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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #13

tumblr_noly220GkL1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #13

Kieron Gillen, Tula Lotay, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson

Image $3.50

Here Kieron Gillen returns to bad bad devil 666 man status.

Wick Div #13, drawn by the wonderful Tula Lotay, is a harsh reminder that this book is a tragedy. When the premise for this issue was first announced, I thought to myself “Oh cool, we’re going to have something fun and fanservice-ly, because the F%#$ing Tara running gag will get explained”. NOPE, turns out I was wrong about my initial theory and apparently forget that Gillen is capable of making me feel things that hurt so good.

WicDiv13_Preview_PagePeople who are triggered by harassment, bullying  and behavior related to those things should be warned going into this issue.  Tara, the never seen before goddess, is a beautiful woman who has been sexually harassed since the age of 11, and continues to catch guff from awful people even today. Seeing her face in person will make you adores her, but she’s feels it’s a bit of a cheat, and the love she gets isn’t truly deserved. She’s tired of skating by on looks alone, but any attempt to cover up her face only ends poorly for the character. Tara’s tale is a sad one, and  Gillen/McKelive/Wilson add insult to injury by ending this issue a pretty grim joke. Needless to say, I loved this issue, but it’s a bit of a bummer.

Lotay’s art is gorgeous, and is drawn in a style completely different than anything that comes before her on this book. She’s more traditional comics, channeling Michael Gaydos and Alex Maleev in her art, but also giving us a bright color palette which we’re used to from usual series colorist Matthew Wilson. The art feels dirtier and sketchier than what we’re used to, but it works for this issue, serving as a reflection of the brutality we witness in this issue.

WD13_guitarThere’s 2 things that Kieron Gillen does in this issue that I absolutely adore, despite it also being the worst. First and foremost is the narration style. The issue is narrated by Tara via a letter, and I thought it was a really cool way of telling a story. Kieron’s dialogue is very fresh and natural, and this narration technique made me really sympathetic towards the character. The other thing that I like that’s quite terrible is the use from Twitter harassment in this issue. As someone who witnessed Twitter being awful first hand when Gamergame went live (in before a parade of UM actually), the stuff Kieron writes in this issue is the worst, but rings true. And that stuff of authenticity does wonders for me, even though, again, it’s terrible.

The Wicked + The Divine highlights the tragedy of fame while deepening the mystery surrounding one of the character’s actions. It pulls no punches, and it’s a harsh reminder that fame doesn’t solve all problems. Kieron Gillen and Tula Lotay managed to tell a heart breaking tale for a character we just met, and made it hurt me like she was around the previous 12 issues. It’s a testament to both these creators talents, and it really made me thing on how to interact with people on the internet in the future.



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Twitter Giveaway – Signed Tower Chronicles Prints


We’re giving away FREE Tower Chronicles prints, SIGNED by Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley, to three of our Twitter pals today. Get in on the RT’ing action! Contest ends tonight at 9pm EDT

Also, be sure sure to check out  Tower Chronicles Dreadstalker #1, out today from Legendary Comics!

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Judge Dredd St. Pat’s T-Shirt Giveaway on FPNYC Twitter Feed

So, we’re giving away two extra large (XL) copies of this shirt away today on our Twitter feed.

St. Pat's Dredd Ireland Judge Mega CityDon’t worry.  Neither of these freebie tees are the one I’ve worn on and off to bed for the last eight years.  Unless you want it to be.

Follow us and RT.  And good luck, creeps!

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 12: An Armored Space Station With Enough Power.

The reviews are in! I was told this week that my column is mostly me “talking about yourself  for 2 pages and then recommending a book.” While technically that is more of a synopsis than a review, the point still stands. I talk a lot about myself in this thing. There is a good reason for that though. I am a weirdo recluse who reads too many comics and can’t relate well to other people. I tend to wall off my emotions for fear of burdening others with my problems and I put on a big, farcical parody show of my own existence so that people will like me. I do this by talking about myself too much. My only real friend in life is Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Fresh Eater, Tyler, who I think hates me. I don’t value my own ideas and opinions so I try and build myself up into this larger than life character that is always trying to keep people entertained. This is why I have and how I rationalize having a column when I feel this deep rooted personal inadequacy. It’s a shell game, a distraction, using humor and long-winded anecdotes to keep people at arms length so they can’t realize that I don’t really have anything of substance to offer them. Thanks for bringing that up. Your criticism (synopsis) has been taken to heart. So this week we are going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. I am just going to write about some comics and remove myself from the dialogue entirely. I am bringing the integrity back to this column, this store, and comics journalism everywhere. I apologize for all the minutes of your life I have wasted with my sad, self aggrandizing charade and I hope you, my loyal-ish readers, will appreciate the new format.

First review: FIVE WEAPONS is a new 5 issue monthly comic book mini-series. FIVE WEAPONS is published by Image Comics Inc. FIVE WEAPONS is written by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is pencilled by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is colored by Paul Little. FIVE WEAPONS is lettered by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is 32 pages, including ad materials. FIVE WEAPONS is full color, printed on 70 lb. low gloss stock with self cover. FIVE WEAPONS is rated T for Teen. FIVE WEAPONS is the story of a boy who is not properly equipped yet still attends a school for deadly assassins. FIVE WEAPONS is a spinoff of Jimmie Robinson’s semi-popular BOMB QUEEN series. In recent years Image Comics Inc., the publisher of FIVE WEAPONS, has had a higher than average success, rated against other independent comic publishers over the same period, of launching new intellectual property. Often times first printings of Image Comics Inc. #1 issues sell out at the distribution level and yield an average appreciation of 221% on the secondary market within a fiscal year. It is speculated that Image Comics Inc.’s sellout issues and surrounding media attention are, in part, based on the companies refusal to print overstock beyond the initial orders placed by Diamond Comics Distribution LLC at time of F.O.C. This leads to what some analysts deem to be an artificial scarcity that could be creating a “false” appreciation in value. The sustainability of that appreciation outside of the “speculation bubble” is based, in large part, on the intellectual properties options being picked up for development in a secondary medium. At the time of this writing FIVE WEAPONS has not been announced to have been optioned. Image Comics Inc. has recently stated that they are changing their policies in regards to overstock printing. How this will affect the secondary market for upcoming titles remains to be seen. Consumers looking to purchase a new story about superpowered assassins or looking to invest in a new property with sizable fiscal growth potential would do well to purchase FIVE WEAPONS #1 on or near Wednesday, February 27th.

Blaaaaaah. Barf. Snooze. The new format sucks. Integrity be damned. Actually just talking about books is boring. Sorry. We are going back to the old format of me talking about me talking about books. Sorry if it bums you out anonymous reader, but I don’t get paid to do this so I am beholden to no one but myself. Say it with me crust punks on St. Marks Place who only come to Forbidden Planet to try to charge their cell phones- “No gods! No Masters!” I might up the ante here and talk about me talking about me talking about books. I may already be doing that. We are getting meta here. I might pull a Grant Morrison and start making appearances in the comics in my columns. I might start lying about what the comics are about. I might start reviewing books that only exist in my head. Next week’s column is going to be called TRY SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT NOW NOR EVER WILL EXIST. It will serve no purpose other than to amuse me and abuse you, disloyal reader. And when I see you stop reading it in disgust in the store I will match your disgust with my own and I will follow you home and read it out loud to you until you beg me to stop, until you vomit. Who is the narcissistic self obsessed weirdo now, huh? Ok. Now let’s get back to sort of talking about comics.

Alan Moore has two new books out this week. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen spinoff NEMO and the re-release of photo/literary biography of famed occultist/comic writer Steve Moore, UNEARTHING. Buy both of them or don’t tell people you like comics.

I am going to cram a three-fer of Marvel books into one paragraph. Why? 2 reasons. 1. When I post my reviews of Marvel books Marvel staff don’t ever tweet or post about it. They are too busy “complaining” about Bleeding Cool talking about their books to bother to support small blogs of large comic book stores (not bitter). 2. But these books are something new from Marvel though so I should be covering them and you should be giving them a chance. The compromise? Less column space. First up- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Oh WTF Marvel?!? What the Holy #&<@ is that? Use whole numbers!). Guardians is a funny one. A few years ago Marvel couldn’t pay you to give a $#!% about their “cosmic” books even though they were, for the most part, very good. Then they decided to make a Guardians Of The Galaxy movie so they pumped a lot of money into telling you you like Guardians Of The Galaxy and you believed them. Lucky of all of us the new book is really good. Successful cultural brainwashing! 2. ULTIMATE X-MEN #23 (A whole number! Yay!) Ultimate X-Men has been a Bermuda triangle for brilliant comic writers for years. Bendis, Millar, Vaughan, Kirkman, Carey, etc have all done some of their worst work there. For some reason Brian Wood didn’t notice this and launches his brand new arc this week. It isn’t just the best Ultimate X-Men has been, this is some of the smartest stuff Marvel has published in years. Read it. 3. X-TREME X-MEN Vol. 1: XAVIER MUST DIE. Marvel’s EXILES book was a brilliant and fun way to turn nobody characters into compelling leads. It worked well because the throw-away nature of the characters meant that the stakes always felt higher and the characters and writing reflected that. Marvel basically relaunched EXILES but wanted a much worse name that reminded us of awful 90’s comics, Mountain Dew, and rollerblading. Hence; X-TREME X-Men. Despite their best efforts to make something unappealing this book is quite fun. If it goes on long enough and writer Greg Pak is allowed to cut loose and chart his own course this book could be something worth really cherishing. It is off to a great start.

BART SIMPSON #80. The shocking “The Death of Bart” storyline wraps up in this issue with a brutal and heartbreaking conclusion. Bongo has done a great job of making Bart’s descent into the murky underworld of Springfield’s drug and human trafficking rings feel visceral, frightening, and most of all compelling. Bart is a real character pushed too far and the things he has had to do, while not morally acceptable, are understandable to the reader. He has made himself a pariah, but he has also made himself the last honest man. Much like Hamlet, when you started reading The Death of Bart arc you knew it had to end with his murder, but it doesn’t make it any less harrowing. When Bart finally meets his end the tragedy of the moment comes with something else, a palpable sense of relief that a life lived too hard can finally come to rest. Like the gun barrel he slowly puts in his mouth, we as readers are now participants in a crime that is equal parts heinous and catharticly beautiful. And, in Bart’s passing, Springfield itself dies a little too. When his limp body, battered, broken, and abused, is pulled from the river, for the first time in years we see Bart as the child he always should have been but never could be. And as the stonefaced residents watch Marge breaking down and clawing at her own skin, each resident of Springfield knows their role in the death of a boy who never stood a chance. Bart has always worked well as a metaphor for the working classes struggle to define itself and for America’s ability to cannibalize it’s own young for the sake of some poorly defined idea of progress. In that, the death of the last boy in Springfield, USA is the death of us all. A beautiful and tragic conclusion to one of the great cartoons of all time. Ay Caramba, Bart. Ay Caramba.

Valiant‘s stunningly good relaunch continues with BLOODSHOT Vol. 1: SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE. An inverse of Captain America, Bloodshot is the story of a government super soldier program gone horribly wrong. The Valiant books are as smart and pretty as almost anything at the Big 2, but the fresh characters give the stories a chance to cut loose and provide twists and turns you won’t see coming. X-O Manowar and Harbinger have already released their first trades and are fast becoming fan favorites for the superhero set and I expect Bloodshot to follow suit. For anyone who feels like some of their “people punching people” books have started to become stale, Valiant is trying really hard to give you a fresh alternative. And at $9.99 for the collection why wouldn’t you buy it?

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Forbidden Planet is on Google+

We are indeed on Google+. Come share wonderful, geeky stuff with us!

I’ll be Hanging out On Air at 4pm today… fingers crossed.  Still working out the logistics, but the plan is to chat from the new shop’s basement as we process this week’s shipment, discuss some of tomorrow’s new releases, make a really neat-o announcement  regarding a forthcoming graphic novel… and try not to be completely awkward as this’ll be LIVE!

If you’re not on Google+ you can watch a livestream of the Hangout on our YouTube channel, fptransmissions, and chat with us via Twitter (@fpnyc) throughout.

Trust me folks, this is the first step in a huge undertaking for us here at FPNYC.  There’s a lot more such content we’re going to be rolling out this fall.  I hope you’ll join us and enjoy.

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FPNYC IDW Convention Sketchbook Twitter Giveaway

New York Comic-Con is coming up, and so are dozens of regional shows throughout the country.  And what’s the biggest thing going at conventions these days… other than cosplay?  Meeting and greeting our favorite creators!  For many of you, it’s also a chance to commission sketches by some of the most talented artists in the world as well.

These sketches tend to look kinda poopy when you hand the creator your grocery list and say to the artist, “Yo, draw the Punisher on the back of this for me.” Or something to that effect.  That’s why IDW Publishing created their own Convention Sketchbook.

Using the same high-quality paper from our prestigious hardcover collections, your sketches will look fantastic while being protected from creases and exterior contaminants.

On Monday August 20th 2012 we’re going to give away 5 of these sketchbooks to 5 Twitter followers!  How do you enter to win one?  Follow the simple steps below:

Hey @FPNYC Please enter me to win an @IDWPublishing Convention Sketckbook!

  • Um. That’s about it!

We’ll be picking five winners on Monday 8/20/12 at 5pm EDT.  Good Luck!

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Lookee for January 30th 2012

Let’s take a look around the internet, shall we?

Today’s TeeFury design. Men’s sizes only printed on hideous cream-colored shirts.


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New and Notable- Daredevil by Mark Waid HC Volume 1

As I mentioned on our Twitter feed this past weekend, Wednesday the 25th is the official release day for the first collected HC of, hands down, my favorite mainstream superhero book since All Star Superman.  No hyperbole, no guff.  It’s that good.

Daredevil by Mark Waid Paolo Rivera Marcos MartinThat being said, if you’d like to follow my recommendation for this book you may pick up a copy of Daredevil Volume 1 here or you can pick one up at the shop and we can rap about its terrificness sometime.  Either way, Messrs. Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Marcos Martin have crafted a swell book for Marvel’s Mr. Magoo and it would behoove you to give this superlative work a chance.

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Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis: The Shortpants Observer Issue #1

This week we’ve got a really interesting a new anthology to look at! Originally formed as a collective of Midwestern cartoonists, Shortpants Press has blossomed into an indie publisher of curated talent. Now they’ve put out their first anthology; a three-color collection of some of the groups’ artists. According to their website, Shortpant Press was described by Tom Spurgeon as “one of the half-dozen most reliable sources for quality mini-comics going right now.” I’m happy to report that The Shortpants Observer Issue #1, edited by Sarah Becan, lives up to that high praise.

The book features four artists, each with a very different style and choice of subject matter. Normally (as I’ve expounded upon in previous reviews), this could have easily resulted in a scattershot anthology; bereft of focus. However, perhaps because of their relationship with the Shortpants collective, these artists share a similar rhythm and sensibility. So, while the comics themselves are very different, the tone of the book has a subtle cohesiveness.

Mr. Magic in: Holey Moley by Anya Davidson is a surreal story about a slick huckster; part con-man and part sociopath; who has almost supernatural powers. Davidson’s thick marks and loose line-work is reminiscent of Lynda Barry. Coupled with a prose full of 60s-era Robert Crumb swagger, there is an intimacy to the story, as though it were being told specifically to you. There is a lot going on here, both visually and textually, and it can become a bit overwhelming at times. But overall Davidson strikes a good balance with her conversational tone and aggressive mark-making.

Four Short Comics About Death by Corinne Mucha are conversational in a different way. These autobiographical ruminations about mortality are as funny as they are frank. Mucha draws in a pared-down style that is rich with charm and flows nicely with her writing (though she could do with more variety of facial expressions). My favorite comic of the anthology was her second-to-last of the four; Easy Life, Hard Life, Hard Life, Easy Life; is about something a since-departed friend once said to the author that always stayed with her. Indeed, that friend’s mantra (the story’s title; about the dangers of procrastination) stuck with me as well.

Sorties by Becca Taylor is a fascinating mash-up of different existing texts, culled presumably from nature programs and documentaries about sharks, as well as excerpts of prose and poetry. The comic reads like a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Coupled with the fluidity of Taylor’s delicate line-work and isolated visuals, the story has an appropriately dream-like underwater quality to it.

Lastly is Forever by Jeremy Tinder, a melancholy moment-in-time piece about three friends (a girl, a boy, and a bear) in the woods. It feels like it was part of a larger story, but it functions well as a stand-alone piece all the same. Tinder presents an interesting mystery as the story’s focal point; an atomic clock in the middle of nowhere. The artist has a refined style that he is working with; honed to maximize clarity of story-telling; that reads like visual language. His people (and bear) are as characterful as his writing is nuanced.


Look for more from Morgan Pielli online at IndestructibleUniverse.com and follow him on Twitter at @UltraMorgnus

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Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis: Two Eyes of the Beautiful and Cross-Eyed

Every so often I have to put a comic back. I try very hard to be impartial about what mini-comics I pull to review, but there have been times when, upon opening a book, I decided not to review it. Usually this is because the mini is actually a ‘zine, which I just don’t have the time to really dive into at work (what with them being text-heavy). Occasionally it’s because the comic is such a mess that I couldn’t find anything positive to say (which I’ve discussed in an earlier review). Once in a while it is because the artist seems to have fallen off the face of the planet. Such is the case with Lewis the Dog by K. Rose. I enjoyed this comic, but I was also unable to find ANYTHING about it or the author online. This alone wouldn’t normally deter me, but it doesn’t appear to even be listed within Forbidden Planet’s database. I don’t have any information or imagery to go accompany a review. So regrettably, despite having typing up review notes, I was forced to grab a different comic for review. Let this be a lesson folks: it is VITAL to have some sort of a web presence!

But let’s move on. This week’s pairing, by coincidence, share a common theme. Apart from merely referencing eyes in their respective titles, both comics explore how we see ourselves.

Cross-Eyed by Adam Meuse does so in a more roundabout, poetic fashion. Cross-Eyed is a collection of short comics. Some of these ­comics are gag-based, playing off of the idea of inanimate objects having eyes. Others push deeper into more free-associative and, to my mind, interesting territory. Even many of the gag-style comics hint at deeper themes, such as a conversation between a rainbow and one of the clouds that the rainbow stands astride that ends with: “You keep us apart as much as you keep us together.”

Last week I reviewed another comic by Adam Meuse, Sad Animals. That comic I felt was fun, but not terribly deep. Cross-Eyed strikes a much better balance; managing to be very funny without sacrificing poignancy. As I’ve mentioned, I grab these comics at random; usually based on whichever cover appeals to me. Apparently there is something about Meuse’s cover designs that I find very appealing. His art has a refined simplicity that he uses to evoke dynamic compositions. This is also true within the book; an approach that is particularly suited to the book’s theme.

Two Eyes of the Beautiful by Ryan Cecil Smith (based on Umezuo Kazuo’s Blood Baptism) is the first part of a larger narrative about a glamorous starlet who is turns to a shady doctor to cure a disfiguring disease. As is often the case in morality tales and fables in which vanity is the main theme, the “cure” comes in the form of a blood sacrifice and the sacrifice of the subject’s basic humanity.

Drawn in a manga style, Smith plays with many of manga’s tropes and clichés to create an emotionally charged, sinister atmosphere. Pages are a collage of styles and aesthetics, which work to keep the reader off-balanced. Additionally, the author uses distortion and exaggerated forced-perspective to turn characters instantly into monsters. These distortions, coupled with the loose quality of the line-work sometimes work against Smith; there is a fine line between what the author is trying to accomplish artistically, and sloppy draftsmanship. When it works, it works very well. When it doesn’t, panels can be difficult to read.

However, those are minor quibbles. This is a very interesting book. I’m generally leery of western manga art; I tend to find the results awkward and derivative. But I was pleasantly surprised by Two Eyes of the Beautiful. Smith uses the manga style intelligently and in a way that enriches the story.


Look for more from Morgan Pielli online at IndestructibleUniverse.com and follow him on Twitter at @UltraMorgnus

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Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis: Space Case Sally and Sad Animals

This week’s pair of mini-comics are about as different as two comics could possibly be. A first-issue from what promises to be a graphic novel, and a collection of like-themed single-page gags; these minis are a testament to the versatility of the medium.

Space Case Sally: The Purloined Pest Part One! by Ashley Quigg

First up is Ashley Quigg’s spirited yarn Space Case Sally: The Purloined Pest, Part One. It’s about a brother and sister that get along as well as teen-preteen siblings generally do; poorly and with much gnashing of teeth. The twist, however, is that they live in a retro-future not unlike the space-age sci-fi pulps of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The Purloined Pest is the first chapter of a larger graphic novel, so the futuristic setting hasn’t, as yet, come into play (a choice by the author that I very much like; there’s no sense in cramming clunky future-speak and future-slang into a story that is, at its core, about two kids trying not to murder each other with their bare hands). The story of Part One focuses on establishing the sister-brother relationship. By freeing herself from the constraints of futurism, Quigg has allowed herself plenty of room to set up and explore the dynamic at an enjoyable pace. It helps that she has created characters that are fun to watch go head-to-head.

The artwork in this mini is dynamic and full of energy. The author demonstrates not only a solid ability to render the human figure, but the ability to convey personality through body language as well. Even sitting still her characters seem to be in motion. This helps to propel the shaggy-dog-style story forward, building upon extremes. The introduction of the sister’s even-keeled best friend is a smart move; it keeps those extremes fun and lively without becoming overwhelming and exhausting.

Finally, I love the cleverly designed cover illustration. It sets the tone for the story while slyly hinting at the plot. This is a great first chapter. I look forward to seeing what else is in store for the characters, and what else Quigg has brewing.

Sad Animals by Adam Meuse

This mini-comic is exactly what it says it is. It is a collection of single page drawings of animals making sad and depressing comments about the state of their lives. It’s a hilarious one-joke premise that is perfectly suited to a mini-comic. In a longer format the joke would likely get stale.

There’s not a lot for me to say about this comic. The animal drawings are fun and loose cartoons that carefully walk the line between deadpan and emotive. Their statements are all very funny, if fairly interchangeable. The package itself has a nice hand-made feel to it appropriate for the alt comics scene.

I don’t imagine a book of this sort would have much reread-value. It’s a very fast read but not particularly substantial. That said, it’s a fun mini that I had a great time reading. It’s a killer idea that Meuse has a lot of fun playing with, and his fun is infectious.

Look for more from Morgan Pielli online at IndestructibleUniverse.com and follow him on Twitter at @UltraMorgnus

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LOOKEE! for the 14th of October, 2010

Unca Grant as one angry, frilly-shirted badass vs. My Chemical Romance

Redemption:  The sequel to one of the most ambitious SF cinema flops of all time is expected to become one of the biggest films of all time.

What’s happening to my special purpose?  Action Flick Chick as The Baroness NYCC

Vanity: Jeff Ayers on Jeff Ayers’ job. 26 minutes of me pontificating upon the vagaries of NYC comic retail on the hottest day in recorded NYC history. In reality I know the difference between Detective Comics #27 and #37 and tensile and tactile.  Saw a doctor and got rid of it.

Lord loves a workin’ man:  Grant Morrison on Twitter.

When you’re rich and famous you’ll send me a postcard:  Thank you, Messrs. Gaiman and McKean for all the conversation pieces you’ve provided me throughout the years.  Thank you DC for changing The Sandman’s trade dress all old-timey and shit.

Don’t trust whitey:  Comics cover price = $2.99?

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