11/30/04 - The Semi-Annual Stuttgart Comic Show is upon us again this Saturday, 4 Dec 04 from 0900-1600Hrs.  It sure doesn't seem like six months since the last show!  

The May show was very enjoyable from a dealer and collector standpoint.  It is also one of best shows you're likely to attend in the Southern/Central Germany area.  Of all the shows I've attended over the last year, this was the only one that had programming similar to a US show to include guests and even a trivia contest.  Great fun for all!

I'll be there yet again with a wide assortment of Silver, Bronze, and Copper Age US comics for sale.  I've restocked throughout my 12 long boxes of inventory so there's many new, older comics to sort through to include a handful of CGC graded comics for sale if interested.  There will also be other dealers selling their wares on over 100 tables throughout the Gewerkschafts House so even if I don't have what you're looking for, I'm sure someone in the room will.  

And if you can make the show, make sure you stop by and say Hi!  It's always better to meet someone who reads this site face-to-face than corresponding via e-mail.

See you there!

11/20/04 - I'm going to break with tradition here a minute and talk about something other than comics...

I'm a long time TV Sci-Fi fan.  Pretty much gone out of my way to watch at least one episode of all the sci-fi shows I could over the years.  Favorites have been the Star Trek franchise (especially Deep Space Nine), X-Files (first 5 or so seasons), Twilight Zone (Rod's version), Outer Limits, and Space Above and Beyond.  My least favorites could fill a couple Gigs of server space.   It's a sad fact that only about 1 out of every 10 sci-fi shows are worth a damn over more than a couple of shows.  

Some start out with bad premises or pander to the viewing audience demographics.  One such trick, is placing a kid in a dangerous situation or give him responsibility beyond his age (Seaquest and ST: Next Generation).  I have gotten to the point where I will automatically turn off any show that tries this trick.  

Other shows that do get it right either can't keep up the momentum and run out of steam (X-Files) or change formats in favor of less challenging material (Lost in Space).

One show that suffered from all these problems was Battlestar Galactica.  The basic premise was great.  Cylons (robots) destroy humanity with the survivors speeding away in a ragtag fleet in search of a legendary ancestral planet, Earth.  The fleet's only protection comes from the lone surviving Battlestar.  Battlestar Galactica.   Now that's intriguing stuff.  As a teen, I was eagerly awaiting this series when it was announced.  But after a few episodes, the excitement faded and the problems that have plagued so many other sci-fi shows became the standard for this series as well.  The show was canceled after one season.  It briefly returned as Galactica 1980 but the less said about that show the better.

Now...after a very good mini-series, Battlestar Galactica has returned as a series.  Even though it will not be seen in the States until January, I'm lucky enough to have seen the first 5 episodes on SKY ONE in the UK.  SKY ONE apparently paid good money to get worldwide first broadcast rights.  It's a rare instance where the UK gets first crack at a series.  And boy...what a coup it is for the network!

Battlestar Galactica (2003) is probably the best sci-fi series since Deep Space Nine.  I can't recommend the series highly enough.  There isn't a hint of pandering to the audience, insulting their intelligence, or making the show kid friendly.  This series has taken the original premise and run with it.  The Cylons have swacked humanity and the remaining humans are locked in a desperate life and death struggle to survive.  This series oozes desperation and tension.  There's no levity.  There's no endless joking around (and when there is, it's seems natural).

There are changes from the older show.  A series of Cylons have evolved to the point of looking and feeling human.  The Battlestar is less streamlined and looks more functional.   Baltar (the human traitor) has remained with the human fleet instead of running things from a Cylon ship.  His complicity to the downfall of humanity still unknown and in constant contact with the rather shapely "Number 6" Cylon.  And most importantly, Starbuck is now a woman.  This one change has infuriated some of the Galactica faithful even before the show aired.  Their dismay is misguided in my opinion.  The actress does a wonderful job.  In fact, the whole cast does a fantastic job.

I haven't gone into detail about what makes the show so good on purpose.  You do yourself a favor and watch this when it airs in your area.  You won't be disappointed.  I haven't and am still waiting.  It starting to look like I won't be.  

If I had an AWE4ONE rating system, this show would get my highest rating.  And deservedly so...

11/20/04 - The October 2004 comic circulation figures for the Direct Market are out and it doesn't look anywhere near as rosy as the Marvel 3rd Quarter Report I recently wrote on would indicate.  Overall, Marvel comic sales were down over 11% vs. sales in October 2003.   

October Marvel Direct Market Sales (Numbers from ICv2.com)

Comparisons with the month previously are even more troubling.  Marvel sold more than 700,000 issues in September 2004 than October 2004 (3,550,680 vs. 2,836,280) and their total product gross shrank from $9,820,272 to $7,862,432; almost a 2 Mil difference.

One contributing factor for the drop is Marvel released less titles in October (67 vs. 84 in Sept).  Also, this month's "event " title, Avengers, apparently didn't have an issue in October.  In fact, if Wolverine's numbers hadn't been boosted by the start of a new creative team and, most importantly in my opinion, the availability of a variant issue based on retailer orders, Marvel would have had only two titles which sold over 100,000 copies (Uncanny X-Men #450 and the mini Secret Wars #3).   

What's does all this mean exactly?  The number keep dropping despite Marvel's statements to the contrary.  And falling numbers now means bad news for Marvel's overall numbers going into the traditionally slower winter months.  The only thing that will keep the numbers from looking even worse is the reboot of the Avengers line.  Did you catch the press release last week announcing the new variant cover to New Avengers #1...