The iFanboy Letter Column – 03/05/2010

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 run a pretty awesome errand.

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 was searching through Amazon and I came upon a Flash story I had never heard of written by Mark Millar and Grant Morrison called “Emergency Stop” I was wondering if you have ever read this and if so is worth ordering? 

Michael G.

Wow, it’s been 13 years since I read the “Emergency Stop” storyline from The Flash #130-132. Man, where has the time gone, I ask you?

The Flash Emergency StopI’ll be honest, 13 years is a long time and a lot of comics. I don’t have a very clear and distinct memory of Grant Morrison and Mark Millar’s brief stint on the The Flash. The collection, The Flash: Emergency Stop, actually collects a bit more than just the “Emergency Stop” storyline. It features The Flash #130-135, which is just three issues shy of Morrison and Millar’s entire stint on the book. After that short run, Millar wrote a three issue arc by himself and then Mark Waid (with Brian Augustyn) returned to writing duties.

I remember at the time being bummed that Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn were taking a year off of The Flash. It was one of my favorite books and Mark Waid’s writing was a bit reason why. It’s funny, when I think back on that time, Mark Waid’s epic run comes to mind, and he was followed by Geoff Johns and his own epic run, but I always forget about Grant Morrison and Mark Millar. Whenever I think about it, in my head, I always seem to think that they were just on the book for a fill-in arc, but that “fill-in arc” actually lasted a full year.

Was it good? I remember enjoying it. This was the same time that Morrison was writing JLA, so you had a Grant Morrison who was really on the ball with mainstream DC superhero stories. I remember his Flash work being very much in the same vein as JLA.

I wish that I remembered the story enough to say give you specific examples of reasons why you should or shouldn’t pick that trade up, but I can only offer generalities. I remember liking the run. The entire run of The Flash from when Mark Waid started on the book to when Geoff Johns left it (which includes the year of Morrison and Millar) was excellent, and some of the best modern superhero comics you can find. In that sense, I recommend you give this a shot, especially if you are at all a fan of Morrison’s work on JLA.

Conor Kilpatrick

I recently came got a little bit of money and i decided to throw caution into the wind and buy a crap-ton of trades (via the awesome After the purchase was done with I realized this was the biggest single order of trades I have ever bought! I wont go into the details of my purchase but I will say that almost all of them were influenced by you guys either talking about them on both of your audio and video podcasts, or the book of the month write up (the most specific being Afrodisiac because of Josh’s great review). Anyway I’ll stop rambling now and get to the question: Have you guys ever bought such a large purchase of books that afterwards you just had to say “Wow… even For me thats a lot of comics”?

Patrick (Patman2)

I can hardly say that I’m immune to the comic book binge purchase, although to be honest, it’s been few and far between most recently. Your e-mail and your question had me thinking about really a few of the binge purchases I’ve made in my history as a comic book collector. My first experience with a comic book purchase where I had to step back and say, “Wow, did I just spend THAT much money on a comic book?” was when I was in 7th or 8th grade, so around 13 years old. I was maybe a year or two into collecting comics, mainly X-Men comics and I had it in my head that I needed to get a really old back issue. So, I saved my pennies and after a few months scrapped together $75 and went to my comic shop to buy the oldest back issue I could afford. The shopkeeper went into the back of the smoky store and came out with a copy of X-Men #18, in good condition at best, and said that while he should probably charge more, he’d give it to me for $75. I was elated. I put it in a special mylar bag and carried it home, ever so carefully as if it was a copy of the first Gutenberg bible. I just looked this issue up on eBay and see various auctions running between $2.99 and $100 for it, with one that would allow me to Buy It Now for $39.99, so I guess I got the raw end of the deal, but at the time, spending that money made me immensely happy.

As the years have gone on, my back issue spending has given way to buying trades, hardcovers and collected editions, which yields to a few conventions where I’ve spent a ton of money. Usually I try to budget some money on the side to actually shop during a con. I’ve frequented the 25 cent bins and $1 bins and walked away with stacks of back issues, but it’s really those dealers with 50% trades that have hammered my wallet, where I’m totally shopping for the discount, and walking away with stacks of books that I have to wonder how I’ll get home because I don’t have the luggage space. The first few San Diego cons I went to were particularly bad for these sort of purchases.

But the most recent moment that I can recall where I had to step back and shake my head at the amount of money I spent was probably a couple of years ago, the first time I frequented my now local comic book store, Isotope: The Comic Book Lounge in San Francisco. The first time I visited the Isotope, I had no idea what was in store for me as I chatted with the proprietor, James Sime. I had asked for some recommendations of books to check out and was lead on a wild adventure through the shelves that lasted nearly an hour. For those of you who ever get the chance to visit San Francisco, I strongly suggest you visit Mr. Sime and make the same request, it really is something every comic fan should experience as James zeroes in on your likes and makes some of the best recommendations in the retailing business. When the dust settled, I had a stack of books that was several feet tall and the final bill was somewhere well in to the three digit territory, which normally would make me cringe, but with this particular purchase there was so much excitement in finding those books and having the beginnings of what is now my never ending stack of books to read. But I definitely remember looking down at the credit card slip and shaking my head at the hundreds of dollars I just spent. Did I regret spending that money? Not at all.

Nor have I really ever regretted any of my comic book purchases because on some level the time and amount of enjoyment I’ve gleaned from them have absolutely made it worth the money.

Ron Richards


  1. Hey Cool, thanks for answering Ron!

  2. I don’t think I have ever reached the "Wow…Even for me that’s a lot of comics." point yet, but know that I consider it, I really want to. 

  3. Isotope is amazing and living in San Francisco it’s the store I go to. James is solely responsible for my Jonathan Hickman addiction. He is an awesome guy.

  4. I am always in the "Thats a lot of comics state"


    So, I read the first chapter of that Morrison/Millar Flash trade, and it is the same zany pulp sci-fi we expect from Flash. Flash dies one hour in the future and his body is sent back. Awesomenes ensues.

    Also, he breaks his ankle in the end. As the good Doctor would say, BRILLIANT!

  5. Emergency stop was actually pretty cool! Especially liked the first few issues of the arc.

  6. Ebay can be particularly bad for buying ridiculous quantities of comics. If you start and say hey what about this run and that run, and oh what about this character — I have always loved him, and might as well just buy the rest of these to fill out the collection…. If you are just flitting about and looking for large lots you will find a ton of stuff for a very low per book price so each purchase is easily defendable: Sure I just got 50 issues of the original Excalibur run, but it cost me just 43 cents an issue. Score! And before you know it, you have filled an entire longbox in an afternoon and you know it will take you a year to dig yourself out of that back issue hole, unless of course you stop reading new comics. 

  7. Awesome! Thanks for answering my question Conor! I will check this out for sure now.

  8. One day, very secretly, I will purchase an omnibus. That’s the uppermost limit of my comics binging!!!

    Forget Colossus!Ron is my hero!!

  9. The most i’ve ever cringed at a purchase was back when I thought I had to buy every tie-in book. It was like $50 or something. Not a whole lot now, but with my salary back then it was. Luckily I’ve grown out of that stage.

  10. 33 trades. $133. Epic. Still haven’t read em all. 

  11. I did that exact thing at Isotope almost 2 years ago when I was visiting San Francisco for work. The only problem was that it was during San Diego and most of the regular staff was there instead of the store and the guy that was working couldn’t get the credit card machine to work. I had at least $150 worth of great stuff I was going to get, sadly I had to put it all back. Most of that stuff I never did end up getting. 

  12. Emergency Stop? That was the "Wally Breaks his leg" story wasn’t it?

  13. @NodNolan: Yep.

  14. Ebay can cause real problems…luckily I sell almost as much as I buy (almost).  Also the $.50 bins at my local shop…but luckily I have a good deal with the owner and he takes almost anything I want to trade in.