The iFanboy Letter Column – 11/21/2008!

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means you have to spend the next 48 or so hours with your horrible horrible family, begging to go back to the sweet mind numbing sanctum of the corporate office. For others, Friday just another day to toil in the fire pits for Lord Darkseid.

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 –


Can I use a baseball analogy on you guys, even though I’m not even a fan of sports?

I was wondering who your home run king of comics is; meaning, which writer has most impressed you from title to title. For me, it would be Brian K. Vaughan. With Y: The Last Man, Runaways, Ex Machina, and hell, even that one issue of Spider-girl he wrote, I think he has had the most hits for me. I hope his issues of Ultimate X-Men are good.

I think Geoff Johns is my second, only because I haven’t read most of what he has written, and Gail Simone is my third all-time hitter.

You can also talk artists…

Vichus S.

Vichus knows me well, and knows that love my comics to baseball analogies, and this is a great one. For those who aren’t into baseball, this is basically what creator is consistent in their work, so that when you pick it up, you know it’s going to be good. Brian K. Vaughan is a great answer for this, because I’m hard pressed to find anything by him that I haven’t liked, so I definitely agree with you there Vichus. Geoff Johns is equally as consistent in terms of his quality. Gail Simone, I’m not so sure about… but let’s not dwell on your choices, rather discuss mine.

It really should come no surprise but the first name that comes to mind is Brian Michael Bendis. Since the late 1990s, I don’t think there has been anything that he’s written that I haven’t bought and enjoyed. Sure it came close with Secret War or House of M, but even those with their issues were still enjoyable, by me at least. But his major bodies of work, with Powers, Alias, Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil, and The New Avengers have been so resoundingly good, that he’s kind of the Babe Ruth of our time period. A creator with not nearly the same clout, but personally for me hits home runs is Terry Moore. Despite his limited back catalog, but for me, he hits a home run nearly every time whether he’s drawing or writing. And of course there are the classics like Neal Adams, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, but they go without saying, right?

This is an interesting question because it really makes you think about what creators do you purchase every time, and of those, which ones deliver? Artistically, I have to be honest and say that if Jim Lee is drawing, I’m probably going to pick it up, it’s like a fanboy Pavlovian response, I can’t explain it. But it gets harder to sustain that success over a career. If you asked me a question like this 10 years ago, it would be filled with the likes of Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, and even Chris Claremont. But as the years progress, careers fade and now the names that come to mind immediately are Rick Remender, Jamie McKelvie, and Robert Kirkman. The home run hitters will come and go, but I guess what I’m saying here is it’s interesting to see who makes it to the hall of fame.

Ron Richards


I was thinking about what might be on Batman’s iPod (it’s so weird just typing that…) and came to the conclusion that i think when he’s cruising around as Bruce Wayne, he’s a classical/film score kind of guy — but I’m thinking when he’s on patrol as Batman, he’s got the Batmobile blasting Metallica really loud to get pumped up. That got me thinking about what other heroes might have on their iPods…

Tim Drake – I think he’s a Modest Mouse/Snow Patrol guy…

Nightwing – He’s all about the 80s hair metal….

Wonder Woman – Opera. totally.

Superman – AM hits of the 70s

Cyclops – Wilson Phillips (sorry Ron! had to! ha ha….)

What do you think? What about Bucky or The Flash or Wolverine (I’m guessing rockabilly…)?


Oh Matt, going for the low hanging fruit there a bit aren’t you? Unfortunately, as you’ve already done that, you took my lines. Actually, when I think about it like a writer, and this starts to become a character exercise, it occurs to me that I bet the Batmobile has a kickass stereo system. But it’s not for music, rather the speakers have incredible fidelity for the purposes of analyzing audio evidence. Granted, if he could, I actually don’t see him listening to music. We talk about how much fun Cyclops isn’t, but Bruce Wayne? That guy is no fun at all. Maybe he’d listen to Philip Glass or something that would help him concentrate on his crime fighting. As far as channeling his inner rage, he’s got no shortage, and needs nothing to amp it up. If anything, the dude needs a therapist.

But what about these others? Bucky? Well, you always tend to like the music you liked when you were a teenager, or your early 20’s, so for Bucky, that would have been in the early 40’s. Bucky grew up in Indiana, and I have to tell you that I have no idea what kids in Indiana listened to in the 40’s, but I bet Steve Rogers introduced him to big band jazz and swing, since he was an artist from New York City, so I’ll go with that. Wolverine? He listens to traditional Japanese meditation music and early country music. He loves Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Rodgers, and Chet Atkins. The Flash is a rock guy. He’s about my age, as currently understood in continuity, so he was probably a teenager in the early 90’s, so he listened to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. And just for shits and giggle, Green Arrow loves Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, but will totally jam to The Beatles given the chance.

Finally, who could forget the most musical character of all? I speak, of course, of former Justice League Detroit member, Paco Ramone, known as Vibe, who surely listened to early hip hop like Whodini, the Sugar Hill Gang, and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. (All praise to Tom Katers.)

And we could go on about this all day, so what do you say? Give us your characters, and what you think they would listen to.

Josh Flanagan


I was hoping you could give me a hand. I have a little bro that wants to start reading Teen Titans but I don’t know where he should start. I started by getting him two trades of the Geoff Johns run (Family Lost and A Kids Game) and I also bought him the Teen Titans: Year One mini. He liked all that stuff, but now he wants to read TT in issues. What issues should I get him so he can know what’s going on.

Gamboa from Simi Valley, CA

Jumping onto any book in issues and not starting at #1 is kind of like hopping onto a merry-go-round while it’s already moving. One of two things will happen — you hop on, find your footing, and swing yourself onto a horse and have a grand old time spinning around (because really, who doesn’t love merry-go-rounds… I mean besides people with inner ear problems?). The other outcome is you hop on the merry-go-round, can’t find your footing, or your balance and you are thrown back off. That’s the risk you take with coming in on the middle of a book.

Comic book companies are aware of this problem and short of restarting a title with a new #1 every few years — waitaminute… — they often like to have “jumping on point” issues where everything changes, or settings and characters are reestablished so that new people can come on without getting thrown off the merry-go-round. As far as I can remember, this hasn’t happened recently with Teen Titans that have already come out.

So does that mean that you (and by extension, your brother) are out of lucky, Gamboa? Nah, it just means that you’ll have to just throw your brother onto the merry-go-round at the start of the next new arc and hope that the issue is written well enough that your brother can catch onto what’s happening and figure stuff out as he goes along.

And whattya know? I did some checking and it appears that the December issue, Teen Titans #66 (cover pictured here), is a jumping on point for new readers.  The issue summary reads thusly:

Teen guest stars galore! With only four members left, it’s time for the Teen Titans to hold a recruitment drive! Who will make the cut, and who will be sent packing? Who will refuse to even show up, and who will bring a boatload of trouble with them?

If I had a brother looking to start reading Teen Titans (he’s not interested), I’d start him there.

Conor Kilpatrick



  1. Brian Michael Bendis and BKV are both heavy hitters but you also have to think about Ed Brubaker. His runs on Daredevil, Cap, Iron Fist, Criminal, Gotham Central, and Sleeper have all been fantastic. And his new book Incognito looks to be great too.

  2. Ny friends and I spend a possibly unhealthy amount of time pondering the music question and in fact I was recently part of a blog conversation on this subjec (link here: ).  I won’t try to recaptitulate the whole thing, but probably anything a 15 year old girl likes, Cyclops thinks is catchy; he also may have single-handedly killed disco by expressing his admiration for the original, dancing queen incarnation of Dazzler. 

    My other contribution is that I’m pretty sure Hal Jordan divides the universe of music into "Frank Sinatra" and "People who are not as good as Frank Sinatra." 

  3. Babe Ruth = Stan Lee

  4. @ohcaroline – I would go with Brubaker as a HR hitter too.  Mark Millar as a punch and judy hitter… not great, but does enough to warrant a roster spot.  I would also submit that Rucka is a ground-rule double guy.

  5. For me, Grant Morrison is one of those big hitters who is either going to hit a home run or strike out. 

  6. "For me, Grant Morrison is one of those big hitters who is either going to hit a home run or strike out." 

     The Pat Burrell of comics.

  7. 1. BKV, Kirkman (except Ultimate X-men) and Millar/Johns (can’t pick one)

    2.Luke Cage-DMX and some of that dirty south hip hop

    Hawkeye-Iggy and the Stooges, The Clash and Sex Pistols

    Ghost Rider-Showtunes and some swing

    Plastic Man-Trace

  8. It’s Jack Kirby, and then later, John Byrne.

    Also, as much as I like Ed Brubaker, he lives in Bendis’ shadow.

  9. Wolverine would listen to some Canadian stuff, you know like The Guess Who, or Bachman Turner Overdrive, or RUSH.

    Or even Stompin Tom Conners, I mean who doesn’t like folk music about potatoes?

  10. Wolverine is definitely into Bud the Spud… From the Big Red Mud.  No, sadly, I wish he was, but Stompin Tom doesn’t fit into Wolverine’s time line.  During his hayday, Woverine would have been deep into the Weapon X program, and probably not allowed to listen to the radio very much.  Backwood twangin tunes might be up his alley.  For those of you saying who the hell is Stompin Tom?  Well, he’s sort of like the Johnny Cash of Canada.  No, I say that when it’s time to get gussied up for a night on the town, Logan throws on some Trooper – General Hand Grenade and then ends the night in a drunken stupor with Two For the Show.   

    As for Cyclops, well, X-2 got that one perfectly right.  NSYNC blastin from Cyclops speakers fits him to a T.  Bye bye bye! 

  11. Wolverine listens to I Killed My Folks (No Accident) by Oedipus Wrecks.

    If the kid is interested in Teen Titans why not give him Runaways HC Vol 1 (collecting issues 1 – 18, publisher: Marvel) as a gift for christmas. He’ll probably get his hopes up at the size and weight of the gift, but it’s okay.

  12. I’ve always seen Iceman as someone who listens to The white stripes, Weezer, stuff like that

    If you want my personal baseball analogies,

    Fraction is at the top of the order, a lot of bloop hits and stolen bases

    Greg Rucka bats 2nd, very solid, contact hitter

    Geoff Johns is third, the best hitter overall on the team, maybe not the best power 

    Brian Michael Bendis is the clean up hitter

    Grant Morrison is 5th,not quite as goodas the 3rd and 4th hitters, but still solid.

    Mark Millar is 6th, th eguy who jits like .280 and 20 homers

    Brubaker is 7th, very underrated but a solid player.

    Peter David is 8th, the move’em along guy, very solid, a team player through and through

    Jonothan Hickman is 9th, a young gun similar to the lead-off guy but not quite there yet.

  13. I’ve always imagined Peter Parker as an emo-music kind of guy (no relation to the hideous X3 danving moment).  I mean, Tears for Fears, maybe My Chemical Romance or Fallout Boy, maybe even some Weezer.  I mean, it would totally work with the whole "woe is me, my life never turns out well" kind of attitude.

  14. I always thought Batman as a Tool fan myself.

  15. Tears for Fears is emo? o_O

    He probably has a Tokyo Hotel CD.

    Lobo has a Rammstein disk set.

    Doc Ock has devo’s greatest hits.

    Batman has classical music like Bach.

    Cable listens to Black Sabbath.

    Howard The Duck listens to Madness.

    Daredevil listens to Slipknot.

    Cyclops has The Final Countdown in a loop.

    Wonder Woman has a Hole CD.

    Superman has a CD with jungle noises and whales singing.

    Allan Quatermain has a Pink Floyd disk set.

    Captain Britain has audio versions of Monty Python sketches.

    Tank Girl and Booga listen to Mitch Hedberg CDs.

    Swamp Thing listens to The Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Enid from Ghost World listens to The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

    Rorschach has the Lord of the Dance OST.

    The Janes from The Plain Janes listen to Queen and Twisted Sister.

  16. @chlop: Tears for Fears is considered emo cause the main singer did that song for Donnie Darko.

    Believe it’s called ‘Mad World’ and that is as emo as you can get with a song. It was a solo, but since he is in that band they consider them emo now.

    Oh and Rorscach listening to Lord of the Dance? wtf? lol

  17. And The Punisher listens to Apache by The Shadows before going on missions.

  18. @TheNextChampion

     Tears for Fears are certainly NOT emo. They did the song "Mad World" but that is not the version used in "Donnie Darko". Their original version is from around ’86 or ’88 and is actually quite up tempo. The version from the film was done by Gary Jules along with the film’s composer Michael Andrews, and that is not emo either.  

    Emo can be a hardcore or very emotional type of music associated with some very (sometimes) wussy lyrics. This type of music got popular in the last few years but really saw it’s beginnings in the late ’90’s / early 2000’s with bands like Texas is the Reason, Dashboard Confessional, Pedro the Lion, Braid, The Get Up Kids and some might even say the creators of-Sunny Day Real Estate. 

    Now the term is associated with bands like Panic at the Disco, Fall out Boy, and My Chemical Romance, but really the term doesn’t apply to them either, but he mainstream media likes to us it anyway.

    *not a personal attack, I just really hate when people mis-use the term emo.  


  19. Oh, and Batman would totally listen to this stuff, to keep his head clear. And I think Martian Manhunter would like it to cause it would remind him of home.

    (full discloser, this is my brother’s label) 


  20. JSA rocks the Glen Miller.  

  21. That was a damn good explanation of emo.  Sunny Day Real Estate rocks my face off to this day.

  22. Sunny Day is one of the all time great overlooked bands. Did you ever listen to The Firetheft, it was an album put out by 3 of the 4 original sunny day members. Suprisingly not very good…

  23. Tony Stark has What Is Love? by Haddaway on a loop.

    Nikki from Zero Girl: Full Circle TP listens to Tears for Fears – Listen 

  24. You have me a new found perspective on emos.  I thank you sir

  25. Yes I just got schooled on the history of emo…..only on this site would that happen lol

    Well I didnt know there was an original version of ‘Mad World’ and it was more up-tempo. But really, more people probably know the Donnie Darko/Gears of War version then anything else. I just didnt think emo has been that drastically rethought of in the popular culture that much.

    I’m sure there’s a book on emo somewhere, written by BlackClothes McSadpants.

  26. BKV’s issues of Ult. X-men are wonderful.

  27. "Also, as much as I like Ed Brubaker, he lives in Bendis’ shadow."

    Dissagree. 🙂

  28. @TheNextChampion-One exist.  I was going to get it to poke fun at my stupid emo cousin.

    Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture by Trevor Kelley and Leslie Simon

  29. The word "emo" now seems to be used to signify either "whiny" or "expressing emotion of any kind."

    But I knew it did have a specific musical definition at some point, and I appreciate Nate’s explanation!

  30. My Chemical Romance…..Panic at the Disco….Pedro the Lion?

    What is up with these dumb names? I remember a time where bands had more intriguing names. Like the Ink Spots, or The Animals, or even The Rascals. Now those are a man’s band….but how I judge them as men is totally unknown to me.

  31. @SixGun – You might like Brubaker’s work more, but he’s the number two man at Marvel.  He might even prefer it that way, but that’s the case.  Actually, thinking about Mark Millar, Ed might be the #3 guy.  It has nothing to do with the quality of his work.  That’s not what I’m talking about.

  32. @josh – …But isn’t the question about quality of work and not just ‘prominence’?  If that’s the case, than I think Brubaker is more consistent than Millar and at least as consistent as Bendis.  

  33. *then

  34. In my opinion, Bendis only has like a .200 batting average, and yet he leads the league in hits because Marvel gives him five times as many at-bats as the next guy.

    I definitely agree that "Brubaker lives in Bendis’s shadow" as far that being the #2 guy at Marvel. I’m not sure, however, that that’s such a good thing. In my opinion Bendis has become the embodiment of hype, commercialism, and putting quantity over quality. Heavily advertised issues that take less than five minutes to read and barely advance the plot = Bendis. I feel like it takes him ten minutes to write most issues, and I don’t feel like there’s much of a point in a lot of his work beyond it being purely escapist entertainment, rather than interesting art. I feel like all he has to say about super-heroes is that they can be just as boring and derrivative as typical hipster tv characters. Some people like their superheroes to act and speak like typical hipster tv characters, but I don’t. I absolutely loved his Daredevil run, though, and would even say that he surpassed Miller on the character, but most of what he’s doing these days is just not original at all, with a few exceptions (Powers to an extent, I guess). The case could be made that his Ultimate Spider-Man is the best superhero series of the 2000s, but really…what’s original about it? I think you could subtract it from history and the landscape of this era of comics would be exactly the same. The industry needs him to sell what he sells, though. I’d even say that he’s the MVP of the league! But I don’t like him.

  35. Dananananaykroyd… now there’s a band name!

  36. BKV and Grant Morrison are my personal home run kings.

    If it wasn’t for his lackluster big event books like Secret War, House of M or Secret Invasion and to a lesser extant New Avengers(its definitely had its up and downs) I’d say Bendis was the indisputable home run king of modern mainstream comics. But Bendis deserves the title of home run king, for his Ultimate Spider-man run. the man has not written a bad issue in almost ten years!!! that is almost unheard of in mainstream comics. and Alias is one of the greatest American comics, be it Indie or mainstream, that has been published in the last twenty years and one of the greatest comics marvel has ever published. 

  37. Gamboa, if Teen Titans is still as bad as it was when McKeever started, I really recommend NOT giving it to your kid brother. Not only is the content questionable for younger readers, it’s an unbelievably terrible comic book. Try Tiny Titans or maybe some old Young Justice comics instead.

  38. I don’t think Bendis a homerun king.  Most homerun guys (pre juice era) had a few great years and then petered off.  No, Bendis has this amazingly long productive streak, making him the Cal Ripken of comics.  Would you want Ripken in your order?  Definitely.  Did Ripken in his prime have some pop in his bat?  Assuredly.  Did the long years of consecutive games hurt his performance?  The answer is also probably yes.  I think all of this applies to Bendis. 

  39. @TheNextChampion: Please don’t mention Pedro the Lion in the same sentence as My Chemical Romance(though i hear the lead singer can write a good funny book) or Panic at the Disco. they’re too good of a band to be belittled like that.

  40. Colossus  Totally listens to Yanni

    @chlop —-What is love= Tony Stark ….so dead on HILARIOUS

    Ed Brubaker = Pete Rose (hit KING)

  41. The extent to which the music letter related comments made me uncomfortable/embarassed of all the "taste projecting" is impossible to articulate. 

    I’m going to go scream myself to sleep.

  42. @Win: Hey if all three are in the same musical genre then it’s fair game. 🙂

  43. I’ve never even heard of most of these bands.

  44. @josh:……….Really? Not even My Chemical Romance?

    So for Christmas should I get you a radio? ^^;

  45. @josh: Be thankful then, you’d know if you heard Panic at the Disco or My Chemical Romance by the inability to keep from vomiting and the massive hemorrhaging of your ears. But check out Pedro the Lion they’re pretty good.

    @TheNextChampion: they’re not the same musical genre as My Chemical Romance or Panic at the Disco. witch i believe is a sub-genre of the shitty music movement started in the early 00’s by a bunch of mentally handicapped Cure, Bowie, Joy Division and Smiths fans. A lot of extremely popular bands fall into this category:)

  46. Superman’s favorite album just has to be "Pet Sounds". it’s probably Jimmy Olsens, too

    Batman probably doesn’t listen to that much modern music. seeing as how most of our musical tastes are formed when we’re teenagers from going to parties, hanging out with friends or just searching for something good to listen too. he was too busy training to be Batman, not getting drank/high at a party and discovering Lou Reed’s "Street Hassle" for the first time. i bet a teenaged Tommy Elliott never came over to Wayne Manor with his collection of Cure 45’s(though, teenage Bruce would have loved "Boys Don’t Cry"). but, i can see him having a soft spot in his heart for classical, instilled in him by Alfred.

    Peter Parkers a nerd/geek in his mid to late twenties. so, i see him listening to stuff he grow up with like They Might Be Giants, Weezer, Beastie Boys and newer stuff like the Postal Service, Shins and Aquaduct.

    Cyclops listens to N’Sync.


  47. I’ve heard of My Chemical Romance, I just don’t care to pursue it any further than that.  I think there’s a Panic at the Disco song on Rock Band 2.

    A radio?  That’s some old ass technology.  No, I stopped listening to radio decades ago.  Cuz it mostly sucked, you see.

    Decemberists FTW!

  48. @Win – LOL

    How about Bruce Banner/Hulk? 

  49. A Radio? What is that? Is it some type of lunchbox? We listen to ipods man. 🙂

    In 2030: An Ipod? What is an Ipod? Now we listen to RadioX in our mind.

  50. @dani: Bruce Banners in his late 30’s early 40’s, I’m guessing. Hes dorky/nerdy so i don’t see him listening to anything too hard like Sabbath. but, i bet hes got the "Led" out a few times. my guess is he listens to singer/songwriters who are still rock stars like Warren Zevon, Springsteen and to a lesser extent Leonard Cohen.

    Now, the Hulks basically Bruce Banners suppressed inner child who was beaten by his father. So, I’m guessing what your average seven/eight year old growing up in the late 70’s early 80’s would listen too. stuff like Sesame Street songs and The Muppet Show Soundtrack(i bet "The Rainbow Connection" and "It’s Not Easy Being Green" are same of his favs) 🙂  

  51. @Win – LOL, awesome. That was great.  

  52. @Josh,

    I also love me some Decemberists. I think that "Sons and Daughters" from the Crane Wife record is a fantastic metaphor for the X-Men (especially with their recent move to SF).

  53. Probably the greatest Pedro the Lion song (for me at least) is "Criticism as Inspiration" from the album The Only Reason I Feel Secure. And while I like to pride myself on listening to "cool" music, I have to defend My Chemical Romance and Panic at the Disco, at least a little. 

    While I am in fact, not a 14 year old girl (not that there is anything wrong with that) but the last two albums by these artists, The Black Parade and Pretty.Odd, are definite moves forward for both of them. While you may not still like the bands or the music, you have to respect they way that they’ve tried to grow and expand on their existing sound and make something unique.  

  54. I was huge into Sunny Day Real Estate about 9 years ago. Still like ’em, but I don’t listen to them as much. "Diary" is one of the best rock records of the 90s, IMO.

    My home-run king would be Grant Morrison, as well. I’ve pretty much enjoyed everything I’ve read of his.