12 Things to be Excited About in 2012

By Matt Peters

This year is scheduled to be one of the biggest of note in the world of comics, video games, and all-around geekiness. We here at Pads & Panels would like to give you twelve reasons that 2012 will be awesome. Let’s hope our Mayan overlords don’t return from outer space until we get to experience most of it. Take a look below for some of the highlights:




Why (500) Days of Summer is the Geekiest Film You’ve Never Seen or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get Excited About Spider-Man

By Matt Peters

After much convincing by my friend John Castro, I finally sat down and watched the 2009 movie (500) Days of Summer. I’m not a big fan of romcoms, and I was determined to avoid yet another film that features the typical formula: the guy is a bumbling, macho fool who changes his ways thanks to a strong-willed independent woman who softens her man-hatin’ stance and eventually swoons for the still rough-around-the-edges schlub. Why would I waste my time watching that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun fall in love with a girl with cartoonishly huge eyes?

Mark Webb directed the film who, at the time, didn’t have much feature-length directing experience under his belt. The movie feels a little like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World without all of the game and comic references in the sense that the characters are very well spoken and have depth beyond what’s immediately shown on the surface. Webb’s directing style, combined with various slapstick elements and a witty script make for a comedic experience that may surprise some viewers. He even went so far as to direct a short to accompany one throwaway line featuring the stars in a Sid & Nancy parody. (more…)


Fear Itself

Interview with Writer Matt Fraction

Interview by: Bill Jones, Matt Peters, Archie Easter

Introduction and Transcription by: Bill Jones

There is nothing comics publishers and fans seem to love quite as much as a big summer event. And this year, Marvel’s camp has tapped Matt Fraction to take the lead writing duties on Fear Itself. Issue #1 of the mini-series hits shelves today, Wednesday, April 6, promising plenty of Marvel favorites, an epic storyline and plenty of spin-offs. We caught up with Fraction Sunday, March 20, at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo in Chicago, and figured there’s no point in us telling readers all about the series when we can have the writer himself do it. Fraction also discusses the Iron Man films, his involvement with the second video game, what it’s like to be chosen for a comics event, going from the comic shop to the con floor and a Spider-Man “thing” he’s had in mind. (more…)


C2E2 Photo Gallery – Day Three, Part II – Bill Jones

In what may be the final gallery from C2E2 for Pads & Panels, Bill captured a clone butting in on a Spider-Man photo-op, the Wee Ninja doing epic battle with the Threadless Fridge, and Art Baltazar illustrating. All images copyright Pads & Panels, by Bill Jones. (more…)


So when Matt and Archie aren’t putting their writing talents to good use here at Pads & Panels, the duo has been hard at work creating an awesome podcast every other week called Games Comics and Puppy Dogs (more affectionately known as GCPD) for their site, Mighty Ink Comics and Entertainment. It’s swell, and we’ve been promising for awhile now that we would start posting their episodes on a regular basis.

Well, it only figures that Matt and Archie had to practically bribe yours truly with a guest spot on the show this episode to finally get the job done. But that’s neither here nor there. The gents are celebrating the milestone of their 20th episode, and I joined them in the studio this week to see the magic unfold (and interject a few stupid lines of my own).

Along with a chance to win some cool prizes, the dynamic duo discusses LittleBigPlanet 2, Hothead Games, Capcom, a Spider-Man screen, Bruce Campbell and so much more. It’s an episode not to be missed…so we suggest you don’t miss it. You can listen to it streaming below, or visit the guys over at www.mightyinkcomics.com.

–Bill Jones



I’ve been thinking about this for a while, pondering even. Over the past few years, we’ve been given an increasing amount of movies based on comics. Is this necessarily a good thing? You may be thinking to yourself, “Definitely! I need my Marvel fix on the big screen!” The thing is (besides Michael Chiklis), we’re being told the same story a minimum of three times!

Take the 1989 Batman, for example. When the movie was released and shown to be a cash cow prime for the milking, DC began releasing more comics, more cartoons and more video games based on the character. Some of these turn out good like Spider-Man for PS2. Most of them turn out bad…Iron Man bad. (more…)


Title: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Platform: 360 (PC, PS3, DS, Wii)


Publisher: Activision

Developer: Beenox

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Matt Peters

Since 1992, Activision has published games based on the adventures of Marvel Comics’ flagship character, Spider-Man. After several less-than-stellar games, it seemed that Activision was content to rely on the name alone to move copies. With Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, developer Beenox has offered an apology to gamers and comic fans alike. Featuring four different versions of the web-slinger with distinctive gameplay styles, this has the makings to be a true crowd pleaser. (more…)


Title: The Amazing Spider-Man “Return of the Black Cat” TPB

Publisher: Marvel

Writers: Joe Kelly, J.M. Dematteis, Marc Guggenheim

Artists: Mike McKone, Adriana Melo, Val Semeiks, Marco Checchetto, Luke Ross, Rick Magyar, Eric Canete

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

Oh, that crazy Peter Parker! That’s what I find myself saying, anyways, in a mostly mocking sort of way, while reading the “Return of the Black Cat” trade paperback. Parker is already in confusing relationships with Michele Gonzales, Norah Winters and Mary Jane Watson when Black Cat strolls back into town. Of course, her usual powers to affect Spidey’s luck are wreaking havoc on his attempt to thwart New York City’s villains, but it’s not too shabby for his sex life. Sure he’s more confused than ever, but he’s seemingly getting some action behind the scenes of every page. It all amounts to nonsense, though, with cheesy writing and inconsistent art. The latter portion of the book – dealing with Kaine, Ben Reilly and Raptor – is a much better read, even if it does get back into the atrocious clone business. (more…)


Title: Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War America

Publisher: Continuum

Writer: Matthew J. Costello

Review by: Jason King

Secret Identity Crisis, written by a professor of political science from St. Xavier University on Chicago’s South Side, contextualizes the development of Marvel Comics – though nearly all of this discussion focuses on a very small number of superheroes – through the Cold War. This book’s academic roots are ever-present, and as such the book may prove too lofty for some. This is clear early in the book when one is given a fairly thorough chronology of Cold War America social and intellectual history, with large sections dedicated to less exciting topics. Indeed, comic books and superheroes are so sparse in the first chapter that it is doubtless some readers, more interested in histories of superheroes than in anti-Communist consensus, will find this book very disappointing. (more…)