest Night is following in this vein, I’d say.

  5. @ Sal I would highly recommend the Miller Daredevil Visionaries my favorites are vol’s 2(5star)-vol3(4star) the art is just great and timeless

  6. agreed, when Frank started writing Daredevil and not just drawing it, those next 15-20 issues are just a sprawling saga that is classic Marvel fare.

     as far as Secret Invasion, while I read almost every tie-in and enjoyed quite a bit of it, I believe it was very possible to avoid.  The core of the X-Men line, Daredevil, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Hulk, both Iron Man books, Moon Knight, Spider-Man, Thor.  none of these main series crossed over into Secret Invasion.  rather, much like Blackest Night, there were special tie-in mini-series.  Just like Marvel did for a lot of World War Hulk the year before, and for some of Civil War, and for some of House of M.  Marvel already knows this formula.

    if you ended up reading a lot of these Marvel events, perhaps you were more interested in them then you’d like to admit 

  7. As for DD, reading the old Miller stuff really is rewarded in Bendis and Bru’s runs….

  8. I’m in the midst of Miller’s stuff right now, and it is just amazing

  9. @ABirdseysView: Books that Secret Invasion crossed over into:

    Avengers: The Initiative
    Black Panther
    Captain Britain and MI13
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Incredible Hercules
    Iron Man: Director of SHIELD
    The Mighty Avengers
    Ms. Marvel
    New Avengers
    New Warriors
    Punisher War Journal

    You want to claim that that’s not an large swath of the Marvel Universe then we’re at an impasse.

  10. Conor, I see your list, and I do because I read them all, and raise you:

    Adventure Comics 

    Booster Gold

    Doom Patrol 

    Green Arrow/Black Canary 

    Green Lantern 

    Green Lantern Corps 

    Justice League of America

    The Outsiders


    Secret Six 


    Teen Titans 

     …just for agument’s sake

  11. all I’m saying is, you seemed to have claimed that a DC reader could easily avoid Blackest Night but a Marvel reader could not have easily avoided Secret Invasion.  by my earlier list, I think a Marvel reader could have avoided it as well as have been reading some of Marvel’s top books.

  12. @ABirdseysView: Your list reinforces my point. The Green Lantern books aside, there are no popular books on that DC list.

  13. I think you need to relook at your list of Marvel books.  and don’t JLA and Titans and Adventure Comics have strong followings?

  14. @ABirdsetsVew: No, they don’t. It’s part of DC’s problem: JLA and Titans are damaged brands.

  15. I think I remember reading an interview with Bendis where he stated that he had originally intended for Secret Invasion to be restricted to the main book, New Avengers, and Mighty Avengers, but that Marvel, ie Joe Q, decided that it should encompass the entire MU.  I bbelieve this feeds in to Conors point about Structure/Quality.

  16. I’m going to guess that the same thing happened with Blackest Night.  I can’t imagine any of the top writers pitching something as a universe-wide event that other writers would take part in too.

  17. I think I would agree that Secret Invasion was a bit more all encompassing Universe-wise, than Blackest Night, but I think ABirdseysView makes a good point. The two events are not as different in execution as you made them out to be. I think the fact that Blackest Night is just done much better from top to bottom colors your impression. I mean, take out the Avengers and Iron Man books and that seems a very similar class of crossover books to the one DC chose. I think that the two companies are both evolving toward a more robust Event model, each watching the other and learning as they go along.

  18. @JimBiily4: I continue to disagree, obviously. I only feel like I am reading Blackest Night when I am purposefully reading a Blackest Night book or Green Lantern. I couldn’t escape Secret Invasion because it was involved in so many of the books that I was reading. They’ve done a better job of compartmentalizing Blackest Night and only crossing it over with lower rung books that need the help.

  19. I bought the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil Omnibus Vol. 2 for skip week and the only way I could be happier is if i could have gotten Vol. 1. It was my first introduction to the character too, aside from the little I’ve seen in other books (New Avengers Civil War, etc.). They did some great work. I’m definitely excited to see how Brubaker and Lark did after Bendis and Maleev. Gotham Central tells me I won’t be disappointed.

  20. As it happens, just one minute ago I put down a comic containing "Blackest Night Checklist Part 3"– that’s Part 3 of the checklist!– with about 30 books on it, so I’m not really sure whether the claim that it’s avoidable is entiiirely ingenuous. I do know that I’m not reading any of the BN crossovers and feel like I’m getting everything out of the story just fine; I don’t know whether I could’ve said the same about SI (since I read quite a few of the crossovers at the time).

    Which crossover is doing it right? Well, which one satisfied you more? I liked Secret Invasion AND Blackest Night, so, hey! Lucky me!

    Coincidentally enough, I felt Scott’s pain most keenly when Marvel decided to fill its books with Skrulltalk and not translate a single one of those pesky green word balloons. Even though I knew it didn’t matter, I spent at least one 15-minute period last year Googling "Skrull character key" despite myself.

  21. PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    Leaving out the English translation from the page can work really well. Alan Moore didn’t translate the martians’ language in League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and those pages are really exciting. 

  22. I love that issue of queen and country. And it was also translated in the back matter of whichever definitive edition it showed up in. I also liked in secret invasion. I think I like the technique because it leads to a sense of excitement and curiosity. It also makes me feel mor immersed in the story, because I wouldn’t know what was being said if I was actually there.

  23. @Conor the other thing about the DC crossover with Blackest Night: I am not reading ANYTHING Blackest Night. I don’t read green Lantern or any of the Blackest Night mini’s or one shots or anything. That being said, when Blackest night crossed over into Doom Patrol, which I DO read, it didn’t seem forced and I wasn’t lost at all. It seemed like a much more organic crossover. It didn’t read like it was forced in there. it read like Giffen saw what was going on and said "I can use that!" In fact, if I wasn’t aware of Blackest night happening, i would have just thought it was a normal Doom Patrol story. THAT is how you do a crossover. 

  24. Conor’s wrong

    it’s late saturday here and i’m a little drunk but here’s why conor is wrong (sorry conor)

    Marvel’s problem was that Bendis and editorial (i have on idea, really) were so closely in touch that they based the pass 7 YEARS on a lose stroy outline that bendis wrote. What? 9 and half years ago. The events marvel has been putting out have not been as closely considered or as thought out as DC. And because ONE DUDE wrote the pass 7 YEARS it isn’t fresh or exciting anymore.

    I loved House of M. I liked Civil War. I was disappointed by Secret Invasion… It’s enough, alreadly. I don’t need Siege so soon.

    On the other side of the street Blackest Night IS good and IS exciting but ultimately that comes down to the fact that DC hasn’t  put out as much ‘events’ as marvel recently. I count Infinate Crisis, Final Crisis adn Blackest Night to Marvel’s House of M, Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion and The Siege. The word the this is "enough"

    Make good comics (which is what DC has been *mostly* doing) Forget about the next and what seems like the eventual next event at Marvel

    the quality of the comics is proof enough.

    -Edward george bernard doherty, ba, ess, bba… kfc all-star employee 2001

  25. god, i’m on fire tonight

  26. All the "official" tie ins for Blackest Night, like  BN-Flash and wonder woman, were planned out way much in advance, while the directions of those other books, like Doom Patrol and Booster Gold, were left on to the writers of the respective books. This way the tie-ins feel less shoe-horned.

  27. I think to know for sure we’d have to hear from somebody who flat-out said, "I’m not reading anything with Secret Invasion."  and I don’t think there’s many here.  but, if somebody had wanted to do that, there were plenty of Marvel books both of a high quality and an a-list status (which I already named) that did not tie-in.  my argument is simply that is would have been possible to do.

  28. Loved Secret Invasion and Avengers tie ins!  Haven’t read Blackest Night, maybe in paperback.

    @Edward – I’m all for taking down the man via internet.  But you didn’t prove Conor wrong.  You didn’t make a strong point on anything.  You’re usually more coherent.  Must be cause you were drunk.

    Bendis & Maleev Daredevil is the best Daredevil I’ve read by far.  And I’ve read everything since Kevin Smith.  And have read all of Frank Miller’s too.  Might as well read Frank Miller’s DD first, cause if you read anything after Bendis’s DD, you’ll be disappointed.

  29. Bendis’ run did not feature Kingpin using a sewer-based office.  just saying…

  30. @Kickass: if i was so drunk why would i have a massive headache now? explain that one brainbox!

    My point was the fact marvel’s latest event are a little ‘meh’ is because there have been too many in recent history. pretty clear i think

  31. I’m not taking any sides on whether Secret Invasion or Blackest Night is more world consuming, I will say that, as someone who reads mostly Marvel, many of the titles that Marvel crossed wrapped into SI were not very popular in the stores I work in (Deadpool and New Avengers being the exceptions), while most of those DC titles do fairly well here.

    Again, saying which event was/is easier to avoid, completely depends on what titles you like.  As someone who reads and enjoys many comics from the five major publishers (I think Boom! is really outpacing the other "indie" companies), I think Marvel crossed SI into its weaker books as much as DC, but the "weaker" DC books are books I enjoy more than the "weaker" Marvel books.

  32. Since I do my best to avoid any cross company mud slinging, I’m going to talk about the part of the letter column that interests me.

    I’m completely fine with leaving foreign language alone in the comic, especially if the eyepiece character doesn’t understand the language. I think it’s handled really well in Y The Last Man. Sometimes it is translated, other times it’s left up to the reader (or the characters) to find out from context. 

  33. @Ed – Conor’s point was that he preferred the way the books crossed over in DC better than Marvel by each title.  Not which crossover had a better story.  So you never addressed that specifically.  That is all.

  34. Any day in which a person finds out about Frank Miller’s Daredevil for the first time…is a good day.

  35. I just finished the second Bendis/Maleev DD omnibus.  So awesome.  Can’t wait to read the Brubaker stuff!