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The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

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Dan Panosian/Dynamite Entertainment

Every week I write about the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, bookstores, digital, and the web. Feel free to comment below if there's a comic you've read recently that you want to talk about or an upcoming comic that you'd like me to consider highlighting.

James Bond #1

By Warren Ellis and Jason Masters
Dynamite Entertainment 

Warren Ellis writes smart, gritty, techno-thrillers (Transmetropolitan and Injection, among others) and is a good fit for Bond, especially considering that he plans to write 007 to be more like novelist Ian Fleming’s original incarnation—a “vicious bastard,” as Ellis refers to him. He has been working closely with the Fleming estate to get the character right, and until Daniel Craig brought some of Fleming’s original grittiness to the big screen, most of us didn’t realize that Bond actually is the perfect Ellis character: acerbic, brilliant and damaged.

This new ongoing series coincides with the opening of the latest Bond film Spectre, and it shares enough similarities with the recent films to appeal to those fans. Ellis starts the comic with a film-style cold open, a nearly wordless action sequence in which 007 tracks down the killer of a fellow agent.

Here’s a preview.

iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel

By R. Sikoryak
Tumblr

Cartoonist Robert Sikoryak can skillfully mimic other cartoonists' styles, a trick he used well in Masterpiece Comics, a parody of literature drawn like classic newspaper strips. He is now using this talent for a weird but utterly brilliant new project, iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel. 

Every day, Sikoryak adds a new comic to his Tumblr, taking a portion of the famously verbose legal language one has to agree to in order to use Apple’s iTunes software, and illustrates it in a different style. He takes from a vast array of cartoonists like Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), Daniel Clowes (Eightball), Hergé (Tintin), Kate Beaton (Hark! a Vagrant), and Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead). A cartoon Steve Jobs narrates text that is pulled—unedited—straight from the agreement.

As of this writing, there are 48 pages posted. Follow along here.

Extraordinary X-Men #1

By Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado
Marvel Comics 

For fans of 1980s X-Men, this new series may have the closest team lineup you’re going to get to that classic era, though not without a few weird, modern twists.

Marvel is in the midst of its “All New, All Different” line of comics, and every week we get new #1 issues with new creative teams. With Extraordinary X-Men, Jeff Lemire—who has been everywhere from DC to Valiant to Image in the past few months—gets his first shot at writing the X-men. Joined by Marvel veteran artist Humberto Ramos, they’ve created a team led by Storm that includes Iceman, Nightcrawler, a now-bearded Colossus, Illyana Rasputin (Magik), Jean Grey, and Wolverine. As the new series begins, the team must confront the Inhumans and their Inhuman-creating Terrigen Mists which are causing mutants to go extinct.

Since both Jean Grey and Wolverine are dead, these are alternate versions displaced from their own timelines. Jean is the teenage Marvel Girl from the original "Silver Age" X-Men, and Wolverine is “Old Man Logan," who was introduced in a series of Wolverine comics back in 2008. 

Here’s a brief preview.

The Sandman: Overture

By Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III
DC Vertigo

There was quite a bit of excitement in the comic publishing world in 2013 when Neil Gaiman returned to The Sandman, the book that made him famous two decades earlier, for a six-issue series called The Sandman: Overture. Some of that excitement fizzled when it became plagued by delays. But for those who prefer to read graphic novels in one sitting, publishing delays of individual installments hardly matter once the final collection is in bookstores. That’s where we are now.

For those unfamiliar with The Sandman, it was the cornerstone of DC’s Vertigo line in the 1990s. It is one of the most universally acclaimed comic series to ever come from one of the “big two” publishers, and it helped turn Neil Gaiman into a world-renowned author and media superstar. The original 75-issue series was a gothic fantasy exploring the nature of storytelling, and it featured a family of immortal beings known as “The Endless,” one of whom is the title character, The Sandman, a.k.a. Morpheaus, a.k.a. Dream.

The Sandman: Overture is essentially a prequel. When we first met Morpheus in The Sandman #1, he had escaped from 70 years of captivity, but we never found out what had led to his capture in the first place. That is, until now.

Here’s a preview.

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A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
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Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

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Trying to Save Money? Avoid Shopping on a Smartphone
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Today, Americans do most of their shopping online—but as anyone who’s indulged in late-night retail therapy likely knows, this convenience often can come with an added cost. Trying to curb expenses, but don't want to swear off the convenience of ordering groceries in your PJs? New research shows that shopping on a desktop computer instead of a mobile phone may help you avoid making foolish purchases, according to Co. Design. Ying Zhu, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, recently led a study to measure how touchscreen technology affects consumer behavior. Published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, her research found that people are more likely to make more frivolous, impulsive purchases if they’re shopping on their phones than if they’re facing a computer monitor. Zhu, along with study co-author Jeffrey Meyer of Bowling Green State University, ran a series of lab experiments on student participants to observe how different electronic devices affected shoppers’ thinking styles and intentions. Their aim was to see if subjects' purchasing goals changed when it came to buying frivolous things, like chocolate or massages, or more practical things, like food or office supplies. In one experiment, participants were randomly assigned to use a desktop or a touchscreen. Then, they were presented with an offer to purchase either a frivolous item (a $50 restaurant certificate for $30) or a useful one (a $50 grocery certificate for $30). These subjects used a three-point scale to gauge how likely they were to purchase the offer, and they also evaluated how practical or frivolous each item was. (Participants rated the restaurant certificate to be more indulgent than the grocery certificate.) Sure enough, the researchers found that participants had "significantly higher" purchase intentions for hedonic (i.e. pleasurable) products when buying on touchscreens than on desktops, according to the study. On the flip side, participants had significantly higher purchase intentions for utilitarian (i.e. practical) products while using desktops instead of touchscreens. "The playful and fun nature of the touchscreen enhances consumers' favor of hedonic products; while the logical and functional nature of a desktop endorses the consumers' preference for utilitarian products," Zhu explains in a press release. The study also found that participants using touchscreen technology scored significantly higher on "experiential thinking" than subjects using desktop computers, whereas those with desktop computers demonstrated higher scores for rational thinking. “When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, [you crave] excitement, a different experience,” Zhu explained to Co. Design. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.” Zhu’s advice for consumers looking to conserve cash? Stow away the smartphone when you’re itching to splurge on a guilty pleasure. [h/t Fast Company]

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