Author: Gene

April 2 / / Cons

We were lucky enough to make the trip up from San Francisco to the Pacific Northwest to attend Emerald City Comicon for the first time – and it was definitely worth it. Considered part of the “Big 3” of comic book conventions among San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con, it drew over 80,000 attendees from all over the country (and even overseas). It’s not just comic books, however, but all things comic book and pop culture related – dealers, panels, celebrities, gaming, creators, cosplay and more. We managed to soak all of it up, and had a blast!

We wanted to attend ECCC for several reasons, but mainly because we’ve never been before and we’ve been to nearly every California convention already. While our main focus is comic books (obviously), we still like to attend panels, meet celebrities, do some gaming and sometimes cosplay ourselves. If comic book conventions are buffets, we like to sample a bit of every dish.

In this recap and review, we touch on different aspects of the show:

February 24 / / Guides

After much back and forth, I finally decided to take the plunge and upgrade my short boxes to DrawerBoxes. I say “upgrade,” because that’s what it is – they are higher quality and have more functional utility than standard comic book long boxes and short boxes.

DrawerBoxes by The Collection Drawer Co. is a comic book storage system designed to create a stackable system of boxes that slide in and out like drawers (hence the name), creating a more efficient way to access your collection. For most collectors, long and short boxes are simply stacked on top of each other, or on shelves, which is a fine way to store your comic books, but it’s very inconvenient to unstack boxes or pull them off shelves and remove the cover and replace them just to have access to your books. It’s not the end of the world, or the most difficult task, but it does get very annoying and repetitive. DrawerBoxes aim to solve that issue.

February 9 / / Cons

Back before people camped out overnight to watch a panel with the cast of Twilight, people used to go to comic book conventions to buy comic books. Crazy, right?

Cal Comic Con is an event for comic book collectors, by comic book collectors. It’s an old school style con in every sense – there are no movie trailers, celebrity panels, video game demos, exclusive toys or cosplayers, just lots and lots of comic books.

V__E374

The Shortboxed crew decided to take a little road trip and drive down from San Francisco, CA to Orange County, CA to check out this show for ourselves, and it was everything we imagined it would be.

Hosted for one day in the Yorba Linda Community Center, it’s very unassuming and bare bones. It’s technically more of an expo (dealer showroom) than a full blown convention – over 30 dealers filled up 2 rooms and an outdoor patio. Some of the largest and most well-known dealers on the West Coast attend this show, and for good reason – all the attendees are hardcore comic book collectors looking for hard-to-find books or to fill gaps in their collection. This is the best show to buy comic books.

January 20 / / Image

Sex Criminals, written by the best duo in comics today, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, is a coming of age heist story, with lots of sex.

Suze is a woman who stops time when she has an orgasm. No explanation necessary, that’s just what happens. One day at a fundraising party to save her library, she meets Jon, whom she sleeps with, and discovers that he can do the same. What follows is an exhilarating tale of two young people in love who can stop time when they have sex, and of course they use their “ability” to rob banks and save Suze’s library from demolition at the hands of an evil corporation.

sc1

December 22 / / Marvel

The year is 1984. Mattel teams up with Marvel to create a line of officially-licensed action figures based on Marvel characters. Someone decides that the best way to promote these toys is to create a 12-issue comic book series that includes all of the characters, and the now-classic Secret Wars is born.

While Secret Wars may have been born out of pure promotional tactics, it has cemented itself as a modern classic by being the first major crossover event of its kind. Back in 1984, big crossover events didn’t really happen, so the thought of pitting Marvel’s best superheroes against it’s best villains was a fairly groundbreaking concept.

So how exactly did they bring all of these characters together?

December 11 / / Marvel

The Guardians of the Galaxy was this summer’s blockbuster hit, bringing in almost $800 million worldwide. Before this movie, most people (including comic book fans) have never even heard of the ragtag space group, and now they’re encroaching on Avengers territory among the mainstream moviegoing public. This is great news for the comics, since interest in these characters naturally encourage people to pick up the comics so they can read more about them.

The current Guardians of the Galaxy series by Brian Michael Bendis is an ongoing series, 21 issues in at the time of this post, but it’s never too late to jump into the story! If you watched the movie, then you have all the familiarity you need to pick up this series and start reading along. Also, the first four arcs of the run have been collected in trade paperbacks, so you don’t have to go hunting down individual back issues if you want to start from the beginning – just pick up the trades and you’ll be caught up nice and quick.

For the sake of this review, I’m covering the entire run as a whole, and not focusing on individual issues. I’ve broken it down by each arc, which are collected in four trade paperbacks, with a fifth one being released in March 2015. I give a quick intro and commentary on each of the arcs after the jump.

December 8 / / Guides

6tag_091214-075241

2014 has been a pivotal year for comics – we’ve seen a lot of new creators hit the scene, old characters refreshed, and some heavy hitters still going strong. Image continued its streak of bringing us incredible creator-owned series from the likes of Brian K. Vaughan, Robert Kirkman and Rick Remender, and Marvel and DC continued to pump out new storylines from our favorite franchises.  Spider-Man, Thor and Captain America all have new personas, and we were all charmed by a young lady who goes by Ms. Marvel. The indie scene continues to flourish, and digital comic book sales continue to rise with a new generation of digital-first readers. Yes, we have plenty to be proud of this year (including the launch of Shortboxed), which made it very difficult to choose our Top 10 Best Comic Books of 2014.

See which books made the the Top 10 Best Comic Books of 2014 after the jump!

December 1 / / DC

The holidays are finally here! Just as we may all celebrate in different ways, we each have our own unique taste in comics, so we’ve put together a diverse list of comic books that would make great gifts for anyone in your life. We’re sticking strictly to trade paperbacks and graphic novels – they simply make better gifts because they collect multiple issues in one easy to read book. It’s also much easier to give them to friends and family that aren’t “into comics” because many of these collect entire storylines in one package. We also only chose books that were released this year in 2014 – some comics were published earlier but came out in trade paperback form this year. The most important criteria – they’re all great stories! You really can’t go wrong with any of these. Well, you probably wouldn’t give Sex Criminals to your 7 year old niece (Ms. Marvel is likely a safer bet in that case).

Age of Ultron

feb140842

Get acquainted with the most dangerous robot in the universe before he makes his big screen debut in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The artificial intelligence known as Ultron has fought for years to eradicate mankind…and now, it has all but succeeded. The few remaining heroes are battered, broken, almost beaten and left considering desperate measures – some more desperate than others. But when Wolverine breaks ranks and pursues his own plan to defeat Ultron, will his drastic action cause more problems than it solves? This is a complete story that collects the entire Age of Ultron run, issues 1-10. Get it on Amazon for $23.