The iFanboy Letter Column – 01/22/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means freedom as the work week has ended and the weekend can begin. For others, they’re just starting to work because they don’t work on a traditional Monday through Friday schedule. Maybe they work nights and weekends and maybe they’re silently damning you for humming “Working for the Weekend” under your breath on the subway.

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 —



What’s your opinion of David Lapham’s Stray Bullets? I checked online in Amazon, and other websites, and so far all the books are out of print, unless I want to spend 30 bucks on a used copy, which blows. 

Jackie T.

Without a doubt, Stray Bullets was one of the best independent comics of the 1990s/early 2000s, and one of my favorites of all time. Seriously. In fact I don’t think we talk about this book enough at iFanboy. For those who don’t know about it, a quick bit of education: Stray Bullets was the black and white creator owned/self published work by David Lapham. After getting his start at Valiant Comics in the early 1990s, Lapham began self publishing Stray Bullets through his own publishing imprint, El Capitan. The first issue came out in 1995, and it was a total departure from Lapham’s work at Valiant, which was primarily sci-fi/super hero based. Stray Bullets was cold, hard noir comics. You know all these great noir-ish comics you’re reading today like Criminal? Well, they all owe it to Lapham and his blazing the trail with Stray Bullets. The mid-late 1990s was a great time for independent self publishers, and David Lapham was right there with Jeff Smith and Terry Moore in terms of publishing one of the best comics, with such a high degree of quality that every time an issue came out, it was an event. And the industry agreed with me, as he won the Eisner for Best Writer/Artist in 1996.

After getting a bunch of issues published, Lapham also started doing oversized hardcover versions of the book, and I really do think that this was a pre-cursor to the oversized hardcover trend we’ve seen in the 2000s, as these books were absolutely beautiful. And again the industry agreed with me as he won another Eisner for Best Graphic Album: Reprint in 1997. Lapham took a hiatus from Stray Bullets to do a murder mystery story, Murder Me Dead, and then for whatever reason, stopped focusing on Stray Bullets and El Capitan, rather going to work for DC and Marvel here and there. He recently did the underrated and short lived Young Liars series for Vertigo.

I don’t know if Lapham has plans to return to Stray Bullets, or to get the trade paperbacks and hardcovers back in print or not, but I sincerely hope so, as I think it’s his career defining work. It’s easily the best thing he’s done, and still is, as he recently had a short story in the Dark Horse Noir anthology book that showed that Lapham still had the voice and look and feel of dark world of Stray Bullets that he invented. Now that said, if you can find the hard covers or trade paperbacks, even if they’re overpriced, they’re absolutely worth picking up. I’m always on the lookout at cons and grab them when/where I can. $30 may be more than you want to spend on a book, but Stray Bullets is one of those rare books that I would say, yeah, you should pick it up if you can.

Ron Richards

The other day the guy who runs my LCS handed me a free back issue along with my stack claiming I’d find a nice (potential) Blackest Night reference in it regarding the Martian Manhunter.

It was the DC 1,000,000 issue of Martian Manhunter and indeed, inside I found a potential reference. The Martian Manhunter appears before a then-current continuity Kyle Rayner and states: “I know. And I could never forget you, Kyle. It was you, after all, who rescued me when all seemed darkest.”

Kyle doesn’t understand and the Manhunter informs him that it will happen in Rayner’s future. Knowing how much Geoff Johns knows about every little detail in the DC Universe, could this be something to be discovered in Blackest Night? Could Martian Manhunter (or every Black Lantern) be born again?


Wil, I think that with Geoff Johns nothing is impossible.

Martian Manhunter #1,000,000You’re absolutely right that Geoff Johns knows a ton about the minutiae of DC history and has been pulling out tidbits from old and forgotten stories to help bring depth and history to Blackest Night. Hell, the entire event itself is born from a mostly forgotten (until recently) 1986 story in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 called “Tygers,” written by some dude named Alan Moore. I would not put it past Geoff Johns to use that throw away line that you found from the DC 1,000,000 event and tie it into his story, especially since he and Grant Morrison are good buddies and that was a Grant Morrison driven event.

As to your other point, I think that there is a very good possibility that DC and Geoff Johns are going to use this event to bring back a bunch, if not all, of their dead heroes. I can very easily see J’onn J’onzz, Aquaman, Elongated Man, and the like all getting resurrected by the time everything shakes out. I also think that everyone who have been killed during the event are coming back to life too. Basically, I see — hope? — Blackest Night being used as a slate cleaning event and when it’s all over we’ll have all the important players back on the board. This is an event all about life and death in the DCU, right? So what better place to bring everyone back to life so we can get back to telling their stories.

A line like the one you found seems perfectly suited for a writer like Geoff Johns and an event like Blackest Night. Will it play out that way? We’ll know soon enough. I think it will. There seem to be too many omens and portents pointing towards a massive wave of resurrections that will sweep across the DCU.

But seriously, if this all ends and J’onn and Arthur are still dead I’m going to be annoyed.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. If all the dead heroes end up coming back, it’ll be interesting to see everyone’s reaction when Bruce doesn’t.  I can picture Tim walking into the JLA Headquarters, giving everyone the finger, and leaving without saying anything.

    I wouldn’t put money on Johns purposely using that line from Martian Manhunter #1 million, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.  The man knowns how to use continuity to his advantage.

    A little off topic, but what people seem to forget (or at least not talk about) is that Geoff Johns was the one who turned Hal Jordan into the Spectre back in Day of Judgment.  He’s probably answered this before, but I wonder if he had this all planned from back then.  Wouldn’t be surprised.

  2. Is DC 1Million still a part of the current timeline? I thought it had been shifted to be the future of the All-Star Superman universe

  3. Wil, your comic shop owner has the mind of Geoff Johns if he can recognize that sort of connection.  I’m lucky if I can remember stuff month to month.

  4. I have the first over-sized hardcover of Stray Bullets and it is fantastic. I never did get the others, but I have read the one I have over and over. I should have picked up the others when they were in print, but always put it off. Maybe one day they will come back. Lapham doesn’t just do great noir/crime type stuff. There are some genuine moments of just fantastic human interest storytelling. I know when i discovered Stray Bullets, my mother had just recently died of an extremely rare form of cancer. In the collection I have, there is a story of a father dying of cancer, and how it affects his daughters. It hit pretty damn close to home, and is one of the things that made me branch out from super hero comics into other, lesser known genres. great stuff. 

  5. If they resurrect all the Heroes who became Black Lanterns, does that mean people like Dick’s parents should return also and all the dead Villains. All the families being resurrected could create some interesting stories. I’d have them all meet up at a ‘Formerly Dead Family of Heroes Reunion’ and then drop Doomsday, the Joker and Grodd on the reunion. Sorry guys we need our heroes conflicted and on a mission to right wrongs done to them…we gotta put you back in the ground.

  6. here’s my opinion of Stray Bullets – the first issue is one of the best comic of have ever read.

    That single issue really felt like it had wieght. It was full of atmosphere, for of mood. There was this building tension that eventually cracks.

    I also remember the characterisation in that is to be really well done. the reader is so quickly introduced to the character and as quickly caught up in their drama.

    I don’t read nearly enough of them but comics like Stray Bullets are really what keeps me reading

  7. I remember picking up Stray Bullets #1 on a lark. Didn’t know who Lapham was or what the book was about. Just that the cover looked intriguing. Now I own them all, including the Amy Racecar issues and Murder Me Dead. Hopefully he will go back to that world.

  8. I sort of hope Ralph and Sue stay dead.  I was digging the under-used ghost detective idea.  They were happy and they were together and they were on to the next chapter of their existence– why not find a way to work with it for awhile before bringing them back? 

  9. I wouldn’t mind some of the black lanterns coming back to full life, but some of them I think are more important dead than alive.  So, if they all returned to life, but a few of them were mid space travel and died horribly, that would be fine, and introduce the possibility of having lost parents and friends twice.

  10. My LCS has most of the Stray Bullets HC if anyone is interested. It’s in a half price bin too so it’s a bit cheaper then normal.

    It would be interesting to see everyone come back. Then again…..where the hell would you put them all? All the unknown heroes, villains, and just anyone else in general. The DCU is crowded enough as it is. Plus the idea of Tim, Dick, Damien, and others getting upset Bruce didn’t come back would be a great moment to end Blackest Night #8. At least it foreshadows the Bruce Wayne books later this year.

  11. @TNC

    I so should not be doing this but talk to me on whatever message protocol you use. Not big on XBL unfortunately. Eh, you use AIM? 

    The Stray Bullets story was definitely the best in the Noir book so I’m interested.

  12. At SDCC I attended a Geoff Johns panel and someone actually asked the same question about DC 1,000,000.

  13. How did Johns answer the question Darkknightdetc?

  14. The events from MM 1M were answered in Martian Manhunter #36.

  15. I have the first (and, so far, the ONLY) three Stray Bullets HC’s, and I’m worried that the rest of the series will NEVER see hardcover glory. I’ve seen vol. 4 on Amazon for ages listed as upcoming, but I doubt it will ever see the light of day.