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This Week in Geek 12/17/08

by Matt Baum (12/17/08).

Don’t freak out but X-mas is next week. I know, it snuck up on me, too. As of today, if you are still shopping on-line you’re cutting it very close. It may be time to consider a more drastic course of action; actually going to a store. If you have a comic nerd to shop for, then your local comic shop is loaded with goodies (ah, but which one’s to buy). Imagine if you had a friend who collected flags, you know who you are, and you went to the local flag shop to pick him up something nice. You’d be lost and chances are your local flag shop owner wouldn’t know what your flag-nerd collects. If you’re wondering about my metaphor here I should tell you that I’m making fun of our WorthPoint flag guy. It’s an inside joke to see if he’s reading this blog. Anyway, I suggest dropping some hints to your local comic purveyor so that when the loved ones do come-a-shopping, the store owner looks like a hero and you get a great present. Is it back-handed and a little shady? Maybe, but everyone is happy in the end. Now isn’t that what Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winterveil is all about.

Speaking of great gifts for nerds-and I hope you’re reading this, mom-Marvel has collected the complete Secret Wars event of the 1980′s in one giant omnibus edition, assembling Secret Wars #1-12 plus Thor #383, She Hulk (2004) #10, and What If? (1989) #4 and #114. The Secret Wars was the first major crossover event that made me branch out from my X-Men comics and set the standard for future crossovers. Nothing better defines Marvel Comics in the 1980s.

Can’t find that perfect gift for the filthy-mouthed, overly-sarcastic, dark-humor-craving-comic- nerd in your life? Search no more; the new Definitive Edition of Garth Ennis’ The Boys collects the meanest, nastiest, most controversial and perversely-funny superhero comics ever written. Ennis is famous for work on DC’s Preacher and Hellblazer and Marvel’s Punisher, but has never been allowed complete free reign with his stories until now. Not for the faint of heart or easily offended, The Boys examines the absurdly dark side of superheroes with deep character flaws. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here’s my pile if comics for the week of Wednesday, Dec. 17. As always, I welcome your criticism, praise or threats of bodily harm based on what I am or am not reading/collecting. For a complete list of this week’s new comics click here. To find a comic shop near you, click here.

Avengers: The Initiative #19

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #20

Conan The Cimmerian #6

Dark Reign: New Nation

DCU Holiday Special: 2008

Ghost Rider #30

The Invincible Iron Man #8

Madman Atomic Comics! #12

Mighty Avengers #20

Punisher: War Zone #2 of 6

Robin #181

Supergirl #36

Thor: God-Sized

Thunderbolts #127

Uncanny X-Men #505

X-Factor #38

X-Men: Kingbreaker #1 of 4: Kingbreaker

Now let’s talk speculation. As you may or may not know, the purpose of this part of This Week in Geek is to arm the comic nerd with the information he or she needs to make an informed and quality new comic purchase every week. While they might not be worth piles of money, these issues may be pretty hard to find in the near future.

Supergirl #36; DC; Written by Sterling Gates; Art by Jamal Igle; Cover by Josh Middelton, variant by Chris Sprouse; $2.99.

Cover of Supergirl #36Why it’ll go fast: In October, Supergirl #34 came in at 75 on the top 300 selling comics for that month. November’s Supergirl #35 jumped to number 34. What does this huge spike in sales mean? Fans are sold on the new creative team of Gates and Igle, and tying Supergirl’s story directly into the “New Krypton” storyline running through the Superman books was a great idea. I, myself, have never cared about Supergirl as a character before but now find myself calling issue #36 my pick of the week at my local comic shop. Yeah, I’m pretty important. If you’re thinking of jumping on to the “New Krypton” storyline issues of Supergirl, #34 and #35 are still available but going fast.

Thunderbolts #127; Marvel Comics; Written by Andy Diggle; Art by Roberto De La Torre, Cover by Francisco Mattina; $2.99.

Cover of Thunderbolts #126Why it’ll go fast: Another book spiking in sales, moving from 64 in October to 57 in November on the top 300 actual comic sales list, is Andy Diggle’s Thunderbolts. After the events of Secret Invasion #8, Thunderbolts leader, Norman Osborne, is a national hero. For those of you who didn’t know, Norman Osborne is Spider-Man’s nemesis the Green Goblin and a millionaire business owner who’s spun his tech-business, Oscorp, into a full fledged political career. Osborne is now not only running the Thunderbolts, a group of “reformed” super villains working for the US government, but has been offered a promotion after being branded the hero of the failed Skrull Invasion. Tony Stark, Iron Man, is out and Norman Osborne is running things now. Just one problem, he’s still evil and totally insane. The new “Dark Reign” storyline looks like it’s going to be just as much fun as “Secret Invasion” and it starts here in Thunderbolts #127.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #1; Marvel Comics; Written by Christopher Yost; Art by Dustin Weaver; Cover by Brandon Peterson; $3.99.

Cover of X-Men:Kingbreaker #1Why it’ll go fast: Fans of the Marvel “Annihilation” story-lines, which reinvigorated the Marvel space heroes and reinvented Marvel Sci-Fi, are excited for the third installment in the series “War of Kings”. Well, it all begins here in Kingbreaker #1. Scott Summers’ Cyclops, leader of the X-Men, power mad brother, Vulcan has seized power of the alien Shiar Empire and plans to make war on the entire universe. While “Dark Reign” is happening on Earth, the “War of Kings” is beginning in outer space. I’m guessing that retailers will order lighter on this series based on the disappointing sales of the previous X-Men: Emperor Vulcan mini-series that established Vulcan as a universal threat. Kingbreaker looks to tie the story in with the rest of the Marvel Universe, is written by fan-favorite Chris Yost (X-force, New X-Men: Mutant Academy) and leads directly into War of Kings. All of which adds up to a quick sellout of issue #1.

Indy Comic of the Week:

Beanworld Holiday Special; Dark Horse, Written and drawn by Larry Marder; $3.50.

Cover of Beanworld Holiday SpecialI’ll be honest, I’ve never read Beanworld, but as I’m a sucker for holiday comic specials, and most that I’ve picked up so far this year don’t look too promising, I’ll be picking up the Beanworld Holiday special to see what the buzz is all about. Here’s the solicitation:

“The first new Beanworld story in print in over a decade, the Beanworld Holiday Special is the perfect introduction to Larry Marder’s inimitable creation!

As enjoyable for children as it is enlightening for adults, Beanworld is a grand adventure that explores social dynamics, culture creation, and ecological networks-all in great fun! Take a tour of this magical world, from Proffy’s Fix-It Shop to a Fabulous Look-See Show, in this issue that introduces toys to the baby Cuties and plunges readers into one of the most original and brilliant comic-book universes ever created!

You’ve never seen anything like it–unless you’re a longtime fan of Marder’s, in which case you’ll be thrilled by the return of this wonderful and peculiar comic-book experience!”

“Larry Marder’s Beanworld is a vegetarian update on Krazy Kat with a world and lingo unto itself.”
-Smithsonian Studies of American Art

“One doesn’t read Beanworld at all, one lives it. Beanworld draws you into its world and plays out in your mind. This is a rare feat in any medium, and a treasure in comics.”
-Feature Magazine

That’s all for this week true believers. I truly hope this blog has inspired you to pick up at least one comic book you may have passed on otherwise. If not, email me and tell me what I’m doing wrong. I love criticism, both creative and purely insulting. Also, the end of the year is almost upon us and I want to know your favorite comic of 2008. It can be a single issue, new series, or one-shot. Email me and let me know. Until next week, keep the questions coming. Also, check out my other blog The Comic Speculator, where I discuss classic yet still affordable back-issue comics. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact me or post your question in the Comic Book community forum. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join WorthPoint for free and post your titles in the “Ask a Question” section. Remember to post the title, issue number and cover price.

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