The iFanboy Letter Column – 10/02/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s searching for the ultimate party where on the way, you and your friends get stuck in a 1980s movie-esque adventure. For others, Friday is the day you get down, get down.

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 —

So after listening to Ron and Josh tell us how great Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy are, I’ve decided I want to get the full story. So yes, here is your all-time favorite question. (But hey, at least it’s not for Green Lantern.) The storyline starts in Annihilation, then Nova and Annihilation: Conquest start. Guardians of the Galaxy comes along and the cosmic universe plays nice for a year or so till War of Kings starts. Is the Annihilation, Conquest, and War of Kings storylines worth getting? Or should I just get Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy to figure out the stuff between the lines?

Matt (roadcrew1)


I recently read some of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World work with DC and Neil Gaiman’s Eternals, and now I’m itching for some of the cosmic work of the House of Ideas. I’d like to know where to start and what to read now. I’ve been wanting to jump onto a book like Guardians of the Galaxy but jumping in the middle of a book like that just feels like I’d be lost right off the bat.


That’s right, this has never been attempted before. I’m going to answer two letters… AT THE SAME TIME!!! Hold fast, good people, for you are perfectly safe. No harm will befall you, despite the ultimate daring I put forth before you. Yet some of the younger children, older women, and infirm among you may wish to momentarily cover your eyes.

I thought we’d quashed this “where do I start” business a while back, but it’s creeping back, like mold. In fact, I would hardly heed these questions, except for the fact that these titles actually have been somewhat intricately interwoven as of late.

However, if you were to jump right in, and start reading either Guardians of the Galaxy or Nova, both of which are written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, known by others as DnA, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, now would be a good time for it. The War of Kings has concluded, and both titles are now set to start in whatever direction they’re going in. The exception, of course, is that the last issue, Guardians of the Galaxy #18, was sort of confusing even for those of us who know what’s going on. However, it wasn’t necessarily confusing in a bad way, if that makes any sense at all.

So basically, you have a couple of options ahead of you, which I will list from easiest to hardest (eg, most expensive). I can blame no man for wanting to be part of the GROOT movement.

1) Go in to the store and buy the two latest issues, and see if you like the tone of the books, and if so, keep buying issues, and it will make sense sooner rather than later.

2) Collections! There are four trades available for Nova, and two available for Guardians. They’re all worth reading, but obviously, it’ll be a while before you catch up. The next Guardians trade is scheduled for release in February next year, for example. There are also hardcovers as well, and I’m sure you’re aware of the various pros and cons of different formats, and if you can’t sort that out, you’ll need more help than I can provide. I am answering TWO LETTERS AT THE SAME TIME, aren’t I? I don’t believe The War of Kings stories have been collected yet, but I’m sure they will in due course.

3) More Collections! Are you an obsessive collector who must HAVE IT ALL?! Then in addition to the trades, you can go back and get Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest, consisting of three and two trades each, respectively. At this point, the whole schmeer is going to cost you, and this is just off the top of my head, about $30,000 give or take. Those numbers aren’t exact, but either way, it makes more sense to me to start small, and see if you like stuff, then work backwards.

There is one more option, and it is my heartfelt desire to respond to most of my emails, since about 65% of them are of the “where do I start” variety, with this answer, and that is to check the amazing Wikipedia, where you can find out all about both Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy in frightening detail.

Now please, leave me until next week, for my body is spent of its energies and humours, and I must replenish them forthwith.

Josh Flanagan


1) I have been listening to the show for about two years now and the one thing I have never really heard you gentlemen talk about is webcomics. I have a friend who swears that they are the greatest thing ever invented but his tastes are so dissimilar to my own that I can’t really trust his recommendations. So, my question is: do you guys read any webcomics? and if so, which ones? (My comic tastes are similar to Ron’s, if that helps from a recommendation stand point).

2) I feel the time has come to adopt a new TV show (via DVD) and I’ve always wanted to watch Smallville. I remember watching the first season when I was in early high school but at some point I got too creeped out and stopped watching. My question is, does the show get less creepy? Is there a point where the creepiness is gone and I can jump in?

Carllee (AtomEve) from Boulder, Colorado

One of the most frequently e-mailed topics is webcomics: do we read them? Which ones are good? When are we going to do a show on them?

Those are always tough questions to answer because we really aren’t big webcomics readers. Sure, we always check out Chris Eliopoulos’ Misery Loves Sherman, and there was a time when we were avid readers of PvP and Penny Arcade (which I still hit up occasionally; I’m not sure if the other guys still do) but overall we’re not really huge webcomics fans. It has nothing to do with webcomics themselves, and more to do with there being only so much time in the day for media consumption and our plates are pretty full as it is.

As for your second question about Smallville, it would have helped if I knew what about the show you thought was creepy because I could then tell you whether those elements still exist on the show. What I can tell you is that Smallville in season nine bears little resemblance to Smallville in season one. Everyone is pretty much grown up and living in Metropolis now and of the original cast only Clark and Chloe remain. It’s a totally different show now. The last few seasons have focused a lot on Clark becoming the hero we all know he will be (without actually doing so and thus ending the show) and have featured a lot of guest stars like J’onn J’onzz, Aquaman, Impulse, Cyborg, Black Canary, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Green Arrow, who is now a regular cast member. I say check it out and see if you think the creepiness remains. If you want to skip all the early stuff you could start with season six.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. As far as webcomics go you guys should check out Karl Kerschl’s (of Wednesday Comics’ Flash, Teen Titans Year One fame) The Abominable Charles Christopher at as well as Cameron Stewart’s (Seaguy, Batman and Robin) Shuster Award winning Sin Titulo both are really really good and gorgeous.

    Some of the other stories on Transmission X are good too,

  2. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    What Gobo said. 

  3. I would like to recommend PhD Comics to anyone who has been, will be, or is currently in graduate school.  It is a funny and fairly accurate representation of the life of a graduate student. Uncaring professors, unsympathetic friends and family, and a lack of direct motivation make both the strip and graduate school itself an interesting time.  (While this isn’t anything resembling a superhero strip, it is certainly a strip about interpersonal interation, so I think you [and Ron] would get a kick out of it.)

  4. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Oh, and my absolute favorite web comic Hark! A Vagrant. History the way it was meant to be.

  5. @Paul – I love the picture Mr. Verne drew in the strip you posted. I also love stories that play with history (a la the Baroque Cycle).  Bookmarked and forwarded to my brother (the historian).  Thank you.

  6. xkcd and Tom the Dancing Bug are probably my two favourite webcomics (although, it probably would’ve been Perry Bible Fellowship when it was still going). ‘Married to the Sea’ is a great daily I found recently as well.


    @Paul & Stulach: Those are brilliant! Bookmarked. 

  7. Another vote for Sin Titulo

  8. My favourite webcomics are , and – all making great use of the webcomic as a format, and all have (or will soon have) proud places on my bookshelf. , and are all awesome also.

    Lastly, I’d be missing a clearly GOLDEN marketting opportunity if I didn’t mention my own webcomic: as it’s the best one there is definitely. Well, maybe not.

  9. Season 1 of Smallville was at times brilliant (where it dealt with the budding friendship between Clark & Lex and Lex’s character development in general), at times unbearably lame, hokey, and derivative (I am recalling the ep where a girl drinks Kryptonite diet shakes that turn her into a cannibal).

    But the series gets better and better as you go (till S7 when there is a big drop-off due to the arrival of a profoundly annoying and poorly written incarnation of Supergirl).  I can’t imagine skipping to S6, missing out entirely on the Clark/Lex relationship, which is the soul of the show (um…until Lex leaves anyway, but the show has recovered from that decently enough with the addition of Green Arrow). 

    S4 is actually the high point of the series, imo.  Coming off a killer S3 finale (the last act of that ep is tremendous, goosebump-raising climax set to Mozart’s Requiem), S4 steps up hardcore, introduces Flash, brings Lionel Luthor front and center in really rewarding storylines, and deepens the Clark/Lex friendship/distrust dynamic to a painful degree. 

    Overall, I can’t recommend Smallville highly enough.  It’s got a few misfires here and there, like most shows, but once you get past the first season Meteor Freak of the Week stuff, it’s so worth having invested in.

  10. The Annihilation trades are pricey, and also they basically collect miniseries, some more relevant to the main story than others; basically, the ones that aren’t by Abnett & Lanning are less interesting.   The stories are good, but I’m not sure they’re 90 dollars of good; it might be worth checking the library for them, first, or see if you can find back issues of the individual minis.  

  11. @Josh, but where should I _END_ my reading of Green Lantern?! Should I prepare for this, or just jump right out?

  12. 😉


    Greatest webcomic ever.


  14. I like and as far as webcomics go.

  15. Is it just me or did Josh make a big fuss about answering two questions and end up only answering one?

  16. Your reading comprehension is suspect!

    I answered both… AT THE SAME TIME!

  17. I was psyched to see the question about webcomics- this is something I have thought of looking into. I guess I was expecting something different from the response and the links everyone posted. They were cool, but they all seemed to be comic strip-y. I was hoping to see more content that looked like comic books (ie., like when some comic companies put entire issues online). Anyone know of something more like this?

  18. Gobo did introduce me to Kerschel’s webcomic. I’m gald he did, loving the hell out of it.

    Also, I read a lot of webcomics from the website; Some of them are a little weird but overall I like the humor a lot of them brings. Sure lot of furry comics though….

  19. @HailScott – We told you we don’t know from webcomics…

    But make sure you check out  There’s certainly a wealth of diverse material there.  Also, look at Top Shelf 2.0 for all sorts of comics.

  20. Oh and in a more "comic strip"y vein, Achewood is the second best comic strip of all time after Calvin & Hobbes.

  21. I have recently started watching Smallville via Netflix.  I am about half way through season two and cant stop kicking myself for not having gotten on board sooner.  I really hope that season nine isnt the last season so that I can see at least one season in the weekly format.

  22. Anyone else read Let’s Be Friends Again (Two comic fans/creators and their misadventures in creating comics; not as autobiographical or non ficticious as it sounds. It also veers off into comic-current events.), The Perry Bible Fellowship (A lot of people know this one, but I don’t see it often mentioned in the fabled halls of iF. I couldn’t possibly describe it; just read it), or Nedroid Picture Diary (An anomorphic bear/potato hybrid named Beartato and his best friend [who is a self-absorbed bird] Reginald… if you need more than that to check it out, we can’t be friends. There’s also a shark in an astronaught suit and a giant robot on occasion.)?

  23. I don’t get why you guys continue to answer the "where should I start" question.

    You should just have it as a banner on the iFanboy website linking to a webpage with the word "now".

    Surely there isn’t a lack of interesting or different questions available to you.

    @Josh – Well done for not plugging yourself with the Top Shelf 2.0 answer 😉

  24. @ Josh- Now that you mentioned the two, I recognize them- you guys have talked about them before. I guess I wasn’t interested at the time, so they didn’t register. But yep- that’s the stuff. Thanks!

  25. @hailscott: If you haven’t checked it out already, try Freakangels by Warren Ellis. It’s updated every friday with 6 pages of story. It’s a great example of a traditional comic book story adapted to the internet. Worth a look for anyone. Do start at the beginning, though.

  26. Thanks so much for answering my questions and thanks to everyone for all of the webcomic suggestions. 

    I can’t entirely remember what I thought was creepy about Smallville, I just remember liking the show and then something made me stop watching. I vaguely recall it being too much for me to handle. Maybe I should just own up and re-watch it, my handleable levels of creepy are much different now than when I was a junior in high school.

    Thanks again, you guys are the best!   

  27. Misery Loves Sherman is great. It’s got a little bit of a Calvin and hobbes vibe to it, which is awesome. I also read PvP every day, which is a lot easier of you only read the actual webcomic and not anything else on the page.

  28. @rustyautoparts: FREAKANGELS is a great reccomendation. THANKS! This is exactly what I had in mind. I’m going to have to start looking at some of Ellis’s other work, too.

  29. Another vote for Sin Titulo, Abomindable Snowman, and Perry Bible Fellowship.

    I jumped on Guardians of the Galaxy this last issue knowing very little of what’s going on and I still really enjoyed it. It was maybe just a breath away from POTW for me. What a confusing (ie. in a good way), fun issue.

  30. Well written response Josh.  I shouldn’t leave this to read on Monday, but I need something to help Mondays not suck ass.