The iFanboy Letter Column – 06/06/2008

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 they begin the hunt for the one-armed man that murdered their wife.

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’m about to start reading Nightwing and Robin. Are any trades I should read before I start reading the monthly book?

Dan F. from Greenwood, IN

What a great question, Dan, because I was just talking to someone about the state of the Batman world and I was saying that the most “traditional” Batman stories are being told in Nightwing and Robin and they are doing it the best.

With Nightwing there is really only one place you need to start and that is with Nightwing: Freefall which collects the first six issue of Nightwing written by Peter J. Tomasi. He has totally saved this book from the depths of rudderless, lifeless comic booking. It was a shame what has happened to Richard Grayson’s own book after Chuck Dixon had built it up to be such a quality title. It is my opinion that you don’t need to start anywhere but with Tomasi’s first issue, and ignore everything that came before it (and after Dixon). If you want to check out Chuck Dixon’s run — though it’s not important to enjoying the book now — get Nightwing Vol. 1: A Knight in Bludhaven. If you like that there are many volumes comprising Dixon’s run on the book.

Robin has been through some creative ups and downs as well. Like Nightwing, Chuck Dixon originated this book and made it his own for years and years. If you want to go all the way back to see the birth of Tim Drake as a character you should check out Robin: Flying Solo. But if you just want to get going with the newer, modern stuff start with Robin: Wanted, which collects the beginning of Adam Beechen’s much heralded run on Robin.

Conor Kilpatrick


I have this dood who comes into the comic shop I work at and all he does is go though boxes and talk about how certain books aren’t worth crap and how others are and/or will be. Every Wednesday he comes in and makes a big deal on how he HAS to have EVERY variant cover and make sure that every book is in pristine condition. It’s really annoying and bums me out. I mean I get it, variants are cool, whatever, but the ways this guys talks about it’s like, it takes away some of the joy of it all I guess. I know you guys have your “feelings” on this subject just wondering what you all think of people like this? And perhaps what I could say to him to make him feel like an idiot. Maybe I’m too mean? I dunno.

Tio L.

Oh, the collectors. They’re actually quite harmless, and the worst thing you can do is get involved in their strange warped ways. I’m shocked that there are still so many of these guys around, honestly. But the dirty little secret is that we sort of need them. A lot of comic shops can make a little extra money by marking up those variants, and fleecing the few remaining schmoes out there willing to pay extra for an issue with a cover that’s actually an unfinished Michael Turner practice drawing in crayon. If that helps subsidize Marvel paying top notch creators to do great story and art on the inside, I’ll let those people live in their fantasy world where comics from the 2000’s are actually valuable.

I’ll admit something about variant covers. They don’t have to be bad. I like the idea of having some choice sometimes, and you can get the one you like better. That’s always fun. And, in the past, right when I was getting back into comics, I bought some variant covers. When Marvel Knights was starting up, I fully admit to buying at least 2 or 3 copies of some books I loved. I think when I got back back, I was a bit ignorant of the slaughter that had taken place from the speculator crash, and thought they might be worth something. But more so, I just loved those books, and wanted very piece of them I could get. I got my alternate cover Daredevil #1 signed by Kevin Smith, and I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t treat it special to this day. I don’t fool myself into thinking it will really be worth anything, but I’m glad to have it, and a little part of me understands to some extent what those collectors are thinking. Personally, I just don’t have the patience (OCD) to go through books and find a perfect one, because at the end of the day, it makes no difference. I’ve got a few like that, an alternate signed Astro City #1, Inhumans #1, and even (gasp), an alternate Sentry #1 signed by the whole creative team. It’s true….

But if I pick up a book from the shelf and the corner is crunched, I’ll grab the next one down.

Granted, if I end up behind someone searching for the perfect copy of Manhunter #32, you better believe that’s a paddlin’!

Anyway, let the poor souls be.  They know not what they do, and you’re not going to change anything.  Live and let be, and all that.

Josh Flanagan

You often mention in the podcasts that there were many good books that you didn’t have enough time to discuss properly. If I may be so bold, I would suggest that you might list those books that didn’t make the cut (but which you would recommend) in the show notes or otherwise.


As I read this question I was thinking to myself, it would be really cool to do like a behind the scenes of  iFanboy, so you can see what our process in making these shows is really like. When I think about it, I’m fascinated. You see, each week, a ton of comics come out — just look at the comics section and you’ll see tons of comics. We can’t read them all. Not only do we not have the money to do that, but we don’t have the time. But of the comics we do read, we get through a good amount. So many in fact that we can’t cover them all in the podcast, as you’ve heard us say. But it’s funny. Some weeks there’s very little-to-no discussion, as we all agree about the books to discuss. Whereas other weeks, it’s can be a knock down, drag out battle to get the books we each find relevant in the show. Needless to say, it keeps things interesting for us.

But I have to answer your question! If you want to see what comics we bought and read that week, you can check out our personal pull lists by looking at our profiles (Conor, Josh, and myself). Each week we all pull our books and that’s the pool we draw from for the show. But if you wanted to know the books I’d like to talk about that we haven’t yet… I took a look at the past month’s worth of comics and compiled a list of books I could have talked about, and maybe I still will at some point:

• X-Force
• Ghost Rider
• The Sword
• Wolverine: First Class
• Perhapanauts
• X-Men: Legacy
• Jack Staff

Now, mind you, I’m not saying whether I liked all of these or not. Can you try and take a guess as to which ones I would be recommending and which ones I would be advising not to bother with? Take your best guesses and maybe on a future audio show or a mini, I’ll share my thoughts.

Ron Richards


  1. I’d definitely be curious for Ron’s take on the state of the current X-books.  I assume maybe that’s coming up around Uncanny 500?  (In exchange, I can tell him that nothing noteworthy continues to happen in Cable).  

    Also, I have NO IDEA what Perhapanauts is, but I kept seeing merch for it at NYCC, so I’m curious!

  2. When I pull my comics off the shelf, I usually go to the middle of the pile. I just like to have something I’m buying be in nice condition. I don’t need the copy on top of the pile that’s been read by every cheap bastard who’ll want to read the issue, but not plunk down the cash for it. I’m not a condition nut, but I don’t need crinkled and smudged covers  – I’m sure we all have copies of those in our collections.

  3. Unless there’s something obviously wrong with it, take the top copy!

    It’s like a mud puddle.  The more people go around it, the bigger it gets.  Any biker will tell you to ride right through!

  4. A behind the scenes iFanboy show? Needs to happen!

  5. Maybe behind the scenes ifanboy can be a videocast. Also @ Conor none of the links work for any of the books recomend.

  6. I think its amazon not the links

  7. I actually gave up on Nightwing after the "mobbed up" tpb. Maybe I will pick up "freefall" and see if its back on the rails. For anyone who has not read Dixons run on Nightwing I totally recommend it. McDaniels art is also superb for how kinetic Nightwings movement is.

  8. X-Force?? I’d actually like to hear your thoughts on this book. the art itself on the book really just takes me away from the story in a bad way, while the story somewhat intrigues me.

  9. I got some variants they’re cool.  Not as cool as this guy seems to make them.  Just ignore him, if the only way to make himself seem cool is to brag about his collection then he’s obvisiously not.

  10. iFanboy behind the scenes! yes!

  11. Ron, it’s time for you to guest star in another episode of the Uncanny X-Cast. Those boys need some more of your input on the current X-books. 🙂

  12. I don’t want the mystery of iFanboy ruined by a behind the scenes show. Don’t do it!

    Also, Josh’s response was both awesome and accurate.

  13. I bought four copies of each issue of Batman Year One when it came out. I don’t even have the excuse of variant covers, I was just really excited about that book. But to be honest, I was hoping I’d somehow make a killing by selling a copy or two when they became really valuable. Pretty dumb, huh? But back issues were a huge market back then, and it wasn’t unusual to see a 50 cent comic from just a few years earlier selling for up to $10. So if you made a good guess, it would be like 2000% profit (it’s possible I did the math wrong). That’s pretty tempting to an impressionable young lad who doesn’t even have a real job yet.

  14. The back of Giant-Size Astonishing contains a handful of variant covers. Only after seeningthis did I realize that my LCS (Gary’s Comics and More, Morgantown, WV – hey Gary!) had been puting the variants in my box all along. Not that I care or anything, but it was kinda neat of them.

    As for your "anoying dood," leave him alone. He’s giving you $$ and, so long as he isn’t driving other customers away, he’s harmless. Anoying customers come with the territory (retail) and even more so in Aspbergers-prone areas like comics or sports collectibles.  

  15. I bought Perhapanauts after meeting Todd Dezago at NYCCon and fell in love with it – that book definitely needs to be discussed in a future show.