Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Superman Annual #1

Comic Grading 101!

Like coins, stamps, trading cards, or any collectible comic books have graded conditions from Poor to Mint. A comic book’s “condition’ is one of the key factors in determining it’s value. There are other factors such as scarcity, character popularity and demand that also play a part but those will be covered in the next section. For this chapter our focus is on the condition of a comic.

There are eight basic grades for comics:

· Mint- (M) (10.0)
· Near Mint – (NM) (9.0)
· Very Fine- (VF) (8.0)
· Fine – (F) (6.0)
· Very Good – (VG) (4.0)
· Good - (G) (2.0)
· Fair – (Fa) (1.0)
· Poor – (P) (<1.0)

These grades break out further with mid grades. For instance a book graded between Fine and Very Fine is designated a F/VF. I personally a numbering system a 0-10 scale. Thus a F/VF might be a 6.5, 7.0, or a 7.5, which allows me to be more specific than using the F/VF designation. This is a method that I have developed over the course of 40+ years of collecting and it is similar, though not exactly like the Overstreet or CGC grading methods. (Overstreet publishes an annual Comic Book Price guide and CGC is a professional grading and preservation service).

Ok, that’s as hard as this gets. The good news is that grading comics is not all that difficult. It IS given to a wide interpretation however. Everyone grades a bit differently, but for the most part it goes like this:

· Mint – Just what the term says. This is a PERFECT book. No defects of any kind. A truly MINT book is extremely rare. (I have never actually seen a flawless book though there are many sold as flawless). Think about it. The second someone touches a comic, puts it on a shelf or thumbs through it, that book is no longer perfect. In fact the printing process is not perfect. There are ALWAYS some minor defects with any comic. However, a book can get MIGHTY close. To the naked eye a 9.2 and a 9.8 don’t look different at all. It takes an extremely close inspection to see a difference. For a book to be considered mint, there can be no discernable defects.

· NEAR Mint (9.0-9.9) - Books in this range can have only the most minor defects. Corners are sharp. Small crimps at the binding or tiny creases that do not break the color can exist. In short this looks like a book fresh off the shelf that has been read once VERY carefully and then bagged and boarded. Be very careful when you see a Silver Age or older book advertised in this condition. Older books were printed on news print and naturally discolor with age and become brittle. Older books DO exist in Near Mint condition but they are exceedingly rare.

· Very Fine (8.0-8.9) – Books in this range are also largely free of defects. There can be minor corner blunting and very small cover creases that do not break the color. There should be no spine roll and the book should lay flat. Minor foxing is allowed in this grade. Date Stamps or minor date notations are allowed at the lower end of this scale. This is generally the high end range for Silver/Golden Age books. These are books that look as if they have been read a few times and then carefully stored.

· Fine to F/VF – (6.0 – 7.9) – Books in this range can have some minor spine roll, small to medium creasing, corner blunting and very small tears (1/4 inch). No pieces can be missing from the cover and staples must be tight at both the cover and centerfold. At the lower end of this grade the book may have a single splits of less than 1 inch. Books in this grade are still very nice looking, appearing as if they have been read many times but are well cared for and preserved.

· Very Good to VG/F – (4.0-5.9) – This is the most common grade for older collectible comics. A very good book can have significant spine roll, moderate to heavy creasing, spine splits both on the top and bottom of the spine, small parts missing from the cover (1/2 inch). The cover and centerfold must be attached by at least one staple. Pages can be significantly discolored at the lower end of this grade. Only the most MINOR moisture damage may be present. Date stamps or writing may be present. Some minor tape repair can be present at the lower end of this grade. Cover colors may be faded. In short a VG book can have a lot of flaws, but must still be a solid, complete book that will not fall apart if you try to read it. This grade is VERY collectible for Silver and Golden Age books and can still increase in value.

· Good – G (2.0-3.9) – The short story is that comics in GOOD condition are not really IN good condition. A book in Good condition can have significant fading, moisture damage, spine role, rips, and missing cover pieces. The cover and centerfold can be detached and significant tape repair may be present. The comic should be complete but missing coupons are allowed as long as they do not interfere with a story. Comics in this condition are often referred to as READERS. For the collector of Golden or Silver Age comics, books in GOOD condition can be an affordable means of getting a rare or high priced issue to fill in a run.

· Fair – FA – (1-1.8) – Barely collectible. The cover may be missing. Water damage and severe ripping and creasing may be present. The book SHOULD be substantially complete but may be missing large chunks. Only the rarest of old books are even remotely collectible in this condition.

· Poor – P (0.0-.9) – Forget it unless it is a Superman #1 in Poor condition. A book in POOR condition is pretty much garbage. It may substantially Incomplete, ripped, brittle, water damaged. Name a flaw and a poor book has it.

There you have it. A quick, high level guide to grading. Just bear in mind that grading comics is highly subjective. Even collectors and dealers with years of experience may have different grades for the same book. However, once you have gotten the hang of grading your books, you will find that your grades are FAIRLY close to other collectors (within a half grade).

One last note on grading. There is a natural tendency to OVER grade what you are selling and to UNDER grade what you are buying. It takes time and effort to be completely unbiased in your grading. However it is very important that you ARE unbiased in your grading as you will find it much easier to buy and sell back issues if you have a reputation for being fair minded.

That's 30!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010



Being the big Avengers fan that I am, I'm so excited about the bomb of all reveals, Marvel dropped this week in the new issue.
If you haven't read Avengers #5, you need to run right now and get it. We get a map of "THE" time line for the 616 universe that says what the next big events are going to be and how everything is connected. Bendis is officially the god of all Avengers writers as far as I'm concerned.

Seriously sit here and look at this map "Future" Tony Stark created, mapping out the major events that are going to occur and lead ultimately to "The Ultron War" future, where the present day Avengers have been brought to; to prevent.
The $hit has officially hit the fan!

Just about a month til Halloween and you know what that means.....
Of course it means Candy, Costumes and A MONTH OF NOTHING BUT HORROR MOVIES ON TELEVISON!!! but wait it gets better.....
THE WALKING DEAD TV SERIES ON AMC is that much closer. I'm so excited and nervous about this show being the stuck up fan that I am about The Walking Dead. I know in my fanboy heart of hearts that the show is going to be amazing but the pessimist in me, sees some changes in the world of characters that I love so dearly, that are going to drive me mad. Alas, I have faith in Frank Darabont and Anne Hurd because of their incredible body of work and this ridiculous trailer!!!!

On a side note, Today one of my really good friends, Jason Sica passed away. Jay sang for the New Jersey metal band, ABACINATE. They just came back from being on tour with FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY and they just finished recording new material with Jay on vocals. Abacinate are like family to me being in The Grieving Process and playing shows and hanging out with those dudes. If it weren't for Jay, I wouldn't even know my band or half of my friends. Jay was an amazing vocalist and an amazing person overall. I've had some crazy good times with this kid over the years and the world is at a loss without him in it.
Jay was also a huge comic book fan and would always call me or attack me at a show to talk about comics and what was going on. The last conversation we had, he was talking about how much he loved "Blackest Night" and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen in "Brightest Day"...sadly he'll never know...

Go to Abacinate's Myspace and Facebook and check out how awesome this kid was and leave some seriously needed love.!/abacinate?ref=ts

Friday, September 24, 2010


20% off all toys this Wednesday, Scars of Mirrodin Release Party on Friday!

Hello loyal Jones' and welcome to another week of wonder and amazement courtesy of this fantastic newsletter. Some cool stuff going on these next few weeks. For starters the Magic the Gathering Scars of Mirrodin Pre-Release is tomorrow (Saturday) followed by the Release Party next Friday. We have a new and exciting raffle for the next couple of weeks for your chance to win a $75 gift certificate. In a few weeks we'll be trying something new in the form of the CBJ Swap Meet which you can find more information on below. To top it all off, in celebration of the enormous amount of toys and figures we'll be getting in this week we're offering 20% off all toys and other related goods this Wednesday instead of the normal 10%. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

The Picture Books Anonymous Graphic Novel Club will also be kicking off very shortly and we'll be offering some nice discounts and incentives for those who attend so be sure to check it out if you're even a little interested. All of this is great but don't forget the nice helping of new comics that are coming out, all of which you can find out about on the right as usual.



We've got a ton of new toys coming in this week so we thought what better way to get on your good sides then to offer a 20% off discount on all toys and figures (and pretty much anything located in the toy aisles) including all the new stuff to be released that week! There's a lot of good stuff coming in so make sure you get here on Wednesday to pick it up before it's gone!


Come and join our new graphic novel club entitled Picture Books Anonymous! We'll be meeting once a month (one book per month) starting on Monday, October 4th. Your job is to read the book that's picked for the month, come in and have some meaningful discussion about it (moderated and run by the enigmatic Sprocket Jones)! Most of you come in here and do it anyway so I think it would be fun to get as many people involved as possible. Any books that are chosen for that month will be discounted for book club attendees. SO, with that said, if you are interested in being involved in the book club, send me an e-mail at with your name and information. The first meeting will be a meet and greet, etc so no book will be assigned until that day. Come and check it out!


The new set of Magic cards is upon us once again. Join us at the store on Saturday, September 25th for the Scars of Mirrodin Pre-Release Tournament. The sealed tournament starts up at 1pm and the cost to enter is $30 per person. All entrants will receive six Scars of Mirrodin booster packs (a full week before they're released), a deck box and special pre-release day promo cards. Prizes will be determined by the amount of participants. Make sure you arrive early to reserve a spot as seats are limited!

The following week on Friday, October 1st we will be hosting a Scars of Mirrodin Release Party that will consist of a draft tournament. It starts at 4pm and will cost $15 to enter, with each player receiving 3 booster packs of the new set. We'll have plenty of packs, boxes, intro packs and tons of other stuff including exclusive promos so make sure you make it down. The tournament will be capped at 15 people so make sure you get here early if you want to play!


Taking place next Sunday, October 3rd we will be conducting free open play of Heroclix down at the store starting at 3pm. It will be casual play and will happen every other Sunday. As we gather more interest and participants in the coming weeks we will start conducting tournaments. Come down if you're interested in playing or learning how to play!


Feeling lucky? Our whenever-we-feel-like-it raffle returns this week with the chance to win a $75 gift certificate to the store for the price of one ticket. Tickets are only $1 a piece and you can buy as many as you like. This raffle will begin now and last until Wednesday October 6th so make sure you grab some tickets in the meantime.


Many of you always ask us if we buy old comics and as you probably already know, we don't. But, we decided that we would give you an opportunity to try and sell some of your stuff at the store in a once a month thing we are calling the CBJ Sunday Swap Meet. Ideally, we would like this to take place one Sunday a month. For those interested in selling there would be a $50 fee which gets you a table and some space to display all your stuff. Obviously we would promote the day and you are welcome to handle the rest in any way you see fit. This could be a great opportunity to unload some books you've been sitting on or if you're a buyer find some key back issues or other stuff at a friendly and familiar location! If you're interested in either buying or selling, send us an e-mail at and sound off!

Thursday, September 23, 2010



Yes, we're feeling a little silly today so on Friday, September 24th (FOR ONE DAY ONLY!), we are offering 30% off everything - all comics, collections (trades, hardcovers, & graphic novels), toys, apparel, etc. This sale will be lasting all day long so be sure not to miss it. This is a great opportunity to pick up something you may have missed or grab that figure or t-shirt you've been eying these last couple of weeks.

*Some restrictions apply.*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Is A "Golden Age" Anyway?

Almost every serious comic book collector I have ever met has at one time or another become very interested, even obsessed, with learning about the history of comics. Knowing the history of comic books seems to be a rite of passage from casual to serious collector. There have been literally hundreds of books and articles written on the subject that have delved every aspect of the growth and development of comic books. Two books in particular, The Steranko History Of Comics and Men Of Tomorrow (Gerard Jones) are must reads for the collector wishing to know about the early days of Comic Book history. Another “must read” is the novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon. Although a work of fiction this Pulitzer winning novel provides a vivid account of the Golden Age of Comics. With that in mind consider this chapter a primer, a brief outline into the history of Comic Books.

Although it may be hard to believe, comic books are less than 100 years old! In fact the first true comic book did not appear until 1933. It was a 36 page compilation of comic strips that had previously appeared in national newspapers. It was called Famous Funnies A Carnival Of Comics. It was created by Dell and used in Woolworth Stores but it is unclear whether it was a give-away or if it was sold for a dime. Later that year Eastman began producing famous Funnies and by issue #12 it was turning a fat profit on print runs in excess of 200,000. A new medium was beginning to form. The earliest comic books were almost entirely reprints of newspaper comic strips but as they gained in popularity this material began to dry up and original material began to creep in. Publisher Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson founded National Allied Publications, which would later become DC Comics and released New Fun #1 (Feb. 1935). An anthology, it mixed humor drama and action features . In Issue #6 Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster who would go on to create Superman made their comic book debut with swashbuckler Henri Duval and the mystery crime fighter Dr. Occult. New Fun (later known as MORE Fun) would be a staple title for the fledgling company and run 127 issues. It would also be the comic title that featured the debut of Superboy in issue # 101. New Fun Comics was the first title to feature all original material.

This period prior to 1938 is known as The Platinum Age Of Comics.

By 1938 Nicholson had been pushed aside by his partner Harry Donnenfeld. Donnenfeld had been a publisher of Pulp Magazines, many of which featured the word “Spicy” as in Spicy Detective Stories. These pulps (named for the low grade paper they were printed on) featured scantily clad women on the covers who rarely had anything to do with the stories within. Harry had seen the growing popularity of the fledgling comic book industry and took over National Allied in short order. Looking for material for a new comic to be called Action, Allied editor Vin Sullivan decided to take a chance on a character that had been rejected by…well everyone. The character was Superman. He made his debut as a secondary feature in Action #1, but was featured on the cover. And the rest is history.

The Golden Age Of Comics actually has a very specific date. It began in June 1938 with the release of Action #1, the first appearance of Superman, and the birth of the Superhero. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman was influenced by science fiction and the Jewish legend of The Golem. The Man of Steel was certainly not the first super powered character. Hercules, Atlas, Paul Bunyon…the list goes on and on. But no one had ever created a character quite like Superman, with his circus costume and cape and Warner Brothers influenced stories. Superman was an immediate hit and every comic publisher scrambled to produce their own Superheroes. Overnight a new genre was born and comics would never be the same.

Almost immediately there was a flood of Superhero characters. DC produced Batman in 1939. Timely followed with The Torch, Captain America and Sub Mariner, among others. Captain Marvel came forth from Fawcett and actually OUTSOLD Superman! And the first female superhero, Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics #8 in 1941.

While other genres like Humor and Funny Animals also enjoyed success, it was the costumed hero that drove comics through the Golden Age. The superhero found an audience with young kids and the GIS stationed around the world during WWII.

After WWII the popularity of Superheroes went into rapid decline. By 1952 virtually all superhero comics except for Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were gone or marginalized. This period at the end of the Golden age saw the rise of teen Humor like Archie, Funny Animals (Disney), Horror, War, and Science Fiction (EC), Westerns and even Literary (Classics Comics). In fact anything OTHER than superheroes sold pretty well.

EC in particular, with it’s adult themes and superior art and writing was doing very well. EC, founded by William Gaines attracted an older more discriminating audience, as well as the man who would almost single handedly end The Golden Age Of Comics.

Frederick Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent (1954), took the position that comics were sadistic and encouraged homosexual behavior in horror and in superhero comics. Wertham’s thesis was that comic books were a key component in the rise of juvenile delinquency. In short order a grass roots movement grew across the country and some comics were even banned in some areas. In order to save the industry, the major comic publishers came up with a self censorship group known as the Comics Code Authority. The Comics Code was a stringent set of rules governing what could or could not appear in a comic book. Most news stands and stores would not carry a comic book unless it had the Comics Code Authority Seal on it’s cover. In short order all of the more adult comics, horror titles in particular disappeared.

Comics fell into a bland, lifeless coma. Every title resembled every other title and the stories were formulaic. Older readership disappeared and comics had finally become what detractors had always called them…”funny books” . Not much would change until 1956, when the dying industry would once again be saved by…a Superhero.

Like The Golden age, the start of The Silver Age of Comics can be traced to a single event. Showcase #4 (DC – 1956) written by Gardner Fox introduced a re-imagined version of The Flash, a popular 1940’s superhero. Encouraged by the popularity of TV’s Adventure’s Of Superman, DC decided to take a chance on the superhero genre again and it was The Flash they chose to give a face lift to. Instead of magic and fantasy elements, it was Science Fiction that dominated the story line. Barry Allen, a Police Scientist is doused in chemicals that are struck by a freak lightening strike. The accident endows him with super speed. (Ok so it was not GREAT Sci-Fi but it worked). Brightly costumed and sleek, the modern day Flash was a huge success. In short order DC gave a similar make over to many of it’s Golden Age Superheroes. The Atom, Green Lantern and Hawkman all got a make over and eventually their own solo titles. But it was the birth of the Justice League Of America that gave the Silver Age of Comics it’s jump start.

Over at Atlas comics, formerly Timely and soon to be Marvel, Stan lee and Jack Kirby were redefining the Superhero genre by introducing heroes who were as likely to worry about the rent or school, or girls than the villains they fought. Oh and by the way, they were just as likely to fight EACH OTHER as the bad guys! It was Smilin’ Stan, Jolly Jack Kirby, Rascally Roy Thomas, Jazzy John Romita and the fantastical realm known as the “Bullpen”. Particularly astute readers could aspire to the greatest recognition that the Marvel crew could confer…the coveted No-Prize!

Comics were back and while they have never reached the unit sales of the 1940’s, the Silver Age Of Comics was a very healthy time in our hobby.

By the early-70’s Comic Code Censorship was starting to ease up. Horror titles like Tomb Of Dracula and Ghost Rider were beginning to hit the stands and draw a new and more adult audience back to comic books. While not as graphic as the 1950’s EC comics the 70’s Horror titles represented the beginning of a shift from the rigidly narrow standards of the 1960’s. By 1972 a QUANTUM shift was happening that would effectively bring both the comics Code and the Silver Age Of Comics to an end. Stan Lee took on the Comics Code with issues #96-98 of The Amazing Spider-Man. These books featured a story arc that was concerned with drug abuse by a major supporting character (Harry Osborne). The C.C. rejected the stories and Stan made the decision to go to print without the Comics Code Seal on the cover. The books sold very well and the dominance of the C.C. was at an end, allowing writers and artists to start tackling more complex and adult story lines. Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams were tackling issues such as drug abuse, over population, government abuse and racism in the pages of Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Issues #85 and #86 showed a superhero, Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy, to be a Heroin addict and scenes showing both a fatal overdose to one character and cold turkey withdrawal by Speedy were graphically depicted.

In 1973 Issue #121 of the Amazing Spider-Man the final blow was dealt to the Comic Codes Authority and the Silver Age came to an end. This issue featured the death of Gwen Stacy during a battle with Spidey’s arch nemesis, The green Goblin. It was not a hoax. It was not a dream. It was not an “Imaginary” story. Gwen, Peter Parker’s true love was dead, and she was not coming back. It was the end of innocence in comics and it was the end of the Silver Age.
The next decade known as The Bronze Age Of Comics would see the gradual but steady trend towards complex adult stories continue. The lines between hero and vigilante would be blurred by characters like Wolverine and The Punisher. The X-Men, a marginal Marvel title, would undergo a face lift and become the most popular title on the shelves once a young artist named John Byrne took over the penciling chores.

Also during this period the specialty comic shop began to pop up across the country. For most of their existence, comics were distributed through newspaper companies to candy stores and news stands. Unsold books were stripped across the top of the cover and returned to the distributor for credit. This is why you see older books on Ebay from time to time missing the top third of the cover. Then came direct distribution and the comic shop was born. For the first time there was a place where comic collectors came together on a very regular basis to buy, read and discuss comic books. The Comic Specialty Shop remains the primary venue for selling comics and related merchandise to this day.

In 1986 two events happened almost at the same time that catapulted us into the Modern Age Of Comics. During that year DC comics produced two mini-series that would completely change the way we look at comic books. They were Alan Moore’s Watchman and Frank Miller’s Batman The Dark Knight returns. It was these two titles along with the complete collection of MAUS (which had been a work in progress for several years) that elevated comic books to the status of literature. All three series take place in dystopian worlds with central figures who must survive a bleak existence. Watchmen and Dark Knight in particular examine how heroes more often than not have feet of clay. Death is very real and central to all three series. They were not written for children.

Which brings us to the present. The Modern Age Of Comics…or perhaps the Second Golden Age Of Comics. It is the age of the $2.99 comic printed on high gloss stock with literally millions of colors. Comics are making their way into digital form and blockbuster movies from Iron Man to Spider-Man are perhaps the most profitable genre in film. Welcome to the future of comics!

That's 30!


Monday, September 20, 2010



Back to reviewing new books as I've fallen behind on some stuff that's come out in the past two weeks. There's a lot I'd like to discuss this week seeing as there's so much going on in the wonderful world of comics. I've got some Brightest Day, some Shadowland and of course some new number one issues, so without further delay...I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY!


Things are finally taking shape in this book. The issues are becoming more focused on certain characters as opposed to being so wide spread dipping into all twelve characters stories.


This issue focuses mainly on Aquaman, Mera and the introduction of the new Aqualad as well as Martian Manhunter's quest to find the other green Martian. After Deadman's visions of the what the white ring wants from all those returned, he pops up in the water next to Aquaman and tells him and Mera about his vision of a boy who could control water and that they need to find him.
In Star City, Martian Manhunter makes his way to the mysterious forest that's grown in the ashes of the bombs Prometheus set off. In the forest, just like when Green Lantern entered it in the pages of Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter's powers go on the fritz and he loses control. He begins to lash out unable to control himself and his powers. Finally Ollie shows up and manages to get him back in control of himself and able to leave the forest but not after having visions of his own and realizing all the clues lead him back to where it all began..Mars. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, Black Manta has resurfaced and he's looking for the same boy that Aquaman is, he though knows something more now with the help of Mera's sister, The boy he's looking for his is SON!


Picking up from last issue, Aquaman and Mera are on the hunt for the boy who can control water. He is the key to the mission Aquaman must complete as part of his resurrection. Also in this issue, Ronnie and Jason find that they hold the big bang that started the universe and if agitated that they can also end the universe, becoming the most powerful being ever.
Jackson is just a teenage kid with a secret that his parents have hidden from him his whole life, he's not theirs and he's from the sea, today is the day that he finds out the secret and meets his father Black Manta in a battle to the death. Jackson can defend himself but not without the help of Aquaman and Mera. Back at Star Labs with Professor Stein, he explains to the boys that the Firestorm Matrix holds the energy that created the big bang that jump started the universe and that with a little push, the two boys can be the destroyers of the universe. Again, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, the voice in the back of their heads comes back, only this time a lot louder and it finally breaks free..unleashing the Black Lantern Firestorm!?!?

This issue in particular, I really liked because after so long we're finally given the "semi" origin of the Firestorm Matrix. What it is, what it's done and what it can do. I really liked how Professor Stein explains how back in the 80's how Firestorm became an elemental being due to his merging with Ronnie. This book is nothing short of awesome, Geoff Johns and Pete Tomasi are really digging in deep in the history of these characters and finally tying up all the loose ends that have dangled for years.

5 out of 5 for both books! If you're waiting for the trade, do yourself a favor and go get the ten issues that have come out and take a night in to sit and enjoy this fantastic book.

Guess who's going to hell? Guess who's getting a new number 1? Guess what other clawed mutants are also getting new ongoing's in the wake of his demise...That's right you've guessed right..Wolverine, X-23 and Daken all got new books...


One of my favorite writers Jason Aaron takes over the reins of everyone's favorite mutant and takes him to no better place for the both of them...Hell.
I'll be totally honest, I really wasn't looking forward to another Wolverine series after "Origins"
and "Weapon X" finished but when I heard that "Weapon X" scribe Jason Aaron was going to be penning the book I got a little excited. I'm glad I only got a little excited because quite honestly I really didn't enjoy this first issue at all. It's very cryptic which is good because you don't want to give everything away in the first issue but it really didn't tickle my fancy. Wolverine is talking to Wraith (you know Will i am's character from the Wolverine film) about the past and mistakes they've made..etc.. and the next thing you know Wolverine's soul is in hell while his body is inhabited by some demon running amok on earth. I was hoping for a little more shock and awe from Aaron but I guess I've gotta give the guy a chance to get the story going before he drops any real "oh $^^t" moments.

3 out of 5


Ugh..I really love this character.. I just don't like the way Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu are writing him in this first issue. He's been hunting his father; Wolverine for years, working for Romulus, only to have his father take away his chance at killing him and Romulus and taking over Romulus' empire. Now after being a "Dark Avenger" and playing all the sides, he's out in the world on his own for the very first time. His character is naturally very cocky and over the top with his plots and every detail being thought out and every possibility thought through but it's almost as if they're trying to write him like he's the Paris Hilton of the Marvel Universe, at least that's the way it seems to me. He uses his pheromone powers to entice an Italian designer to create a new suit for him almost as if he's using his "feminine ways" to lure the man into doing work for him. He talks on the phone with Johnny Storm like he's gabbing about gossip with a girlfriend. Maybe it's just me but I would like to see the more serial killer side of Daken. I'd like to see him do what he's set to do since he was first introduced, kill everyone just for the sake of killing and take over as some kind of depot along the lines of Doctor Doom. Again, this is only the first issue so again, the story really needs to be laid out before I can really pass judgment.

3 out of 5

X-23 #1

Finally after so long, X-23 gets her own series!
I really dug this book for a lot of reasons. I really like this character, I've followed all the stories chronicling her life from her beginnings at Weapon X to her time with the "New X-Men" to X-Force. At this point, things pick up with everyone knowing all about X-Force and what they did and that scares all of her old team mates because they realize that she's not just a pretty face but a serious killing machine who could possibly snap at a moments notice. In this first issue, writer Marjorie Liu shows just how much the kids on Utopia are now almost terrified of their former team mate and just how mad they are at her about what she's done in the name of mutant kind. Storm and Cyclops attempt to help the girl through these troubled times but to no avail, their words fall on deaf ears. Recently, X, has been having dreams about battling back hell for her soul. It mirrors Wolverine in almost every way with him regaining his memories and looking back on the years and only now being able to atone for what he's done whereas X has the opportunity now to step back and reflect on what she's done up until this point and make a difference one way or another.
I really loved this book and I hope you do too, I just hope the other two "Wolverine Family" books follow suit.

5 out of 5.

Now, back to the streets of NYC where Shadowland is currently in progress....


What happens when Daredevil becomes the vessel for The Hand's Beast and now his best friends and fellow super heroes become his worst enemies?? You get this awesome continuing tale brought to you by Andy Diggle.
Picking up inside Shadowland, The assembled heroes make a plea for Matt aka Daredevil to stop whatever he's doing and to think about how his being the leader of The Hand is really affecting Hell's Kitchen and it's inhabitants. Of course, everything goes horribly wrong and what started out as a simple plot to try and talk Matt down becomes a battle for their very lives. Matt lifts the ban on killing and let's it be known that you're either with The Hand or you're dead. After escaping just barely, the heroes come to the conclusion that they must either kill Matt or find out who or what's controlling him and kill IT. The saga continues in this midway point to what will be the end of Matt Murdock and his days as Daredevil.
I can't say enough good things about this mini-series and this storyline as a whole. I said it before and I'll say it again, I really wish that at the end of this that Matt becomes a real deal super villain and does nothing but terrorize his former friends.
I can't wait to see what happens next as I'm sure you can't either.

5 out of 5!!!


This I feel is a really important issue that some people may have overlooked with all the tie-ins and what not going on with "Shadowland". Johnny Blaze is the spirit of vengeance and in being such an entity, he's also bound by magic to stop the suffering of innocents, in this case, he's been summoned by Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin to head to Japan and to kill the heads of The Snake Root Clan hiding amongst The Hand.
In a twist of events, Ghost Rider heads to Japan but can't just walk in a kill people, he has to have a reason to. This is where if you're a Ghost Rider fan you'll love how he goes around that little loop hole.
From start to finish this one shot was worth every penny from the awesome dialogue to the amazing artwork. This is the epitome of a sweet issue that really holds weight in the greater story.

5 out of 5!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The NYCC Survival Kit!

Well it is just about that time! After a nearly 18 month wait the 2010 New York Comic Con is upon us. Aside from the legendary San Diego affair, NYCC is the largest gathering of comic book collectors ( as well as sci-fi, movie, TV, game and Anime fans!) in the world. This year well over 100,000 fans will be attending the show which runs at the Javits Center from October 8th through the 10th.

Now you can go to the NYCC or you can go with a plan. Either way you will have a great time. But if you take a little bit of time to plan your days you will get the most out of the convention experience. With that in mind here are some tips and tools you may want to add to your NYCC Survival Kit:

1) Make use of the tools and schedule posted on the New York Comic Con Official Website. ( ). They have everything from floor maps to panel and show schedules, a list do’s and don’ts, booth locations for every dealer and show exclusives. This is all tied into an online show planner tool so you can print out your master plan! Trust me, you will NOT be able to attend every event at the Con. If you go in blind you will likely miss that ONE event you want to see most. So spending a few hours with the Show Planner is time well spent.

2) Arrive EARLY on the day of the Con. It is an absolute madhouse and it is very easy to find yourself still waiting to get in a good hour after the convention starts. Get into Manhattan early, have a BIG breakfast (you are going to need it! But more on food in a bit), and be among the first on line. One of the best times at the Con, for me, is chatting to people who are waiting to get into the show. It is a great opportunity to make new friends who share your passion for comics.

3) Bring a shopping “kit”. Believe me you don’t want to be walking around the floor with your swag dropping behind you. My kit consists of a good sized back pack with the following: two or three very sturdy shopping bags, a poster tube, bags and boards for any loose comics, Comic Book Price Guide, Folder with my show plan print outs, camera and extra batteries, and some snacks.

4) Ok, let’s talk food. You do NOT want to buy food inside the Javits Center. It is not bad by any means but it IS expensive and if you are like me, you have a limited budget. I for one would rather spend my dough on collectibles and not a $6 hot dog. Eat before you come in, slide a bag lunch or snack into your kit, and go OUT for dinner. There are several reasonably priced eating options outside the Javits Center. Believe me you ARE going to need to eat and refuel as NYCC will severely test your endurance!

5) We all know that one of the main reasons we attend the Con in the first place is to satisfy our UNBRIDLED AVARICE! When I look around at all that swag and all those dealers I feel like an Orange Lantern! Larfleeze Lives! MINEMINEMINE!!! BUT you can’t have everything so you need to maximize your bucks. Take the time to make a shopping list. What items are you aggressively hunting? Which are “nice to have” and which are low priority? Set a drop dead price for your items. Don’t over spend on a collectible. You may not get it at the Con but it WILL come your way down the road at your price if you are realistic in your expectations. Don’t go ANYWHERE without your trusty price guide. A CBG or Overstreet guide is a must in your kit. Second, shop around! Chances are that several dealers have the items you want. Don’t be afraid to bargain (just be polite and reasonable) and do your buying at the END of the day, preferably the end of the day on Sunday. Why? Dealers always give their best prices at the end of a show. Also anything you buy early, you are going to have to carry around for the rest of the day (unless you have a VIP pass and access to the VIP lounge).

6) FREE STUFF! Even if you don’t spend a DIME on a single comic or collectible you can go home with BAGS of free swag, from comics, to tee shirts, toys, posters…you name it. This should be your first hunter/gatherer activity because the best swag always goes FIRST. Hit the smaller companies first because they generally run out of give a ways before the big guys like Marvel and DC.

7) PACE YOURSELF. Especially if you are attending all three days you are going to need to take some breaks just to get away from the crowds. Breaks are the best time to find a quiet place and organize your swag/purchases to make sure they are not being damaged or lost. It is also a good idea to use breaks as a way to hook up with people you are attending the show with. Over the course of the day you WILL get separated so having a set time and place for a break will cut down on the “OMG!! I lost my little brother” syndrome.

8) Secure your personal electronics and your money. You are going to be sharing space with 100,000 people and on Saturday in particular you won’t be able to MOVE on the main floor. It is easy to lose your I-Pod, Cell phone or money if you don’t keep them secured properly. Plus, as much as we don’t like to think so, not everyone is honest. People WILL try to take your stuff if you tempt them by leaving it within easy reach. Keep your money in a front pocket and not in a wallet or purse. Think about living without your I-Pod (LEAVE IT HOME!)for the day and make sure your cell phone is secure on your person. Also, most of the transactions you will make will be in cash. While it is rare to find a dealer who will try to cheat you with change and such, they ARE handling so much money at the same time that it is EASY to make a mistake. It is ultimately YOUR responsibility to make sure you account for all of your change on purchases. COUNT it right there in front of the dealer before you leave the booth. A little vigilance will keep your weekend from being ruined by loss or theft.

9) One of my personal pet peeves is people dominating an autograph line. Nothing is more inconsiderate than bringing a BOX of items for a creator to sign. They have a limited amount of time to sign and if they burn up ten minutes of the hour on one person then other fellow collectors are going to go away disappointed. Don’t be a part of that problem. Three items or less is plenty and will help the line move along!

10) FINALLY make sure to tell everyone you meet that YOU shop at the very best comic shop in the world. Comic Book Jones! (Ok it’s a shameless plug but then I am a shameless guy !)

Have a great time at the con. See you there!

That’s 30!


Friday, September 10, 2010



Greetings everyone! The summer is coming to a close but don't worry because CBJ rests for no season! To make the adjustment to fall a little easier we'll be having a special sale running this Monday and Tuesday (September 13th & 14th) - 25% off everything in the store! For all additional information on this, read more about it below.

Some other great upcoming events to speak of include the newly named Picture Books Anonymous Graphic Novel Club which will be officially starting on Monday, October 4th and meet the first Monday of every month. If you are at all interested please read more about it later on in this newsletter. We also have the Magic the Gathering Scars of Mirrodin Pre-Release Tournament coming up on Friday, September 24th, more info below!



To celebrate the end of another glorious and fun filled summer we're having a special sale for two days only this Monday & Tuesday - a special 25% off everything in the store! It's been awhile since we've done a sale like this so we thought, what better time than now. Comics, collections, toys, apparel, DVDs, you name it - everything in the store. Keep an eye on the Comic Book Jones twitter for even more special offers specific to each day.


UPDATE: It's all coming together! We now have a name for the graphic novel club, Picture Books Anonymous, and a logo (seen below!). Keep sending your e-mails to if you're interested in joining. If you've already sent it to me, I got it, don't worry. We will send out more information in the next couple of weeks.

Come and join our new graphic novel club entitled Picture Books Anonymous! We'll be meeting once a month (one book per month) starting on Monday, October 4th. Your job is to read the book that's picked for the month, come in and have some meaningful discussion about it (moderated and run by the enigmatic Sprocket Jones)! Most of you come in here and do it anyway so I think it would be fun to get as many people involved as possible. Any books that are chosen for that month will be discounted for book club attendees. SO, with that said, if you are interested in being involved in the book club, send me an e-mail at with your name and information. The first meeting will be a meet and greet, etc so no book will be assigned until that day. Come and check it out!


The new set of Magic cards is upon us once again. Join us at the store on Saturday, September 25th for the Scars of Mirrodin Pre-Release Tournament. The sealed tournament starts up at 1pm and the cost to enter is $30 per person. All entrants will receive six Scars of Mirrodin booster packs (a full week before they're released), a deck box and special pre-release day promo cards. Prizes will be determined by the amount of participants. Make sure you arrive early to reserve a spot as seats are limited!


Taking place next Sunday, September 19th we will be conducting free open play of Heroclix down at the store starting at 3pm. It will be casual play and will happen every other Sunday. As we gather more interest and participants in the coming weeks we will start conducting tournaments. Come down if you're interested in playing or learning how to play!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Archie's Pal, Bob Montana!

Admittedly our hobby is dominated by the Superhero, Horror /Sci-Fi and Action/Adventure genres. However one of the most enduring icons in comics history is an unassuming young man named Archie Andrews, the brain child of one of the most gifted artists ever to grace comics, Bob Montana.

At the age of 21 Montana created the character of Archie Andrews for the December 1942 issue (#22) of PEP comics and soon would be the lead artist on Archie Comics. Montana had a whimsical and sexy style that was very much influenced by the pin up art of the era. His basic character designs are still closely followed over 60 years later.

Bob Montana knew he wanted to be a cartoonist from the age of seven. Traveling to vaudeville houses in all 48 states before the age of nine, he received his childhood schooling backstage in theater dressing rooms, where he also learned about comedy and humor writing. Montana’s family owned a restaurant in New Hampshire. Bob Montana practiced his cartooning by drawing caricatures of the restaurant's customers. Montana would take this whimsical approach to Archie and his supporting cast that includes the lovelorn Betty Cooper, the wealthy and beautiful veronica Lodge, best pal Jughead Jones and constant rival Reggie Mantle.

While the Archie universe is clearly cartoonish and over the top, Montana hit upon many of the essential and timeless aspects of being a teenager that resonate in every generation. He turned a humorous eye to the mine field that is high school, the obstacle course that it first love and the politics of friendship.

Montana’s creation has spun off no less than fifty titles directly related to Archie and his cast over the years . Currently the Archie cast appears in Archie, Archie And friends, Betty, Betty And Veronica, Veronica, Archie’s Pal Jughead and many others. Not a bad legacy for a high school kid from Riverdale and a comic strip artist from New Hampshire.
I dare say that there is not a comic collector out there who NEVER read an Archie comic as a child. So every now and then, when the whole universe blowing up thing gets a bit tiring. Pick up an Archie comic and visit a few old friends. I know I will!

That’s 30!


Sunday, September 5, 2010



I thought I'd take a break from the usual reviews of stuff that came out this week and talk about a series that I think everyone should check out and get into, if you're not already into it.
I'm speaking about a comic book by the name of "ATOMIC ROBO".

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting Scott and letterer Jeff Powell. I hung out and spoke with the two about the book, their own upcoming projects and what may be in store for Atomic Robo. To my surprise, the signing wasn't really much of anything, these two guys had their nice banner and all their books laid out but sadly, like with most awesome books that go unnoticed, these gentlemen weren't bombarded with an influx of fans..well I'm here to change all that. I want to bring some attention and light to this comic because not only were Scott and Jeff really cool guys but the book itself is amazing and had me jumping to buy the next trade after reading only one issue into the first trade.
Sadly, I must admit that I myself passed on Atomic Robo many times because, well let's be honest, there are just so many comics out there, sometimes you have to come back to stuff you've seen or heard about for months, even years.
Needless to say, after hearing of the signing and wanting to check the book out for quite sometime, I rushed through my weeks books so I could make space to read the first trade,
Atomic Robo 1: Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne

As I said before after reading the first issue into the story I already wanted the next trade and the rest in the four book series. The premise of the story is simple and to the point. Scientist Nikola Tesla (if you don't know who he is, then you need to go back to JHS science class.) creates Atomic Robo, the first and only autonomous machine who not only thinks for itself but actually developed feelings and emotions. Robo, becomes a crucial part in many events in mankinds history from that point on as well as becoming the creator and head of Tesladyne Industries, which is shall we say a take on the more infamous B.P.R.D.
The interesting side to the character is as I said, he's a robot with feelings and emotions. He cares about his team when they go into battle against whatever threat they're put up against. He cares when he gets news that a fellow WWII pilot passed away. Robo isn't all run and gun with no remorse for his actions. He tries to find the best method to deal with the situation at hand and deal with it accordingly. From an Egyptian pyramid that turned into a weapon of mass destruction to battling his arch nemesis
Baron von Helsingard, Robo fights the good fight but thinks about the well being of his team as well as innocent bystanders.
The thing I really enjoyed about this comic is that writer Brian Clevinger bounces back and forth between present day and past events giving us a nice rounded history of the character without going off topic and keeping everything fresh. It seems that every time Robo gets knocked out, he has some sort of dream sequence displaying past events in history and his life that have some relevance to the story at hand.
The other thing I really enjoy about this comic is artist Scott Wegener's artwork. In my opinion, his style is very similar to artists such as Mike Avon Oeming and Mike Mignola. His simplistic lines give the characters as well as the action and the background just the right amount of depth and emotion. He doesn't overdo what he's trying to convey in each panel which is just what the book calls for.

As I said before, I really think everyone should check this comic out. The series is up to four trades at this point. There is so much awesome in such a short amount of space that you really get all the bang for your buck.

check out the Atomic Robo website for more info on the series and the creators.

Friday, September 3, 2010


50% off all Back Issues this weekend! New books in on Thursday!

A few points of interest to talk about this week so I'll get right to it! First and foremost, a great big thank you to Scott Wegener and Jeff Powell for coming in to sign in support of their book, Atomic Robo. We had an awesome time with them and we hope those of you that stopped by did too. And, seriously, if you don't read this title you really should get in on it, it's so good! We have plenty of Volume 1 trade paperbacks in stock so there's no excuse!

Next on the docket is the issue of Labor Day. As you know Labor Day is on Monday, September 6th and yes, we will be open! We will however be closing early at 6pm so make sure you get your fix in beforehand. In honor of Labor Day though we are having a special Weekend Back Issue Sale that starts today (Friday, September 3rd) and ends on Labor Day (Monday, September 6th)! What is it you ask? A whopping 50% off all back issues! That's right folks, everything in the back issue bin is 50% off this weekend!

Finally, the first date of the Graphic Novel Club has been decided on. The first meeting will be Monday, October 4th and future meetings will be held the first Monday of every month. For those of you that are still interested but have not yet reached me, please send an e-mail to with your name so that I can keep a running tally of those who want to take part. For more information on all this and other events happening at the store, keep reading!



Come in and clear our back issue bins, please, we insist! Stop in this coming weekend, from Friday, September 3rd until Sunday, September 5th and take 50% off every single back issue in stock! Fill some holes in your collection, start something new, whatever! Just make sure you get down here before all the good stuff is gone. This sale will last all weekend long, don't miss out!


UPDATE: We finally have a date for the first meeting of the Graphic Novel Club! We will convene on the first Monday of every month, starting with Monday, October 4th. Be there!

We are finally starting something that I've wanted to do for a long time, a graphic novel book club! Here's the deal - it'll meet once a month (one book per month). Your job is to read the book and come in and have some meaningful discussion about it (moderated and run by the enigmatic Sprocket Jones)! Most of you come in here and do it anyway so I think it would be fun to get as many people involved as possible. Any books that are chosen for that month will be discounted for book club attendees. SO, with that said, if you are interested in being involved in the book club, send me an e-mail at with your name and information attached so I can get a head count.


Starting this Sunday, September 5th we will be conducting free open play of Heroclix down at the store starting at 3pm. It will be casual play and will happen every other Sunday. As we gather more interest and participants in the coming weeks we will start conducting tournaments. Come down if you're interested in playing or learning how to play!