The iFanboy Letter Column – 02/26/2010

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, Friday means it’s time to get down get down, get down get down.

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 wanted to know what your thoughts were on the “upcoming” DC Universe Online. I’m not usually a fan of computer games myself (I still have an N64 and haven’t moved on since) but was taken in by City of Heroes for a while. However it quickly wore out its welcome and got boring faster than a speeding bullet. I enjoyed elements like character creation and the choice of powers, but the missions got pretty repetitive.

I’m hoping this won’t be the case for DC Universe Online, which certainly looks very entertaining so far. The fact that it is set in the DCU is enticement enough for me, as is the fact that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have collaborated on it, but I’m wondering if it will have staying power and if it will live up to its expectations.

John (RapidEyeMovement) from Scotland, UK

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to– oh, sorry. I was off somewhere else for a second.

DC Universe Online and World of WarCraftAs a result of Josh, Ron, and I’s much heralded World of WarCraft addiction in 2004 — without which, funnily enough, there probably would have never been an iFanboy Pick of the Week Podcast — I haven’t given a whole lot of thought to DC Universe Online. The last thing I need to do is envelope myself in another MMORPG.

Here are two quick thoughts I have on DC Universe Online.

One, I don’t see how the gameplay could compete with the World of WarCraft gameplay (which was damn near perfect), and that would probably annoy me. Knowing me, I would keep wanting the controls to work the same way and when they didn’t, I would get frustrated. In that sense, it can’t see how it wouldn’t be a let down to people who have played a lot of World of WarCraft.

Two, the fact that you aren’t playing as the actual DC characters (which is totally understandable given the type of game it is), for me, kind of takes the fun out of a game taking place inside the DC Universe. I understand that in a MMORPG you can’t have a million Batmen running around, but is it any better to have a million knockoffs of Batmen running around? I dunno. To me, the specialness of being in the DCU is not as special if you’re not actually someone in the DCU. I might be more interested in this game if it was a huge, single player, open environment DCU game that allowed me to be anyone from the wide range of DCU characters. But I understand that’s not the what the game is, so I’m just not that interested.

Plus, I just don’t have time to play the video games I already have.

Conor Kilpatrick

I’m going to my first comic book convention this spring and am very excited and curious about it. Reading the updates for the convention, I noticed that I own several books written and drawn by Whilce Portacio (who will be one of the creators in attendance)… Uncanny X-Men and X-Factor.

I assume it is okay to ask creators to sign books and/or artwork… but how much is too much? For example, I wouldn’t ask a creator to sign 20 of his books for me… but I wonder if six is a more reasonable request… or just pick one or two?

Is there an etiquette and/or a norm for this?

Chris from Denver, Colorado

Ah, the “how much is too much?” question. Is five too few? Are two too many? These are the eternal questions.

Chris Claremont SigningWhen I was a young lad of 13 or so I used to bring a big back pack full of comics to get signed at the old New York Comic Con. This was the days before sketches were the norm and everyone went for as many signatures as possible. I didn’t ever worry about the amount of books I’d ask some poor creator to sign back then because I was a kid and didn’t think about that stuff. I do remember the very last time I got a ton of books signed. It was 2000, and Brian Michael Bendis was the guest on a local TV show where I worked. Since it was my job to babysit the guests, I knew I’d have a lot of unfettered time with him, so I brought a ton of books to get signed. As we sat in the green room chatting about Torso (my favorite work of his), he plowed through the books in my stack and I suddenly felt really guilty. I don’t even know why. It’s not like I was at a con and was holding up a line of people and he sure didn’t seem to mind. But I felt bad about it, and that was the last time I ever brought a lot of books for a creator to sign.

We’ve spent a lot of time at a lot of conventions over these past few years and we’ve witnessed a lot of people dragging long boxes full of comics up to a creator’s table to get signed. Witness the picture on the left, kindly provided by Chris Powers, that shows two dudes who have brought Chris Claremont a good day’s work. I don’t like it. For one, it always seems like the creator’s eyes go glassy when they see  stack like that. For another, if there is a line of people waiting to get something signed, it’s really not cool to the people behind you. (Those people should only have to wait for things like interviews with certain video shows that are running long… sorry, Jeff Smith fans!) There really is no etiquette or norm, though occasionally, a signing at a booth will have a sign that says how many items you can get signed. While hanging out at the Image booth last year at San Diego waiting for Todd McFarlane, we watched McFarlane and Robert Kirkman’s joint signing. There was a sign limiting the number of items you could get signed, but Kirkman didn’t care, he signed whatever you wanted him to.

You gotta go with your gut, Chris. I think that six books is a reasonable amount to get signed at a con. That is, unless you’re in one of those super long, three hour lines and then maybe two is a better idea. If everyone only brought two books to get signed then maybe that three hour line only takes 90 minutes and then you can use that extra 90 minutes you now have to go pay $7 for a slice of pizza at the food court.

Conor Kilpatrick

I just bought the Geoff Johns Avengers hardcover and saw that in the latest solicitations that they are releasing the next volume, Red Zone in May. Do you know or can you find out if Marvel is going to continue to release these hardcover trades up to where Avengers: Disassembled started?

Cory from Cleveland, Ohio

You know, prior to the release of the Avengers: World Trust hardcover this past month, I was starting to wonder how long it would take for Marvel Comics to start milking that Geoff Johns cash cow.

For almost two years back in the late 1990s, Geoff Johns wrote The Avengers! And not everyone knows that.

Sure, way back in the early-to-mid 2000s they had released softcover collections of Geoff John’s run on The Avengers, but they did so with little-to-no fanfare and, let’s be honest, Geoff Johns is a MUCH bigger name now than he was six or seven years ago.

Avengers World TrustCounting this newest release, there are four Geoff Johns Avengers trades hitting the market this year, encompassing Johns’ entire Avengers run:

The Avengers: World Trust (Collects The Avengers #57-61)

The Avengers: Standoff (Collects The Avengers #62-64, Thor #58, and Iron Man #64)

The Avengers: Red Zone (Collects The Avengers #65-70)

The Avengers: The Search For She-Hulk (Collects The Avengers #71-76)

So, there you go, Cory. By the end of the year you’ll be able to own the entire Geoff Johns run on The Avengers. I will be picking up all of these trades as well, even though I don’t remember really loving those issues. Of course, that was over ten years ago, so things might be different now upon rereading. I do remember that after Johns left The Avengers I dropped the book for the first time since I was a little kid (it might have had something to do with who the next writer was), only to come back with Bendis and The New Avengers #1.

Check out the artists that Johns had with him on his Avengers run: Kieron Dwyer, Gary Frank, Alan Davis, Ivan Reis, Olivier Coipel, Steve Sadowski, and Scott Kolins. Yeah, I definitely think I need to give those issues a re-read, so I’m pretty excited for these collections.

As for new collections of the rest of The Avengers issues that lead up to “Avengers: Disassembled”? That’s probably unlikely. After Geoff Johns left the book, Chuck Austen came on wrote The Avengers #77-84. After that, the book was renumbered and Brian Michael Bendis came on as writer with The Avengers #500 and the start of “Avengers Disassembled,” which, now that I think about it, I really should read considering everything that started with that storyline seems to be wrapping up now with Siege.

But if I had to bet my own money, I’d say that you won’t see any new collections of the Chuck Austen issues, and the ones that they put out previously are well out of print.

Conor Kilpatrick

I just wanted to say thank you very much for the show. I work as a detective for major crimes, doing investigations such as homicide, robbery, and some drug cases. The job can be challenging mentally and physically. The hardest sometimes is the emotional toll. I discovered your podcast and honestly it has been amazing! I try to listen to positive things to negate the negatives I see. You never know the people you are able to reach out and touch without realizing it. Thank you for the gift of laughter and the ability to reach people you may never meet.

Name Withheld (Presumably because drug kingpin Ortega would use this info to track him down and exact a terrible vengeance.)

I guess this is a different kind of letter than we usually publish in here, but it really came at a great time, and put an incredible smile on my face. I’ve had a terribly difficult weekend that ultimately resulted in something wonderful, but it wasn’t easy. This one came in at a good time. Sometimes it feels less than noble talking about comic books as much as I do. But then, to be reminded (as many of you often do) that it’s more than just that. A lot of you out there are my friends. And a lot of you have become each other’s friends, and that’s something I and the other guys are very proud of. If we can bring a smile to your face, or lighten your load in the least, well, that’s plenty noble enough. Thanks to all of you out there for being my friend. In return, I will occasionally talk in silly voices to your mutual delight/disgust. Thanks to you all!

Also, he’s real police! I thought they were all too serious for us. Now we’ve got a doctor, a dentist, a police, some accountants, and a ton of people who do hardly anything at all!

Josh Flanagan


  1. The Geoff Johns Avengers was excellent.  2nd only to Bendis run.

    Read it, great characterization, great dialogue, and it only sets up "Avengers: Disassembled" as the true Masterwork that it is.

  2. @Josh Well, for my part you guys are great.  I’ve had issues with you and Conor in the past, but that was because of me taking things the wrong way or out of context.  I remember about a year ago, Paul ripped into my ass for calling you guys ‘arrogant pricks’.  He said the ifanboy’s were fantastic people and didn’t understand why some people were always so negative and attacking.  That really put me in check and I respected that.  So, in a way, my interactions with this community have brought me out of my shell of solitude and allowed me to interact with civility, which hadn’t happened in a long time.  So even though ‘talking comics’ may seem silly on the surface, you guys do provide a tremendous service to us geeks, and I for one definitely appreciate it!!!

  3. The Chuck Austen issues were god awful. No-one wants to see them collected. The female Captain Britain the arc was about was buried soon after and the story had no lasting effect on continuity. one best forgotten.

    Johns’ Red Zone is one of my favourite Avengers’ stories ever, even if the villain was a little too signposted.  

  4. I’ve made some…interesting friends because of this place. For that, I will never forgive forget iFanboy.

  5. Did I mention that I was governor of NY?  Thank God for comics, it’s been a rough week.

  6. Also, history teachers are important people too:(

  7. Barring any horrific early reviews I think I’m going to give DC Universe Online a try. 

  8. Thanks for answering my question, guys! I got my copy of Kick-Ass signed by Mark Millar today, only to come home and find recognition on the greatest comics site online. What a day!

     Incidently, my interest in DCUO is waning…

  9. @drakedangerz: I read that comment and I got chills for some reason. Weird huh?

    I’m gonna give DCU Online a try, always wanted to try City of Heroes but never got around to it.

  10. I guy I know got Bendis to sign his entire Daredevil run. I thought that was a little much, but maybe not. I think creators are pretty receptive to fans who shelled out the clams that pay for their kids nike’s. My pal said Bendis was cool and not bitchy. Kill em’ with kindness.

  11. DC online I don’t know just doesn’t seem to appeal to me mostly because I’d really hate to feel like  3rd string character in the DCU, bad things almost always seem to happen to them. I think if I were going to play a big publisher branded mmorpg I’d like to do a Marvel MMORPG, they already the frame work existing in the universe, you could just do it as an Avengers Initiave style game where you make a hero, you goto boot camp then you get assigned a starting "team" from there you can go solo or break from your team to start your own! Its a shame we won’t see anything like that soon.

  12. My main problem with DCUO is that no matter how awesome I make my character, as soon as I run into Batman I’m gonna be like "Man, I don’t even know what I’m doing…"

  13. I have never played online games, but am willing to try DCU. It might be possible to create a character exactly the same as Superman I guess and even maybe call it superman. 

  14. Usually I despise law enforcement, but that guy is a OK in my book.

  15. *dispise. (sorry for the typo)

  16. I’m with @conor in that I’d really just like a big superhero game that isn’t an MMO. I realise that this is where the money is in video games nowadays; I mean why just charge for the game once when you can have people pay an ongoing subscription fee? I’m not down with it and doubt I ever will be unless some major breakthroughs in MMO storytelling occur.

  17. I’m considering giving DCU a try, as well.  Will there be an iFanboy "guild"?

    @Josh – You’ve actually got multiple doctors running around on this site.  I know of at least 2.  The diversity of the iFanbase speaks volumes about both the quality of the site and the quality of the people running it.  You should be a very proud man. 

  18. We finally have a sheriff for iFanboy Island!


    (That’s an oooooold Rev3 forum joke)

  19. Thanks for using my pic of the two douches that were in the Claremont line in front of me! Here’s a little extra info about that pic:

    I got into the con pretty much right when it opened, and literally the first thing I did was to jump onto the Claremont line so he could sign my Wolverine #1, because I knew if I waited till later, the line would be gargantuan. Well the line was short, but I still waited on line untill a little past lunchtime. When Claremont was plowing through signing the dude with the green cargo shorts’ books, he finally told him "Look, there are way too many books to sign and you’re holding up the line. Why don’t you step to the side and I’ll finish signing your books when the line dies down." So he stepped to the side, and then the dude with THE ICE COOLER full of books came up! And he was the biggest jerk in the world, as he just plopped the huge stack of books down and stepped back, and Claremont gave this gaze to him that obviously said "Are you fucking kidding me?!"

  20. The number one rule for me for con signings is treat the creators with respect. In general, I usually pick three books I want signed. This way I feel like I’ve gotten a substantial amount of things signed for my time, but don’t feel like I’m asking for too much. At organized signings (and not at a writer/artist table) definitely stick to no more than four books. A few times in the past I’ve gotten "stuck" infront of a creator. This happens to me, without fail, everytime I’ve met Greg Rucka. It’s great to chat them up, but they’ll usually say "If you have more books, I’ll sign’em." They might even sign some promo material to kill the wait time before the line moves. Geoff Johns is the only person I ever broke my personal rule of 3 for, and on an organized signing line I offered up 6 books! I got to talking to him, told him the ending of Legion of 3 Worlds was great. He said "Then why aren’t you having me sign it?" I told him I felt I wanted too much else signed! So he waited for me to fish out my copy of Legion, he then signed it and wrote "BOO!" in a word ballon coming from Cosmic Boy’s mouth." All this is just anecdotal evidence to "Pick 3 books you NEED to get signed, but have a few extra just in case the line is short or they’re friendly.

    Also, Johns run on Avengers is remarkably uneven. There’s some great stuff in there, but it really didn’t have the same heart a something like… JSA. However, Jack of Hearts gets some amazing face time in Johns run, which is nice. His run is most famous for a rather awkward, weird sex scene. 

    @comicbookchris Kevin Smith did a long diatribe about the "Cooler Boys" the first year he was at NYCC. "You think they’re dumb, but they’re the really smartest emeffers here! The Einsteins of Laziness. It carries their shit for them… AND it’s a seat."

  21. I hope DCUO is good.  I played COH/COV and it gets old quick then Cryptic 2nd try at superheroes Champions Online which was only half a game.  So DCUO is my great white hope.  Sadly It is made by Sony Online Entertainment makers of Matrix Online & Star Wars Galaxies. So it all up in the air.  I agree with Conor. Not playing as a DCU character is a great loss.  All in All if they tell me I can be a Green Lantern in the Corps I’m in.

  22. I think the uneveness comes from the fact that Johns jumped ship to be exclusive to DC very early in his projected run because he didn’t want to write in the 6-issue-arc-for-the-trade Marvel was pressuring him to work in.  World Trust is clearly setting something big with the Zodiac group that never got mentioned again by anyone.  Johns probably was using Search for She-Hulk mostly to bring Hawkeye back into the fold to set up the team he wanted but that ended up being his last full arc.  Johns had a decent run but it was really cut short before it had any real chance to do something.

  23. I hope now that the John’s Avengers have been re-collected they will add them to the Oversized Hardcover Avengers Assemble line as volumes 6 and 7.

    And while I’m wishing, Marvel goes ahead and reprints Avengers Assemble vol. 2. I can dream can’t I? 

  24. World of Warcraft is on a level all its own in terms of popularity. I think that DC universe Online has a smaller hurdle to jump, and that’s to be better than Champions Online, which has been filing in the spot for people who wanted a superhero MMO for quite a while now.

  25. @comicbookchris Similar thing happened at Mid-Ohio Con last October with Marv Wolfman. Marv, however, was having none of it. He took the first ten-twelve books off the fat, rude bastard’s stack and said, "I’ll sign these, you want the others signed you’ll have to cycle through the line." He then went on to vet those, going "I didn’t write that, only edited one story in this" and so on. If it didn’t make the cut, no signing. Fat, mouth-breathing boy ended up getting about seven books signed. 

    When I got there with my two beaten to hell Teen Titans issues (#1 and the one when Terra joined the team" Marve asked me what quarter bin I managed to dig ’em out of. "Oh no, Mr. Wolfman" I told him, "the number 1 cost me $15 in 1983 and the other I bought off a spinner rack at a local Go-Mart. I just read the hell out of them." He signed, smiled, thanked me and said "Good boy. That made my con.

    Just bring a few books, be polite, and thank them. And if they’re selling material for signing, think about picking something up. Chris Sprouse offered to draw a little head shot in  the copy of Ocean I bought off of him, but the line was stacking up behind me so I demurred. 

    Dang, that was a nice day.


    PS. Chuck Austen: So bad he makes Loeb look like Shakespeare.  

  26. Hello Conor and everyone who commented, Thanks for printing the letter and for all the feedback. That picture definitely puts everything in perspective. I’ll play it by ear, but definitely won’t bring 20 … 🙂 I’m planning to bring my nephews too, so hopefully they’ll enjoy the experience. Chris

  27. I can honestly say, I’ve never asked anyone to sign anything. If I waited on line, it would just be to say hello and thank somebody for a particular story that meant something to me. I don’t really need somebody to scribble on my comics. That being said, I have a few signed things that just happened to be signed when i bought them at no extra cost. I have a signed hardcover edition of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. My paperback copy of Paingod is signed by Harlan Ellison. My tpb of 30 Days of Night is signed by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith and my copy of Cerebus #0 is signed by Dave Sim and gerhard. 

  28. @john I agree.  I’ve found many people get things signed so they can sell them at some point in the future.  (I’m sure there are just as many that get it for nostalgia).  The funny thing is, without some sort of certificate of authenticity, the signature is worthless.

    That being said, I do the same as you.  "Thanks for enhancing my leisure life".  Shakes hand, and moves on.

  29. ifanboy podcasts save me from going insane while doing laundry!

    Thanks Ifanboy!!!

  30. A doctor, a dentist, a police, accountants, detective AND A COMEDIAN!!!

    Seriously great job on all the questions this week Conor. I’m looking forward to getting that Geoff Johns Avenger Trade.


  31. It’s been a ruff and tumble few years on my end and ifanboy has been one of the things that I can full back on and just enjoy without stress.  It’s a tuff world now and then but thanks to things like ifanboy and guys like you there are chances to injoy silly little things like comic books and give a moments peace.  To my atleast this is a very big thing and would like to thank you guys for it… wow thats sappy… but screw it, its true.

  32. @Josh…on a serious note, thank you guys for Ifanboy(content is always great).

    @Name witheld, I also find it an excellent way to decompress & I run to the site to check out the latest happenings daily.


  33. I’m going to my first Con this year as well, thinking about bringing a few things to get signed (let me stress, few, like five comics tops). 

    As for DCU online, when it was announced it was coming to the PS3, oh that made my day (whatever day that was). I don’t have a PC, but I do have a PS3, and I’m more then fine using a game like that on there. 

  34. @ComicBOOKChris: I’m with you. Sometimes, enough is enough. Those kind of fans are inconsiderate and shame the fanboy name. It’s one of those times where a writer or artist has full right to say "look man, I can do X amount of books per person, otherwise it’ll hold up the line even longer than anticipated."

  35. I’ve never been fortunate enough to go to a con or signing but I had no idea people would bring a pile of stuff to get signed. I kinda thought one or two was the limit. When I went to band signings there was an actual rule of only one item to be signed per person.