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Comic websites

Comic websites -- We review sites for Marvel, ComicLink, The Words & Pictures Virtual Museum, The Slush Factory, and Wahoo! The Comic Book Website Directory

Comic websites

Pow! That’s the sound the comic book industry hopes the X-Men movie will make as it revives the medium’s sagging fortunes. But while sales drop-offs and an aging fan base may have comic publishers on the ropes, the Internet can offer moral and informational support, both to newcomers curious about where Wolverine got his start and to double-bagging middle-aged collectors. Following are some notable heroes and villains of the online comic-fan universe.

Marvel.com
www.marvel.com
For the most part, the official site of the home of Spider-Man is shockingly bland, with minimal info on such landmark stars as the Silver Surfer and Daredevil. X-Men followers, too, will be sorely disappointed with the shallow sales pitch of a database for the most popular comic book of all. (Ironically, ex-Marvel guru and X-Men cocreator Stan ”The Man” Lee offers more Net-savvy goods on the movie at www.stanlee.net). Traces of coolness can be seen in the animated serials of the WWII-era Captain America, but until the site develops some more interesting content, this is as bloated and commercial as it gets. Hulk smash! Please. C-

ComicLink.com
www.comiclink.com
Sure, reading comics can be fun, but for more enterprising fans, this ”Internet Comic Book Exchange” is a good site to help turn your comics into a cash-making collection. ComicLink doesn’t just boast a healthy listing of prices from the Golden Age on; it also offers posters and protective paraphernalia, and will grade your books (via a third party), so you get a decent quote on the value of your stash. It would be nice to see some tips on how to maintain a collection for those new to the hobby, but this is a pizzazz-free website for those whose favorite heroes wear a ”$” on their chest. B

Words & Pictures Virtual Museum
www.wordsandpictures.org
This online component of the Massachusetts-based Words & Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art, started by Kevin Eastman of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame, hopes to promote an understanding of comics as an art form. Currently, there’s an online exhibition devoted to the Flash (Flash-animated, of course). A nice place for those who need to defend their hobby to their moms (or wives). B

The Slush Factory
www.slushfactory.com
As part of the UGO alt-culture entertainment portal, the Factory combines a fanboy-ish yet balanced love of comics with the sarcastic wit of the harshest critics. Reviews cover mainstream titles and such indie fare as The Tick, and there are interviews and release dates. It’s not especially glamorous to look at, but you do get good, cheap reading that brightens the four-color world. B+

Wahoo! The Comic Book Website Directory
www.comicbookwebsites.com
True to its name, Rhode Islander Derek Santos’ Wahoo! offers a huge resource of links to fan and corporate comics sites. Here’s the best place to find auctions and biographies (of both superheroes and their creators); a big plus for beginners is the crash course in the history of the medium at Santos’ own The Comic Page (www.dereksantos.com/comicpage). Whether you’re an X-Fan or an all-around comic-book True Believer, sites like this serve as a reminder that the world of heroes in funny tights has a lot to offer beyond the silver screen. A-