The iFanboy Letter Column – 09/19/2008!

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 your bank shuts down and you rush to the Baily Building & Loan Association to get your money back.

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 am one of the few comic book fans who is lucky enough to have his girlfriend have an open mind to comics. Over the past year or so, I have introduced her to classics like Fables, Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, etc. We were making a trip to our local comic book shop and she became interested in beginning to collect in a new series. She did state that she would like to start with a comic that is either relatively new so she could collect the back issues, or a series that did not have a huge convoluted continuity that would require reading previous trades. She is a Hulk fan so I introduced her to the beginning of the “Planet Hulk” storyline by Daniel Way in the back issues. However, I was truly challenged to find something new, and refreshing for her to start collecting. I feel that this is an obstacle that a lot of new comers to comics run into and cannot overcome the continuity issue. Could you give us a couple of ideas for ongoings that have started within the past year or recently she could begin collecting.


Women who like comics can’t be all that unusual, but rather just open minded enough to give comics a chance, and discover that, like TV and those superhero movies, they’re pretty interesting, and dare I say it, addicting. What is it about the culture that has made the average modern female so apprehensive about this great art form? Every time I see a girl, or guy if I’m being honest, walking down the street, US Weekly in hand, I wince a bit. But all things cannot be for all people, and I know that there are a great many well adjusted, perfectly sociable young women out there who love comics, and don’t dress like a Harry Potter character. We must endeavor to make more of them, and help whenever possible, so that our sisters aren’t held back by institutionally instilled bad self-images and the inability to enjoy comics. Damn you, MTV! Damn you to hell!

You had a question too, right?

Okay, I’m of the the mind that there are no stories that are better for girls, per se, since a good story is transcendent, but she seems open to superhero comics, so at the risk of sounding like a broken record, go find Invincible #50-52, and see how those sit. If it’s good, there are many trades prior to that, which you can enjoy. Everyone loves Preacher, and as it happens, we’ve done a show on it. Well, not everyone loves it, but I did, so that’s something. Perhaps you want to try reading Echo? A trade just came out, and if you pick up issue #6, you’re on track for the issues. If you’ve done Fables, then you need to try Jack of Fables, and perhaps the ongoing House of Mystery by Matthew Sturges, which is only on issue #5.

The only real criteria I use for recommending comics for women is that sometimes, people like to see themselves, so finding good comics featuring women who aren’t there for eye candy is helpful, but other than that, a good story is a good story. My wife’s favorite comic is The Walking Dead, and to say she’s not a zombie fan is an accurate statement. Your only real problem is that you started out with really good comics, and now you have to keep up that standard. Luckily, there are more than enough great comics out there, and just like you, she’ll like some, and not like others.

But what you’re doing is good. Feed her good comics and stoke the fires!

Josh Flanagan


Since the video show on the “Five Batman Stories You Haven’t Read” you guys talked about A Lonely Place of Dying. I’ve started picking up the issues of the arc where I can find them. I was also recommended to pick up the issues that have the story of Batman: Year 3 and the trade of Robin: A Hero Reborn. I was hoping to get the iFanboy opinion on these stories, I hold your opinions in high regard, and if I should pick them up or not.

Vincent Y.

Batman: Year Three is the storyline that happened prior to A Lonely Place of Dying and Robin: A Hero Reborn happened a bit afterwards.

While Batman: Year One focused on the beginnings of Batman, and Batman: Year Two on his fight with a darker version of himself in the form of The Reaper, Batman: Year Three is all about Dick Grayson. It features parallel storytelling in that we flashback to the origin of Robin — his parents getting killed at the circus and Bruce Wayne taking him in and making him his partner, while at the same time we see a modern day Nightwing coming back to Gotham to help a Batman that is clearly out of control since the death of Jason Todd, Nightwing’s successor as Robin. This leads directly into the events in A Lonely Place of Dying and the birth of the third and current Robin, Tim Drake. It’s good stuff and fits in nicely if you like A Lonely Place of Dying.

(Little known fact: Tim Drake didn’t immediately become Robin after the events in A Lonely Place of Dying. He was put through a rigorous training regime before he was allowed to go anywhere near the name and the uniform. And when he was finally ready, he was given a new, modern version of the Robin suit, the one he wore all the way up until “One Year Later.”)

At the time I was a young kid waiting excitedly for the return of “Batman and Robin” and as soon as Tim was allowed to become Robin he was sent away to Europe to continue his training and that is the story of Robin: A Hero Reborn. It’s a good story and it’s fun and it really helped to establish Tim as Robin, but as I type this I look back on it now with a bit of sadness because now that I think about it, there never really was much of a “Batman and Robin” after Jason died. They gave Tim his own solo book and after the first year or so, team-ups between Batman and Robin were the exception, not the rule.


Regardless, Vincent, I would say that if you like the issues of A Lonely Place of Dying that you’ve read (or if you haven’t read them yet and just want a more complete story) then you should definitely pick those two stories up.

Conor Kilpatrick



  1. "A Death in the Family" and "A Lonely Place of Dying" were among the first TPBs I had in my collection. I was probably about 7 or 8 at the time I was given them, perhaps a bit young for the material, but that didn’t stop me from loving it all the more. Tim Drake became my Robin after that. (Though, having watched several years of Batman reruns on USA before that meant I was pretty aware of Dick Grayson, too.)

     The saddest thing about the Jason Todd years is that pretty much there is nothing collected with him in it directly except for "Death in the Family." This mainly stems from his Pre-Crisis story being a rehash of Dick Grayson and fairly uninteresting, and his Post-Crisis presence only having been around for about three more years of Detective/Batman before he was killed off. And often, the Batman issues left him out, or pushed him to the side.

    To this day I use Tim Drake as an example of a legacy character done right. And I use Jason Todd as a legacy character done wrong. Oddly enough, as much as I hate the events around which Todd is back and that the character’s been more or less misused until recently, I kind of like that he is around. I was really hoping the Red Robin shtick would stick, and we’d have a sort of anti-hero Batman running around. Not just more leather jacket and domino mask antics. But I digress.


    Also, for Matt, I have a friend who got started on comics because her (now ex)boyfriend lent her his volumes of Sandman. She has since become a huge Gaiman fan, and a comic fan. She even attended NYCC with us this past April. Since then, I have leant her the Death comics; League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  I, II & BD; Watchmen (which she bought her own copy of after reading mine); and I intend to lend her Y, Ex Machina and Fables when she has the time. Next up though is V for Vendetta, as I know she likes Moore. I am debating whether or not to start her on more Superhero-y books, along the lines of Marvels or Kingdom Come. Certainly, she’s not interested in the everyday adventures of Batman or Spider-Man, but I somehow think All-Star Superman might work. Any thoughts?

  2. I now can’t help imagining Josh walking around New York, grabbing US Weekly from the hands of unsuspecting girls, and replacing it with copies of ‘Echo,’ or ‘Preacher.’  Josh Flanagan, Public Taste Vigilante.  I like it.  Could be a video show. 

    As far as a current series that hasn’t been going on too long or doesn’t have too much continuity — invincible Iron Man is only 5 issues in, and is pretty new-reader friendly and hasn’t been touched by crossovers so far.  It’s worth checking out if she liked the movie.  And the X-men/Wolverine First Class books can be picked up just about anywhere.  They’re all ages friendly but don’t ‘talk down’ to anyone.  They also give prominent roles to female characters (Jean, Kitty, etc) if that’s a point of interest.



  3. "Public Taste Vigilante" looks really dirty at first glance.  

  4. He probably shouldn’t put it on cards, hmm?


  5. My very first comic ever was Batman Year Three part one!  I loved this as a kid and I recently reread my battered and beaten copy.  Still great stuff.

  6. Gotham Central might be a good choice if she is in to cop stories.

  7. @Conner

    Thanks so much for answering my emial on here. My comic book store that I frequent has all of Year 3, so once I get paid I will definitely be picking them up. I still don’t have all the parts to A Lonely Place of Dying but I’m on the prowl. I think getting the trade off ebay is going to be my best bet. Anyways thanks again for the recommendation. I can’t wait to read all of them once I get them.

  8. Man I would love for my wife to be into comics again.  It was such a great time.

  9. @lantern4life   What happened?  Did something in the comics change, or did she just lose interest?  

  10. She just stopped.  Her interest wasn’t in the medium anymore.  She’s still a huge Iron Man fan and sometimes talks about how she wants to catch up to current Walking Dead but she never does.

  11. i recently started seeing a girl, we meet though friends and knew each other for a while before the first date. Anyway, i have to say my ears pricked up once she started talking about Brian K Vaughan over dinner one time.

    My initial reaction was to propose straight away… but than I thought a little harder

  12. You know what’s a great comic for girls, at any age? Owly.

    God I cant tell you how well that sells at my work. Ever since we got it, girls from ages 3-20 will pick it up, great for someone who isnt too deep into the comic world. Okay so it’s a little too kiddy, but hey a cute owl goes a long way.

  13. "You know what’s a great comic for girls, at any age?"

    Amelia rules.

  14. Not to put too fine a point on it, but nowhere in the letter does Matt say he’s looking for ‘comics for girls.’  He said he’s looking for a newish series without too much back story, and it happens to be for his girlfriend, who is into the Hulk.  Hulk is not exactly a stereotypically ‘girly’ comic.   

    That’s not to denigrate any of the ‘for girls’ suggestions people have made — they’re probably great books, I haven’t read them — but I just wanted to point out what was actually asked.

  15. Great point.

  16. @PraxJarvin

     I loved the original Jason Todd – sure there were big similarities with Dick’s beginnings, but writer Gerry Conway and co didn’t shy away from acknowledging this and they soon went different places. The storyline gave us Killer Croc, a red-haired-kid in a unique costume who wanted to be Blue Jay and several years of interesting tales of Jason adjusting to his new life (oh, I love the original Nocturna and Thief of Night stuff). I hate that Zero Hour wiped that all out so quickly, and that Denny O’Neil and Jim Starlin soon set him up for a fall.

  17. The first title that came to mind for a female Hulk fan has to be Dan Slott’s run on She-Hulk. It’s fun but also brainy. Great protagonist and a great way to get the girlfriend more pulled into the modern Marvel U.

  18. @chazbot  Oh, yes, and a reader could start fresh from the beginning of Peter David’s run.

  19. i meant ‘or’ instead of ‘and’ :).

  20. well my girlfriend started slow with runaways and Spider-man loves mary jane as the gateway drug but now has become a full time fanboy with her own pull list, i have created a monster. 

    some of her books are:

    Buffy Season 8, Red Sonja, Echo, Runaways, SPLMJ, Wonder Woman, Secret Six, Secret Invasion, etc.

    in trades she is reading : Fables,Y: The Last Man, Scott Pilgrim, Bone, Strangers in Paradise and many more

  21. The first two volumes of the Ultimates might be good for Matt’s friend, too, if she’s a Hulk fan, given how prominent (though, I’ll admit, insanely homicidal) Hulk is in especially the first two trades. That could get her semi-acquianted to the other Marvel heroes as Hulk bashes their heads in.  Hulk: Gray (and maybe the other "color" books as well) might be good for her, too.  

    Seeing as two of those books are Vertigo and two are also BKV books, maybe Pride of Baghdad would be good for her as well.  

    We3 might be good to pick up as well.

  22. Whoops, meant "girlfriend"…

    Anyways, it’s probably not a good idea to hand Strangers in Paradise or Spidey Loves MJ to someone on the simple basis that they’re female.  After all, Sonia last night talked about how she’d rather see people being ripped apart rather than relationship woes. So, I don’t think handing out a book simply based on gender is a good idea.  Granted, she might love it… but she might not as well and prefer you handed her something with people getting ripped apart.