The iFanboy Letter Column – 05/09/2008

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 have to get up early and get to the airport and deal with security monkeying with your camera equipment and then fold yourself into those tiny seats for the next six to seven hours.

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 —

Why the hate for the new Thor? I understand that it’s our right as comic readers to blindly dismiss comics for no other reason then a change in barometric pressure but Thor has been SO good since its relaunch. The art work is solid every issue, The story arc has been great so far and Josh even got issue 7 and said he enjoyed it!! And issue 7 was not a real good jump on point! In short, you should get the trade and if you don’t like it you can laugh at my expense all you like and even tar and feather me.


Well Chris, someone beat you to it. Following this article I wrote, which articulates my mistrust of J. Michael Straczynski, faithful iFanbase member, Six Gun (Will) took up the call. He sent me a copy of the first new Thor collection and challenged me not to like it.

And I accept this challenge! So look for an iFanboy Mini or an article (I can never decide!) detailing what I thought. I owe a great deal of thanks to Will for making the effort to send the book my way, and I’ll certainly give it a fair shake.

But the fact remains that my decisions are not based on fleeting fancies, but years of harassment and abuse at the hands of one former Babylon 5 writer (in the pages of his comics; not literally). And no matter how good one of his comics start out, the true test will come in several years when we look back at dozens of issues, and say, “man, that started out so well. How did we get here?”

So mark my words well, mortal! The strokes of Straczynski’s pen may not yet fell the mighty Odinson, yet a dark wind doth lurk in the offing, awaiting its chance to strike a deadly blow, and send Thor to the halls of Valhalla. Verily, it shall be so!

Josh Flanagan

I’ve been immersed in the DCU for about a year and a half now and I’ve seen Black Canary all over the place. She’s been featured in Birds of Prey, JLA, and Green Arrow/Black Canary just to name a few. I was wondering, what are the seminal Black Canary stories, the must reads for any Black Canary fan?

Marshall from Dallas, TX

Black Canary has been around forever and is one of the most important characters in the DCU, but you wouldn’t know it from reading most comics. She’s probably the founding member of the Justice League of America with the lowest profile who isn’t J’onn J’onnz. Yes, yes in the actual comics themselves Wonder Woman was the founding female member of the Justice League of America but she was retconned out and Black Canary was retconned in. But that’s neither here nor there.

If you ‘re looking for good Black Canary stories you should definitely check out JLA: Year One by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson which was a fantastic mini-series that told the story of the first year of the post-retconned JLA. That was a great mini I’d love to dig out and reread. Similarly, the previous Justice Society of America series — not the current one, but the one that came out in 1999 just called JSA — featured a great Black Canary. You mentioned Birds of Prey and that is fantastic. The original Chuck Dixon written issues when it was mostly just Oracle and Black Canary (and sometimes The Huntress and Catwoman)… man, that was the stuff. And finally, if you’re up for a different, more adult take on thing, Mike Grell’s Green Arrow series featured Black Canary very prominently — though mostly out of costume. Not that way. Well, sometimes.

Conor Kilpatrick

I recently saw some of Mike Allred’s artwork (Madman stuff) and remembered that I’d seen it at comic shops when I was younger, but it never interested me then, but now I seem to be more interested in his artwork (I guess my taste has changed through the years). Have any of you guys read Madman (I don’t hear you guys talk about it at all)? If so, what’s it all about and where do I start reading?

Sam from Texas

How beautiful is Mike Allred’s art? He has a very clean style that to many is the definitive “pop art” style among comic artists today. He’s been working for years in the industry, doing bit work for both major publishers over the years, like X-Statix for Marvel Comics, but Madman is his creator owned baby that he’s been getting out any way he can. He’s self published it, he’s published through Dark Horse Comics, and currently Madman is being published through Image Comics.

Now the thing about Madman is, it’s not for everyone. It looks great and has beautiful art, but some of the concepts and some of the things that happen are way out there. Like WAY out there. So what I would do if I were you, is check out the latest series through Image Comics. They’re on issue #8, so there’s still time to buy up all the back issues, or I would imagine the first 7 issue will be out in trade. If you like what you see, and you can handle the “out there” aspect of the story, then definitely drop a lot of money for the Madman Gargantua Edition. It’s expensive, about $125 (although you can find it discounted), but it’s a great omnibus style that collects everything Madman from previous years into one volume. If thats too much for you, Image has a lot of that same material broken down into smaller trade paperbacks.

Personally I love Madman and hope you check it out and dig it too

Ron Richards


  1. i have to say that i am a massive fan of Allred as well, you can definately see the influence of Lichtenstein in his work And i agree Madman is not for everyone.

     My two cent? Allred’s best work to date was in Fables, around issue 58, the colouring of the book was changed to a watercolour style, very cool.  i wonder why Ron didn’t mention that in his answer? hmmm

    Also Straczynski is one of the most over-rated guys in comics. His stories make NO sense

  2. @Conor – I read and enjoyed JLA: Year One. I’ll definitely check out Dixon’s BOP, I tried Simone’s but something about her writing just doesn’t connect with me. I haven’t heard much about Grell’s GA so I’ll definitely check that out as well and I’ve been meaning to read that JSA run. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. For a great Black Canary storyline try Starman annual #2. It has a great story about the original Black Canary (Dinah Lance’s mother) and Starman (Ted Knight- Jack Knight’s father from the GREAT James Morrison work of the 90’s). Not to mention the Gene Ha artwork. This storyline is set in the 50’s and involves infedelity. I do hope its part of the omnibus series that DC is putting out as it is a great storyline that I will not spoil here.