Of the $15.47 that I spent during my roughly bi-weekly comic store visit, I’d say I’m positively thrilled with $9.59 of it, marginally pleased with $3.89, and disappointed with $1.99. (Don’t ask how I calculate shit, just trust me on this one.) Here’s how my newest acquisitions turned out:

BORDERLANDS: ORIGINS #3

My first pick – both to buy and to read – was, of course, Borderlands: Origins #3. Because Bloodwing.

I love Mordecai. Like…really love. It’s hard to for me to choose a favorite between him and Lilith, actually, and I think we’re all aware of the hard on I have for her. (So I choose them together. LilixMord 4eva, yo.) I was really looking forward to learning more about him, and I was totally let down. Since I was pleased enough with Lilith’s story from #2 despite not really learning anything, I thought the series was on an upswing…but I’m not sure it is.

The environment didn’t really feel like Pandora, and the one-off characters seemed like they didn’t fit in at all – particularly Essimere, who bears a striking resemblance to Raven and totally doesn’t fit the aesthetic. I wanted to know how my dirty, scrawny, inhumanly accurate sniper came to be that way, how he trained Bloodwing, and why the hell she listens to him. Instead I got a story that could have been anyone from any series, ended by an admittedly awesome Bloodwing sequence. So at least it had that.

Here’s hoping it gets its act together for the final installment about Brick, due out next month.

TRANSFUSION #2

Next up was Transfusion #2, because I for some reason didn’t pick it up last time I was at the comic store, and I’m a bit behind. Don’t judge me.

Transfusion is set in a world overrun by robots, where humans are almost totally extinct, and vampires are roaming around, fretting about what they’re gonna do for food. Sounds like a lame SyFy movie, but it’s really quite awesome – mostly because it’s written by Steve Niles with art by Menton3, and I’m convinced everything Menton touches turns to gold. Seriously. (Did you read Monocyte? Convoluted storyline aside, that was hands down the best illustrated comic book I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And the lettering? Jesus. The lettering. …I digress.)

Transfusion is genius. It delivers this story of vampires vs. robots, but you don’t really know who to root for, and it’s about a lot more than whose side you’re on anyway.

This is the series you should be reading but probably aren’t, which is a damn shame because it’s only three issues. The last issue in the series will be out next month.

THE HOLLOWS #2

The Hollows #2 was on my shopping list this time around, because I picked up #1 on a whim and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to continue to support this new series and see if it was still going strong.

It totally is. The Hollows is a sort of zombie story, but in a really different way. Earth has become a veritable wasteland, and supertrees have been developed to let the selected population build cities in them high above ground, where the soul-sucking zombies called called Hollows can’t reach them. Pleasant, right? The focus is on inventor Craig Mayerik, who through a series of unfortunate (or maybe fortunate?) events ends up crash-landing on ground level, encountering the Hollows and meeting a group of pretty sad survivors down there. He doesn’t stay, despite kind of befriending Lani and the impossibly adorable Urp; he retreats back to his clean, safe home in the trees…but he doesn’t forget them.

Chris Ryall’s writing is spectacular, spinning what could be a depressing narrative into an almost whimsical, Miyazaki-like tale. Sam Keith‘s art is incredible, with a quirkiness that has surprises in every panel and a sense of hope amidst the dirt and grime. Everything is beautiful and it hurts to know this is only a four-issue mini-series. (I’m beginning to sense a trend here in series length…)

BEDLAM #1

And finally, because I can’t seem to get out of a freaking comic store without buying something totally on impulse, we have Bedlam #1.

Originally published last October by Image but reprinted recently, Bedlam is written by Nick Spencer, with letters by Kelly Tindall and art by Riley Rossmo. …and it’s suddenly glaringly obvious why I couldn’t pass this book up. I fell in love with Rossmo after reading Green Wake, so when I saw that one of the employees at my shop picked Bedlam as his featured comic and it had Rossmo’s name on the cover, I immediately started scrounging around the shelves for #1. I flipped through it quickly when I got home before reading it, and literally moments before I started, told my boyfriend that I didn’t think I’d like it; it seemed really traditional in structure, and I just didn’t think it was going to be my thing. I was so very wrong.

Bedlam starts as a brutal, violent, psychopathic story with standard superhero-ish overtones, focused on sociopathic supervillian Madder Red. The story takes this Joker-esque villian that just wants to watch the world burn, and makes it a lot more personal, more psychological.

Rossmo’s art perfectly connects with Spencer’s writing, complete with nervous dialogue from FIllmore Press and glorious, ranting and raving monologues by Madder Red that all have the same sort of uncomfortably macabre humor about them. I hate that it seems like I’m playing favorites with this guy…but Riley Rossmo is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. They’re up to #4, releasing next month, so I’ve got some catching up I’ll happily be doing over the next few weeks.


So backtracking to that trend I mentioned…the one about series length? It’s gotten me thinking.

I’ve picked up all of these awesome books that are part of a mini-series, and I can’t help but wonder why. Are artists and writers drawn to this format just because it’s the safer option? Are publishers more likely to pick up a story that can be told in only a few books, because just in case it flops, they won’t be out too much money?

I quoted Mikey Neumann a while ago as saying that his ability to continue to write more of the Borderlands characters depended on how these couple of Origins books did. And I know I didn’t write glowing reviews of them, but I still want to see more. I want Mikey to get into a groove and be able to write these the way he writes the game, or his novel. I want to see more of the Borderlands extended universe, so I’ll keep buying them.

Wizards has used the Magic comic as a replacement for its webcomics (which I loved dearly) and partially for their novels (in conjunction with their e-novellas), both of which were canceled due to lack of sales. But every time they start a new four-issue series with this, we’re stuck reading through recap and reintroduction that wastes pages. It’s still one story about Dack Fayden, and should be treated as such. It’s like they’re doing it in these little pieces so that at any moment they can decide it’s not successful enough and pull it. So I’ll keep buying them.

I’m going to continue to support these mini-series in hopes that my tiny efforts will have some effect and show that there’s demand for more work from these people. The same as if you want to see more content for a certain game, you’ve gotta buy the DLC to show your support, and if you want to see more female writers, you’ve gotta buy the books of good female writers…if I want to see more from these writers and artists, I’ve gotta put my money and my mouth out there.

Here’s how I’m going to do that.

GIVEAWAY!

Take a look through my reviews. Aside from Borderlands: Origins #3, Transfusion, The Hollows, and Bedlam that I’ve talked about here, I also reviewed Borderlands: Origins #2 and Green Wake Vol. 1 and 2 not too long ago.

Tell me in the comments which of those titles you’d like to check out but haven’t, and why you’re interested. I’ll pick two of you guys at random and send you a copy of the title you want. Hell, I might even send you a few issues, who knows. Do none of these appeal to you at all? Tell me another short-run title you’re interested in and I’ll buy you that instead. (Bonus points if you get me to buy it for myself, too!)

These aren’t gonna be copies from my own collection. I’m going to go out to my comic store, I’m going to buy a brand new copy, and I’m going to send it to you. Because that’s one more copy the publisher will see purchased, and every bit helps.

The giveaway ends Thursday, January 31 at 11:59pm CST, and is open to US residents only. Make sure you comment with a valid email address, WordPress account linked to valid email address, or a Twitter/Facebook account I can use to reach you. Two winners will be randomly selected and contacted Friday, February 1.

Good luck, and get commenting – because free stuff is awesome!

We have our winners! Congratulations John H. and Subject Zero! Look for an email soon, and enjoy your comics!!