The iFanboy Letter Column – 07/03/2009

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 time to break out the illegal fireworks.

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 —


What Nick Fury stories are worth reading where he is the central character or at least a central character? He gets mentioned all the time but not necessarily for comics that he is the main man for. I really digging Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors. I wouldn’t mind another series like that has a similar feel. instead all these boring Dark Reign villain miniseries.

Justin from Detroit, Michigan

It’s interesting to see the cult of Nick Fury, considering that he is a supreme badass in the Marvel Universe and yet he hasn’t had an ongoing book that you could easily point to for years. But there are some definitive Nick Fury stories that you could definitely go out and find that would be worth you time and your money.

The first one that springs to mind, and may be a bit harder to find, is the Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Jim Steranko. Steranko is one of the gods of comics, and his run on Nick Fury was both definitive and legendary. Nick Fury started off as Marvel’s rip off of DC Comics Sgt. Rock and there were some good stories told of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, but it wasn’t until Steranko got his hands on Fury did the espionage and modern type of stories that we’ve grown to expect when Fury is used come into play. Steranko was able to take Fury and create a dynamic and previously never before scene take on the character in both the artwork and the storytelling. It was the late 1960s, so some definite pop art influence is present and well, it just has to be seen to be believed. If you can find it.

As far as books that you can find more easily, I would point you to the Fury miniseries by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, which came out earlier this decade. Many people took issue with this series as it didn’t necessarily portray Nick Fury in the same light that we’ve come to know him in, but if you can get past that, it really is indeed a good book. Another option is Secret War by Brian Michael Bendis, which usually I put under the rare “failure” category because it was so hyped up by Bendis and plagued by delays. But as a collection, it’s quite formidable lineup with Nick Fury interacting with Avengers mainstays like Captain America, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and others like Daredevil. Nick Fury was at the center of that story and the events of it kicked off the majority of the storylines that have affected Nick Fury in the current Marvel Universe.

I don’t know what it is about Nick Fury, but he is indeed an awesome character and it’s great to see him get some of the spotlight in Secret Warriors, but man, they should just have that book be about Fury. Who cares about these new Secret Warriors or Howling Commandos? Just focus on Fury and run with it. But that’s just my opinion…

Ron Richards


I just read the first two trades of 100 Bullets and I really enjoyed them. I hear lots of creators gush about it, and I think it won quite a few awards, too. Why do you guys never really talk about it? Does it get really bad later on? I remember you guys saying it’s confusing, or you don’t know what’s going on. I wasn’t confused at all. When does this confusion kick in?


As you may well know Sam, I hate fun, so right off, that’s probably it. Wait, I take it back. Fun is probably not a word I would use for 100 Bullets. At least not that kind of fun.

Okay, yes. 100 Bullets won 4 Harvey Awards and 3 Eisner Awards, and people love it. Correct.

We’ve mentioned this on the show before but for all I know, that was 3 years ago, and you were 9 years old at the time. These things all tend to run together you see. Anyway, I read 100 Bullets through the early 50’s or so. I discovered the series somewhere around the early teens. I was just discovering all the great comics coming out from Vertigo at the time, and I went to all the comic shops and eBay auctions I could to get all the issues that came before. And I did it. Of course, I did this because I really liked it. In fact, at the beginning, it had to have been one of my favorite series. Specifically, issue 11 or so, is still one of my favorite issues of all time. It had a great premise, smart writing and felt completely new. At the time, I hadn’t really had that much experience with crime comics, and Brian Azzarello’s work was just so new to me, I loved it. Further, Eduardo Risso was unlike any other artist I’d ever seen, and still is for that matter. He’s an immense talent, and deserves every accolade he’s every received. I remember going to panels in San Diego and he didn’t speak a word of English, but he still managed to translate a visual version of the American experience in such a rich way that I was stunned. I think he’s picked up some phrases since then.

However, gradually, I started to lose interest, a long with losing the threads of the story. The first 20 issues or so almost functioned like an anthology. After that, a large conspiracy plot started forming, and became more and more predominant as the issues went. I kept reading for a long time after I wasn’t enjoying them anymore, and finally, I just decided I wasn’t getting anything out of it. In retrospect, I think this was entirely the fault of my reading it in issues, and not being invested enough to keep track of the details of plot and character I was meant to remember. From everything I can tell, people reading it in trades had a very different experience. From all accounts, it’s a very good series, which is good, because you can only read it in the collected form now. Still, since I lost interest over such a long period of time, I haven’t had much desire to go back and read it again. I guess it left a bad taste in my mouth. That being said, it’s an impressive work in that the writer and artist were on it the whole way through, and actually completed their 100 issue opus. I say you should do what I did, and keep reading it until you don’t want to any longer.

Josh Flanagan

Do you guys ever feel like the amount of comics you have to read is ruining the enjoyment for you? You often sigh on Sunday and say how you force yourselves to buy and read through a “stack” of 20-some books. I try to keep my number to around 7 per week to keep my sanity. Do you sacrifice for us?

Follow up question: If I only read 7 per week, could I ever work for iFanboy?

Joe T. from Washington, DC

What a timely question, Joe!

As it happens, I had 19 books on my pull list and I had the Pick of the Week, which means I had to have them all read on Wednesday (if you don’t have the Pick you can space them out until the show is recorded, if that is your desire).

Yeah, we like to bitch and moan on the show because we like to bitch and moan (“Man, it’s hot”) and because sometimes it’s funny, but at the end of the day the number of comic books that we read each week is irrelevant, it’s all about the quality of the books. If I have 19 comics to read and the majority are good-to-great then I’m happy. If I only have 8 books to read and most of them are average-to-bad then I’m miserable.

Now that’s not to say that I don’t read more books than I normally would if I didn’t do the show. I do. There are certain bigger books I’ll check out because I know that people are going to be talking about them, or because people might like to hear more than just one of us monologuing about it on the show. There are also books I’ll pick up because Ron and/or Josh make them sound great. So in that sense, yeah, the pull list might be a bit bigger than it would normally because of what we do.

As for your follow-up question, sure it’s possible. Some of the writers read way, way fewer comics than we do.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. Re Nick Fury: PLEASE get your hands on "Nick Fury Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." from 1988, written by Bob Harras, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by the forgotten Paul Neary, and colors by Kim DeMulder. It’s one slippery guy, out of print for a while, but a really neat story representing that era in Marvel quite well.

  2. Man! Nick Fury is so awesome!

  3. I’ve been thinking about Joe T’s question indirectly since the POW when Ron was mocking several plot points that he said had come from nowhere that had actually been building in the books for months. And not in the background, either; they’ve had conversations about Angel’s shape changing knifey wings going back to Secret Invasion. And as I heard Ron talking, I thought, “Maybe he just reads so many books in a week, they just become an indistinct blur.” it’s certainly something I struggle with.

  4.  20 comics is a lot per week especially if you have to read them in one day,luckily most of us don’t do a show!I average between 8-10 a week and probably would buy many more if the budget would allow it.More and more I see myself really checking the costs and that instead of what really looks good is helping determine what I purchase.Now with Marvel pricing many of theirs at $3.99 each I find myself looking at other books priced at $2.99.I sent an e-mail to Marvel complaining about their prices but of course I never received a response.

  5. Nick Fury’s paperback that Steranko did from the 60s is really great and worht your $!  The first 3 issues are not great, but after that, there’s like 10 more that are excellent!  I think he took over writing it and that’s when it gets good, after the first few.  Also, there is a spread, kind of like in Ultimates 2, that Steranko did at the end that is fantastic!

    Secret War is an excellent must read Nick Fury story as well.  It has alot to do with the political decisions he makes and why he makes them.  The art is painted, and excellent.  Once again, the "It was late" complaint is a completely invalid critique.  And it leads to other plot threads in New Avengers that have gone on for a very long time, and I think will continue to go on.

    I read the first 100 Bullets trade.  Meh.

  6. I can’t imagine reading so many comics a month, I read like  7 a month. You see,  I have this phobia of spending all my money on comics, and being forced to live in house made out of long boxes, then one day I feel like reading some old Deathlok and accidently pull out a load bearing long box and I am crushed to death by my own comics, my doctor says I’m making good progress. 😀

  7. I read too many comics.

    Check that.  I read too many mediocre comics.  I don’t read nearly enough great comics.

  8. In college I interned at Marvel, and one of my assignments was to read ALL the comics coming out from Marvel and DC.  After awhile you start to kind of see through them–instead of being invested in the stories you start to see the format, the patterns, the cliches, the writing/art shortcuts.  It’s the equivalent to repeatedly watching a magic show after you know how the guy makes the tiger disappear:  it’s not entertainment; it’s engineering.  I remember especially being bothered by Marvel’s seeming insistence that there be a fight scene within the first three pages, forcing many authors to write their stories backwards (fight–then flash back to why these people are fighting.)  The whole experience turned me away from comics for years.  That the ifanboy crew manages to do all this reading and still seems not to be dulled by the process is one of the reasons this is such a great site.      

  9. That was very nice to say, thanks.  The thing is being on the lookout for that special thing.  That different thing that makes it all worth it.  Luckily there is a lot of talent, and there’s plenty of special things happening if you keep your eyes open and know what to look for.  This week was a good one for that actually.

  10. I read the first three paperback volumes of 100 Bullets.  I could stand it and all, but I never rushed out to read part 4.  I might someday though, it’s only $10

  11. Garth Ennis also did a Fury mini-series called, simply, Fury. It was from the MAX line. So, your turn Ennis loose with the ability to write anythign and you’ll get what you get. That said, the story itself is a lot of fun. Assuming you can deal with a lot of over the top hyperviolence and sex… you’ll enjoy taht story.

  12. Meant to say, Regarding the Garth Ennis series…

  13. Hold the phone. Ennis and Robertson did a Nick Fury story? Why am I only being told this now?

    As for 100 Bullets, truthfully I am a bit behind on the trades right now. I think I got three more to go (that includes the final one) and while I can definitely see people not loving the series….Its definitely a must read for me. The story where Agent Graves tells the mother about what happen to her daughter. Oh my god that might be the most depressing and sick story I have ever read.

  14. Fury WAS really good.  I forgot about that.

  15. The Fury trade is only $14 too….I smell an Amazon purchase!

  16. I had a kind of revelation last Wednesday when i was filling out my Previews order form to hand in to my LCS. I was buying a lot of stuff that i wasn’t really enjoying, or sometimes even reading at all. I was buying it just out of habit and to keep my "run" going. It was a waste of money and a waste of time. So i dropped a bunch of stuff. If I wasn’t actually enjoying it, or really looking forward to the next issue, it got dropped. Saved me a ton of money for my September issues. 

  17. [sam] Okay that’s cool. Actually, if it was 3 years ago I was 13 at the time! But I’ll keep reading it, along with all the other fantastic Vetrigo series you’ve recommended and I’ve loved. I’ll email you if I never get bored and it’s like shit hot to read in trades, and I’ll email you if you’re right and it gets a little "…huh?" That way you can add the points to your comic chart of divine omniscience. Cheers.

  18. I think it would be a wise move for Marvel to put out a regular Fury book.  I would read a Greg Rucka written, Michael Lark drawn Fury book.  That would be mad awesome.

  19. Isn’t that what Secret Warriors is, for the most part?

  20. @BedHead – the issues are supposed to grab you. Some use the quick glance at the present, then showing the past and how it all unfolds. Doesn’t have to be a fight scene.

  21. oh jeez, you’re actually giving them an opening to whine…

    anyhow, Fury by Ennis is the correct answer. a really, really good little read.

  22. @josh: Having heard a lot of people I respect buzzing about it, I went out and started reading 100 Bullets in trade. Really enjoyed the fourth four, but then it did get too enmeshed with the conspiracy plot.  While I love conspiracy plots, I got the impression that the story would end a certain way, in which the whole conspiracy plot wouldn’t even matter.  Still, I read all the way to the end, an,yeup, on the whole it was very unsatisfying.  I think I’d have rather read more "people getting 100 bullets to enact revenge", then find out the inner-workings of the people responsible for doling out the guns.

  23. Ahem.  The FIRST four.  Not the fourth four.  Stupid fingers, not being fluent in English.

  24. That’s where it lost me.  I loved the "Here are 100 Bullets" stories, and they just disappeared and it was all these people I didn’t much care about, and couldn’t remember.

  25. re: Too many comics – I remember one show where Connor was saying that, after trying to catch up after missing a few weeks, he didn’t understand how people who do monthly mail order do it.  Well, I think part of the difference is that most people probably don’t have a deadline to finish their comics.  When I get my once a month box of comics, that’s gotta last me the whole month.  It’s gotta change your perspective when you need to read them by a certain time to do the pick of the week or the podcast.  I actually did some freelance comic reviewing/writing and it kind of ruined comics for me for a while.  So, props to you guys for doing what you do and providing a service to those of us who just want to read comics for fun.