What Makes a (sort of) Perfect Mini-Series?

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Taylor Lilley, Keith Silva

Do you suppose all great pieces of criticism start on twitter nowadays? Here's hoping this is one:

A Fateful Tweet

Keith: Taylor's "Gravitas without bloat" makes for a universal calculus to apply to any piece of popular culture. Yes, frippery and over indulgence can on occasion find purchase, but deep down we know we can live without it. For example, only the most sycophantic toady or a New Line Cinema stockholder would say: "The Return of the King" could have used another two or three endings, you know, to even it off."

Comic book readers often rally (?) around excess. How else to explain the oft-heard phrase: decompressed storytelling? The mini-series is supposed to leaven such surplus. Finality is the failsafe within the DNA of a comic book mini-series, that crucial second number which indicates an 'end' and presupposes the author has followed through on the initial spark of their idea and thought about what it will look like as an ember. David Hine seems to know how to kindle a mini-series, see Storm Dogs with Doug Braithwaite and the one-two punch of both the Bulletproof Coffin minis with Shaky Kane, both very different approaches to the mini-series, both sensational.   

I believe, Taylor, it was one of your English dramatists who wrote: "We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us." A mini-series should be easy to define, but let me play the 'absolute knave' and say I don't think it's so simple. How often do you read a mini-series and think: this will read better when it's collected. So, what's the point of 'reading it in singles?' Or is it a question of the author's intention or marketing?

BPRD: Vampire

The impetus for this (sure to be) smart stab at criticism is the five-part mini-series B.P.R.D.: Vampire by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. I wanted to know what you and your mates at The Orbiting Pod thought of the series. For me, the opportunity to see and read what Moon and Bá have to say on a month-to-month basis is a no-brainer. I thought the first issue was … O.K., nothing transcendental, but with these Brazilian cats, I was in for the long haul. With the final issue taking its bloody bow later this month, I am on the edge of my seat. The pacing, which seemed like it was creeping along at first, is one of the strongest aspects of the narrative, but that was only evident as the series progressed. I doubt the 'trade waiter' will notice. I read Moon and Bá's masterwork Daytripper in trade. I wonder how it read in singles? Who am I kidding, Daytripper would be soulful even if it was published in daily single panels.

So, Taylor, I'll double back and ask you: what makes for 'the perfect' mini-series? And when is a mini-series a collection by any other name?

Taylor: The perfect mini-series, eh?

Customers often express a reluctance to give a mini a chance, citing that finality failsafe as a deterrent from investment (emotional or otherwise). Which makes me wonder how they handle life. The other approach, which I can respect more, is a kind of mini-series Darwinism. "If it's good enough, it'll be a trade later and I'll read it then." Cynically, I believe this leads to more people knowing which minis were well received, and fewer people actually reading them. More good taste professed, fewer comics enjoyed.

But that's context for my answer, not an answer in itself.

Why singles? Because I'll lay down my life for the girl I had five amazing dates with, but for the girl I spend one amazing night with? I might blink.

To answer your first question, I rarely read a mini-series and think "this will read better in trade." That's because I'm a selfish reader, and if a mini doesn't please me I don't care what format it ends up in. If a mini is particularly complex in its construction, I may reflect that I’ll need to reread all my singles in one go come the end, but a good final issue can negate that. Infinite Vacation #5 did. Almost a year between issues, parallel universes and multiple selves in conflict, and yet it read like a dream, paying off in every way. That's the cumulative wonder of a mini, that by making repeated trips we the readers know the terrain better, and trust we'll find our way. Time and repeated exposure have imprinted on our unconscious, the mini has become a part of us in a way that a one-time immersion cannot.

Infinite Vacation

So, B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1. There's a declaration of intent implicit in opening a new story with no preamble, no words. Think of all the comics rushing to justify their claim to your time with banter, or the obligatory opening action sequence. Especially the minis, they're all "We both know I'm going to leave you, but stay with me anyhow, please? I'll show you a good time!" Or think of all the ongoing titles that begin by recapping prior continuity in inventive (All-Star Superman) and less inventive (throw a rock at a rack of comics) ways, to enable you to get back into the saddle. Bá and Moon demanded nothing of me but my attention, and justified it with the pure novelty of silence and beauty (Terry Moore did the same thing with Rachel Rising, incidentally, though obviously that's ongoing). I picked up a book I knew would end in only a few months, and yet I felt unhurried, and drawn in. They didn't need to explain what was happening, when they could lay a visual trail for me to follow. And because their trail was so elegantly laid, and so bold, I followed.

That's the "without bloat" part of my tweet. Information, particularly text, which does not provoke emotion, is bloat. If you have to tell me how many people died for there to be that much blood in the river on the opening pages of B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1, there isn't enough blood. If you have to have a character shivering, it's not snowy enough, y'dig? Because when you're telling me, instead of inviting me to see, you're training me to be a receiver, not a reader. That may seem like semantics, but when it comes to your mini’s inevitable end, a receiver likes or dislikes what they’ve received, but a reader feels something, and that feeling is amplified by loss. Loss of a world.

BPRD: Vampire

The perfect mini offers a fresh new world outside (or tucked within) the sprawling continuities we know. And where you quoted a bard, I'll quote Brian Clevinger, who tweeted, "Stop world building and write the damn story." Too often a mini will strain to reveal and explain the rules of its world, ignoring the "show, don't tell" mantra that underlies most great art.

But Keith, is B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1 even a fair example to discuss? After all, there's over 100 B.P.R.D. issues informing our perception of the world, and this mini features familiar characters. So am I wrong? Is the relaxed, build-free feel of this mini actually a product of our familiarity with the Mignola-verse? Have I rhapsodized for naught?

Keith: Such well-reasoned convictions, Taylor, are never for naught.

I'm beginning to see what I've come to regard as 'Taylor's Tenets for Better Comics,' (copyright pending, all rights reserved). First on the list: 'Be a Reader not a Receiver.' This is great advice for minis as well as on-goings, duh. To read a comic book is (should be) an active pursuit and not a passive one. The second Taylor Tenet is (has to be) Clevinger's clever bon mot: "Stop world building and write the damn story." I've been thinking about this statement all week. Clevinger's words act like Rowdy Roddy Piper's sunglasses (the Hoffman Lenses) in John Carpenter's They Live -- once seen, a thing cannot be unseen. By way of Clevinger, Taylor, you've made me a 'sadder and wiser man.' Which is, I think, from another one of your countrymen, Steve Harris, perhaps?

I experienced 'sender's remorse' not long after firing off my first email to you. So fixed was (is) my obsession with B.P.R.D.: Vampire I forgot Moon and Bá have been down this road before with B.P.R.D: 1947, which, I bet, reads as well collected as it did in singles. You're correct. Familiarity does breed a more stress-free mini reading experience. This is, perhaps, why (besides filthy lucre) Marvel and DC use the bolus (suppository?) of the mini-series as the delivery system for their line-wide events. Question: What's better than Wolverine in six comics? Answer: Wolverine in sixty-six comics. I digress.

Have readers become so conditioned by 'events' posing as minis that a 'true' mini like B.P.R.D.: Vampire  or something further afield and therefore less familiar like Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske's Change is guilty by association?  Is this maybe the genesis of 'trade-waiting' and why (some) of your customer's rely on others to direct them not to what they should be reading, but what titles they should put on their bookshelves? You're not a cynic are you, Taylor?

Rorschach's Journal...

Categorization is a comic book killer -- another Taylor Tenet from the Orbiting Pod podcast -- except when it applies to establishing parameters to define a collection versus a mini-series. It's laughable to me Watchmen is (now) given rarefied status as a (quote/un-quote) novel when it was first released in single issues. Am I to believe as soon as a mainstream publication, Time magazine, lists Watchmen as one of the '100 Best Novels of the 20th Century,' presto-change-o it goes from a mini-series to a novel? Does Watchmen lose its flavor in singles or is it all branding? I realize I'm losing the thread of our discussion, but you've made me see with new eyes Taylor and I'm a bit verklempt.

If familiarity with the characters and settings of B.P.R.D.: Vampire allows a reader to go with 'the devil they know' what can we make of a less undiscovered country like Storm Dogs? David Hine has such an incredible intellect when it comes to genre fiction he reminds me of a great musician who has all the notes so engrained in the whorls of their fingertips that all they need to do is apply pressure. I reckon it's easier for a Storm Dogs to happen when a writer hitches his wagon to fellow maestros like Doug Braithwaite and Ulises Arreola (see also Planetary or Transmetropolitan).   

Storm Dogs

Storm Dogs skips past the 'Kobayashi Maru' of world-building by using genre tropes from mystery and detective fiction and sets them within the milieu of science-fiction. It's a Dick move, yeah? And equally as effective as when Philip K. pulled off the same trick with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Man in the High Castle and Ubik to name a few. Or is this another case of 'familiarity' this time wearing the sheep's clothing of genre instead of characters and established continuities?

Doug Braithwaite

I think what impresses me most about Storm Dogs is the creators approach to making the series seasonal that is a complete thought. Hine and Braithwaite respect the 'finality failsafe.' They also understand the potential, the loamy-ness, of the world they're building, rather than telling the reader of its potential and then seeing if anything will grow in it or if the 'message get received' rather than read. I know from the interview you and comic book gadfly Chris Thompson did with Hine on Pop Culture Hound that a lot of planning went into this series beforehand. Perhaps that's it. Perhaps in order to respect the Clevinger and "tell the damn story," requires a creator to have a plan instead of relying on playing in the kitchen with the same ingredients (in the same way) everyone else has for seventy-five years, give or take.

Taylor: First off, the correct answer to "What’s better than Wolverine in six comics?" is Wolverine #309 by Ivan Brandon, Jason Latour, Rafael Albuquerque, John Rauch, and Cory Petit. Sorry, I couldn't leave that one alone. Also, without wishing to wade too deep into the cesspool of "is it a graphic novel or a mini or a comic?," a debate borne of efforts to elevate comics from their dirty little station as affordable escapism to salon-worthy art, and which has only resulted in a generation of potential comic book readers too scared of Comic Book Guy scorn to ask what the difference is; Watchmen is Watchmen. Precious few of the millions who have enjoyed the story consumed it in its original form, and that is the fate of all successful minis. They shed the skin of serialization, graduate from longbox to bookshelf.

I had completely forgotten events are primarily told in the pages of minis. I just do not think of those comics as "Event Books," neither mini nor OGN, but as you say: a delivery system. They are a cynical use of the term mini-series, invoking the "finality failsafe" in conjunction with a press barrage creating a need to read the epic, senses-shattering, nothing will ever be the same, not everyone will walk away from this quintessence of NOW the event will surely deliver. They are a manipulation of the finality of minis, a twisting of it which changes "here's something unique you may like" into "this offer expires at midnight." Oh man, let's find the love again.

Alright, so we're too familiar with B.P.R.D.: Vampire to call it as perfect or not (though the fact that it overwrote our memory of the first Bá/Moon mini says something, right?), and you throw Storm Dogs on the table all "Read 'em and weep" like I'm going to hang my head and flop my hand. Well, no. Storm Dogs makes the Dick move stick, and dares to touch on topics too often sidelined for perceived ickiness or niche interest. It trusts readers; it respects finality (even if only seasonal). Hell, this mini does so many things right. It’s terrific. But we said "perfect."

In the age of "its x meets y" reductivism, even the most open among us are vulnerable. All it takes when proclaiming the virtues of our beloved is one well-placed "yeah, but isn't that just NYPD Blue on Pandora?" and suddenly we glimpse the recombination of used parts, the derivation. It's no longer unfamiliar, and we realize the going was so smooth because we've walked this way before. And sure if we choose to pursue that perspective to its sunset then everything's been done before, how facile and joyless it all is, let's dim the lights and reach for the pills, but that's not what I'm saying. There's a womb-like space tucked between high standards and being impossible to please. That's where perfect lies, defined by defiance of the "x meets y" paradigm.

Maybe it's the entire concept of an 'x' and a 'y' (and even 'a' and 'z') meeting that's at fault, and in more ways than the obvious. Perhaps the dilution of two or more creators working together is the death knell for perfection. Because you deserve an example, Keith, I owe you more than a sequence of rejections, and when I rack my brains I come back again and again to singular visions. Eric Powell's Chimichanga. Brandon Graham's King City. I know, I know, it's a maxi, but who uses the word 'maxi' without the suffix 'pad' anymore, and is that what you want to be thinking about right now? It makes sense that a singular vision, fully realized, should potentially provide the most unique experience, doesn't it? Maybe it treads too close to the 'lone gunman' theory of creation that results in endless Liefeld/Adams/Byrne solo projects aimed at fanboy cults, but I think there's something here. James Stokoe making Orc Stain (a de facto mini) and Frank Miller making Sin City, hell, Francavilla on Black Beetle.

Orc Strain

Head rush.

Of those last few, several are genre riffs, recombinations of the sort I rejected earlier. But in allowing one creator full reign, even the familiar can be made truly, joyously new. Black Beetle is uniquely satisfying because it's one creator's vision of pulp, rendered in an inimitable style, a conscious fusion of classic and contemporary that cites and surpasses both. Maybe this is a version of the 'having a plan' you referred to via Hine. It isn't so much what is being used or the story being told, it's the journey your eyes are made to take in the telling. Black Beetle does something Storm Dogs doesn't: it places faith in the visuals as delight, rather than evidence. Braithwaite makes beautiful art, but it's all in service of believability. I don't want to believe. I want to escape.

Black Beetle

So, perfection. Can it be collaborative, or is this medium uniquely set up -- even down to the business machinery that keeps it running -- to ensure that a singular vision is rarely realized, that the drive required to do so is only rarely found? How many creators have a story they're dying to tell, soup to nuts, but they can't afford the gamble, they need the monthly wage, they have to keep their profile up? Comics is a production line, and the perfect mini requires a deviation from all that keeps the wheels greased and churning. Can anything other than a creative rogue make that happen?

Keith: I feel as if I'm in the training sequence on Dagobah lit in its greens and blues, a puppet on one leg and balancing rocks with my mind, my 'pet theories' (my Storm Dogs and B.P.R.D.s) bubble up only to slide back under the beryl swamp surface as I turn to you and say: 'You want the impossible.' Perfect?

Thanks to the Clevinger quote and a new 'Taylor Tenet' about how the mini must shed serialization in order to graduate from longbox to bookshelf if it is ever to be memorialized by the 'better angels' of the legitimate press, there and back again, indeed. You've tripped the catches on a trapdoor in our argument: the auteur. You mention the catamites who wait for solo operators like Byrne and Liefeld to provide fan service -- creators who (now) draft off of their own vapor trails ouroboros-like -- to times long past, the 1980's and 1990's.

True, of course, it's all been done. Even madmen like Stokoe and Brandon Graham work off notes and sketches from pioneers previous albeit I reckon more obscure and probably European. Genre-grinders like Hine and Francavilla are more Joyce-ian in their approach, bricoleurs who take bits and bobs from this place and that and set this cultural detritus in a milieu more suited to their particular interests, a kind of octopus's garden be it on the streets of Dublin or in the fabulously named Colt City -- world building from without within. As artists Mssrs. Francavilla, Stokoe and Graham are uniquely positioned to craft worlds as they see fit, 'one vision' to quote more mad dogs and Englishmen.

I have very strong opinions as regards the 'cult of the writer' (or the far more vile term 'architect' which could have only come from a past or future war criminal) as it pertains to the production line mentality of the comic book machine. Piss on all that. Auteurs have become rare in mainstream comics (almost ghettoized) because of what … shipping deadlines? Or is it the perfectionist, procrastinator or egoist artist who can't hit a deadline and who probably couldn't if it were the broadside of a barn? Again, I'm off topic as I continue to tilt at the procrustean forces of comic book categorization be it mini or maxi. Present company excluded: what are we, glorified stock boys or grocery clerks sent to collect a bill? Good is good, a mini, a collection or a graphic novel by any other name … 

Watchmen works because of Gibbons and Moore, artist and writer, one (shared) vision -- interpolation and not interpretation. I know you weren't arguing for the 'lone gunman theory' over the magic of a crack creative team. Again, we find ourselves in the circular argument: good ideas in the hands of good creators equal good comics. Perfection you seek this is?   

If you seek the singular vision, the Ur-text of the comic book mini you're asking after Ronin. So odd, so singular, so damn confusing, such a kitchen sink story that it could only fit the confines of a mini, an argument for less is more and that the 'finality failsafe' is necessary and good … (perhaps) perfect for certain stories. To name check Miller nowadays -- talk about the Jim Jones (a bit dramatic) of comic book fanboy cult leaders -- is like dropping the name Dave Sim into polite conversation, it can't be done. But there was a time, and oh what a time it was … [Silva starts to hum a nostalgic air, stops]

Frank Miller's Ronin

Separate the art from the artist. Ronin is the mini in its proto-form as it shimmies from the primordial slick on finger-like fins; it didn't fit any easy categorization in 83/84 and same goes today, it's a Ronin, in every way. Is there gravitas in Ronin? Is there bloat? Is it perfect? Yep. Like Black Beetle, Ronin works within a specific genre(s) at it recombines elements, styles -- what is Ronin if not a collage? -- and envisions not only a world, but points a katana at a different kind of storytelling: whole, limited and yet open. I can see the X-Wing as it moves across the soundstage, Taylor. For whom does the John Williams score toll? It tolls for thee.

Taylor: I love that you've outed Joe Quesada and the Merry Marvel Marketing Team as "past or future war criminal[s]," and you reminded me of Brandon Graham's observation that "it seems strange how many books run 12 issues a year when so few artists can match that." The two together conjure a future war fought between the mini-makers and the ongoing overlords, lethally sharpened pencils versus money-maché AT-AT's.

Ronin, huh? So we have to go back to 1984 for perfection. Through astral clouds of nostalgia, the perilous rose tint, back, ever back we voyage in search of perfection. No. I may have tripped the catches on this auteur trapdoor, but right now, this very second, I'm battening them back down. Because you're right, Keith, of course you're right, about crack creative team magic, about interpolation not interpretation, about the number of creators on a book meaning nothing, but Ronin is not the answer. We're nearing an event horizon where Golden Age thinking ("They don't make 'em like that anymore") meets Auteur Theory ("it takes a lone genius to reach perfection"). Fuck that, because the only cult more evil than the "cult of the writer" is the Cult of Yesterday. It makes stock boys and grocery clerks of us all, rote-learners reciting Best Of lists and preaching the classics and their creators, a slabbed Fantastic Four #48 for the parrot whose recitation is most devout. Ronin is wonderful, everyone should read it if they have time, along with a couple dozen other books we could name. But it's bloated, and sleeved in derivation. You could be watching Samurai Jack with your kids instead.

Or maybe it's just that if a moment is "the most you could ever expect from perfection" (thanks Chuck), then I refuse to let our moment be 30 years ago.

Let's go back to the mini's finality. Your favourite ongoing is a monthly escape, one you can in theory count on for the long-term (barring cancellation or creators getting chewed up by shipping schedules). You never really have to come home because there will always be 616, Earth One, the Mignolaverse, or Skybound to welcome you with open arms. They exist to receive you. But with a mini, as we've mentioned, it's different. You can't stay.

Here's where that gets cool. Joseph Campbell teaches us that the hero always brings something back from the adventure that his journey ends with a return and a gift. Well, if we never truly have to come back from the on-going and it takes place in a world that's strangely familiar save the supers, are we really leaving? Or returning? Maybe it's the forced return of the mini that holds the key to its perfection. The perfect mini casts us as the heroes, sucked into a strange land and tasked with bringing back some kernel for reality. Apply that to Ronin and what’s the kernel? The creep of technology? The indefatigability of man's noble soul? Both are recurring themes, both are arguably true, but are we satisfied with that? Is that the hero's reward we seek?

Criminal: Last of the Innocent

Criminal: Last of the Innocent. Criminal was (is, as there's more once Ed 'n Sean have worked this Fatale distraction out of their system) a gorgeous-looking modern noir book, built on love for a genre, and a desire to tell new stories in it. Great, but not perfect. Last of the Innocent was something else. Brubaker and Phillips found a fiction within the multiverse of comics that their work could complete. They found the Archie universe, and they found a way to end those characters, by importing them to a genre revolving around ruin. In Archie, with its irrepressible youth and sunniness, they found the ultimate comics metaphor for all that noir lays waste to, and with Last of the Innocent they laid waste, taking the reader beyond the facile empathy of most noir, the "I've been down, but never that down" that lets us wallow so satisfyingly in the binds of others.

By ruining the Archie gang, they ruined childhood. Somewhere in our subconscious, they ruined our childhood. Gazing at those pages revealed ever clearer reflections of reality through a noir looking glass, colour palette darkened, lines thicker and harsher, youthful indulgences become addictions. We, the heroes, found ourselves deep in two eras of our collective ideaspace, their dread continuity unwound with each issue. The Criminal feel we'd grown accustomed to was interleaved with an uncanny shininess, sources of eventual ruin revealed in the sunny afternoons of our lost fictional years.

Criminal: Last of the Innocent

The way we age, how our relationships change, our perceptions of ourselves over decades, the origins of the choices we think we make… Last of the Innocent was a journey through all of these.

Keith, if you read that mini, tell me you didn't come back empty-handed.

Keith: Sadly, having not read Criminal: Last of the Innocent, yet, the gentleman from the colonies must cede to the gentleman from mother England … on that particular point, at least.

So, if I understand this, I offer the soul of a warrior and futuristic eyewear and you counter with the collective unconscious of a 'ruined childhood,' now that is a boon for all. Marry me.

I may not have read Last of the Innocent (yet) but I'm catching a fantastic contact high from your enthusiasm for the series' many gifts and for its creators -- the best (perhaps) being your use of the phrase 'this Fatale distraction,' meow, kitty.

In spite of exposing the myriad gaps in my comic book knowledge, Taylor, you've given me enough information to arrive at a conclusion, however imperfect. We agree, the 'on-going-ness' of a monthly series,' its purpose, is as a 'shadow on the wall' to distract us from lives otherwise 'nasty, brutish and short'  -- maybe we should be thanking Mr. Quesada et al. for allowing us a brief respite each and every month, oh double-shipping thou are succor indeed.

The perfection of the limited series is in its inherent (vice?) ability to offer what an on-going (due to its nature) cannot maintain: the capacity to undermine/upset expectations -- easier to do in finite form, not so much in an infinite framework. Yes, yes, yes we all want the satisfaction of the well-told tale that's expected that's the mean. What satisfies more than is when a tale well told changes perceptions and toys with the reader's own anticipations: superheroes really are psychopaths in disguise.

I'm glad you called me out for my nostalgia and don't think I didn't notice that you parried with a kind of nostalgia of your own. I also appreciate how you kept this battle of wits from devolving into 'my-mini-is-bigger-than-your-mini' (an odd phrasing I admit) schoolyard showdown as we try to list each other to death. Perhaps you are so clever, so diabolical, Taylor, as to offer Criminal: Last of the Innocents (an 'iocane powder' of sorts) which has allowed me see the forest for the trees? And I'm not even Sicilian.

Ronin is rife with shagginess and over-indulgent claptrap, this flavor of 'shagginess' is what (some) sycophants like to translate as one of its 'charms.' The pretzel logic of Ronin defies expectations because (much like my responses) it's a lot of windup for what ends up as a reaffirmation of the old saw: love conquers all. For the cynic, Ronin offers nothing other than the collective wet dream wish fulfillment of fanboys everywhere, including Miller, but damn, what an intense dream it is and what a ride. It's inspirational. Ronin is one of those 'just-when-you-think type narratives.' Last of the Innocents sounds more … theoretical in its approach to the ol' rug ruse, a similar although different taste profile of the unexpected; a true and authentic 'what if' that doesn't pose the proverbial question in service to some silly scenario (which, always, ends in a reaffirmation of current continuity), but asks the reader to consider context over canon.

So, I don't think the well-known (pick-a-verse) occludes the reader from seeing with new eyes (maybe it even helps?). Add in genre tropes to further tether the reader to preconceived and understood expectations and then use all those same familiars to undue the narrative itself, seems simple, no? The real genius comes from finding real geniuses to pull off the trick and that, my friend, is the (perfect) rub.

Taylor: We can end on a perfect rub any time, Keith.

I like that we've come around to a Goldman-ian re-statement of the importance of "giving the audience what it wants, but not in the way it expects." That we couldn't pin down a perfection we agreed on, but rather seemed to nominate the mini as a perfect form, for those willing to take the risk. That you called the real value of the mini way back at the beginning, before we chased the pretzel's curves up our respective rectal darknesses (gross). The mini's real value? It ends.

Oh look. B.P.R.D. Vampire #5 is out. Psh, I'll wait for the trade.

Taylor Lilley (@capelessT) works at Orbital Comics in London, and is half of the brains behind impossiblebooks.com, an Indy comics mail order in the UK. He also jabbers on The Orbiting Pod, where he is a DC baiter of some renown, and wrestles weekly with his feelings for Brian Bendis. One day you will see his name in lights.

Eleven-year-old Keith Silva would say Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars is the perfect mini-series. Idiot. Follow him at @keithpmsilva or read more of his nonsense about '80's comic books at Interested in Sophisticated Fun?

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