The iFanboy Letter Column – 06/12/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to really give some thought to how much food you can eat in one 48 hour period without moving. For others, Friday means it’s finding out who’s holdin’.

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 —


Have you guys ever bought a trade paperback just from a glance at the cover art? I bought the new Superman: Last Son trade based on the cover at first, didn’t even look inside at first the realized it was the great run on Chris Kent by Geoff Johns. If you guys have ever bought a TPB based on cover art, how’d it turn out?


It’s funny that you should ask this and share your example of a Superman trade paperback, because my answer/response is quite similar. I do have to admit, very rarely do I buy a trade paperback on the cover alone. Usually if I’m going to hand over more than 15 bucks on a book, I’m going to do some research, like who are the creators, who are the characters, what is the story about etc. This is after almost 10 years of dedicated trade paperback buying and admittedly getting burned a few times. But that said, there have been a few books that grabbed me immediately.

The Superman example I alluded above was Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson. I saw the cover of this book, and I instantly got it. Communist Superman? — yes, I want that. I’m not a fan of Superman at all, I could probably count on one hand the number of Superman books I have, but there was something striking about the image of Superman standing on the Soviet symbol merged with the Superman logo that made me think this would be something I’d want to read. And boy was it. If you haven’t read this book yet, let me again strongly recommend that you check it out. One of the most inventive and original self contained stories ever, with a classic Mark Millar high concept. Simply great stuff.

Another example of a cover that grabbed me was The Spirit Archives, Vol. 24.Now admittedly I knew who The Spirit was and what the book would ultimately be about, but after seeing this cover, I got that instant reaction of “Yes please!” I mean, look at it, It’s The Spirit in a ’50s style space helmet ON THE MOON! It doesn’t get any wackier or awesome than that. Sure it may have been late in Will Eisner’s run on the character and possibly getting gimmicky to pull in the kids of the time when space was hot, but still, you have to admit it’s kind of awesome. He’s wearing the mask under the helmet! Genius!

I probably could go in the opposite direction and talk about some trade paperbacks that I’ve purchased based on the cover alone and have gotten burned, but I don’t really want to go negative. Usually that scenario occurs when I’m browsing indie books, looking for another relationship type book and those can be really hit or miss, most of the time miss unfortunately.

Ron Richards

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my comics for months. I fell off after Final Crisis and towards the end of Robin and Nightwing. I keep buying my subscriptions from the local shop which gets me a discount. I haven’t gone in due to no money so my books are adding up. When do you say collecting is no longer worth it and maybe stick to the trades? Sad to say I may give up my weekly spending since I’m no where close to catching up any time soon and student loans are lingering over.


This is a pretty relevant question, Dave. I’m sure a great number of the people reading this understand where you’re coming from. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the weekly onslaught of books and end up in a position where you’re buying a lot of stuff you can’t necessarily afford and it’s hard to know where to draw the line. Even I’m a victim of this. Granted, I’m in a unique position doing this site and show. But I still have to spend real money on comics, and have to balance my need to know what’s going on in comics with not spending every cent I have on comics. There are other things in life, and they’re important.

It might be time to take a good look at your comics and figure out what you’re really enjoying these days. I’m starting to feel the need for a pretty significant culling. I’m looking at books that I’m rating with 3 stars, and wondering if I’m getting my $3 or $4 out of them any longer, or if I’m just reading them out of habit, or because I met the writer or artist once.

In the end, what’s really important is what you’re getting out of your comics. They are simply not cheap.  Maybe you should pick a few you really like, and get those weekly. Then wait for some trades on others. When that trade comes out, priced $15-$25, you’ll know real quickly whether it’s important enough to buy. Plus you have the benefit of knowing if the stories were any good after the fact.

We’ll try to keep the podcast entertaining either way.

Josh Flanagan


I have recently discovered the artist “Kenneth Rocafort” through the Cyberforce: Hunter Killer FCBD comic put out my Top Cow… and I’m very impressed. I researched his career and found his work on Astonishing Tales and Madame Mirage. This man has become my favorite artist in a matter of days, overtaking my previous fav Steve McNiven. I was just wondering what you guys thought and if you like his art.

Daniel O.

We came across Ke– hey! Waitaminute! Is Kenneth Rocafort not his real name? Is it some kind of alias? Or are you implying that Kenneth Rocafort doesn’t exist? Like he’s a figment of our collective imagination or something that is less a man than a construct of our collective unconscious?

For the purposes of this letter column I am going to assume that Kenneth Rocafort actually exists and that that is his real name.

We came across Kenneth Rocafort when we delved into Top Cow for the video show we did. Rocafort drew Jonathan Hickman’s Pilot Season book, The Core. We were all bummed that it wasn’t one of the books that won. He kicked ass on that book. He’s got a style that is vaguely reminiscent of Lenil Francis Yu.

A couple of months back I bought a bunch of trades in hopes of finding something great to be Book of the Month (this was before stumbling into my brilliant idea to check the Eisner nominations), and I bought Madame Mirage, Vol. 1, which is written by our old friend Paul Dini and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort. While I wasn’t head over heels in love with Madame Mirage, I did really like the art a lot. And his art on The Core was markedly better than his stuff in Madame Mirage — he’s early in his career and he’s only getting improving. Rocafort is the kind of guy that could really hit it big on the right book.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. Holy shit.  Christ Kent?  Have we cut all the allegorical bullshit and just gone ahead and made Superman’s son the literal second coming?  I’ve gotta get ahold of this Last Son trade.  And then give it to my overtly proselytizing mother-in-law just to watch her blow her top.

    (I recognize that is simply a typo, but felt it was so very Freudian that I couldn’t pass it up.)

  2. Kenneth Rocafort can be a great artist at times, but I think the coloring of his work ruins some of his style. Madam Mirage add some really good art in it (ignoring the cheesecake for this discussion) and I like some of the character designs. But then suddenly it can look pretty hideous with some of the color choices. Add to the fact that the pages seem to have a brownish hue to the whole thing….it can get pretty muddy from time to time.

  3. Who is Kenneth Rocafort?

  4. i wish we could see kenneth do work on marvel titles..maybe new avengers or uncanny xmen?

  5. You fixed the typo?  No fun.

  6. Kenneth Rocafort is Keyser Soze.

  7. @daccampo…huh

  8. I believe in God, but the only thing I’m afraid of is Kenneth Rocafort.


    I’m sorry. 

  9. does anyone other than me spend like a half hour in the shop reading titles so you don’t have to buy them?

  10. @Gabe: Do you shop at a library?

  11. You’re not the only one, Gabe, not by a long shot.  And as long as I don’t bring a bucket of chicken, I can’t imagine anyone objecting.  What, after all, constitutes objectionable behavior in a comic book store?  Further, how do you know whether a comic book is good enough to buy without reading it first?

  12. I do the same in my LCBS.  they are  cool, one of the smaller ones.  whenever i ask:  how are the batman or superman titles, Eddie or Jon always say, just come back on the weekend and read it for yourself.  maybe it’s because I already buy a decent amount of stuff weekly.  There are 2 comic book stores in the greater Seattle area owned by the same owner: a huge store downtown, with the owner supervising and where casual reading and browsing is met by a cold demeanor.  and there is the smaller satellite location in the U district,  manned by comic fans.  night and day.  Both stores are vastly overpriced, but it’s the laid back attitude of the smaller store that keeps me coming back.


  13. You flip through the book to take in the art and get the jist of what kind of story it is.  Why would you buy a comic if you’ve already read it?  Why would a store continue to stock that comic if nobody buys it?

  14. I wouldn’t’ve gotten back into comics a few years ago if I wasn’t able to read about 8 trade paperbacks FOR FREE at a Borders. And since then, I’ve gone back and bought my own copies of all those trades. If you really like something, you want to have your own physical copy so you can read it any time.

  15. @flappjaxx: Borders and Barnes & Nobles are different, they encourage reading in the store.

  16. @conor: Eh…..not so much for a smaller Borders…

  17. I just can’t read in public. Unless I’m in a nice cozy spot, reading isn’t the same for me.


    You and I shop at the same place. And yeah, it looks like you revealed how I manage to cut back on so many titles while being able to read the discussed titles on the podcasts.

    At the UW Xanadu do ya wait till opening on Wednesday?

  19. Got this from



    But in Japanese culture, everyone stands around and quietly reads right there in the store. That’s just the way it is.

    It is Japanese custom to stand and read at a bookstore.


    Pretty interesting.  Japan ok to read as much as you want in the store but just don’t sit down.  That sounds about right.  


    Hey Conor, stop encouraging politeness–this is comic books we’re talking about! 

  20. Sorry to crowd, but just found the word for it: "tachiyomi" means "reading while standing" in Japanese and it’s national tradition to do it–esp. with comics!  So if anyone hassles you you can say you’re as well-mannered as the Japanese!

  21. I think that in English it translates to "jerking off to Lolicon".

  22. @dave(the letter guy)- Whatever you choose to do you should decide quick. If your shop is pulling things for you and you’re not buying them, you shop is losing money! Don’t hose the shop if you’re unable to commit to books. The economy is rough right now and I’m sure business owners are looking to streamline their ordering the same that you are looking to streamline you wallet.

  23. My shop has a lounge, a couch and 2 chairs, anyone with a pulllist of 5 or more books a week can go back to read as little or as much as they desire. Most people will do the pull list just for that reason. He also gives a good discount, so he gets a lot of guys who are loyal and buy anything they can from him.

     It’s a good place. 

  24. Roccafort’s stuff in Astonishing Tales has been great.