5-23-11: Green Lantern Or Hornet! Which One Did I Like?

Well, happy Monday everyone! Feeling a little blah? Don’t reach for another bottle of ‘5 Hour Energy’, just read on and let the natural bullet points of comic books and comic related stuff get you going!!!

*Heard from our pal Sketch Getter B that Wizard World New York Edition was a great time! Steve got some great sketches and also is planning to do some more ‘Plastic Fantastic’ segments in a few weeks!

*Just watched Seth Rogan’s version of ‘Green Hornet’ and thought it was good except for Seth Rogan! His shtick has just pushed him as far as it can! When Michael Keaton played Batman way back when, he didn’t let his act push the movie like Rogan did! Not worth the rental… unless someone else paid for it.

*Count this week at Most Excellent was 10! 5 DC, 4 Marvel and one Image. But within that, two were Nick Spencer written books.

*As ‘Flashpoint’ gets underway, many readers are already looking to what will be the post ‘Flashpoint’ world. How about all DC books being renumbered including Wonder Woman, Batman and / or Superman? This is one of the rumors that has fans in a tizzy!

*Are you set ‘Captain America Corps’? Despite Roger Stern writing and Phil Jimenez covers, I’m not!

*If you’re a fan of the Simpsons, you need to be reading ‘The Simpsons’ comics from Bongo! It is like watching an episode. So if you watch it in syndication, watching new episodes on Sunday and watch shows in DVD, than fill in the void with the comic!

*Are you ready for ‘The Hangover II’ opening this Friday? I am… this time there’s a monkey!!!

*A little on the quiet side are the reports of the death of artist Jeffery Catherine Jones at the age of 67. Jones was a mainstay in the black and white pages of ‘Creepy’ and ‘Eerie’ and helped define the look of those incredible magazines.  

*If you’re a fan of Doctor Who than you HAVE to be reading IDW’s ‘Doctor Who’ monthly!!! Written by Tony Lee and drawn by Tim Hamilton, the current story arc has the team looking for Jack The Ripper…only to find Jack is an alien!!!

*The ‘War of The Green Lanterns’ continues and just keeps getting better. In ‘Green Lantern’ # 65, Hal, Guy, John and Kyle all are forced to wear different color rings!!! Thank you Geoff Johns for a great story and Doug Mahnke for just getting better and better with each issue.

*The Classic Cover of the Week is Marvel Premier # 57. This was my first introduction to Doctor Who and I was not impressed. I didn’t quite understand the premise of the character and certainly didn’t warm up to the Tom Baker version and still haven’t. But no matter my feeling, I can’t deny the coolness of this Walt Simonson cover!

Well, that’s it for now kids! Have a great week...

5-21-11:Wrestling Legend Passes Away

Sad news to report today as a wrestling great passes away! Randy Mario Poffo also known as Randy “macho Man’ Savage passes away Friday in a car accident!

Savage, 58, apparently suffered a heart attack while he and his wife were driving in Tampa Florida!  

“This is a sad day for anyone who watched wrestling in the 80’s,” Matman remembers. “Next to Rowdy Roddy Piper he was my favorite wrestler! Macho Man and Elizabeth were an incredible duo that added so much fun and in Miss Elizabeth’s case… much beauty!

Savage won two WWF championships in his career and his battle with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III is one of wrestling’s greatest battles ever.  Among his wrestling, Savage also was the spokesman for ‘Slim Jims’, played Bone Saw in the first Spiderman film and played minor league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.

So goodbye, Macho Man toy will never be forgotten… “OH YEAH!!!”

5-17-11: Light's Out In Foxboro!!! The UFO review!

Saturday night I finally saw a band I have been waiting to see since 1982… the legendary UFO!

For those not in the know, UFO is the group that influenced Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and many other British bands. Without UFO there would have been no one…just ask metal expert Eddie Trunk! In fact if you’re a fan of any metal band from the 1970’s and 80’s, see UFO and see where they learned it all.

There was a lot of fear on my part! Would UFO live up to the long wait and how would they sound? Would their set list contain all 200 or so songs I wanted to hear?

When the band hit the stage with ‘The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent’, all my fears were put to rest. Although a bit older, UFO were as tight as they could be, despite vocalist Phil Moog counting bum notes (I counted none). The set list was very heavy in the ‘Michael Schenker’ era which is not a bad thing.

Guitarist Vinnie Moore played all the parts properly and was able to infuse a little bit of his personality into each solo. Anthems like ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘I’m a Loser’ and ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ sent all the fans into nice trips down memory lane. My wife noticed that almost half the audience were playing air guitar during all the solos, most not missing a note! That is devotion!

The surprise song for me in their almost 90 minute set was ‘Try Me’ from the classic ‘Light’s Out’ album. This was the song that keyboardist / guitarist Paul Raymond was able to showcase his incredible talent. More than anything, UFO are defined by their songs; brilliant and consistent loaded with melody, hooks and storytelling lyrics.   

Rounding out the band was the rhythm section of founding drummer Andy Parker and fill in bassist Barry Sparks held down the beat song after song! But in the case of Sparks, he was a visual dynamo! All the guys seemed to be having fun up there and that came across very strong in the music!

Unfortunately due to another show that night, UFO’s set was cut short and that made the fans a little angry. This was not the bands fault and even the abridged set was brilliant. I can say now that UFO are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live!

As far as the venue, Showcase Live at Patriots Place is an incredible place for a show. The staff and food was excellent and is now my favorite place to see a show. The sound system and acoustics make everything sound great and if (for some strange reason) you can’t see everything, the two giant screens next to the stage help you with that.

Opening for UFO were two bands; Brazil’s Mindflow and New Jersey’s Last Perfect Thing . Both bands were good, but I was blown away by Mindflow!! They have a sound that is a mix of Iron Maiden and Evanescence with a little bit of techno thrown in. I was so impressed I picked up their CD (along with my first UFO shirt ever) ‘With Bare Hands’ and will have a review of it within the next few weeks!

So thank you UFO for still retaining the same spirit I encountered way back when I first heard
‘We Belong to the Night’!

5-16-11: Cap, Broken Bones, Thor and UFO!!!

A big week this week in the life of me!!! As of Thursday I will be done with the classroom and getting ready to graduate. And I have to deal with life with a cast for the next month. Typing r-e-a-l slow…But now onto the comics…

*I finally got around to reading Captain America # 616 which celebrates the 70th anniversary of old winghead! This book is a serious can’t miss!

*Speaking of Cap, if you have a few extra pennies why not pick up the Captain America Spotlight! The book features interviews with some of Cap’s greatest creators as well as a checklist of must havs!!!

*The count from Most Excellent this week was 10 books. 4 Marvel, 5 DC and an Image!

* There was no way I was gonna pick this one up but I just picked up the second issue of ‘FF’ and am really enjoying this Hickman / Epting classic. And since it was a light week and the price was right ($2.99), I took it!

*I’ll have a full review up on the site tomorrow, but a quick tease… UFO was well worth the almost 30 year wait! Had a great time with the wife, met some interesting people. I can’t say this enough folks… go support live music!

*Awesome news for our friend John Layman and Rob Guillory! Showtime has picked up their classic book Chew for a series! Great news is that the team that brought us The Walking Dead series is helping out with Chew TV!

*I just got back from seeing Thor with the family and all I can say is I loved it! Brilliant casting, great story and cool effects made me interested and made me like Thor. If only the comics were this good!

* This weeks Classic Cover is the comic that got me back into Captain America!! From 1977 to 1981 I collected and hunted down anything that had Cap in it. it wasn’t until 1995 that I got back in. What caused me to return was the cover to Captain America # 444 and this amazing cover by interior penciler Ron Garney. The story written by Mark Waid was a true classic that brought Cap back to respectability!

Ouchie…my thumb is beginning to ache so I must rest the thumb…rest…rest!

5-14-11: Fear The Foursome!

As the ‘Fear Itself’ mini series within the series begin to hit, one of them has Matman a little curious! Are you ready for the Fearsome Four?

Coming soon from writer Brandon Montclare and artist Michael Kaluta and Ryan Bodenheim is a 4 issue series that brings together five very unlikely heroes… Man Thing, She Hulk, Frankenstein’s Monster, Nightwing and Howard The Duck!

As the story goes, Man Thing is running amok in New York City burning everything, because whatever knows fear burns at the touch of the Man Thing. Well, the only group than can stop him is the Fearsome Four!

"I love books like this," says Matman!"Of course Howard The Duck is a big selling point for me, but this sounds like it could be a lot of fun! Somerimes the best groups are the ones that don't neccesarily make sense!" 

‘Fear Itself – Fearsome Four’ # 1 hits shelves on June 1st for only $2.99.   

5-8-11: No More Rack, 7 - 11 And The Mighty Thor!!!

It seems weird not to be going to a comic show this weekend. After all it is three in the past four weeks and that can be a little hard to do. But with school ending for me this week, I see a light at the end of the tunnel… 

*What I love the most about comics is the diversity in titles! In one nights reading I read ‘Caligula’ from Avatar, ‘Tiny Titans’ from DC and ‘Godzilla’ from IDW! I loved them all…but guess which one gave me nightmares?

*‘Thor’ opened this weekend and I’ll be curious to see the reaction! I feel there is a lot of pressure on this film. Marvel has had some huge success recently and since this is a hard to sell character, plus a bridge film to the Avengers! Good luck Thor, I’ll see you on Tuesday!

*The count at Most Excellent this week was 10! Split right down to the middle between DC and Marvel!

*I was very excited about ‘Moon Knight’ # 1. After I read it…ehhhh! I don’t think Bendis and Maleev is the right choice for this book.

*Kid Flash is going to get his own mini series within ‘Flashpoint’! The best news about it… it’s going to be written by Sterling Gates! 

*Captain America – The First Avenger. Because I’m on a Captain America overload, I wasn’t gonna pick it up until I saw the price of $2.99! Lold the line Marvel! And…a very good book!

*Off the rack this week was nothing because the @#$% rack is gone!!! Why oh why Super Stop and Shop did you get rid of the comics rack? Was it because of Guy Gardner?

*In the bad marketing strategy column it’s 7 – 11 and their Super Big Gulp Cups featuring the guys from ‘The Hangover 2’! Now I loved the first one and can’t wait to see the second, but is it wise to help sell sodas with a very rated R product? Just a thought … as I sip my Mountain Dew out of my Bradley Cooper cup.

*In tribute to Thor, this week’s Classic Cover features the first time I ever saw him in a comic book and that is ‘Avengers’ # 150! The cover is by Ron Wilson and Frank Giacoia but are you ready for the creator line up? Written by Stan Lee and Steve Englehart, penciled by George Perez and Jack Kirby and featuring the inks of Dick Ayers! Dream Team folks.  

Well that’s it for this week. The next time we chat, school will be over!

5-4-11: "No Time For An Interview? Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh!"

One of the busiest folks at the Boston Comic Con was artist Stephanie Buscema! And this was not because her grandfather was the legendary John Buscema …it was because she is gifted!

One look at her site www.stephaniebuscema.com will show you not only is she an incredible artist but has developed a nice style of her own! She started her career as an editor at DC (Tiny Titans for one) and has moved on to become one of the cool and influential women in comics today!

“I’ve spoken to Stephanie a few times online,” Matman adds, “but until you meet her you don’t get the full picture! She is incredibly kind and has her own quirky style that just draws you in!”

At Boston Comic Con last weekend,  Stephanie announced her latest project… Teenage Satan! The project will also feature the talents of Candis Cooke and Marsha Cooke!

Here’s the premise! Imagine your freshman year at Hades High if you were the son of the Devil! Folow the adventures of Luc as he tries to survive high school, learn the family business and catch the eye of the girl next door!

Teenage Satan begins in September and a trailer can be seen at http://teenagesatan.com/

The world of Stephanie can be seen at www.stephaniebuscema.com.

5-2-11: HB Comics Delivers Quality And Fun For Everyone

When many people think of ‘indie’ comics, they think of cheap, black and white books that aren’t worth the money! This may be true in some cases, but not when it comes to the books from HB Comics!

HB Comics is the brainchild of writer Alan Hebert and his drawing brother Chris! Currently, HB comics is the home of two titles; ‘Lazerman’ and the more adult ‘Vindication’!

“Lazerman is a fun all ages ride of a comic,” says Matman. “It has all the elements of classic silver age books with a certain innocents to it. But to assume it’s a kids comic doesn’t do it justice. It’s smart and bursting with action!

New to the HB family is the more realistic ‘Vindication’! What happens when superheroes exist in real life? A lot of bickering, finger pointing and lack of judgment does! Written by Chris Hebert and drawn by Daniel White, ‘Vindication’ is a back room look at the classic hero team!

And ‘HB Comics’ also has some action on their website! Join the adventures of ‘Hardcore and Lethal’ written by Winter Arcane and drawn by Daniel White! The series is already on page 17!

Check out the site at www.hbcomics.com and pick up some cool books and cool shirts too!

Look for Matman to review 'Lazerman' # 5 this week on the Secret Identity Podcast!

You’ll be amazed by the quality, but you’ll stick around for the action packed stories!      

5-1-11: Was Boston Comic Con My Favorite Comic Show?

Just got back from Baaaston, so this week’s rant will be show specific! I wish my health was better because it would have been great to interview more…but I fought as long as I could.

To describe the Boston Comic Con as one of the best shows I ever went to isn’t doing it justice! This show was well organized, spacious and an overall blueprint for how to put on a big con! Big names, comic legends and a slew of ‘indie’ creators gave fans and creators a great opportunity to chat, get sketches and things signed.

Because Brian couldn’t make it, it was myself, Sketch Getter B and good friend Black Wilco wandering up the hall floor and enjoying a fine lunch in the Prudential Food Court!

Up first was superstar Frank Quitely who was a pleasure to interview. Frank is one of the biggest names in the industry and one of the kindest. Thanks mate! And yes, we talked about Grant Morrison!

Greg Capullo not only is great to every fan he met, but was willing to steal away time to chat. Look for the Spawn, Haunt artist to heat it up with his latest project…Batman!

Not only did I get to finally meet Stan Sakai but I had the honor of moderating his panel. What I did was record the entire thing and we’ll play that somewhere in the future. Thanks Mr. Sakai for the over 25 years of Usagi Yojimbo.

It was great to catch up with Chris and Alan Hebert of ‘Lazerman’ and ‘Vindication’! We have seen HB Comics grow so much in the past few years and one read through any of their titles and you’ll see why! You will also notice huge full page ads for our show! For that, we thank you guys so much!

What is a show without our brothers John (with Bryn), Keith, Amy, Crazy Dekker doll, E and Chi – Chi? Add to that our pal Jason May and you have an insane time at the Swass Cast booth! There, their long awaited second issue of the Hero Envy comic was available for everyone!

I finally got to chat with ‘Healed’ writer George O’Connor. If you haven’t read ‘Healed’ than you are missing out on an incredibly imaginative and powerful story! George is an amazing guy who in a few minutes gave an incredible explanation for why we as creators “do what we do”!

When I interviewed Christos Gage last year I forgot to ask him a few questions. Well, I had the chance today to ask him what I forgot to then. Sadly Christos won’t be part of the ‘G.I Joe Cobra Season Two’ because he’s now exclusive to Marvel.

Well, that is it for now. All week, I’ll be featuring and chatting more about the show so if you couldn’t make it, I’ll make it like you were there!

4-25-11: Chocolate, Green Lantern and Beta Ray Bill?

This Sunday was not only Easter, but it was my anniversary for being sober! 21 years of dealing with my problems as they happen and facing my shortcomings! But enough about me…

I finally finished the final issue in the Batman and Robin ‘White Knight’ arc in ‘Batman and Robin’ # 20 -#22. Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray have brought the fun back to the Bat-verse! The story was unique, full of action and wordy when it needed to be!!!

I just got through the first ‘Owly’ trade and I think I found a kids book that fits in perfectly with ‘G-Man’, Captain Eli’ and ‘Tiny Titans’ as a book that every parent needs to get their kids to read. A beautiful story with innocent art to match!

David Hine on ‘Batman’? Bring it on!!! Guillem March drawing it? Score!!!

Congrats to Brian Clevenger for his fun ‘Captain America’ one shot called ‘The Fighting Avenger’! I hope this one didn’t get lost among the zillion ‘Cap one shots!’  

Doctor Who is back!!! Brian and I will be yakking this one up this week. It is so cool to have the Doctor back and this one started out with a serious bang!!!

I’m getting very excited about the Boston Comic Con. I’m so excited about not only meeting and interviewing ‘Usagi Yojimbo’ creator Stan Sakai, but I’ll be moderating the Stan Sakai panel. Yah me!!!

Archie has announced a Kevin Keller mini series!!! Four and out! Just wait until the solicits!

I hope you had a chance to see the Thor trailer spoof on the Darth Vader Volkswagen commercial from the Super Bowl! Brilliant!  

Get ready for Dark Horse to get involved in the world of digital comics! www.digital.darkhorse.com will be up and running on April 27th and feature some free downloads Check it out now…

The ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ is shaping up to be the best DC (or Marvel) events in a long time! The series so far has been very natural, well contained and just a nice read. Despite the ‘Guy Gardner ice’ panel, there have been no complaints for me. A great way to get fans ready for the movie!!!   

The ‘Classic Cover of the Week’ is a book that has a cool cover, yet I never read it! Thor #337 is a cover that has been imitated many times and stands the test of time as a true classic. Walt Simonsn’s run is a classic run that many fans count as one of the best ever. Since I never read Thor except for Thor – Frog I don’t know, but the cover is cool!

Cheers to you old Horse Head!

4-22-11: Elisabeth Sladen Passes Away

Sad news to report as we await the season premier of Doctor Who!

Elisabeth Sladen who played one of the most popular of all the Doctor’s companions, passed away earlier this week following a long battle with cancer.

She was 63.

Sladen played the charming Sarah Jane Smith and appeared with three Doctors over the years. Originally the companion for Jon Pertwee, she had a long run with Tom Baker and reappeared with David Tennant prior to the launch of the ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’. In all she appeared in almost ‘Doctor Who’ 90 episodes as well as 50 in her own series.

Always a fan favorite, she was recently voted the second most popular companion, being beaten by Rose Tyler.

Sladen leaves behind her husband of over 40 years Brian Miller and a daughter Sadie.

4-17-11: Paint And Pixel Festival A Huge Succuess!

WOW!!! I feel like a rock star on tour… two shows in two weekends! It’s exhausting, but a lot of fun and Brian and I feel that if you can’t get to the show…we’ll bring it to you! Like…

…The Paint and Pixel Festival!!! This show was incredible! I hope Executive Director Peggy Twardowski had a great nights sleep last night. The show was an intimate affair where fans and creators could meet, chat and have good interaction. The floor layout was great with space to move and creators to show everything they had to offer!

Our big thanks to Chris Giarrusso for coming up and spending time with me and my family AND sharing his talent with Western Mass! Chris provided free G – Man sketches for the kids and met some fans who were shocked to see him up our way. Love you brother…

Making their show debut was a young writer Brian LeTendre and artist John Cordis from Mostache! Brian and John spoke to the folks and John drew free moustaches for the kids.

The show discovery for me (thanks to Peggy) was Hilary Price! Hilary is the creator of the nationally syndicated ‘ Rhymes with Oranges’ and one look at her ‘Far Side’ style, strip I was hooked. It was a blast interviewing her and finding more about her including her love of hockey! A review of the collection 'Pithy Seedy Pulpy Juicy' will be up on the site this week.

It was great to finally meet and chat with Shawn McManus. Shawn has been professional for over three decades, but I think his Fables spin off ‘Cinderella’ is the best work of his career.

It was great to hang out with ‘power couple’ Everett and Susan Soares from Jolly Rogue Studios. The past year has seen the duo and their ‘Sky Pirates’ world expand to the web, trades, merchandise and the most exciting news…the launch of their own Jolly Rogue Studios.

An old school chum of Brian's, Ron Leary Jr. had a table as well and according to reports, had a constant stream of people to his table! So busy he had little time for us, but that is a good thing for Ron!

And as usual… it was great to see Sean Wang. Sean has some big things going on with ‘Runners’ and remains one of Secret Identity’s dearest friends and listeners.

Was that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co – creator Peter Laird walking around?

Speaking of Turtles, it’s hard for me to believe this is the first time I ever met Turtle vets Jim Lawson and Michael Dooney. Both guys have deep routes with the Northampton legends and it was great to see fans; young and old responding to their accomplishments.

As far as money for the show, ‘Paint And Pixel’ made it easy for a family to attend and not go broke. Ticket prices were more than affordable, and to get a quick snack wasn’t going to break you. A bottle of water was a buck! Did you hear me (fill in the name of any other show)!!!!!!!!! If you were an exhibitor, tables were incredibly well priced, making it easy to recoup your table cost very easily.

Thanks again for an incredible show and we look forward to Paint And Pixel II: Electric Boogaloo!

4-15-11: Matman On The Emerald Warriors Controvercy

I have been very excited about two things… the Green Lantern movie and buying comics at my local grocery store! But something happened a few weeks back that got me a little worried!

After purchasing ‘Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors’ # 8 at the grocery store, I read it with a childlike glee! After all, we are at the beginning of the excellent ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ and Emerald Warriors has become one of my favorite monthly titles. In the story Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan plan to meet on an ice planet and plan how they’re going to get out of the situation their in. As Guy waits for Hal’s arrival he begins to suck on an icicle. But upon closer look, it’s not an icicle in the shape of an icicle, but a male, well you can guess what.

On page 10, panel 4, Guy very sexually has the ‘ice’ dripping into his mouth. When I first saw it I thought I was seeing things, but it’s more than obvious what is suggested in this picture! At first I laughed at this and thought “wow, artist Fernando Pasarin snuck one by the editors.” Then as I finished the book I realized something… I bought this comic book at a grocery store!

So what happens when a young reader, excited about the Green Lantern movie or attracted to the beautiful cover by Felipe Massafera get his hand on this? I mean a little one… 6 or 7 year old? Or what happens to the store who sells the book when a parent sees it?

I’ll tell you what will happen… no more comics at my local grocery store!

The hobby is struggling to find an audience and being in a major grocery store chain is a big deal! This one panel could cause the chain to say ‘forget it’ and ruin the chance of growing our audience!

Now before you get all uppity with me and call me ‘a prude’, think about this! If this was a female body part I would be just as offended! I don’t want to (or have any parent) have to explain any sooner than they need to the birds and the bees. Would I have been this upset if it was Wonder Woman at the other end of the ice? Absolutely!

So who’s to blame for this? Did Peter Tomasi write that into the script? Was Fernando Pasarin just being funny? Did Cam Smith ‘embellish’ a bit much or did the editors Brian Cunningham and Adam Schlagman (yes, two of them) just not see it?

I saw it, my Green Lantern lovin’ daughter saw it and I’m sure other young readers saw it too. I’m shocked not a lot of people are talking about this.

What did you think?

4-14-11:  Secret Wars and Twin Peaks Are This Year's Summer Projects!

After a week of voting, the 2011 SI Summer Reading and watching projects have been chosen.  

For this year's Reading Project, Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars led from start to finish.  This 1984 classic featured the cosmic being known as the Beyonder transporting Marvel heroes and villains to Battleworld to fight to the death.

You can get Secret Wars Omnibus on Amazon or In Stock Trades for about $60. The old paperback is harder to come by, so you may want to check with your local library. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited has the entire series as well, and you can subscribe for $9.99 a month, which would run you about $30 for the whole Summer Reading Project. 

Our 2011 Summer Watching Project will be David Lynch's quirky murder mystery series, Twin Peaks. The story follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigates the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, and finds out the seemingly normal residents of a small Northwestern town are anything but.

You can purchase the complete series on Amazon for about $50, rent the series from Blockbuster or Netflix, or watch all the episodes on Netflix instant streaming.

We plan on starting the Summer Projects in the first week of May, so get your books and DVDs ready. More details to come on issue #327 of Secret Identity!

4-13-11: Matman Comics Is Open. Don't Forget The ORG!

For those who may remember, when Secret Identity first got going we used my old site ‘Matman Comics’ as the web home until we switched everything to its present state.

Well…it’s back and nothing like it was before. Here, I write some stupid stories and have some incredibly talented artists draw them. Simple as that!

Up first, I resurrect my ‘Life With Zombie’ strip with an incredibly talented artist Manuel Carmona! Every couple weeks you will thrill to the adventures of a zombie just trying to find his way in contemporary society. The strip is colored by Francisco J. Rivera and dare I say… looks incredible.

Coming soon is a few other ideas I have and all I need is someone to draw them!

So after checking out ‘Mostache’ (www.mostachecomic.com) why not come by to www.matmancomics.org? What better way to look at something while you listen to some ‘solid gold ear candy’!

And why not go to the ‘Life With Zombie’ Facebook page and join in the fun!

4-11-11: Matman Thinks On MOCCA...

What an incredible time (as usual) at this year’s MOCCA Festival. Our thanks to MOCCA President Ellen Abramowitz for not only giving us press passes, but helping put together what I think was my favorite MOCCA show ever. There were some incredible creators and companies like…

Accent UK – This UK company (www.accentukcomics.com) has been quietly making an impression on the British and now world comic markets. With incredibly affordable anthologies (Westerns, Zombies, Robots) and award winning single issues, Dave West, Colin Mathieson and the rest of the group are poised for big things. Look for me to be reviewing ‘Whatever Happened To The World’s Fastest Man?’

Great to see and finally interview Top Shelf’s President Chris Staros! Chris and I discuss the diversity of the line, the fun of packing and unpacking hardcover comics and the new kid’s line featuring ‘Owly’ as the centerpiece! Thanks to Chris for the first ‘Owly’ collection. Review on its way…

What do you do when your superpower is curing hangovers? Join a team called the Justice Purveyors and well…do what you can. From the mind of writer Patrick Reilly comes ‘The Misadventures Of Electrolyte’. In talking with Patrick, I found someone excited about his project and in the interview we did, you’ll hear more of the same thing. To find out more, go to www.justicepurveyors.com.

One of the nuttiest folks I met there was Frank Powers! And by nutty I mean someone I’d like to hang out with more. His “Pissed Off Panda’ caught my eye and when you hear him…you’ll wanna know more. Check out his site at www.frankenstylin.com.

It was awesome to hang out with Sketch Getter B and Mitch and see the Hayestronaut and Magnus, Darrell, Gabriel and Leroy. Plus seeing Tom Hall and Chris Giarrusso was also a bonus.

You need to make plans for next year’s show because each year, they just get better.

But one of the biggest topics folks were talking about was Green Lantern, but not in the way you would think. In the latest issue of Green Lantern Emerald Warriors, on page 10 Guy Gardner is sitting on an ice planet putting an icicle in his mouth, but it doesn’t look like an icicle it looks like…   

Well something that shouldn’t be in a mainstream comic. I’ll have more on that later this week.

My ‘Classic Cover Of The Week’ brings us back to 1978 for ‘Micronauts # 1’. For me this book, written by Bill Mantilo, drawn by Michael Golden and featuring a cover by Dave Cockrum broke my young brain! The first 12 issues were some of the best stories ever published and it all started here.

Well, that’s it for now folks. We’ll see you soon….

4-3-11: Loss, Scary Stuff and Green Lantern's Light!

Well here we go folks… another new week and another rant!

Sadly I start it off with the loss of a dear friend, Tommy. Tommy was the oldest brother of one of my best friends growing up and the guy that introduced me to bands like Deep Purple, Rush and KISS!!! We went to over 50 concerts together growing up. Loved sports and cooking. Gonna miss ya bro!

I hope everyone is reading ‘Heroes For Hire’! I just finished the fourth issue, sadly not featuring art by the incredible Brad Walker, but featuring nice fill in work by Robert Atkins. This is a book endorsed heavily by both Brian and myself.

I was really looking forward to Captain America until I saw the long new trailer for ‘Green Lantern’. I’m going to predict this now, this film will be not only the best comic book movie ever, but it will be the benchmark of all comic films from this moment on…

As we approach the 50’s issue of ‘Justice Society of America’ I have a few thoughts! Mark Guggenheim’s writing is very good. It’s a hard act to follow Geoff Johns’ run but he has done a great job. However, Scott Kolin’s art doesn’t quite fit the book. This book needs more of a heroic, realistic style. If Alex Ross isn’t available, then how about Yildiray Cinar and Wayne Faucher? The’re doing a perfect job on ‘Legion of Super Heroes’…so just move them.

What is better than Jamal Igle’s first issue of ‘Zatanna’? Nothing! I’ve known Jamal for a lot of years and in that time I’ve watched his art go from incredible to god like, yet he’s still the same guy he was way back then.

The first show of the 2011 year is coming up this weekend! MOCCA Art Festival hits New York Saturday and Sunday and like every year, somehow outdoes the previous. It’s only a few shekels to get in and you’ll be exposed to some amazing and unique art and stories. www.moccany.org.

And congrats to writer James Patrick on his next assignment… Green Arrow # 13 - #15. Not too shabby!

I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve been following the controversy surrounding Wonder Woman’s costume in the up coming TV series. I think the costume is the least of this projects problem. This has got ‘Painkiller Jane’ and ‘Flash Gordon’ written all over it.

Well, I can kinda let the cat out of the bag! A friend and incredibly talented artist Manuel Carmona and I have been working to resurrect my ‘Life With Zombie’ strip. I have the first one and all I can say is holy cow!!! Manuel’s art makes up for my script! As we sort out the details of websites and stuff, please check out Manuel’s site, www.truthfulcomics.com.

My ‘Classic Cover Of The Week’ is from 1974…’UFO Flying Saucers’ # 4. I remember buying this comic and reading it during the daylight and when night fell, I became scared and had to sleep with my parents… until I was 12! It was so funny how I used to read these comics all day and somehow forget that darkness would come every night. The stuff of nightmares…

Well, that’s it for now folks. Have a good one until we chat again soon!

3-27-11: Birthdays, Power Rings And Reunions!

Wow!!! Has it already been a week? Well… it’s that time for another Matman rant! So ready, get set…

First off, happy birthday to my wife…the Mrs. Matman! I got her a Kuerig coffee machine which since I don’t drink coffee makes it a very unselfish gift.

Just read ‘T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents’ # 5 and all I can say is this book keeps getting better and better with each issue! Congrats to Nick Spencer, Cafu, Bit and Ryan Sook for making me love this book more and more!

This week’s count from Most Excellent is 8 new books. 5 DC, 2 Image and one Marvel!

Why does Marvel once again repackage a copy of the first ‘Captain America’ comic? I mean yes…this is an incredible book, a historic comic and needs to be appreciated! But why do they keep re - releasing it? How many fools do they think will buy it again? Yup…raising my hand!

‘Flashpoint – Everything You Know About The Flash Will Change In A Flash’!

‘He’s Already Killed The Man Of Steel! Who’s Next? – Reign of Doomsday’!  

From the mossy minds of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray comes ‘The Tattered Man’ one shot. Drawn by Horberto Fernandez, this one shot is the story of a spirit of vengeance spawned from a concentration camp in Germany! Win, win!

I’d also like to say hi to my rediscovered brother ‘Picu The Great’! Apparently we have been looking for each other for the past few years and bammo we just found each other! Our wives used to cringe at how much alike we were in everything from comics to music to cartoons to even food!

Ape Entertainment is proud to announce ‘Richie Rich’ is coming back! The classic Harvey character returns in a four issue mini series written by Bill Williams and drawn by Tina Francisco. Look for the first issue hitting stands May 1st and a Free Comic Book Day edition as well!

The final issue of ‘DC Universe Legacies’ came out and my thoughts? A very good series that tells the entire history of the DCU in an easy to follow story. Congrats to Len Wein for making DC’s convoluted history easy to follow!

Let’s go Green Lantern crazy! Like Marvel did with Captain America, DC is hitting hard with Green Lantern in May! Look for Movie Prequel for ‘Sinestro’, ‘Kilowog’, ‘Abin Sur’, ‘Tomar – Re’ and ‘Hal Jordan’. Plus ‘Green Lantern’, ‘Green lantern Corps’, ‘Emerald Warriors’, Super Spectacular, and Green Lantern: Willworld. Plus… a ton of statues, toys and power rings and power batteries!

‘Off The Rack’ this week at the grocery store was ‘Superman # 709’. The Grounded saga continues with a guest appearance by the Flash!

The ‘Cover Of The Week’ this week belongs to the first Green Lantern comic I ever bought…’Green Lantern / Green Arrow # 110’ from November of 1979. I remember getting this at a drugstore near McDonalds in Enfield, CT and my dad asking me why I picked it up? I think the cover from Mike Grell was so striking made me buy it! The image of GL in trouble in an orange boarder with Green Arrow freaking out was well worth the 50 cents!

Well that’s it folks. Remember to recharge your power rings every 24 hours


3-23-11: BOOM! Celebrates The New Hellraiser Series With A Brand New Story You Can Check Out For Free!

The new "Hellraiser" series from BOOM! hits stores today, and our friends over there are doing something really cool to celebrate. They've put out a brand new eight-page story that serves as a prelude to the new series, and you can download it over at www.investcomics.com, right now. Click here to read the prelude! 

This story gives you a good idea of what you can expect from the series, which is written by Clive Barker himself. To be clear, this isn’t material being pulled from the first issue of the comic, it’s completely original, and won't be seen in print until the first collected edition of the new series comes out.

After you check out the story, go out and buy the first issue of the new "Hellraiser" series, which is in stores right now. You can check back here Friday for Brian’s review.

3-22-11: 'Web - Heads' Head Over To 'Horn Head'!

The two biggest stories that came out of C2E2 fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. First DC announcing ‘Flash’ would be cancelled after issue # 12 with a relaunch following ‘Flashpoint’ has many fans including Brian and Matman screaming foul! But the best news comes from Marvel that got Brian and Matman very excited is the announced creative team and possible direction on the upcoming ‘Daredevil’ series!

"This is big news for me", said Matman who is a huge Daredevil fan! "I’ve been depressed in the way DD has been handled over the past few years. He is a superhero, plain and simple. He fights bad guys and so much has been on the breaking of Matt Murdock."

Coming on to tell the tale is Mark Waid who has had success coming in to help save a character from creative limbo. The Flash and Captain America to name a few had their careers revived by Waid’s magic storytelling. The word on the street is that Waid plans to distance himself from these ‘reality based’ stories that have been the norm for the past few years.

Probably the biggest surprise is the addition of two old school style artists in Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera! Rivera recently spent time with Waid in the Spidey-verse and is one of the most prolific cover artists in the biz right now. Martin is also an icredible pick. His Steve Ditko inspired art has made many fans (especially Brian) seek out everything he draws.

Look for ‘Daredevil’ # 1 (Volume Three) coming in July!

3-21-11:  SI'S Archives And Mo's New Digs

You may have noticed over the weekend a new feature here on the Secret Identity website.  We now have archive pages for the news, interviews and reviews (comics. games. movies/tv) pages.  When you hover over the links above, the archive links will drop down. We're archiving by year, which should make finding old articles much easier. You may also notice it takes less time for the main page to load in you browser, as we will keep only about a month's worth of stories on the main page at one time.

There have also been some big changes over at www.mostachecomic.com. One of the issues HJohn and I have wanted to address for a while was the way the comic displays on the site, and Weebly just doesn't have a great solution to that problem. So, over the weekend we moved the site over to WordPress. It was a lot of work, but now all 32 pages of Mo are on the new site, and the reading experience is more user-friendly.  New comics will always appear on the front page, and you can now navigate between pages with ease. For those of you who like the old Mo site, we'll be continuing to update that one for the foreseeable future as well, just in case something happens with the new site. You can reach the Weebly site by going to www.mostachecomic.weebly.com.

Please check out the new features on both sites and let us know what you think!


3-20-11: News From The Windy City And More....

Well folks…buckle up! It’s time for yet another Matman rant! So get ready…set…rant!

Congrats to our longtime pal Matthew Clark for not only signing an exclusive deal with Marvel but for also being named as the artist (along with writer Rob Williams) on the new ‘Ghost Rider’ series! Another book I’ll be picking up….

‘Six Million Dollar Man’ finds a comic book home at Dynamite Entertainment! An iconic character that should be in comics! It’s been so long since the Charlton series and I mean so long!

First, his art on Batman Confidential # 49 got rave reviews from me, second he was interviewed by me at New York Comic Con! Now Steve Scott will be the new artist on ‘Batman’ starting with # 711. Hmmmmnnn! What is a bigger thrill for Steve?

Apparently # 12 will be the last issue of ‘The Flash’! With the book charting in the top 20 each month, its surprising to think it won’t be back after ‘Flashpoint’, but will it be with Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul?

So what do I think? Word just got out that Mark Waid will be writing the new ‘Daredevil’ series following the ‘Daredevil: Reborn’ series. Add to that artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin and I think I’m back on Daredevil. Just make it a superhero comic with costumes and villains like ‘Stilt Man’, ‘Purple Man’ and ‘Jester’ and I’m back on!

I hope everyone noticed the new stuff on the website! Brian started out Friday just doing a little ’polishing off the brass’ and by the time he was done, he archived the entire site and dare I say, he did an incredible job.

With all the news coming out of C2E2, I’m still not seeing a return of Sgt. Fury, Sgt. Rock or The Unknown Soldier!

The first show for Secret Identity this year is coming up in a few weeks…MOCCA! This is an incredible festival of independent creators, artists and products that you won’t see anywhere else. Part comic show, part book fare with a sprinkle of circus…you won’t believe the diverse creators all over the show floor. Hope to see you there. For more…www.moccany.com

And speaking of shows…Boston Comic Con has been adding guests like crazy! Just added was J. Scott Campbell and Brutis ‘The Barber’ Beefcake! Yes!

This week’s Classic Cover is an iconic one, probably on of the 20 greatest ever… ‘Mister Miracle’ # 1 from April of 1971. This book was part of Jack Kirby’s move from Marvel to DC and the dawn of his Fourth World. Not appreciated at the time, this group of characters has become an important part of DC continuity! This week’s ‘Out Of The Longbox’ will be a look at this incredible comic!

Well that’s it, I’m outta breath. See you in the funny papers!

3-18-11:  The Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge

Press Release

Joe Sinnott.  The name immediately evokes to mind many things: legendary inker, community-respected veteran artist, gentleman, fan-favorite and art partner of Jack Kirby.  For the non-profit organization the Inkwell Awards, Joe is their Hall of Fame namesake and recipient, a living representation of what the art form of inking is really about with a decades-spanning career of work to prove it.   

This year The Inkwells wanted to try out a new, additional way of expressing their mission of promoting, educating and recognizing inking and its artists.

Utilizing two of Joe's original penciled images of Namor the Sub-Mariner and Dr. Doom, the organization offered a variety of ink artists in the community a rare opportunity to ink over the pencil art of an inking legend, The 2011 Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge.  Both characters are instantly familiar from Joe's long run on Fantastic Four, where he inked a number of artists, including a career defining run over Jack Kirby, along with Rich Buckler, George Perez and John Byrne.  

The art, previously donated on blank variant cover comics for fundraising, was enlarged and converted to blueline on comic-sized boards before being sent out to the chosen inkers. "Some of the inkers challenged themselves to capture the feel of Joe's clean line work while retaining their own individual style,” Bob Almond, founder & director of the Inkwell Awards, stated.  “Others, especially those inkers known for their finishing work, took the spirit of the drawing and amped it up to the next level, bringing in their own sensibilities and drawing skills.  Neither approach is ‘wrong’ and seeing both methods actually enhances the experience." 

By posting the images side-by-side in their ComicArtFans gallery, this will allow the public to compare the pieces and see what each artist brings to the table and educate people about what inking involves.  "This was a concept inspired by promoter Steve Morger's annual Inking Panel which takes place at his 'Super-Con', now the 'Big Wow Comicfest' (http://www.super-con.com),” said Bob Almond, “and he gave me his enthusiastic blessing about using the idea for our needs. "We hope that this will become an annual event,” continued Almond, “and Joe, in anticipation of upcoming films, will be penciling two more cover pieces, Captain America and Thor, as donations and we will use those images for the 2012 Sinnott Inking Challenge. So check out our gallery and you can be the decider on who led the challenge in inking Joe Sinnott!" 

The list of inker participants all lending their generous time and effort spans from the legends of the bronze-age right on up through the modern-age and today's hot talents: Mike Allred, Kent Archer, Terry Austin, Rick Bryant, Ernie Chan, Klaus Janson, Jay Leisten, Pablo Marcos, Jose Marzan, Jr., Mark McKenna, Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, Dan Parsons, Sean Parsons, Jack Purcell, Josef Rubenstein, Tom Schloendorn, Jim Tournas and Bob Wiacek. Some of the inked pieces are already posted at the gallery, with more being added as they come in: 

Dr. Doom: http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryRoom.asp?GSub=110821
Namor: http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryRoom.asp?GSub=110820 

Another aspect to this project is fundraising.  This June marks the scheduled first live awards ceremony for The Inkwells at Heroes Con with Inkwell committee, ambassadors, contributors, and spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell in attendance and with all of the public invited to attend and join the fun.  The organization is co-sponsoring the costs of the event with Heroes which will especially include all travel expenses of the award recipients who will be announced exclusively that weekend.  So besides the usual ongoing fundraising achieved through their online auctions, this is another opportunity to do so.  The pages of original blueline-inked art will be up for auction at ComicArtFans starting Sunday March 20 and will probably run for more than one week.  They can be found at the Inkwell Awards auction page at http://www.comicartfans.com/auctions/AuctionProfileAuctions.asp?GCat=35444 

The 2011 Inkwell Awards ballots go live April 1st-30th so please vote at www.inkwellawards.com!

3-16-11: SI #318--Co-Op Critics: Bulletstorm

Hi All,

This week we're debuting a new gaming segment on Secret Identity called Co-Op critics. In the first segement, we tackle Bulletstorm, a new first-person shooter for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. I wanted to post the show notes here, as there are some links that might be of interest to you while you're listening:

The Bulletstorm launch trailer.

A video showcasing Bulletstorm’s skill-based gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdk0auH5dVI

An interview that Brian did with Rick Remender, who wrote the story for the game: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=27404

Fore more info on Bulletstorm, you can head to the game’s official site www.bulletstorm.com.


3-13-11: Prayers, Events, Exclusives...And G - Man!

First and foremost, Brian and I wish to send our prayers and well wishes to our listeners in Japan. When real life disasters strike anywhere, it makes us all realize that the world is more than comic books and movies. We encourage you to help out in the relief efforts anyway you can. Now on to the distractions…

It’s official!!! Chris Giarrusso will be joining us on April 16th in Northampton, MA at the Paint and Pixels Festival. For more information on this incredible show, just go to www.paintandpixelfestival.com.

This weekend, the C2E2 (Chicago Comic And Entertainment Expo) hits McCormick Place in the heart of America, Chicago, Illinois. We’ll have news from creator friends in attendance as to how cool the show is / was. And yes… it’s another Reed Pop show! www.c2e2.com. 

Now I love me the Smurfs!!! This weekend I caught up on the last three issues from our friends at Papercutz. Each comic contains two classic stories by Peyo all for only $5.99. This version of the Smurfs has a lot more depth than the cartoon we all watched as kids, so be ready for more than just Gargamel trying to catch Smurfs. That’s there too, but there is more to the books tha that…   

It was announced last week that writer Nick Spencer signed an exclusive deal with Marvel. This comes as a huge shock! Spencer will keep up with his creator owned stuff like ‘Morning Glories’ and said he will finish the first story arc on ‘T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents’. Congrats Marvel! You got a good one!

Number of the week… 139! My cholesterol number!!!! Take that healthy eaters.

The count this week from Most Excellent Comics was 9 total books… 4 DC (including 3 Bat - books), 3 Marvel (All Captain America), ‘Spawn # 204’ and ‘Infestation: Ghostbusters’! ‘Off The Rack’ at the Grocery Store was ‘Green Lantern # 62’.  

One of comics most endearing character is Dave Stevens’ ‘The Rocketeer’! IDW recently collected released the complete saga and is now announcing a new mini series ‘Rocketeer Adventures’. More on this one over the week ‘cause it’s huge!

Extra Extra!!! ‘Batwoman’ # 1 was cancelled by Diamond! All solicits cancelled…why? Stay tuned!

Will be checking out ‘Battlefield: Los Angeles’ this week! So far reviews seemed very mixed.

And why am I getting all psyched for ‘Sucker Punch’? 

In the next few months, DC is giving us some events…all at once! ‘War Of The Green Lanterns’, ‘Reign Of Doomsday’ and ‘Flashpoint’. Since I’m forced to choose… ‘Doomsday’ ain’t coming to my house. Why not spread these out and let all the readers be able to get all the events! Just a thought…

For the ‘Classic Cover Of The Week’ I go back to 1986 to ‘Airboy’ # 5. This stunning cover by Dave Stevens (see a few stories above) is one of the greatest covers of all time. Containing beauty and power, this particular cover was not just made into a poster, but was a poster that adorned my walls until I got married. My wife didn’t want to compete with Valkyrie!

Well, that’s it for now. We’ll talk again in a few days…

3-9-11: January Top Sellers According To Diamond!

January Diamond Sales numbers were released and it seems that DC’s dominance in December didn’t sustain the success they had last month. And a non-big two made the top ten.

The biggest selling book of the month was the polybagged ‘Fantastic Four’ #587. The apparent ‘death of the Human Torch’ send fans into a buying tizzy!

The next two belong to DC’s ‘Brightest Day 17 and 18’, followed by an impressive showing for Image’s ‘Spawn’ # 200. The next two spots belonged to Marvel (Avengers, X - Men) with a couple of Bat-books making the top 10 (Batman and Robin at #7 and Batman at #9). Sadly Spawn # 211 only reached 82.

Dark Horse had some impressive showings with Buffy at # 25 (up from 32) and ‘Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command’ # 1 grabbing the 79th spot.

IDW’s ‘Infestation’# 1 made an impressive debut at 91 and was the companies highest charted book. With good reason too, it was incredible.

A book Brian and Matt were very excited about, Batman Beyond # 1 made an impressive debut at # 28. Nice job Mr. Beechen! And not being satisfied with one showing... his backup in 'Zatanna' # 9 moved it from 98 to 81st!

Some of the Secret Identity favorite books have made some impressive gains were…

Superboy # 3 this week 47, last week 52
Chaos War # 5 at 69 last week, 59 this week
Batgirl # 17 made a huge gain from last month, hitting 57 from last month’s 72
Supergirl # 60 moved up to 65 from 79

Sadly, Heroes for Hire # 2 dropped from 59 to 63

The top selling trade in December was ‘Jack of Fables - Volume 8

Top selling toys was ‘Blackest Knight’ Series Seven action figures.

And the top novelty was a Betty page Heat sensitive Mug! Drink up.

Since Diamond is THE distributor of comics and related merchandise, they are the most accurate as far as sales.

3-7-11: Matman's Flashpoint And I Am The Law!

Hey folks! The start of another week begins with some rants by me! So get ready and saddle up the horses!

‘Flashpoint’, the big ‘Flash’ event has finally revealed some details! First, this event could redefine and revitalize the Flash much like ‘Blackest Night’ did Green Lantern. Series creators are a few big names…writer by Geoff Johns and artist Andy Kubert.

A series that I have been slowly getting into (but need the first bunch of books) is ‘The Secret History’ from Archaia. Written by Jean – Pierre Pecau with beautiful art by Igor Kordey, this alternate history involves four immortals and their place in unfolding human history. To see more go to http://www.archaia.com/blog/titles/the-secret-history. As soon as i get the early books I need, I’ll do a fully detailed review.

Another ‘Flashpoint’ point is that there will be 14 mini series tie-ins with the most intriguing creative team on ‘Flashpoint: Batman, Knight Of Vengeance’ is Brian Azzarello and Eduard Risso, the same team that brought us ‘100 Bullets’.

Early Diamond Distributors reports had some positive news with sales increasing about 20% following an abysmal January. Next week, we’ll break down the sales report, but it looks like DC has 6 books in the top ten (against 4 Marvels) and had the top three books.

Did you see the pix floating around featuring Hugo Weaving in the full Red Skull garb?

Yet another ‘Flashpoint’ tidbit is Jimmy Palmiotti will be writing one featuring Deathstroke. Also Cliff Chaing will be handling the cover for ‘Flashpoint: Deadman And The Flying Graysons.’

Do we really still have to wait two more months for the new episodes of Doctor Who?

In my ‘Gonna Make Me Puke’ segment! Actor Cary Elwes will star opposite Adrianne Palicki in David E. Kelley’s "Wonder Woman," playing the CEO of Themyscira Industries who oversees the day-to-day operations while Diana fights crime. Really? C’mon… Themyscira Industries?

Matman on InvestComics TV? Stay tuned…

This weeks ‘Classic Cover’ is ‘Judge Dredd’ # 1 from November of 1983. In the 'pre' internet world, I was first introduced to the world of ‘2000 AD’ by the British metal band Heavy Pettin’. In a magazinr I saw one of the members with the cover on a shirt and thus my search for Judge Dredd began! A few years later Anthrax brought it all home with their tribute to the lawman in the classic song ‘I Am The Law’. But this week’s all about the classic cover by Brian Bolland.

That’s it for this week, talk you soon…

3-6-11:  In Stores This Month--Buddy Scalera's Creating Comics From Start To Finish

Press Release

Many comic fanatics dream of one day being a fan-favorite creator, sitting behind a table signing autographs of the very comic they’ve created. Yet, unfortunately, many will never step out of standing in line themselves because they don’t know where to begin in the comic creating process. 

Enter IMPACT’s newest release, Creating Comics from Start to Finish by industry expert Buddy Scalera. Finally, comic readers can become comic pros as Buddy reveals how their favorite comics are made from concept to completion, with insights and tips throughout from top working professionals on how to break in and stay in the business.

In this illustrated guide, readers will dig deep into every step of the process—including writing, editing, pencilling, inking, coloring, lettering and even publishing—with interviews and advice from Darick Roberston, Mark Waid, Brian Haberlin and other industry stars. Even Joe Quesada, the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Comics, and comics legend Stan Lee have dedicated chapters to inspire readers on how to reach for comic stardom. 

Now aspiring creators and self-publishers can work professionally in comics, with Creating Comics from Start to Finish as their guide!

For more information, head over to www.buddyscalera.com.

2-27-11: Motorhead, Charlton And... Price Point!

What an incredible time with hockey and baseball going on at the same time! Can life get any better? Read more and find out…

I have to agree with Brian 100% on ‘Heroes For Hire’! I just finished the second issue and it was as good as the first!  Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Brad Walker are a dream team doing an incredible job on a book with second and third tier characters, a deep story and an underlying mystery I can’t wait to see get explored more. “Heroes For Hire’ is a comic that deserves a massive reading audience

Count at the LCS this week was 11! Five DC, 3 Marvel one IDW, 1 Dark Horse and 1 Image.

Are you ready for Zenescope Entertainment’s crossover event, ‘The Dream Eater Saga’? At the helm of this one is none other than Raven Gregory.

Boom Studios! Has picked up another license I’ll be talking about this week. I’ll give you a clue… it’s a favorite of mine and Witch Hunters Vince Ferante.

As I watched ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ this weekend it dawned on me why I love Don Cherry so much. He is exactly like Rowdy Roddy Piper! Now, if you don’t know ‘Grapes’, just YouTube him.

I just picked up the latest Motorhead CD ‘The World Is Yours’ and it is by far, the best disc in their 30 plus year career. For a band that has an over the top image and in your face presence, ‘The World Is Yours’ is an easy listen. And boy is this thing L-O-U-D!  

I was flipping through some back issues of Charlton’s Space 1999 series and it made me remember how much I used to love Charlton Comics. Since they were a Connecticut based company, they were sold everywhere when I was a kid. Sure miss ‘em.

Like ‘Heroes For Hire’, DC’s ‘Gotham City Sirens’ is a team put together of lower cast heroes from the Bat-verse. Writer Paul Calloway has not only got a good cast to work with, but has made it one of the best books going.

This week I’ll be putting together my story on ‘Comic Book Pricepoint’. This is still a big concern in comics and I have reached out to comic stores around the States to see if price has become an issue. Have readers begun to buy more DC than Marvel? Trends point to yes, but lets ask the stores.  

And finally… the ‘Classic Cover of the Week’ belongs to Star Wars # 7 from January 1978. This cover by Tony De Zuniga and Gil Kane was the first official post Star Wars tale and the beginning of the Star Wars expanded universe.

Well, that’s it for this week. We’ll talk soon…

2-23-11: Dwayne McDuffie Passes Away At 49

Some sad and unfortunate news to report today. Comic and TV writer Dwayne McDuffie passed away at the age of 49. DC Comics reported he passed away a day after his birthday. The cause and place of death weren't immediately known.

McDuffie wrote for both DC and Marvel including runs on “Batman”, “Fantastic Four” and the “Justice League of America”. He was also the figurehead and driving force behind the Milestone Universe. Milestone Media (the company) focused on multicultural superheroes including "Hardware," "Icon," "Blood Syndicate," "Xombi" and "Static," which was turned into the popular children's cartoon "Static Shock," on which he served as a story editor.

He also wrote several animated features, including "All Star Superman" (released yesterday) as well as "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" and the animated TV series "Static Shock" and "Ben 10: Alien Force."

McDuffie also wrote for other titles and characters, too, including Black Panther and Deathlok.

Besides comics, McDuffie was a producer and story editor on Cartoon Network's "Justice League Unlimited," and wrote and produced episodes of other cartoons, including "What's New, Scooby Doo?," "Ben 10: Ultimate Alien" and "Teen Titans."

McDuffie was nominated for two Emmy Awards for "Static Shock," a Writers Guild award for "Justice League" and three Eisner awards for his work in comic books.

"I recently discovered the 'Dakotaverse' and had a few conversations with him about it online," Matman added. "I couldn't wait to one day sit down with him and chat."

Many creators have already posted their sadness and thoughts and the Secret Identity family send to their condolences to the McDuffie family as well.

2-22-11:  Remender Talks Bulletstorm With Brian For CBR

First-person shooter fans have been anxiously awaiting the release of “Bulletstorm'" which arrives in stores today.  While most of the hype surrounding the game is about the over the top action and skill-based scoring system, comic fans have another reason to be excited--the game’s story is written by Rick Remender.  Brian interviewed Remender about Bulletstorm’s story way back during San Diego Comic Con 2010.  Much of the conversation revolved around how Rememnder’s other work informed some of the things he did with Bulletsorm.  When asked about how the main character in “Bulletstorm” compared to “Fear Agent’s” Heath Huston, Rememnder had this to say:

In terms of "Fear Agent," we've got an alcoholic in Heath Huston who is scuttling around the universe, making his dailies as an alien exterminator. Heath had to kill off an alien race to save Earth and he's never gotten over it, never healed. The focus on Heath is that he's a walking wound. Father of a murdered son, husband to a woman who hates him, he's a damaged human being who has fallen into real drinking problems. He's a legitimate alcoholic, and that's his character.

What we've got here in "Bulletstorm" with Grayson Hunt is a hardcore, highly trained military man, a disillusioned black ops soldier who had been misused, so he goes rogue and turns into a space pirate, paying back the government that abused him and his men. He's much more the gruff military man on a mission of pure savage revenge. He's a killer. He was a loyal soldier and member of a crack squad known as Dead Echo who discovered that their commanding general had manipulated and distorted them. "Bulletstorm" has heart and emotion, for sure, but it goes in a much different direction than "Fear Agent."

Yoou can read the full interview over on Comic Book Resources by clicking here.

2-20-11:  Brian's New Media Diet--Consume Less, Digest More

I’ve been struggling with something for a while and have had a hard time putting it into words.  But the more I ponder it, the more I think it boils down to a fairly simple problem.  I consume a ridiculous amount of media on a daily basis.  I read comics in print, on my computer, my iPhone and my eReader.  I watch shows and movies on my TV, iPhone and computer.  I read books and magazines on my eReader, my computer and in print. I play games on my computer, iPhone, and consoles.  

On top of that , I listen to podcasts every day on my way to and from work, and even at work, if I can get away with it.  And as someone who grew up loving books, games, comics, movies, shows, having access to media the way we do now should be like living in paradise for me.

But I’m starting to hate it.  Because in the interest of consuming as much media as possible, there’s almost no time to reflect on what I’m consuming.  And if I don’t take time to think about, evaluate, discuss and process the things I’m consuming, then I don’t even really enjoy them (or dislike them, for that matter).  I can’t even remember half the stuff I read or watch, because I don’t take any time to reflect on it, I just move on to the next thing.

Secret Identity has been both good and bad for me when it comes to this struggle I’m having.  On the one hand, Matt and I limiting our reviews to a few books each a week allows us to have about a 10-minute dicussion on each, which is a decent amount for a single issue of a comic book.  On the other hand, forcing myself to watch as many shows as possible during a given week so I can regurgitate them in the Boob Tube/Big Screen Blitzkrieg segment isn’t really the way I want to enjoy movies and TV.

So, my plan moving forward is that I will be consuming less, and digesting more.  For those who listen to the podcast, you’ll still hear all the things you’re used to hearing every week.  But, I do plan on adding a new segment to the show from time to time, where I’ll be taking a more in-depth look at a movie, comic game, show, etc.  I also plan on writing some articles on the SI website that will be deeper dicsussions as well.

Stay tuned!


2-15-11: Nine Hundred Issues Later...

Who ever thought that something that made its debut in June of 1938 would still be going today!

On April 27th, comic book history will be made with the release of ‘Action Comics’ # 900. This issues (like most of the ones before it), features Superman and Lex Luthor in what is being called their ultimate battle! Written by Paul Cornell and drawn by Pete Woods, this historic book will conclude the year long arc and will also begin this summer’s story.

“This is the biggest comic anniversary so far,” comic book geek Matman adds. “Action Comics # 1 is the classic comic and to see its 900th issue coming is so cool. I remember getting ‘Action Comics’ # 500 and thinking that was amazing.”

Also featured in the issue will be a tale by David Goyer as well as director Richard Donner. And, ‘Action Comics # 900’ will feature a variant cover by the only one able to deliver one for something this big, Alex Ross! Regular cover will be by David Finch and another variant cover by Adam Hughes.

Action Comics # 900 will be released on April 27th and will cost $5.99 for an incredible 96 pages!

2-13-11: Matman Gets Infested And More Books To Buy... 

Well Happy Valentine’s Day Eve! Hope you hooked up that someone special with something special. If not, oh well…

*If you didn’t already hear, the ‘Marvels’ team of Kurt Busik and Alex Ross will be reuniting for ‘Kirby: Genesis’! Details are not fully disclosed but it looks like it will feature some lesser known Jack Kirby characters. Then maybe DC will let them do to the ‘Third World’ history like Kurt and Alex did for Marvel!

*This week, Brian and I will be reviewing the first issue of IDW’s series spanning ‘Infestation’! This event crosses the Ghostbusters, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Star Trek lines and if the first issue is any indication, it will be incredible!

*Count at the store this week was seven! The breakdown; DC (3), Marvel (2), Image (1) and Red 5 (1). At Super Stop and Shop off the rack was ‘Superman #708.’ But the big score was the 23 books from Discount Comic Book Service.

*Just when I thought I was going to be dropping ‘Secret Avengers’ comes word that Nick Spencer will be taking over writing duties. He’ll be joined by artist Scott Eaton. You got me again Marvel!

*I think I also may be jumping back into ‘Batman and Robin’ again., Following the preview (in most DC books), I’m really excited to see what Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason come up with. I remember becoming a big fan of Pat’s art on ‘Noble Causes’ a looong time ago and it’ll be good to see his take on the world of Gotham!

*Hey Dark Horse! I see you’re doing a series based on the early life of Qui - Gon Jinn! I love Qui – Gon but no more early stuff!!!! Hoth, Hoth, Hoth! Or better yet, a series taking place in the three years before the Battle of Yavin?

*Need more ‘Walking Dead’? McFarlane toys is releasing figures based on the Image Comics / AMC series. Eight figures split between two waves with the best figure, ‘Zombie Biter’ in the second set.

*A thank you and welcome aboard to Tommy Hancock, the head of marketing and promotion for Moonstone Comics! In our effort to spotlight and promote more non – Big Two books, Tommy has sent us a few previews to read and review including ‘Kolchak’ # 2.

*This weeks ‘Comic Book Marketplace’ show in New York City will feature our pals Billy Tucci, Jim Salicrup, Dick Ayers and the super cool, super awesome Steve Scott. For more information please check out http://www.nycbm.com/. Due to scheduling issues Brian and I won’t be attending but we’re hoping for another successful show for Mike Carbo.  

*‘Cover Of The Week’ this week belongs to John Romita, Sr. and ‘Invaders # 1’. This was my first introduction to Captain America and was my gateway drug into superhero comics. Throw in some Nazi’s and I was hooked. The series lasted 41 incredible issues, plus an annual and Giant Size and goes down as one of my favorites ever!

Well folks, that’s it! Enjoy your week!

2-11-11: Matman Talks Taco Bell Comics

I am a big fan of putting comic books anywhere, especially if the goal is to get younger readers into the hobby. In the 1990’s companies were getting comics everywhere; Devil Dogs, Pizza Hut…everywhere.

This month, that promotional idea is back courtesy of our friends at Taco Bell! Inside (or at least with) the ‘Kids Meal', you get one of four full size comics featuring an all new adventure with Iron Man, the X – Men, Fantastic Four and the Avengers! By putting free comic books in the meals they are opening up an entire audience of youngsters who may know most of the characters, but didn’t know they existed in print.

Each comic is a ‘stand alone’ younger reader’s story. The stories (11 pages) are written it seems to be read while eating the meal with plenty of punch ups and stuff being destroyed. The story and dialogue are not complicated, easy to follow and very well written. The art is very easy on the eyes as well which is very important for first time readers. All in all, the books are a great way to introduce a young reader who would enjoy everything comics have to offer. Another cool thing Marvel did was use some incredible covers to attract the reader. Roger Cruz, Steve McNiven, Brandon Peterson and Scott Kollins may have done these covers in the past, but they are perfect here.

The creative teams on each book are as follows; Alex Zalben and Tom Grummett handle the X – Men, Paul Tobin and Craig Rousseau are on Fantastic Four, Atomic Robo’s Brian Clevenger and Scott Wegener are a natural fit on Iron Man and our pal Joe Caramagna and Derec Donovan take on earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers. Each comic also features a one page story by Colleen Coover that is more on the humorous side. All four of those…brilliant!

It’s been funny (but sad at the same time) to read the comments people are making about the books in general. Some say the books don’t follow marvel continuity, and complain the stories are too childish! Others have complained the covers don’t match the inside story and my new favorite complaint…” is the plastic the comics are in acid free and if I leave them in the bag will they get ruined AND will the value be affected if I take them out of the bag and place them in an acid free bag?”

WOW! Those guys are still out there!

Great comics that are designed for kids! Books that can get them interested in collecting and the possibility of expanding their horizons! And for you non Taco Bell eaters, each book only costs a buck!

2-8-11:  Alana Abbott's Novels Available On Drive Thru RPG!!

Great news from our good friend Alana Abbott today!  Alana's novels "Into the Reach" and "Departure" are now both available on Drive Thru RPG in electronic format.  Longtime listeners know that it was "Into the Reach" that first brought Alana and Secret Identity together!  

I happened to be playtesting a new RPG called "Chronicles of Ramlar" at the time, and Alana had just written "Into the Reach," which was set in the world of the game. Unfortuately, White Silver Publishing (the compant behind the game) ran into some financial issues, and the third novel in Alana's trilogy ("Regaining Home") never saw print.

The great news is that Alana now has the rights to all three books, and both "Into the Reach" and "Departure" are avaiable now for only $4.99 apiece!  That's a ridiculously low price for two great fantasy novels, and whether you're an RPG fan or not, they are well worth checking out. "Regaining Home" will eventually be published electronically as well, so fans of the series will finally get to finish the trilogy. 

Congrats to Alana for her perseverance, as her stories can now finally be enjoyed by everyone.   Special thanks to our friend Matt McElroy at Drive Thru for helping make this happen, too!

Click here to head over to Drive Thru RPG now to get your copies!


2-7-11:Cap Trailer, Taco Bell and Joe Caramagna!

Here we go… another week and another rant! Get ready…

*Congrats to the Green Bay Packers for winning the Super Bowl. Without my Patriots being there, my rooting interest went to Wisconsin! This may be a shocker to many of you since Pittsburgh (along with New York City) is my adopted town and I have more Steelers friends than Packers, I was going with the cheese!

*Some big, telling and very disturbing news released this week was the fact that comic book sales dropped almost 25% from last year at this time. No matter what spin you put on it, it’s not good news for our industry. We’ll have more on this story as the weeks go on…

*So what were your thoughts about the Captain America trailer shown during the Super Bowl? I got a much better feel than seeing the Jonah Hex trailer for the first time. Love that it’s selling point is World War II.

*I just finished watching the 6th Doctor’ epic ‘Trial of a Time Lord’. Here Colin Baker (one of my favorite Doctors) is fighting for his life. If you watch the ‘making of’ on the discs you learn the series was at the time fighting for its life. When I interviewed Mr. Baker a few years back I introduced him as my favorite doctor named ‘Baker!’ He loved it!

*My book count this week; 6 DC, 2 Marvel and 4 others at Taco Bell! I have been reading reviews of these books and people seemed to be upset that they are not in regular continuity! Hello…they’re in KIDS MEALS!!! We’re trying to get the young’uns into comics.

*And speaking of Taco Bell comics, congrats to our BFF Joe Caramagna for his writing not only of the Taco Bell ‘Fantastic Four’ comic, but the release of ‘Superman 80 Page Giant 2011’, where he wrote an incredible Supergirl story.

*If you are a customer of DCBS, be ready for your books! The weather delayed books getting top them and that unfortunately delayed books getting to us! This week there’ll be many of us getting Christmas in February!

*Cross Gen fans, get ready! Marvel (who owns the rites to the characters) is brining ‘em back. Up first, ‘Sigal’ and my favorite Cross Gen title, ‘Ruse’ which combines the best elements of Sherlock Holmes and the supernatural. Welcome back!  

*'Classic Cover Of The Week' is the book I’ll feature this week in ‘Out Of The Long Box’ is ‘ROM: Spaceknight’ from December of 1979! This cover to me sums up what Marvel was all about back in the day…fun and mind blowing imagination no matter how lame the concept was! This was also from the time when i was buying every comic that was being published.

*I have discovered the greatest TV show ever, ‘An Idiot Abroad’ starring Karl Pilkington, Rickey Gervais and Steven Merchant. On the Science Channel, this show is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time… ‘non stop, deep laughter!’ Pilkington is sent to exotic locals and ends up seeing life he didn’t expect.

Well. Time is short this weekend, so I’m out!!!

2-2-11: Caramagna's Working At Taco Bell Again!

It's time for Matt to throw his healthy eating habits out the window again! Like they did in 2009, Taco Bell is now offering four all-new Marvel comics along with their kids meals. All four comics feature original stories from some great creative teams. There's an Iron Man comic from Clevinger and Wegener (Atomic Robo), Fantastic Four by Paul Tobin and Craig Rousseau, X-Men by Alex Zalben and Tom Grummett, and Avengers by Derec Donovan and our good friend Mr. Joe Caramagna! All four of the books feature back-up stories by Colleen Coover.

Rumor has it that you can buy the comics for $1 apiece if you don't want the kids meal along with it. So don't let Matt fool you when he says he HAD to eat Taco Bell just to get Joe's new comic.

Thanks to Joe for the heads up!

2-1-11: Patrick heads to Zenescope And Looks Grimm!

As we still are raving about the James Patrick / Steve Scott / Bob Petrecca’s ‘Batman Confidential’ # 49, word on the streets is that writer James Patrick will be spending a little time at Zenescope!

The award winning and critically acclaimed writer will be scripting and co writing (along with Joe Brusha) Grimm Fairy Tales # 57 - #62. James has worked in comics and other mediums on properties like Star Trek, Angel, and Hero By Night and of course the above mentioned Batman Confidential!

Matman: So where in your life does being picked my favorite book of 2010 rate?

James: Heh. I don't think about things like that, but I was very grateful. And I tell you what, how about I put you second on my list of things related to that book? I can't put you first because of one absolutely awesome e-mail I got from it :) You're still ahead of the birth of my kids though. Well, one of them anyway.

Matman: So now you're hanging out with our friends over at Zenescope for a six issue run on Grimm Fairy Tales…

James: Yup. I'm working with Joe Brusha on Issue's 57 - 62, unless I get fired. This will be my longest run on anything consecutively. I wrote six issues of the Hero By Night regular series with DJ Coffman, but he and Platinum only made it to three.  

Matman: Does anyone other than me remind you that you share the name of one of the best hockey defensemen ever?

James: Not that I share the name, but I live in West Virginia now and I know a lot of people that look like hockey defensemen. Some of them are men, too.

To find out more about James you can find him on Facebook!!

1-30-11: Death, Dinosaurs and Archie?

Wow!!! This has been a New England winter of epic proportions! Tons of snow and frigid cold temperatures have made this one for the ages…like the winters of my youth.

*The count this week from Most Excellent? Four DC, one Image, one Dark Horse and three Marvels. Included is the count is Fantastic Four # 587, the death of the Human Torch.

*And speaking of the death of the Human Torch, the book was incredible as the entire Jonathan Hickman run has been. But I think this ‘gimmick’ takes away from how good this series has been. The way it ended was so powerful, but we all know he isn’t dead.

*And speaking again of the Human Torch, sales of Fantastic Four # 587 were as expected. In New York City, Jim Henley’s Universe sold around 400 copies, with a few multiple copies sold. Did you notice the black bag ink came off in your hands? I did right after I itched my nose. 

*Our good friends Alex Simmons, Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski need to be commended on their incredible six issue arc, ‘Archie New Kids Off The Wall’. Budget cuts have forced a town school to close and the students end up at Riverdale. Plus…six incredible interlocking covers by Rex Lindsey and Rich K. The series ran through all the main Archie comics and I’m sure will be collected into trade.

*Speaking of Archie Comics… it is so cool to be reading the actual comics that I wrote solicits for. Since I write these months in advance by reading scripts, thumbnails or just a simple synopsis, it is so awesome to finally read the finished books. The first batch have been hitting over the past few months. And I even got a compliment from an Archie artist on them!

*I handed in my Inkwell Awards 2010 ballot with much pride last week. Secret Identity has always recognized the inkers, colorist and letterers as well as the writers, pencilers and painters. Thanks to Bob Almond for including Brian and I each year in this prestigious award.

*Just finished ‘Spawn’ #201 and dare I say …I loved it! I find Spawn more interesting when it’s more horror than superhero. I’ll be reviewing it on the show this week, but the new team of Will Carlton and Szymon Kudranski seem to be worthy successors to the classic David Hine and Brian Haberlin run! Horror, gothic look, creepy supernatural stuff….

*Interesting thing I noticed in the March Previews guide Marvel supplement! There are about 105 comics (not including trades) solicited. I’m a firm believer in capitalism and a business getting everything they can, but 105 different books in a marketplace that is shrinking and struggling to find its way doesn’t seem to be responsible.  

*’Off The Rack’ this week from my local Super Stop and Shop is ‘Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors’ # 6. Nothing like getting my smoothie supplies (frozen fruit, juice and vanilla yogurt) along with the blood dripping cover featuring Bleez.

*’Classic Cover of the Week’! From October of 1976 comes ‘G.I. Combat # 195! Back then I loved war and dinosaurs so this cover had it all. Cover artist Joe Kubert was the master at making one picture tell you everything that was inside the book … and more!    

Thanks for shopping and ‘Matt’s All She Wrote’!

1-26-11: What's Next For Wizard Magazine?

Big news in the comic world this week, as word came down Monday that Wizard magazine (and Tor Fair as well) would be ceasing publication.  The company itself (Wizard World Inc.) has gone public, and in addition to producing comic and pop culture conventions,  it will launch a new online publication in February called "Wizard World."

I'm not sure how most Secret Identity listeners feel about the news, but I find it disappointing anytime a print publication goes away.  That said, Wizard has pretty much been the "Maxim" of comic journalism for the past several years, and its readership had declined drastically from it's heyday as the premiere source of comic news. 

Like a lot of print publications, Wizard struggled to stay relevant in the age of 24-hour news sites, and with CBR, Newsarama and even IGN producing regular features, creator interviews and exclusive reveals, Wizard's "Top Ten Caped Hotties" lists were just not cutting it anymore.

What I find more interesting than the ending of the print magazine, is the potential directions Wizard could go with their online "Wizard World" publication.  If they are going to use a subscrition model (which I suspect they will), I'd love to see them go the route of Electronic Gaming Monthly.  While EGM does still have a print version, their online magazine is excellent, and features a nice blend of paid and free content.  More importantly, there is a focus on features--not news-chasing, superficial soundbytes featuring the same assets that are sent out with press releases to every news site on the web.  For my tastes, it's what separates EGM from everyone else. (You can check out the latest issue of EGM over at www.egmnow.com).

With its 12 planned conventions next year, there's also a lot of creators that Wizard will have access to, which they could leverage for their online publication.  Video interviews, behind the scenes features, studio and set visits--there are a ton of possibilities.  They could also offer content packages for each of their conventions.  For example, those who attend a Wizard World show could receive a code to download content that was recorded during the convention.  Those that don't attend could pruchase a 'virtual pass,' where they could view interviews, see a video tour of the show floor, and participate in online interviews with some of the creators at the show.

Whatever happens over the next few months, it should be interesting to watch.  Here's hoping that Wizard succeeds in restoring some of the good name they had for so many years.

1-23-11: "Hey...Nice Rack!"

This week is going to be an interesting one! Not only am I now working full time at the Springfield Rescue Mission, but I’m back in school. Four more classes until I have my degree in Marketing. With family, Secret Identity, comics and TV, I wonder how long before it all falls apart. But until then…

*During recording this week, Brian suggested to me I should at least give ‘Batman Incorporated’ a try. So, I picked up the first issue this week and … (tune in this Friday to the latest episode of Secret Identity)!

*This week at Most Excellent; four DC, two Marvel and one each IDW and Image. Another small week, but apparently next week will be a new book tsunami!

*A big sigh of relief once I finished reading ‘Supergirl’ # 60! New artist Bernard Chang and new writer James Peaty (with Nick Spencer) made me feel like the book will be alright without Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle. Unlike the change at ‘Power Girl’, I think I’ll be sticking with this book.

*’G.I. Joe Cobra’ # 12 proved once again why this book is a ‘Top Ten Must Read’. What Christos Gage, Mike Costa and Antonio Fuso have done in this series is take familiar characters and make them ultra real and wicked cool! For lame characters like Xamot and Tomax, the writers inject them with dysfunctional personalities. Then during an unexpected switcheroo, another switch happened and someone got a bullet in the face. Thank you IDW!     

*I hope everyone caught the latest episode of ‘Young Justice’ this week! Of course I’m biased when it comes to this team, but I think this series could end up being one of the best DC cartoons. Let’s just hope angry Superboy mellows out a bit!

*Just when we thought we were getting another Captain America series! Plans were for ‘The Fighting Avenger’ to be an all ages companion to 'Thor: The Mighty Avenger', but apparently this series written my ‘Atomic Robo’ writer Brian Clevinger has followed it right to the cancelled bin! Instead, the book will be regulated to a one shot.

*If one good thing can come out of Steven Tyler being on ‘American Idol’, it’s the fact that my little one Samantha wants a Aerosmith t – shirt and wants to listen to my Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits. My favorite Aerosmith song is the underrated ‘No Suprize’ from ‘Night In The Ruts’! Yours?

*Who will die this time making the Fantastic Four the Fantastic Three? You only have to wait until Tuesday to find out with Fantastic Four # 587 getting an early release this Tuesday. I’ll read it, but I don’t really care who goes. The series with Jonathan Hickman writing has been so good it doesn’t need this gimmick to sell it.

*Another piece of iconic comic book history will be saying goodbye soon! The Comics Code Authority who has been the self governing board for the industry have been part of comic covers since the mid 1950’s will no longer be seen on DC and Archie comics. Instead both will go to an in house rating syatem. Marvel has been doing this since 2001.

*This weeks ‘Book From The Rack’ was ‘Green Lantern’ # 61. I’m telling you, no discount is worth grabbing a comic book off a spinner rack at the grocery store! In fact, the picture above is the very rack I get them off of. Ahh, the sound of the squeaking as I flip each pocket looking for the book I need to purchase. Then it was off to get cat food, cat litter and a big jug of vanilla yogurt for my smoothies.

Well, that’s it! Time to send it my ballot for this year’s ‘Inkwell Awards’! Peace Out!

1-20-11:  The Secret Identity Archives Are Up And Running!

Longtime listeners know that we have always struggled with how best to make available old episodes of Secret Identity.  The service we use to publish the podcast (Podomatic) only allows for a certain number of episodes to be available at one time.  We have posted a few of the first shows over on Drive Thru Comics, but we continued to search for a better way to make sure anyone who wanted to get back issues would be able to.

Enter the Internet Archive.  The Internet Archive (www.archive.org) is basically the largest public library of audio, video and text media on the web. Each year when we do a Christmas Special, I pull old radio programs from there to insert into the show.  Well it turns out, it's really easy to contribute media to the Internet Archive as well.  Which is why we're happy to announce that we've set up the Secret Identity Archives over there, and there are a slew of early episodes available for download RIGHT NOW.

So far we've got the first 50 issues of Secret Identity, as well as all of the Second Helpings.  We also put up a few of the early specials we did, including a great one where Rags Morales came to Main Vein Comics in Greenfield, MA.

You can click here to be taken to the Internet Archive page for Secret Identity.  We will also put a link up on the Listen Now page. We plan on continuing to upload issues until every single one is available. 

Thanks for listening!

1-16-11: Matman Rant; Weather, Spawn and Daredevil!

Greetings from Planet Hoth! I think I just saw a Taun Taun run by my window. But with the heat on in the house I write this week’s ramble!!! If you don’t live in New England (and we know many of you don’t), you may not feel the Hoth-ness.

*Spawn # 200 hit the store shelves this week and I must say, wow!!! You know how most anniversary books are a regular size story and a bunch of other stuff? Not here! 53 pages, most of them butt kicking action. And of course, a review on this weeks show and I’ll have a written review for Invest Comics!

*This week the new book count from Most Excellent was nine; 4 DC, 4 Marvel and one Image (see above)!

*With all the movement going on at Marvel we need to congratulate Nick Lowe on his promotion to Senior Editor. Good things for a real good guy.

*One of the books I didn’t get this past weekend was ‘Daredevil: Reborn.’ Although Daredevil is one of my favorite characters, I vow I will not buy another Daredevil comic until he’s back in his uniform and fighting bad guys like the Jester or the Purple Man.

*Sadly this week, ‘Thor – The Mighty Avenger’ # 8 hit the stands. Sadly because this was the last issue of the only Thor book or story I ever liked. To add insult to injury, on the bottom right corner, they are now calling it a limited series 8 of 8! This book didn’t fail because of anything Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee did. It failed because it didn’t stand a chance on the shelves among the other 50 Thor monthlies.

*As much as I’m loving ‘Batgirl’ (number 17 came out Wednesday), I’m wondering where series artist Lee Garbett is?

*Are you like me and you get into these music moods that last for weeks, sometimes months? Right now I’m grooving on Deep Purple! If you wanna listen to a serious jam; fast, powerful with a nice classic feel to it try ‘Burn’! One of the greatest songs ever!

*A few years back I was in love with the Devil’s Due series ‘Drafted’! Good news is IDW has collected this incredible series written by Mark Powers and drawn by Chris Lie and Rebekah Isaaks. Aliens come to earth to train humans to fight their war! 304 pages for about $25.00!

*And congrats to Archie comics for doing it right! What you ask? When a new Archie comic hits the shelves a digital version will be available … for under two bucks! 1.8 million folks have downloaded the Archie Comics App and are enjoying some great comics for their iphone, ipad and ipod touch! Hello DC and Marvel.

*Did anyone see NBC’s ‘The Cape’  last week? Ten minutes in I gave up. I just wasn’t feeling it, but my wife loved it!

*Was it my review for Invest Comics last week? Word on the streets is that artist Jeremy Haun is now exclusive to Top Cow! This is great news for artist, company and fans. Jeremy will be the new artist on ‘The Darkness’ beginning with # 96.

*And brand new!!!! My ‘Classic Cover of the Week’ is Daredevil # 136 from August of 1976. With an incredible cover by John Buscema, this was my first introduction to the ‘Man Without Fear’ and the Joker inspired villain Jester. The cover made me by the book and just screams cool! Still only 25 cents!

Well that’s all I got for today. Stay warm and the next time someone talks about global warming, think about this past week!

1-15-11: The Katz Out Of The Bag!

Some great news about our friend, Jay Katz of Invest Comics!!!

Press Release

Comic book web site owner Jay Katz of InvestComics™ will be writing a One Shot comic under the Vincent Price Presents Comic book Title for Bluewater Productions to be released in the summer of 2011. Stefano Cardoselli will pencil the one shot horror story "Good Boy". There will be more information forthcoming, such as release date, as well as more details about the creative team.

From Bluewater Productions, about the Vincent Price Presents Comic coming to Bluewater: One of classic Hollywood's most famous scary men, Vincent Price made a name for himself in classic mysteries and thrillers throughout the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Now Vincent Price Presents comes to Bluewater Productions as their 1st ongoing monthly series. The series will feature some of Prices’s films as well as developing new frightening ones with his estate. Welcome back to the macabre world of Vincent Price.  

Jay Katz - In early 2005, the idea of printing a magazine for collectors was quickly becoming a reality. Jay had thought of a name that would be fitting for his Wall Street Investment background as well as his passion for comics. The name was a simple one, InvestComics™. The very first InvestComics™ Investment Guide magazine hit South Florida in 2006 and was soon available in a few shops. The magazines were an Investment guide covering the market for comic collectors. In 2007, the InvestComics™ web site became the main focal point and quickly became the “Entertainment” Investment Guide. The expansion of InvestComics™ was quick and fierce. Not only was InvestComics™ covering the Investment area, but was now featuring articles and news from throughout the industry.

InvestComics™ today has now appeared on countless comic book sites, and was voted best comic book web site by Project Fanboy in 2009. The weekly InvestComics™ Comic Hot Picks are now featured on Comics Price Guide and Project Fanboy. InvestComics™ also is featured on the front pages of Fan Film Follies as well as Comics Price Guide’s “Top 10” Picks.

InvestComics TV™ (www.investcomicstv.com) was a recent launch that covers the talents of the entire comic book industry Worldwide. The innovative InvestComics TV™ interviews have become a huge success.

1-14-11:  Paint & Pixel Festival Debuts In April!!

Secret Identity received word this week that there will be a new show debuting in April that will spotlight local artists and creators.  Here's the official rundown from Peggy Twardowski, the festival's organizer:

Celebrating illustration online and in print, Paint & Pixel showcases Western New England's talented book illustrators, comic artists, and cartoonists in one venue. Meet and get to know talented creators and their work ranging from sci-fi and indie comics to award-winning children’s books, prominent webcomics and comic strips. 

The annual event is open to comic and art lovers alike and promises to be the region’s largest gathering of talented illustrators.

Date & Time
Saturday, April 16, 2011
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

$4 for adults
$2 for children 6-12
Free for children 5 and under

Northampton Center for the Arts
(across from Academy of Music)
17 New South Street
Northampton, MA 01060

You can find out more about the show over at www.paintandpixelfestival.com. Or you could just stay tuned to Secret Identity,a s we'll be talking it up over the next few months.

1-11-11: "Happy Birthday Dear Spawn-yyyy!!!"

In early 1992, a character from a fledgling comic company made his debut and the world hasn’t been the same since! 

The comic company was Image and the character was the legendary SPAWN!

Writer / artist Todd McFarlane, fresh off his stint on ‘Spider – Man’ created Spawn and from that one character came an empire! The first issue sold 1.7 million copies and was a million seller per issue for most of its early run. In 1997 the Spawn film was released and to date has grossed almost 90 million dollars. An animated series on HBO was not only critically acclaimed but also won an Emmy. From all this success, McFarlane was able to launch Todd Toy’s which has become McFarlane Toys, makers of incredible line of toys known for their detailed sports line.

Now, Spawn looks to make history again by being one of the few independent books to reach the magical number ‘200’!

Written by Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane, expect nothing but fun and magic as the new Spawn Jim Downing takes on his biggest enemy and what happens when God (yes, God upper case) gets involved?

The art will be done by a cast of all stars including Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and…wait for it Todd McFarlane! And in fine Image tradition, there will be eight covers including work by Jim Lee, Rob Liefield, David Finch and two by Mr. McFarlane.

“Brian and I couldn’t be more excited for Todd, his fans and readers of the book”, said Matman. “Anytime a book can get to 200 is a huge deal. Not many make it to 50, let alone 200. Seventeen years ago Todd wanted Spawn to be as well known as Spider – Man and Superman and as you look at the legacy, I think he has succeeded.” 

Spawn # 200 is a 48 page super size extravaganza with a cover price of $3.99 and will be available this Wednesday!

1-9-11: Matman, The Ladies And Some Cool Covers

*A lazy no plan Saturday, lots of snow and a big stack of comics makes for a lot of reading. As I worked through my piles (last week and this week) I noticed I have a lot of ‘girl’ comics! It’s no surprise to listeners of the show that I have been loving the girl lead comics lately and with good reason… they are incredible!

*Up first is ‘Gotham City Sirens’ # 18. Written by Peter Calloway and drawn by Jeremy Haun, this issues has Zatanna brought in to erase any of memory of Bruce Wayne being Batman. Caught on opposite sides is Poison Ivy and Talia al Ghul. Who wins? The reader does with an incredible story and beautiful art. Keep an eye out for Jeremy’s work…absolutely beautiful!     

*Paul Dini is back with ‘Zatanna’ # 8 and guest artist Cliff Chiang and this one is another incredible book! Zatanna is afraid of puppets and when you see why… you’ll probably be too.

*’Vampirella’ # 2 is picking up the pace big time! Vampirella has to battle her old costume self then battle a bunch of vampires! That’s it and that is all you need. I think writer Eric Trautmann and artist Wagner Reis are having some fun here.

*For the first two issues (a zero and # 1) I haven’t seen much to get me excited about ‘Warlord of Mars’, but in the second issue (with a tasty cover by J. Scott Campbell) is really starting to get the story going. By the next issue, John Carter should be in a loin cloth fighting four armed martian dudes!

*I know this is getting old, but Jonah Hex # 63 cements the Pamiotti / Gray run as the definitive Jonah Hex! Jonah gets his hand on a pervert / child killer and takes care of things the way they should be.

*This is a marketing gimmick I can get behind; this weeks DC covers. All white background, explosive logo and iconic image that just jumps off the comic shelves! I put in for this to be an annual event!

*What happened to ‘Raising Hope’? This is a clevar and funny show that hasn’t been on for what seems like forever!

*Congrats to new Marvel Editor In Chief Axel Alonso! But even after reading the press release, I’m still confused as to what happened? Joe Quesada is now just Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer and to me that sounds like a made up title. If someone can explain it to me…please do.

*From the “This Is How You Do It Right’ file. Mark Millar and Steve McNiven gave us a disturbing four issue series ‘Nemesis’ that not only pushed the boundaries hard, but did it with style. Each issue was only $2.99, contained some incredible storytelling and some of the best art you’ll ever see! And when the final page of the last issue was read you only want more.

Well, that’s enough of my yackin’ for another week! Stay snowy New England!

1-7-11 - Secret Identity Best Get Collected!!!

Big news for both Brian and Matman’s picks for the ‘Best Mini Series of 2010’ Award! Both series are being collected into trade.

Up first is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s time traveling adventure, Time Bomb! The three issue series from Radical Publishing will be collected into trade and hit shelves in late March for under 15 bucks. Beautifully drawn by Paul Gulacey, Time Bomb was fun, imaginative and had a twist ending that no one was expecting ….especially one Mr. Adolf Hitler!

Also making the ‘Best Of’ list was Batman Beyond! This reintroduction to the future look Batman by Adam Beechen, Ryan Benjamin and John Stanisci did so well it’s now an ongoing series. Well, if you missed it, ‘Hush Beyond” will see print on March 2!

And in case you missed it… Batman Beyond the first issue hit the stands this week AND is available as a digital download!

1-5-11:  DC Comics Brings Back The Letters Page!

DC Comics has made a a few big announcements over the past several weeks, most notably that ongoing series in 2011 will be $2.99 across the board.  A somewhat smaller announcement that came yesterday is something that we at Secret Identity are excited about, and it’s something that’s been lacking in DC books for awhile.  DC’s David Hyde posted this on The Source blog yesterday:

Hey DC Nation!

We are pleased to announce the debut of letters pages in all of your favorite DC books. Now you have the chance to ask questions and offer your observations directly to our editors and creators — so write in now and let’s get the conversations going!

To submit a letter go to:

Letters may be sent by regular mail to this address:

Letters to the Editor
DC Comics
1700 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Please include your full name, and address, for confirmation purposes. Letters should be no longer than 500 words and should not include attachments. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and may be published in any medium. Letters become the property of DC Comics. Unpublished letters will not be returned or acknowledged. Published letters may identify the writer by first name, hometown, state or country.

So start penning letters to your favorite creators now (Matt’s already written 13 today), and perhaps you’ll be immortalized in a future issue!

1-4-11: Matman On The Return Of Moon Knight

In the summer of 1980, I saw a comic on the newsstand that looked so cool I had to get it! Despite the fact that I was only reading war comics, The Flash and Captain America I was pulled into the crazy world of Moon Knight!

To go into his origin and story would take forever (that’s what ‘Essential Moon Knight’ is for), but the short of it is he has a very confusing history, schizophrenic multiple secret identities, and is haunted by the ghost of the moon god that gave him his powers. A bit much for a character that could be so cool if he wasn’t so confusing!

The most recent incarnations have been more of a lesson in psychological storytelling than just butt kicking action! As the series wound down, most fans gave up. Recently he has made some cool appearances in ‘Secret Avengers’ and ‘Heroes For Hire’ but that may not be all…

News coming out of Marvel has word that Moon Knight will be making another attempt at a series sometime in the New Year. The plans have writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev as the creative team…I’m sure with the amazing Joe Caramagna on letters. The duo did a great job on Spider – Woman and I think are a real good fit for the character, but I think that is too easy.

Might I make a suggestion or two?

With the ‘Spider – Man’ Brain Trust recently breaking up, how about Joe Kelly writing it? Moon Knight has some emotional issues and Joe is the master at deep storytelling. How about James Patrick? His writing on ‘Batman Confidential’ # 49 was a masterpiece of dirty detective work that if it was a Moon Knight story would have worked just as well.

And artist? Steve Scott (penciller on Batman Confidential # 49) drew some beautiful angles and flowing shots of the Bat that would look beautiful in black, white and silver! Another recent Spidey guy Phil Jimenez would be great drawing Moon Knight. Then again, he can’t draw anything bad! Or Rags Morales! Rags had a near perfect run on Hawkman and could handle every aspect of the book.

The good news is Moon Knight is back! Whoever is the creative team please… don’t make it too complicated. Don’t try to create layer upon layer of story, back story and flashbacks. Make Moon Knight get angry and beat up bad guys! Works for Batman, works for Moon Knight, works for me!

1-3-11: They Like Us!!  They Really Like Us!!

Our friends over at Dafixer's Hideout held their annual awards show last week, and Secret Identity was among the winners!  Every year the Hideout lists their top podcasts for the year, and this year Secret Identity came in at number six.  The guys and gals of the Hideout listen to dozens of podcasts every week, so to be counted among their favorites is an honor.  Matt and I are humbles, and we will work harder than ever in 2011 to crack next year's top five.

A big thanks to all our friends at the Hideout.  You can listen to the entire awards show over on their site by clicking here.

1-2-11: Matman Rant And The Year Of The Rabbit!

*Well Happy 2011 everyone! For many people, the last year wasn’t a great one… so our hope is for the best year of everyone’s lives. I look at last year as a year of refinement; things happened that I didn’t think were very good at the time, but now I see they were the best things that could have happened to me. It’s about perspective!

*One of the great traditions that were part of Doctor Who history was the teaming up of past Doctors. The best of those episodes was ‘The Five Doctors’. Imagine how cool an event could be had if Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann and even Sylvester McCoy? But in todays world of contracts, deals and merchandising … we can only dream.

*Big news concerning one of our favorite mini series of 2010!!! Check back here on Tuesday.

*If your New Years ‘comics resolution’ is to pick up a comic you have never read before, may I suggest the long running Dark Horse series Usagi Yojimbo? It’s an incredibly witty tale about a samurai rabbit that travels the countryside in anamorphic Japan. Stan Sakai is a master storyteller and brilliant artist who has made the long eared ronin the most consistent book over the past twenty plus years! After all, 2011 is the year of the rabbit!

*If you have been late to the party and wanna experience the best new series in 2010 but can’t find any issues… Morning Glories, Volume 1 (Image) will be released February 16th and get ready… for only $9.99. No excuse to miss out again on one of the most original and well drawn series in all of comics.           

*Speaking of Doctor Who… the Matt Smith era begins in a few weeks from IDW. Written by Tony Lee and drawn by Richard Piers Rayner. Lee has become the definitive Doctor Who scribe who in this first arc has the Doctor being accused of being ‘Jack The Ripper’.

*Who’s in the mood for special events? ‘Aquawar’, ‘War of the Green Lanterns’, ‘Flashpoint’ ‘Reign of Doomsday’. I’ll twll you who’s not….THIS GUY!!!!! How about I pick up a comic book, get a great story and that is it! They all don’t have to be ‘Sgt. Pepper’…some can be ‘Beatles For Sale’.

*Sporting Minute! As I type this, the New England Patriots are the number one team in football and the Pittsburgh Penguins have the best overall record in hockey! But Washington Nationals stuff is 70% off at their site. The great equalizer!

*Was watching Disney HD on Thursday with my gals and saw about a zillion episodes of ‘Pair of Kings’. This show features the writing talent of out good pal Marc Dworkin who you may remember from ‘Armageddon for Andy’. Cool that despite his IMDb listing, he still replies to my texts. Maybe because I still owe him an autographed Ninja Turtle.

*The first show of the new year could be in New York in February; Mike Carbo’s New York Comic Book Marketplace on Saturday February 19th. But according to the website the guests are to be announced. Cutting it a little close, eh? For more go to www.nycbm.com.

*I went to see ‘Tron: Legacy’ and loved it! I will have a review this week, but the interesting part is the use of the gift card! Apparently there is a service charge if they are used for a 3 – D movie. Huh? Since when is going to the movies like buying a car? I complained and guess what… I got free movie tickets! I do spend more time sending praise to places, but this was just wrong.  

And Matt’s all she wrote!