The iFanboy Letter Column – 09/10/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to take out the garbage. For others, they’ve got to pick up the garbage, and for some, it’s just always time to make those friggin’ donuts.

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 got into comics around 2002 after I graduated from high school. Since then I’ve pretty much only read DC due to my fear of entering the muddied, overly confusing tornado that seems to be the Marvel Universe. For years I have been hearing you guys talk about Ultimate Spider-Man, and how it is the best Spider-Man book out there right now so naturally I went to and ordered the first 3 volumes of the Ultimate Collections of Ultimate Spider-Man, X-Men, The Ultimates, and Fantastic Four. Is it worth getting into all of these titles being that they were eventually cancelled with the Ultimatum event? Is the Ultimate universe still somewhat intact? Do you see the Ultimate universe somewhat regrowing again?


Oh Rick… where do I start? Do you know what Marvel guys say about the DCU? They say, “oh that shit’s too confusing. There’s all those characters and I have no idea what’s what and who’s who, and it’s just a mess!” And do you know what DC guys say about Marvel? (HINT: you said this thing.) Can I just reply to all of you people who only read books from one company? UGH! and: SIGH! BIG SIGH! It’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, it just is. Read good comics. Ignore the label. Please, for the love of God.

Now, as you have, at our indirect behest, decided to cross the aisle, as it were, I will say that I am proud of you. In fact, if you were intimidated by Marvel, then yes, the Ultimate universe is actually a good choice, and now I have either good or bad news for you. That other Ultimate stuff? For starters, as with really any comics, you don’t need to read anything. But specifically, Ultimate Spider-Man was 97% self-contained, and the other stuff wasn’t necessary. In fact, most of it wasn’t really that memorable. The first two Ultimates stories were pretty okay. There were good stories here and there. A very early portion of Ultimate Fantastic Four (with Stuart Immonen, I believe…) was pretty good. I didn’t read it all, but over the years, I never got the sense that there was a lot of buzz with those other Ultimate books. If there was something spectacular, I’d have known. Mostly, they just kept going on and on, until Marvel gave in, and this reboot feels like a last ditch effort. Ultimate Spider-Man is a different story though. It’s excellent, and has been excellent for nearly every issue over the last TEN YEARS! Read that, then get over your weird and unfounded fears, and just start reading Marvel books that sound like they could be interesting. It’ll be okay.

Josh Flanagan


In today’s age of “new starting points”, don’t you ever miss the old days of just jumping into long running series? I can remember starting Uncanny X-Men at issue 208 and not knowing any of the characters who hadn’t appeared in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Every week I went to the local comic shop and worked my way backwards thru to “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” Along the way finding great stuff like Art Adams’ X-Men Annual in Asgard or Rogue’s fight with The Avengers in The Avengers Annual #10. And then when I got back into comics in 2000 with The Authority, I went back and found Ellis’ great run on Stormwatch and Alan Moore’s WildC.A.T.S.. Do you guys have any fuzzy memories of jumping into series head first or back issue hunting?


One of the things that irks me the most about comics these days, and comics fans in particular, is the hesitancy to try anything new. When a new series starts, it can’t get any traction because no one will give it a shot, and when it does get traction; or if it’s an ongoing series that has gotten good again, people are afraid to give it a shot because they don’t know every little detail of every character out there and they just shrug and move on.

Not to be the grumpy old man, but back when I was a teenager, I was very much like you. I picked up random issues and read them and nearly every time my curiosity was piqued, I either back issue dove to find the earlier stories or I went to my comic book store and asked questions. “Who is this? What are their powers” that sort of thing. Now I understand that times have changed and back issues are more expensive and not nearly as common as they once were. Plus with the glut and overwhelming amount of comics that are published, it’s often hard to find them. I feel like a broken record here, but I’m shocked that people just don’t replace back issues and comic shop talk with the Internet. There is some die hard fan out there updating Wikipedia or another website with information about nearly every comic creation. All you need is Google and 10 minutes and I assure you can find anything you want.

To answer your question though, my first memories of back issue hunting lie within the X-Books. My first X-Men related book was Excalibur #19, followed quickly by Uncanny X-Men #269. From then on I was a fiend for back issues. I remember going back and getting all the Excalibur and Uncanny X-Men issues I could get my hands on and afford. Imagine my delight when I discovered other titles like The New Mutants and X-Factor. More titles to go back and explore. It was great. Not only was a new issue out every month, but I had tens, if not hundreds of comics that were new to me to discover and enjoy.

It happened again in the early 1990s, when after a short break from comics, I stumbled upon Supreme #2, which led me down the path of discovering the Image Comics revolution and catching up with all the great titles from that first launch. It was like a whole new world developing in front of me. In the late 1990s, it was The Flash that I became enamored with and began a hunt for back issues for to catch up, and I can’t think of a more pure and fun time of enjoying comics that.

I can’t say I’ve had that experience lately, or even within the past 10 years, as doing this site and amping up my involvement in comics has really kept me from discovering new things in the same way. But I know it will happen again, because the amount of creativity and output the comics industry is capable of means that there’s no way one person can read everything, so somewhere down the line, I’ll be discovering something new again and feeling that magic.

Ron Richards


Jeff B. (powerdad) sent in a lot of questions for the 250th episode. We did two of them but we couldn’t do them all. So now I present to you The Jeff B. Speed Round!

Based on your knowledge of some of the popular comic book characters, what beverages do you think they prefer? I’ve included a couple guesses myself to get you started, but I didn’t guess for everyone in the list.

What beverage would the following characters prefer:

• Wolverine  (powerdad guess: beer, of course!)
• Captain America (powerdad guess: glass of milk)
• Superman (powerdad guess: tall glass of ice water)
• Batman (powerdad guess: coffee black)
• The Hulk (powerdad guess: chocolate milk)
• Spider-Man
• The Fantastic Four – Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben
• Magneto
• Doctor Doom
• The Red Skull
• Ron, Josh, and Conor

Favorite drinks? Hmmm.

Wolverine – Canadian beer
Captain America – A cup a joe
Superman – Milk
Batman – Whatever is handy and utilitarian
The Hulk – Coffee (as Banner)
Spider-Man – Certainly not alcohol!
Mr. Fantastic – Green tea
Invisible Woman – Anything clear
Human Torch – The latest trendy cocktail
The Thing – American beer
Magneto – Expensive and hard to find wine
Doctor Doom – Local Latverian produced wine
Red Skull – German beer
Ron – Peach Snapple
Josh – Diet Pepsi
Me – Water

What do YOU think iFanboy could be doing better? And what do think the fans of iFanboy could be doing more of for you?

What could we be doing better? We could be covering indies and trades better. There are a lot more books that we could be covering but time is limited. We try to spend most of our time covering the books in the ven diagram where “what we’re interested in” and “what the audience is interested in” overlaps while slipping in other books as well. It’s tough, the balancing act of what we want to cover, have to cover, and don’t have time to cover. What can the iFanbase do more for us? (Besides everyone signing up for a membership?) Well, related to your first question, the iFanbase can expand their horizons themselves and check out stuff that we cover that they might not be already know about. It’s tough to cover smaller indie comics when 1/5 as many people check out an article on an indie book as check out an article about the latest Marvel/DC event. It sucks but we’re running a business here so these are the things that we have to consider when we decide what to allocate time and resources to.

Which super-villain do you think would make a great hero?

Although I hate the convention of taking a popular villain and turning them into a hero, I think that it’s interesting when Lex Luthor dabbles in do-gooderism. He could be a great hero if he chose to be.

Which superhero do you think would make a great villain?

Moon Knight. He’s crazy and capable. He’d be a scary street level villain.

Is 250 a conspiracy?

Look at the number…250.  Now reverse it…052.  Now take off the leading “0”…52!!!! OH MY GOD, IT’S LIKE THAT DC COMIC SERIES 52!!!!

Was this your clever plan along?  Are you and DC working together to blow our minds?


What “creative” comic ground is yet to be realized? News-based comics, perhaps, similar to a newspaper? Sports-comics?

Definitely not sports comics. It takes a special talent to turn something that is, essentially, motion-based and make it compelling in a panel-to-panel form. I could see comics being used for news or informational or educational purposes. I find Rick Geary’s true crime books to be fascinating and great fun. But that works from an historical perspective. Newspaper comics would be tough because we want the news NOW and it takes a while to draw comics.

What super-power do you consider super-odd yet is super-useful?

Matter-Eater Lad’s powers to eat, literally, anything. Super odd. Like, does he enjoy everything? Does everything taste good? Or is it simply that he CAN eat everything but not everything is appetizing? Also, can he bite into anything? Are his teeth super strong? If so, that would be super useful. Also, Tony Chu’s ability to eat anything and know everything about it. Gross but quite handy for an investigator.

Can you tell I’m hungry right now?

Who do you consider to be the most unappreciated superhero by the fan-base?


Hey, so why an all email show? And why answer-til-you-drop sort of show? What gives?

Why not? It’s fun.

Conor Kilpatrick



  1. Will there ever be a Aquaman Rebirth?

  2. Interesting point, Josh. I remember when I started reading comics (At least when I started reading issues, I’ve been reading trades since High School.), that I didn’t think I’d get into any Marvel book. (Blame Ron’s explanation of continuity on the video show, and how he said that Marvel was the one that started it.) Surprisingly enough, I’ve recently found myself reading more Marvel than DC, I guess at the end people should just follow the characters that they like, and not worry about the truck worth of past events.

  3. I thought I heard some rumblings that this would be the next Rebirth project.

    Trades also make it much easier to jump into a series from the beginning, instead of filling holes in back issues.  Your mileage may vary. 


  4. I love how I clear Josh’s voice is that I can tell his writing without having to scroll down and see his name under it.

     Superman drinks milk! Right answer Conor! The scene that made me dislike Superman Returns was Clark Kent drinking beer. In the middle of the day, no less! Blasphemy!

  5. I too infiltrated the Marvel Universe via the Ultimate line (loved The Ultimates and the FF) and now read some of their regular titles too.

    Ultimately though (see what I did there?), I agree with the "Just read good comics" idea.

  6. I can imagine Thing and Wolverine having light-hearted arguments about whether Canadian or American beer is better.

    and Josh is right, we Marvel guys do say that that shit is too confusing.  Pre-crisis, Post-crisis, Earth This that and the other.  actually, it’s not confusing, just dumb.  when have Marvel ever had line-wide retcons? 

  7. I too started Marvel via the Ultimate line…loved everything until Greg Land started drawing UFF (though I still kept reading it for the great stories until Mike Carey took it over and it got dull).  Ultimatum was just godawful though, and only USM has been worth reading in the aftermath. 

    And for years, I found DC continuity daunting, so yeah, it works both ways.  Eventually, you just have to shrug and jump in and be willing to follow the threads that intrigue you both forward and backward in time if you really want to know everything about those stories and characters, or else shrug and just keep moving forward, trusting that if there’s something really pertinent, the writer will make sure it’s covered in the current story.  They know we haven’t all been reading forever, and they want us to feel welcome and stick around.

  8. That is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone other than me list water as their favorite drink.  You can’t beat it.

  9. @conor – Thank you for your honesty in the response to Jeff B’s (excellent) question about what you and we could do better.

  10. Your mileage may vary with The Ultimates. For me, it’s the 5th Element of my tradeshelf. Yes, I’ve seen and own much better movies, but I could probably watch 5th Element bi-weekly and not get tired of it. I don’t think Ultimates is the best comic ever (hardly), but geez if it isn’t fun and I don’t crack it open to look through regularly.

  11. So when you say "definitely not sports comics" are you talking about comics with sports related characters, or sports reporting done in comics form?

    There was a pretty cool sports related OGN a while back called "Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow"  that was pretty cool as an educational type comic. 

  12. @wallythegreenmonster: Yes, that was good. That one falls under the category of it takes a special talent to portray sports in an interesting way in comics.

  13. Expand my horizons? Pfft. Like that’ll happen….

    *reads Deadpool #25 again*

  14. @conor–we can add Jeff Lemire’s Hockey work from Essex county to the good mix, and use the campy "Kickers Inc" from 80s Marvel as an example of how things can go wrong. =)

  15. Thanks for answering ALL my questions, Conor!  What a cool thing to do!

  16. For the drinks, you’ve got some good answers there. I especially like Mr. Fantastic‘s green tea choice.  I wouldn’t have thought of that myself, but it makes a lot of sense when reading it.

    Superman and milk…hmmmm…I can see the rationale for this…but it’s funny, I have this vision of Superman back working on the farm for Ma Kent (or in the Fortress of Solitude’s "holodeck" in Kingdom Come), and once done with all the work I see him getting a tall glass of ice water.  

    And I don’t see Batman sleeping much, thus he needs something strong to keep him going – thus a coffee, black.

    I didn’t supply a Spider-Man answer, but I figure it would be a cold cola (probably a Pepsi, perhaps Diet).

    And, I’m not sure exactly how to say this…I mean no offense here…but I heard both part 1 and 2 of the 250th episode shows, and I didn’t get the impression that water would have been your favorite drink, Conor.  😉

  17. He drinks water at home constantly. It’s true. Out of all manner of receptacles.  It gets tiring wearing all your shirts.

  18. Ah, I like the Lex answer for the villian to hero question.  In fact, one of my favorite "minor" heroes was Lex Luthor from the Earth in which the roles are reversed, and Lex is the world’s greatest hero.  (This was Pre-Crisis Earth-3, Post-Crisis Earth-2.)

  19. I shouldn’t take credit for the questions "What super-power do you consider super-odd yet is super-useful?".  One of the guys who works on my team came up with it.  We can call him…Power-Employee?  Then again, we here just call him, Lee.

    I mention I was sending in comic book questions for the show, asked if he had one, and on the spot came up with it.

  20. There are times where I want to buy comics from just one company. The way the top companies are set-up, one can find a good amount of diversity intra-company. This line of consumership should not be denegrated, just as long as the solo-company buyers are also not slagging the other companies/consumers.

  21. Whoa… Moon Knight as a villain?  Now that’d be awesome.  Never thought of that, but reading it really piqued my interest.  I wouldn’t want him to have his own villain book like Shadowland, but if he showed up in someone else’s book as a villain, now that could be really cool.  My mind was blown by that suggestion.

  22. @Rick,

    In a way, you’re in a good position for the Ultimate line, because regular Marvel readers *might* have a harder time with it than you. In my case, I loved the Fantastic Four as a kid, but I honestly didn’t enjoy the Ultimate version I think primarily because I couldn’t "accept" the changes they made to the characters. (Reed should always be an adult!)  Also so many of the stories were retelling classic/regular Marvel stories but in a new Ultimate modified way, which made them a tad frustrating because I really enjoyed the originals and the newer Ultimate came off unnecessary adaptations.  In a way each time a character from the regular Marvel universe was "Ultimatized", it was a bit frustrating – either the character was too similar to the original (so what’s the point), or the character was too radically changed (hey this isn’t the guy I knew!); the balance is hard for a fan like me.  ("Hey kids, here’s the Ultimate version of Willie Lumpkin!  He’s a 16 year old kid, riding a skate board, looking good, and guess what…he’s delivery the _E_-MAIL!")

    In your case, you don’t have the Marvel baggage, and might be able to accept these stories more for what they are, and i think many of them are probably good.  

    Personally, I have high-er hopes for the title like Ultimate X, because that book really is going into a new direction with several new characters, so my Marvel baggage should be far less of an issue.

    And even after I said all this, I have admit I read every single issue of Ultimate FF (via trades via the library, so it just costs me time).  So as you can see I’m a crazy person, and thus you should probably ignore my advice.

  23. Bruce Wayne’s drink: whiskey…..neat

  24. @Jesse1125: Bruce doesn’t drink. One of his famous gags is pouring his drinks out into potted plants at cocktail parties.

  25. I admit that I grew up with the DC character so thats where my main interest lies, but I have not shyed away from Marvel. I’m a HUGE Daredevil fan(its all Frank Millers fault!) but one thing I hate about Marvel and its why some of us find it so confusing is that where as DC seems to have seperate corners for all their characters, Marvel is just one big jam packed pool. If you read one book at Marvel, there are always other Marvel villains and heroes showing up all the time and unless you know the Marvel U, theres some confusion. Whereas at DC you can just read a book and its got an identity of its own, Batman, Superman, Flash and others each have their own city, their own villains, and rarely do they cross with each other. If you dont know anything outside of Superman, thats fine you can read Superman on its own. But I feel like its not the case with characters at Marvel

  26. @DarkKnightDetective, the city thing is a good point. In fact, sometimes when DC has characters in the same city, it feels somehow wrong (Booster Gold in Metropolis, Etrigan the Demon in Gotham).

    In the Marvel universe if you want to rob a bank, better go to Philly, or Boston, or Atlanta, or Miami, and so on.  No point hitting up NYC.

  27. The Sentry – A double shot of Bacardi Gold microwaved until it’s as hot as a million exploding suns (spiked with roofies).

    Please don’t come back, Bob.

  28. Aquaman has to get rid of that GD shirt if he wants anyone to take him seriously.

  29. @SpiderTitan: Aquaman Waterbirth

  30. I can only imagine that Conor requires copious amounts of water because its always so damn hot.

  31. It’s true! It’s hot today!

  32. Okay, I could make a joke here about how Conor think’s Aquaman is unappreciated, Conor loves water (lots and lots of water), and we’ve never seen him and Aquaman in the same place at the same time.

    Nope, not going to make that joke.  (Just going to imply it instead.)

  33. @powerdad Conor is M. Night Shaymalan? 

  34. It just occured to me that since Bruce Wayne doesn’t ever drink he’s probably quite a lightweight.