Unfinished Business | Gold Digger Spin-Offs
Before we get to issue #100, let's take a look at some of the various minis and one-shots that have come out in the last few years. I tend to avoid the fan-created holiday specials, as well as the minis that aren't illustrated by Fred because, well, they tend to be horrible. That leaves us with the following minis and one-shots to look at: Tangent, Peebo Tales, the Gold Digger Sourcebook and Dreadwing's Mymior.
For those of who who aren't going to click through the cuts, here's a quick summary: high price tags, very little value.
Gold Digger Tangent #1-4
Gold Digger: Peebo Tales #1-4
Gold Digger Tangent started in mid-2006, and reprints the Ayane and Northern Edge comics that Fred had been experimenting with online. Gold Digger: Peebo Tales started in mid-2007 and features self-contained, cutesy stories starring Brianna's self-aware "Peebo" A.I. mines. Both series feature simplified, sketchier art and largely continuity-free stories with established characters.
More importantly, new issues of these series seem to be come out when they can provide thrills that are missing from the main title. Tangent features romantic subplots, martial arts action and adventures set in Jade, and tends to come out when the main title is fixated on Earth-based adventures which leave no room for love. Peebo Tales is heavy on the humor and tends to come out when the main title is deadly serious.
Together, they're a nice way to cater to fans who may only be tolerating the current direction of the main title until it returns to something more to their liking. On the down side, both series are fairly skippable (i.e., nothing's going to tie back into the main title) and they tend to be quick reads that provide very little content for your money.
Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Sourcebook Universe #1-22
Every long-running series eventually spawns a sourcebook of some sort, and Gold Digger is no exception. I'm impressed by the thoroughness of the write-ups - heck, there's a two-page biography of the world's meanest tuna, complete with issue references and a write-up of its powers. (Powers!) I'm just surprised that in this day and age the sourcebook isn't a wiki, though I suppose it's awfully hard to sell individual issues of wiki for $3.95 a pop.
That's the real problem with the Sourcebook - it's an awful lot of money for relatively little value. The write-ups don't contain a lot of information that can't be gleaned from the individual issues, and in the age of the trade paperback it isn't as if those issues are hard to get a hold of. To add insult to injury, the type is almost large-print book sized the individual entries are heavily illustrated, which will end up doubling or tripling the length of the series.
I do enjoy being reminded of some of the weirder characters running around the universe, like this guy...
Tell me you don't want to know this guy's story. (Short version: he claims to be the Secret Emperor of Jade, and while everyone thinks he's a lunatic he appears to have the abilty to travel to Earth, where he moonlights as a TV commentator for a pro wrestling federation.)
Also, you've gotta love that half-assed logo. It looks like the series was originally entitled The Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe until they realized that that title and logo treatment might get them sued by Marvel. So they changed the title to Gold Digger Sourcebook in the indicia, but the only change they made to the logo was to slap a "sourcebook" in the only blank space available, resulting in that godawful mess of a title. It's little touches like this that let you know you're dealing with consummate amateurs.
I like the concept of Dreadwing's Mymior - a recap of a villain's revealed history, organized into chronological order, and presented from his point of view rather than the hero's. It's a nice refresher, and a great way to get a feel for what the villain is really about.
The problem is, there's nothing new here that you couldn't glean from a quick glance through your back issue collection. There are no revelations that shed new light on Dreadwing's goals or motivations, no gap-fillers to close up the holes in Dreadwing's backstory, no new developments that tie back into the main title (at least, not yet). And it's all presented in hard-to-read display type over some very sketchy drawings.
As much as I like the concept, there are a lot better ways to spend your $2.99.