The iFanboy Letter Column – 03/12/2010

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 fly to Seattle.

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 am an avid listener of your podcast. I was a comic book collector in the ’80s up to the early-to-mid nineties. About a year ago, I started collecting again. I collect primarily DC now. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on good trades/storylines that would be worth buying on the DC side?

A Big Fan

Why are you obscuring your name?! What are you hiding? Moreover, what’s the problem with other publishers?

Whenever anyone asks me what they should be reading, and they restrict it to one publisher, I shed a wee tear, not unlike the American Indian with the litter from the 70’s. That being said, and given no information about what you actually like, I will now tell you what you should read.

Check out the Starman run, now being collected in Omnibus. Read Gotham Central. Read JSA. Read All-Star Superman. Read Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night. Read The Mighty. If you’re reading this, and you want more specificity, speak out, mysterious, vague question asker in the below comments, and maybe we’ll take you further. But if I have any advice, I’d say, keep listening to the show, and try something else we talk about that we really like.

Expand your horizons!

Josh Flanagan


I just finished listening the excellent episode of World Balloon featuring Ethan Van Sciver and I was more than a little uncomfortable when Ethan spoke candidly about his lifestyle changes and the ways in which these changes impacted the schedule of The Flash: Rebirth. It’s a credit to Ethan that he was able to speak so openly about things, but I was dismayed at the fact there exists an attitude amongst the general comics fan base in which answers are expected for lateness. For the few short years I have been following comics closely, this has happened many times, be it with Mark Millar, Howard Porter, etc. etc. It seems to me that comic artists have a very labor intensive job and something as (relatively) innocuous as a bout with the flu could upset the shipping schedule. How can one be expected to draw well if one is fighting a fever?

The only scenario that seems loosely analogous to this one is that of a musician suddenly canceling dates on a tour because if injury, sickness, or lewd crowd behavior. Money is refunded and most people move on to a different show or a new band. In the case of comics, no product has been purchased, so no refund is necessary, and yet the instinctive reaction is to hold the creators hostile, question their effort or editorial planning, and demand a pound of flesh for good measure.

Have you ever felt shame or embarrassment at this attitude, or succumbed to it yourself (as I have certainly have?)

Dave C.

You bring up an excellent point, Dave, and it’s something I’ve definitely been guilty of in the past. There’s no vacation days in comics. You don’t do the work, and either someone else does (and people complain) or it doesn’t get done at all (and people complain). The reason doesn’t so much matter, but it is what happens.

However, late books do happen, and I’m guessing the majority of those latenesses aren’t caused by anything necessarily health related, but just overcommitting to work, and under committing to getting it done. I think it’s all about expectations. There are guys who say “I can’t do a monthly book” and therefore, we get three issues of Frank Quitely at a time, and we understand (and maybe complain a little). But it’s the nature of working in the entertainment business.  It works the same in TV or movies. There’s too much on the line, and people either have to fight through it, or accept that the ball is going to drop, for at least a bit.

In a way, I think that, if you get involved with those industries, it’s a responsibility you take on, knowing full well how it works. If that’s not okay, then maybe this isn’t the business for you. It’s not necessarily fair, but it is the reality of the business. That being said, of course fans could and should be a bit more forgiving about deadlines, and every once in a while, recognize that there are humans on the other sides of those pages, and those humans have lives, and in lives, things happen you don’t expect, and those things mess stuff up, and that ripples outward. But honestly, that’s something that should go way beyond comics.

The more you know…

Josh Flanagan


  1. As someone who has just starting reading the Starman run for the first time I can certainly say I am loving it.  I also second Josh’s suggestion of The Mighty.  It is solid and requires absolutely no knowledge of any continuity.  It is entirely self contained.  I also suggest Superman: Red Son.  It is an Elseworlds tale (meaning it is also self contained) and is absolutely (hint, hint) stellar. 

    I generally try very hard not to get upset about lateness in books (though I do slip from time to time), because I understand that stuff happens.  However, I work in a world where procrastinating can very quickly leave you jobless, so I also understand that if you can’t pull it off, you should find something else to do.

    A big commenter 

  2. Vertigo is DC, right? I’ll do it anyway; Y-the Last Man, Fables, The Unwritten, Scalped. How about Wildstorm? Planetary, Authority and Ex Machina.

  3. Josh, so now that you have a baby, you are answering all letters yourself?

    I guess something to keep you busy during your sleepless nights…

    Ah, so many memories about my baby-caregiving nights… Thank god my kids are a little older now 🙂

  4. I too am reading Starman for the first time and am also loving it.

  5. Poor Josh with Ron and Connor in Seattle having a good time at the Con. Josh is left to hold down the fort with a baby and dog in tow. Josh are you going to have to do the POTW this week by yourself or are you going to get Tom and Chris to come in to replace the slackers? 🙂

  6. the letter writer is not necessarily accurate about one thing. for some, money may have already been spent on the product before it’s pushed back.  I have to order and pay for my comics two months in advance because that’s how my retailer has to do things to stay in business.  for instance, I paid for All-Star Batman and Robin #11 and #12.

    but, to put it in a larger perspective, this is how all retailers have to do things.  they do have to pay for the books in advance, and if they are late, that’s money already spent on product that is missing. 

  7. Hey guys I am in the opposite boat as the letter, I read all indie or marvel books. When I was younger my reading was more balanced but as I got back into it marvel and indies are what grabbed me. I wouldn’t call myself a continuity nut by any stretch, but I hate not understanding what is going on in the comics I an reading , therefore I have invested a lot of
    time and money in catching up on my favorite characters to know what is going on with them. My problem is I would love to be more balanced but don’t have the time or money to invest in catching up with the dcu. I read green lantern back in the day, but I know Johns is big with utilizing continuity so that turned me off. Anyway, the point is I’d love a good jumping on book to get into the DCU. As far as what I like as far as superhero stuff, asm, nova, gotg, mighty avengers, FF, secret warriors, and the Daniel way deadpool are some of my favorite titles now, my favorite of all time is either fables, queen and country, or transmetropolitan. Any suggestions would be great!

  8. @peterparker

    Gotham Central by Brubake, Rucka and Lark. Best work all involved ever did.

    Superman: Brainiac.Just because.

    Batman: Year One. Only work of substance by Frank Miller, in the past 22 years.

  9. Dark Knight came after Year One. I’d give that he substance tag.

  10. Ok, your commnets system is weird guys. Why is that text so big?


    As far as DKR is concerned, its a John Carpenter-esque 80s action thriller. They haven’t aged well. DKR has, but its still stuck in the 80s. You can only enjoy it if you consider that. Even then, its doesn’t ahve much going for it.


    I am also speaking about his writing. His best work as an artist is of course, Sin City.

  11. Frank Miller wrote and did the art in Yellow Bastard in I think 96 and that’s an amazing story.

    @peterparker: I would really give Green Lantern ago in trades just start them in chronological order. He does grab a lot from the past but he’s good at explicating the importance of stuff. 

  12. There are some bugs in the comments. Working on a new bulld as we type.

    And I couldn’t disagree more strongly about DKR. It’s a classic.  It does exist in its time, but so does Watchmen. That said, I think Year One is my favorite bit of Miller writing.

  13. @crucio 

    would i be ok starting from the relauch? not sure if thats what you meant. 

  14. Humans make comics?

  15. @josh

    Oh I love DKR. It was my first(or second) comic. But its not even in the same league as Watchmen or Year One. And please allow Subscription and Replies in the new comments. Thanks.


    Start from Rebirth. Be aware, the trades between Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War are so-so. As a newcomer, you should try Justice Society of America, the 2007 series. This was the best team book I’ve read in a while. The first trade is called the ‘Next Age’.

  16. @muddio and crucio
    thanks guys I am going to super show in two weeks so I’ll grab a few of the suggestions