The iFanboy Letter Column – 04/11/2008

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s the last work day before a well deserved weekend. For others, Friday is the day you take a long, hard look in the mirror and reassess the choices you’ve made in the last five days.

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 —

Never read Daredevil before but based on your enthusiasm for the character, I’m going to bite the bullet and give him a shot. Since the Bendis omnibus is coming out, I was going to start with that, but I’m wondering if it’s worth finding the Miller omnibus instead? Miller’s is out of print, harder to find, and more expensive but if it’s worth it, I’m willing to start with that. Which way should I go?


Wow, Ted, Wow — what a tough question. Before I respond, can we just pause for a moment and reflect at how amazing it is that in the span of 20 or so years, we got two legendary runs on the same character? Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil has long been considered to be an epic run, one of the greatest. When Brian Michael Bendis took the reins on Daredevil, I’m sure that that shadow was looming. In the time since he’s left the book, I think we’ve forgotten how awesome his run was. If I didn’t own it in issues, I would totally pick up the Bendis Omnibus (Hell, I may anyhow. I have the Miller one, might as well have both.).

But that doesn’t answer your question. I’m going to say — and I’m going to duck away from the Frank Miller die hards as I say it — that you shouldn’t worry about the Miller Omnibus and just get the Bendis Omnibus. But it has nothing to do with Miller or thinking Bendis is better than Miller. Here is my reasoning. First, you don’t NEED to have read Miller’s run to understand Bendis’ run. All you need to know is Daredevil is a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock. Second, you’re right, Miller’s Omnibus is out of print and it would take a lot of effort to find it and it would probably be expensive. Now, we’ve seen Marvel put the Fantastic Four and Uncanny X-Men Omnibuses back in print, and it’s probably safe to say that they will put the Miller Omnibus back in print some day (pure speculation on my part, I have no idea if they will or not). So considering all that, by getting the Bendis Omnibus, you’re guaranteed a good read that you can get at a halfway decent affordable price. Either way though, you win, cause both runs are great!

Ron Richards

So for your next big improvement to the website, how about a dating page? Or at the very least, some dating advice. I seem to remember awhile ago, you answered an email on the show from a comic book chick looking for a comic book dude, but the real problem is: where do we comic book guys find comic book chicks? I’ve dated plenty of non-readers, but I’ve found it nigh impossible to find a comic book chick that isn’t obsessed with manga and nothing else. I want to spend some time with a girl whose compatibility reaches that higher echelon. Instead of asking, “What’s your sign?” I want to ask, “What’s on you pull list?” Any words of wisdom?

Phed from Philadelphia, PA

Wow, is it time to start planning for a sequel to our famous relationship episode? It sounds like it might be. Well, if people want another relationship episode they should certainly start e-mailing in their relationship questions!

As for your question, Phed, where indeed do you find comic book reading girls? Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it? The numbers are definitely not on your side. But they are indeed out there, and there are a lot more than you might think. In my experience with being involved with girls who were into comics there are two ways to meet them. The first is the simplest — by random chance. You meet a girl and it just so happens she’s got a pull list too. Not much you can do to increase the chances of that, that’s pretty much left to fate. Another, is to start attending comic book social events. If you’re in a town that’s got a cool comic book shop that throws parties those are great places to meet comic book reading girls. I can tell you that at our two Isotope parties, there were a lot of love (or at least lust) connections being made. If you don’t have a store like that in your area then try to make it to a comic convention, there are always parties and get-togethers at those things. You gotta go where they are, so to speak. There is a certain amount of proactivity that needs to go into this unless you want to leave it up to fate entirely and those odds aren’t great.

But the thing you gotta think about is: how important is it that the girl you meet likes comics too? Sure, it’s nice to share a hobby, the more you have in common with your significant other is usually the better, right? Well, why not meet a non-comic book reading girl and turn her on to the world of comics? We met a really awesome couple at Wonder Con named Chris and Maranda. Maranda had only gotten into comics from being with Chris and she was, without a doubt, the most enthusiastic comic book fan we met at Wonder Con. She loves comics and that only happened because she got together with a comic book reader. We could use a lot more of her, so why not create one?

Conor Kilpatrick

Personally, I tend to like when a writer comes in and changes the status quo in major ways. Clearly this can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the kinds of risks the writer tends to take but I really enjoy when it’s done correctly. The question I wanted to ask you guys is what kinds of changes would you guys make to the status quo of the Marvel or DC universes right now if you were able to make that decision? 

Mike C. from Oregon

This is one wide open question. I’m gonna take a stab at this, but I’m convinced that were I ever given the reins to a comic universe, I’d very likely run it into financial ruin, because people would run from my books en masse. So I guess this is more like what I’d like to see in my books.

In both Universes, I’d shrink things down. There are too many books, and too many characters and no focus. DC is attempting to bring a bajillion titles together and have a cohesive universe, and it’s just damned complicated. Similarly, Iron Man is appearing in like 80% of all Marvel books, and it’s just too complicated.

So I’m getting down to like 20 titles. Captain America, Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Daredevil, etc. I just want to see focus. And no crossover events. I want to see each book exist with its own story. The stories can exist in the same world, but I’d love to see a large chunk of time spent having these guys live their own lives, and really focus on who they are, and what they’re about, and really define right back to the roots who they are, and why we care.

A good example of this happened in Green Lantern. There are a whole lot of things going on in the DCU, but Green Lantern is focused on his book, and doesn’t seem to have much to do with what’s going on out there. As a result, the book is stronger than it’s been in years. That’s the result of focus, and it’s working.

Over in the DCU, I’d shrink it similarly, but I would also institute the “NO SUPERMAN/BATMAN” rule. It’s always fun to turn that page, and see Clark or Bruce there to take charge and mess things up, but in truth, it’s lazy and it’s been done. No more. If it’s a Green Arrow book, Ollie or Dinah have to get themselves out of things, at least for a while. I want to see some ingenuity. I want to see some originality.

In both worlds, I’m sick of brooding. If a superhero is extremely damaged, I want to see some quick mental healing. Daredevil’s got his moodiness, but we’ve been watching him mope for decades. Let’s shoot forward in time a bit, and give him some piece of mind. Batman gets a girlfriend. She puts flowers in the cave, and he goes out and hits thugs, and does the impossible, then comes home, and they hang out in his giant hot tub. She’s not to be killed horribly, sending him into vengeful depression for two years. That’s a rule.

Those are my broad sweeping notes. I could likely go on for pages and pages, but I should leave some room to see what other people would do. Of course, this was fun, and I might come back to it at some point.

Josh Flanagan


  1. What ever happened to the hero part of superheros? Everyone justifies murder and rage killing as if there is no difference between villans and so called good guys. Cyclops is training young X-men to be a black-ops team, Strong guy kills a civilian and claims mind control, Daredevil beats people into a bloody pulp because he’s in a funk. i don’t get it! i read comics to get a sense of the Heroic, the Honorable. now eveyone acts like urban thugs. ive given up completely on Marvel’s main line of books, the Xmen group, the Avengers group. they have just become murdering scum! and the excuse that this is more adult is crap, if anything its more juvenile. not that DC is any better but they have a few more alteratives like Blue Beetle and JSA that fly against the current grain. I would never let a kid of mine read a current X-book of any title right now. which is real shame because i know that most fans of comics now grew up on them. sorry for the rant!

  2. @Phed – My wife teaches English and some of her female colleagues read graphic novels/trades. So, if you work in education or are a college student, you could try visiting the English department. 


  3. of course, the frank miller daredevil really IS fantastic, and can be obtained cheaply via the "daredevil visionaries" paperbacks (and the incredible "daredevil: born again," an all-time great). they’re cheaply available used online, and i have to say that having read them, i did enjoy bendis’ run even more.

    even though they’re not omnibi, they’ll be easy on the wallet and TOTALLY worth your money in getting to know the roots of the character. so good! 

  4. @bertkreth –  Personally, I don’t want to read comics about old-fashioned values of right and wrong.  The world has changed and comics should reflect that.  Real heroes like cops and soldiers face difficult moral choices almost on a daily basis.  Frankly, cookie-cutter comics without moral ambiguity are boring.  I don’t want to read books where the characters are always doing the right thing.  Overall, the writing in your average superhero comic is more sophisticated and, yes, better than it’s ever been, including those from "the good old days."

     There are plenty of Marvel books, including X-Books, that cater to younger readers.  X-Men: First Class, for example.  Ultimate Spider-Man is perhaps another.  You’re just not looking hard enough for them.  Besides, didn’t the first issue of this new JSA feature child slaughter?  How is that appropriate for young readers?


  5. @Ted –  If I were you I’d try to pick up a copy of the Daredevil: Born Again trade which reprints DD 227-233.  It’s not only Miller’s best Daredevil story it may be the best DD story ever written.

  6. I got by with the Miller/DD trades, and I’m doing just fine.  I liked it a lot, but I don’t feel the need to get the supersized expensive volume.

  7. When I rejoined the world of comics, people were talking about Kevin Smith’s Daredevil as if he were the next Frank Miller. You never hear about it now. Even as an Alias fan, at the time Bendis seemed like quite a roll of the dice. "Well… his power is that he’s super-blind. Still, they say it’s good. We’ll see." Now Daredevil is like a quarter of a longbox in my house. Who knew?

    As for meeting comic book ladies, there’s always that Powers personals column. I’ll bet ya meet a very special class of people that way. 

  8. I agree w/ the Bendis run being the place to start, the Visionaries books TehDave spoke of, featuring Frank Miller we’re a great inexpensive read though. Volume 1 is a great compliment to Brubaker’s run which harkens back to the content in those days quite a bit. Even though Born Again is the arc most people remember Miller on, Visionaries Volume 2 made me forget there was even a current book coming out monthly, I couldn’t put it down, and it does a good job showing why Daredevil and Miller are often mentioned synonymously.

  9. And now I’m wondering why I haven’t read more of the Miller DD run. . .I should get on that.

    @Jimski — "As for meeting comic book ladies, there’s always that Powers personals column. I’ll bet ya meet a very special class of people that way."

    – You know, if a ‘lady’ actually answered one of those personals, my first assumption would be that it was Bendis, having a little fun.  Which I guess counts as a special class of person.

    And you guys should definitely do another relationship show.  A (female) friend just gave me 9 longboxes of old Marvel stuff, which led to a conversation about the efficacy of ‘Come up and see my full run of New Mutants’ as a pickup line.   (Not, to clarify, that I *have* a full run of New Mutants, but it did lead to an interesting conversation).

  10. Josh, your thoughts on trimming down DC & Marvel are great.  It would be an industry driven by story, not by sales… (which is why it will never happen.) 

    I would also like to see a line (like All Star or Ultimate) where they don’t just create a new continuity, but where there is no continuity.  A line where creators can come in and do whatever they want with a character.  To be free to tell a story without the boundries of decades of continuity.  A story could last for 6 issues and then it would be reset with the next creative team.

  11. It seems to me that superheroes being larger than life need a larger than life backdrop for their stories. I am of the mind that people should die in droves in a superhero book- with all the laser beams, exploding arrows, bulltes and cosmic blasts tossed about.

    You can scale down the world as appropriate to the hero in querstion, i.e. Batman doesn’t fight Martians on Warworld by his lonesome. That’s cool. But I expect some shit to go down when Kang the Conqueror shows up with an armada of Ultrons to battle the god of thunder, the spirit of america, a billionaire industrialist and a talking cat-man. 

    The Sinestro Corps War worked both sides of the personal drama and big epic superhero hijinxs. Geoff Johns shows the way to do superhero books without reverting to the bronze age Superman’s shenanigans, yet still keep it all fun. 

  12. "A (female) friend just gave me 9 longboxes of old Marvel stuff, which led to a conversation about the efficacy of ‘Come up and see my full run of New Mutants’ as a pickup line."

    Be very careful about how you use that line about your "Giant Size Man-Thing." Know your audience.

  13. giant size man thing, classic.

  14. As far as the dating thing goes, go for the girl u fall in love with over sumthing important, THEN try to convert them!

    Its funny u bring this up now. Last weekend my wife and I were going to be at an event that we had a lot of downtime. (My daughter was in the science olympiad).

    I brought along the Captain America Omnibus and just left it near her in between events. She picked it up (as I chuckled to myself) and lo and behold she read the whole thing in 1 day! And after that she was HOOKED! She read Hush in about 2 hours and I just compiled a ton more stuff for her to read. EXCELLENT! 

  15. BTW, it was my wife that read the Omnibus, not my daughter. She calls me a nerd. She’s in the Science Olympiad and SHE calls ME nerd!

  16. I’m actually reading the Miller DD Omnibus right now and it is truly an incredible read and like Ron, even though I own all of the issues of the Bendis DD Omnibus, I’m considering buying it simply because I’m working on replacing series that I want to reread with trades in an effort to cut down on the boxes.

  17. If they reprint the DD omnibus of Miller’s stuff (both the Volume and the Companion) you should definitely pick both of them up as they tell amazing stories for DD.  I’m really excited for the Bendis Omnibus.  I’m something of a DD whore, so I have all the issues from the reboot to present, and I’ll still get the Omnibus.  It’s just that damn good.

    And if you can find it, Born Again is one of the best superhero stories.  Period.  So, so good.

    As for comic book ladies, you shouldn’t worry too much about sharing the hobby.  I’ve tried to bring family members and my fiance into the world to no avail.  The most important thing is that, if they aren’t interested, they’re ok with you being interested in it.  If they’re not, well, then, that makes for an interesting conversation.

  18. Oh, and I wanted to add that Kevin Smith’s DD story is really, really great as well and lead into the Bendis DD.  He did an amazing job of telling that story.