How to cope when your favourite comic is ending.

This week, I shed a tear for Howard the Duck, whose comic which has brought me such great joy is ending soon. The fact that we even got a Howard comic since 2015 is surprising, considering if it wasn’t for that cameo in that movie were a human teams up with two green people, a talking tree and raccoon and fight space Thor at the end, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Yes Guardians of the Galaxy is responsible for Howard the Duck getting another comic, but it was the strength of Chip Zdarksy and Joe Quinones that made it the awesome comic it is. But with Chip confirming the comic is ending, rather than being cancelled, which is a bit of a semantic case the fact is that a Howard the Duck comic only has a limited shelf life.

I’m as big of a Howard mark as the next guy but truth be told it’s mostly because of Chip’s handle on the character, and how he wrote the loveable mallard, but I’d be hard pressed to admit that there is 50 plus issues of story that could be told. At the end of the day, he’s still a talking duck and that is difficult to fit into most stories. I mean when you already have the Avengers flying around or a guy with a painted on skull killing fools, it’s hard to take Howard seriously. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great comic and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should. But my point is there are only so many tales you can tell with Howard before you start to repeat because he is such a niche character in the Marvel U, and outside character studies, which Chip is doing, it’s best to limit his appearances.

So if you’re new to comics there will always be sadness when your favourite comic has ended. How do you you fill the void left by such a comic? Well you could always read the series again, from start to finish either in single issue or trade form. That way the series lives on, fresh in your mind. You could always try other books by the creators. Maybe it was the art work or the writer that drew you to the book, and you could perhaps look into other books that they have worked on.

Or use the time to discover new and exciting books. Find a character or setting you really dig and try that. You like Romeo and Juliet, but wished it contained more sci fi elements including a cat that could detect when people lied? Try Saga! Love zombies but wished they had more super heroes in there? Try Marvel Zombies! Want to start reading G.I.Joe because I won’t shut up about how great it is? For the older marvel books, you can start here, for the start of the IDW series, start here or for a kick arse take on Cobra, start here.

The sad part is, collecting and reading comics can be a crap shoot. What may start out as a solid idea, “A group of villains team up to commit crimes” may sound good in paper but doesn’t often translate into sales for what ever reason. Poor choice of opening story, luckluster reaction to a niche character. Market saturation. Some times a book just reaches it’s natural conclusion and to go on would be trying to wring water from an already dry towel. Rejoice that for a time, some one decided that there really ought to be a title of your favourite character out there, and for what ever reason, it just sadly didn’t work.

Am I sai Howard is leaving us? Of course I am, it was one of my favourite books of the past year, I took a chance on a weird, niche character and walked away with a really awesome book that I love talking about, much to delight of no one. Books get cancelled all the time, and while it is sad, it’s part of the publishing process. So enjoy your favourite books while you can and give support to the creators who write them. You’ll never know when they might be cancelled.

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An idea for the G.I.Joe video game we deserve.

I think we can all agree I’d have a better chance of getting Emily Browning to have a chai latte with me then being asked to consult on a G.I.Joe video games, because as much as I claim to be the foremost G.I.Joeologist in the world, G.I.Joe is about as popular these day as Nickleback. Sure you’ll get people who’ll enjoy it, but they wouldn’t call themselves a fan. Considering the best G.I.Joe video game we have right now is a tap game where Snake Eyes beats up red ninjas who throw themselves at him, it’s time as fans to say we demand better.

While the most popular idea would be a Snake Eyes third person hack and slash game like the Deadpool video game that came out some years the idea of havong a silent commando soldier who is also ninja trained be the focal point of your game is a great idea on paper but an interesting story it doesn’t really make. I mean the only sick burns that Snakes Eyes can give is with a flame thrower, which now that I think about it, would be kind of cool. No, the game we want would be an FPS in the vain of Call of Duty.

Before you roll your eyes so hard they fall out of their sockets at the mere mention of Call of Duty, the series had at one point been known for it’s combination of exciting set pieces and for having a good story mode. Modern Warfare 1 for example was a high point in the series for example, having exciting set pieces that didn’t betray a narative. The question is, who shall the game be about and the answer to that is Mercer. For those who don’t know, and judging by G.I.Joe’s popularity means there is a lot of you, Mercer is the only Cobra agent to join the G.I.Joe field team, and while had hadn’t shown up in the Marvel/IDW main book, his presence has been felt in other books and cartoons.

Mercer is the best place to start with regards to story telling, because you can frame it as a story of redemption. The first 5 or so missions would be Mercer working along side say, Major Blood, Blacklight and Firefly, while catching glimpses of Baroness, Destro, Zartan and Cobra Commander. He’d start off as an angry young man who joined Cobra to make a difference in the world, and over the first couple of missions he rises in rank and responsibilities before being asked to stage a war crime and refusing. He’s arrested and comes to the aid of the G.I.Joe soldier Stalker, who is rescued by Scarlett and Snake Eyes and asks to come with them, explaining he knows the layout of the base.

He then asks to work with the Joes, not only as an informant but wants to go on missions with them to prove he’s left Cobra and to cripple them for turning him into a monster. These would take the from of hunting down former Cobra operatives while they’re on their own missions or acts of sabotage, such as destroying Terror Dromes etc. Over the course of the remaining missions you get cameos from famous joes such as Shipwreck, Roadblock and fight along side them while redeeming yourself in your own eyes before becoming a fully fledged member of the Joe team.

The Muliplayer would be fairly robust, with an option of using levels based off classic G.I.Joe locals, such as Castle Destro, The Pitt, either 1,2 or 3 the silent Castle etc. Character skins could be unlocked as you progress up and the DLC practically writes itself. If we are going to get an engaging G.I.Joe game, we could do a lot worse then the idea I’ve put forward. Just as long as it’s not another Battleground, thing could hardly be called a game.

Wild Blue Yonder: Comics to film/ Random Brain Dead thoughts

Wild Blue Yonder was a comic produced from IDW that was difficult to love. Numerous delays diminished what ever impact the book would’ve had, because it’s hard to like a book when it takes 3-4 months to produce any issues. In fact I had it one my pull lists and I didn’t even know it was completed until I picked up the trade some time ago, which is a shame because the book was rather strong, and quite cinematic. Wild Blue Yonder is set in an apocalyptic world in which the world is dying and people retreated up into the skies, flying around on barges hunting down the one solar powered ship that never needs to refuel and thus can stay afloat indefinitely, called “The Dawn”.

The book, by creators Mike Raicht, Zach Howard and Austin Harrison has a lot of heart and is quite cinematic with its lush back grounds, which would make for a great setting for a movie. The characters are a little one dimensional, but they at least feel like real people. The plot has The Dawn on the run from various sky pirates most notably “The Executioner ” and it’s commander the Judge, a hard ass who is determine to capture his prize. Think of it as Moby Dick in the future, with the white whale replaced with a solar powered airship and you’re half way there.

The action is intense and thrilling, with jet fighters dog fighting other fighters while people wearing Jet Packs are trying to stop the enemy fighters. Is it the most Original idea anyone has ever had? Depends. Most ideas have already been done, and thus is different enough to make things interesting. It has a good premise, good characters and strong action. It’ll be a movie I’d check out.

Brain dead is currently airing right now and I have to say it’s a perplexing show. It’s about a group of senators in the US who have been had their brains taken over by an alien species, and so far, only a handful of people know what the problem is. On one side I have to give them credit for trying some thing new. It’s a drama that isn’t about hospitals or police and it can be interesting to watch some times. But that said, it’s not funny enough to be a comedy and not scary enough to be a horror. It’s a show that doesn’t quite understand what it wants t be. But hey, the episode re-cap is a folksy song so that is pretty cool.It gets props for being different, which helps it stands out. But until it’s sure what it wants to be, it will always struggle.