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Wednesday at the store, I referred to Chuck Norris as “America’s #1 American,” and no one dared to argue the point.
Anyway, I missed the usual new DC Comics solicitation rundown, but that’s fine…read pal Dorian for a good overview of what DC’s up to. I am apparently balancing out Dor’s distaste for Jimmy Olsen with my overwhelming joy at a Showcase Presents the Superman Family volume, which is predominantly Jimmy, with one Lois Lane story. I’m presuming that the stories are arranged in such a fashion to maintain chronological publication order, but just one Lois story is a little annoying. Well, later volumes will have a better mix of stories, if my presumption is correct.
And in regards to the new Blue Beetle series…heed well my prediction from back in October.
As to some of the new releases:
Omega the Unknown Classic trade paperback – goodness, $29.99 for a paperback this thin? I’m assuming it’s because 1) it looks like it’s been recolored, and 2) it probably had a print run of about a dozen copies. Well, it is prime Steve Gerber, but oy, the price point.
The second issue of Local is out in stores…I reviewed #1 way back when, and haven’t had a chance to read #2 yet. Looks good, though.
Firestorm #20 – Hoo boy, I wonder how many letters they’re going to get from the anti-evolutionists.
Best of the Spirit TPB – If you’ve never read any Spirit, now’s your chance. It’s only $14.99 for a fistful of classic material. I am surprised, however, that there’s no disclaimer in the book explaining Ebony’s appearance for the uninitiated (unless Neil Gaiman covers it in his introduction, or I missed it otherwise).
X-Factor #1 – Hopefully this will go better than Peter David’s return to the Hulk, which was completely derailed by a multi-issue tie-in to an X-Men crossover. X-Factor does spin off from current goings-on in the X-books, but you really don’t need to know much more than “a whole lotta mutants lost their powers.” There, I caught you up. Now you can enjoy that rarity of rarities…a good X-comic.
Little Lulu Vol. 7 – If you aren’t already buying these, then I don’t know if there’s anything I can say to convince you to pick ‘em up. It’s just plain good comic-booking. Buy four fewer Marvel reprin…er, “Special Variant Editions” and buy this instead.
I did get a chance to read Fused Tales from BOOM! Studios, since those folks were nice enough to send me a review copy. Which is a good thing, too, since I had tried out the original Fused series, but gave up on it once the art team changed one too many times, finally driving me away with some near-incomprehensible painted art. I found the initial concept interesting, though it’s one we’ve all seen a million times before in comics: guy trapped in costume/deformed body/what have you and can’t get out, now must deal with his new circumstances. The Thing, Swamp Thing, Concrete, Blue Devil, et cetera, et cetera…I’m a fan of all these characters, which probably says something about my own psychology, but had me favorably inclined to the Fused title. Which is why I’m glad I got the review copy…since I’d pretty much given up on Fused, it’s unlikely I would have even looked at Fused Tales. It’s an anthology book, with three different artists, and while the stories are mostly self-contained, there is a running subplot regarding the lead character’s ongoing evolution as a man merged with machine…in particular, the machine half’s continual degradation. The artwork is clear and easy to follow (much more so than the art that got me to drop the book in the first place), and the characterization is nicely played. I particularly like the fact that the spouse has bailed…a refreshing change from the usual heroic “I’ll stick with you through thick and thin” response we generally see in these sorts of comic-booky situations. I’m assuming that there will be a follow-up, since the book ends on a cliffhanger-y note…don’t leave me high and dry now that I’ve been pulled back in!
Oh, and that other Boom! Studios book I reviewed, Zombie Tales: Death Valley? It’s out now.
Have you not had enough Chuck Norris? Then hie thee hither to Invincible Super-Blog for more Chuck Norris.
Did I mention that my post on Chuck Norris caused a certain unnamed longtime customer and reader of this here weblog to rush into our store and purchase a full run of Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos? It’s true. Such is the power of…Chuck Norris.
from Madballs #4 (June 1987) by Michael Gallegher, Howard Post & Roberta Edelman
Just a reminder…add yourself to my Frappr map and show me where you’re located. I promise I probably won’t come to your house and invite myself to dinner. Please feel free to plug your non-poker, non-viagra websites in the “shoutout” section as well!
Now, from yesterday morning’s post…I was in bit of a rush, so I didn’t do the usual attributions that I try to put on all my panel scans (and I’m in a rush again today…Christmastime, feh), but I do want to note that the last panel was indeed from Marvel Comics’ Power Pachyderms. As commenter Bill said, it was originally announced with a title that made it sound more like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off/parody that it was. However, as I recall, it had been delayed several times, and by the time it came out, the heyday of TMNT parodies and parodies of TMNT parodies was pretty much over.
Commenter Thorpe wonders if there was a fanzine at the time that listed all the b&w parody books from that period. I don’t recall an actual title listing, but Amazing Heroes, for a few months, ran a continuing count of the number of parody books afflicting the marketplace. Not that they were all bad…Boris the Bear was pretty good, and I’ll fight any man who dares to malign Mark Martin‘s Gnatrat.
Any other b&w parody books from that period that are worth noting (i.e. not an abomination)?
…add yourself to my Frappr map! Lemme see where y’all are coming from!
Well, I have to go out and be a good consumer today, hunting and gathering some Christmas presents, so you get…Panel-palooza, a selection of random images from comics I’ve come across recently.
That pic up there isn’t a story panel, but rather an ad from the back pages of The Bushido Blade of Zatoichi Walrus #1. By “Not a TMNT ripoff,” they mean “we are totally riding that Ninja Turtle bandwagon.” Those Crazy-Peckers is a absolutely fantastic title, however. Don’t forget the hyphen!
From Outsiders #28, the team takes advantage of Major Disaster’s Green Lantern phobia by casting an illusion over Geoforce to make him appear to MD as GL:
“Doing impressions” is apparently not part of Geoforce’s vast array of superpowers.
This next panel, from Angel Love #1, was actually one of the panels used in DC Comics house ads pushing the series:
There are an alarming number of panels in this series where a character looks straight out at the reader (sometimes zoomed in right on the eyeballs) and shouts something in alarm or surprise.
Oh, if I had a dime for every time I’ve had to say this to pal Dorian:
…I’d have 37 cents.
You know, facing the fury of Marvel Boy doesn’t terrify me in the slightest, for some reason.
From the comments section for the Newsarama story on Warren Ellis’ New Universe revival:
“I honestly can’t tell the difference between ‘Fell,’ ‘Desolation Jones’ and ‘Down.’
“They’re all in color and have staples in the spine. They’re exactly alike!”
Anyway, I think Ellis’ take on the New Universe could be interesting…the original NU was always more interesting in concept than execution. I remember reading a preview in Amazing Heroes and thinking D.P. 7 sounded like a lot of fun…but not exactly caring for the actual book once it came out. Star Brand was probably the best of the bunch, with Jim Shooter’s “what if Superman really existed” storylines…not quite at Watchmen, Miracleman, or even Squadron Surpreme-levels, but not too shabby, either.
Once newuniversal, as the revival series is called, gets underway, prepare yourself for the outcry from the half-dozen surviving New Universe purists about how Ellis is ruining “their” characters. You can already see a bit of it starting in that Newsarama discussion.
In other news:
“Hey, hoser, gone shopping yet?” – trying to recreate the gifts from Bob & Doug McKenzie’s “12 Days of Christmas” –
“Eighth day: eight comic books. Since many comics like The Simpsons weren’t around when the album was produced, [we] decided Archie Digest is a brand of comic that would have Bob and Doug laughing so hard, beer would be shooting out of their noses.”
“Westerns gallop back into the picture”
“[Jonah] Hex stretched beyond his boundaries and appeared, not always appropriately, in comics featuring the Justice League, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Swamp Thing and Green Lantern. Then there was the two-year stretch in the mid-1980s when he became a hero in the Earth’s far future. Fortunately, he eventually was put back where he belonged.”
“Superheroes such as Spider-Man and Superman are being banned from pre-schools because they make the children more rowdy.
“…Almost all of the children who seemed to be involved in the rough play were into Spider-Man and Batman and the Ninja Turtles.”
Goodbye, Mr. Pryor.
In honor of the current wave of Chuck Norris-mania currently sweeping the internet (primarily due to the Top 30 Facts about Chuck Norris site – “the chief export of Chuck Norris is pain”), here are a few selected panels from Marvel Comics’ Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos #2 (March 1987) by Jo Duffy, Steve Ditko, and Mike Esposito. Are you man enough to look at them?
The Chuck Norris entrance strut.
Men, women, and youth with jaunty hats all love Chuck Norris.
You may start a fight, but Chuck Norris will finish it.
There’s nothing I can say that can improve upon that dialogue.
Chuck Norris answers friendly queries as to his fighting ability with grace and panache.
So, anyway, my favorite Chuck Norris movie is Silent Rage: “Science created him. Now Chuck Norris must destroy him.” (Read more about it.) What’s your favorite?
Most men in their thirties find excitement in traditional, manly ways: sports, hunting, rock-climbing, hiking, sailing, hang-gliding. These activities all test one’s mettle, and get the heart pounding.
But for Oxnard resident Mike Sterling, 36, he finds all the excitement he needs in one place…between the covers of a comic book.
“I’ve been reading them for about as long as I can remember,” Sterling says. “I was a voracious reader almost from the get-go, reading anything I could get my hands on. Books, magazines, newspapers, college textbooks, and comics too. It was just one more source of entertainment for me.”
However, like most people of his generation, his taste for quality entertainment was forever marred by the 1977 theatrical release of “Star Wars,” causing him to prefer flashy lowbrow amusements over more intellectual pursuits. “I discovered that the ‘Star Wars’ story was actually continued in comic book form,” Sterling recalls. “Prior to that, comics were just an occasional thing. It was following the ‘Star Wars’ comic that got me checking out the comic book racks on a regular basis.”
From these tragic beginnings was Sterling’s comic book collection (which he sadly and continually refers to as “the vast Mikester Comic Archives”) born. His collection, which numbers in the “tens of thousands,” is made up of thousands of titles from dozens of companies, dating back to the 1940s. That would be more than enough for some people, but for Sterling, his obsession requires constant feeding.
“Every week, I get another dozen or so comic books, plus a few for my girlfriend.” (Sterling’s girlfriend, currently “visiting relatives out of the country,” was unavailable for comment.) “I enjoy lots of different types of comics, such as ‘Eightball’ and ‘Palookaville’ and ‘Love & Rockets,'” Sterling states, though the comics he showed this reporter seemed to be primarily about flying men in tights who punch each other and shout a lot.
Sterling’s compulsive collecting behavior doesn’t stop there. He also takes great pains to ensure his comic books are stored properly. “After reading each comic book, I gently place it into a protective comic book sleeve, sealing it with a removable adhesive sticker – not tape!” he’s quick to emphasize. “I then put the bagged comic in yet another comic book bag, with a stiff backing board, then place it in a comic book box, which is then placed on a metal shelf in a temperature-controlled environment. Once the box is full, I then seal the whole box in a larger plastic bag for maximum protection. On the floor, I circle the shelves with salt to keep ants away.”
His more valuable comic books are treated with greater care. “My most expensive comics, on the rare occasion that I must remove them from the safe, are borne aloft upon silk pillows carried by virgins, and the comics themselves are only handled by my gloved hands…each pair of gloves only being used once, then discarded.” When questioned about where he would find virgins for this task, Sterling simply blushed, giggled, and hid his face behind a silk pillow.
On the topic of comics as investment, Sterling scoffs at the idea. “I buy comics because I like to read them. Why should every unusual hobby be justified to ‘normal’ people by telling them how much money can be made at it? Surely money is not the be-all end-all of human pursuit?” When then asked about his copy of the “35th Edition Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide,” Sterling replied “I need that for reference” and quickly changed the subject.
As if all that weren’t enough, Sterling makes his living by actually selling comic books at a “comic book specialty store” he manages: the Ventura Fun Time Comic Book/Magic Card Store and Video Deli. Sterling claims that there are thousands of such stores across the United States and other less important countries that, as hard as it is to believe, actually are able to keep their doors open by selling new comics and dealing in old ones. “It’s a fun job,” he says, “though sometimes people unfamiliar with the hobby treat ‘comic store manager’ as being about one step below ‘drug dealer.'” Sterling then adds, “by the way, do you know about ‘Free Comic Book Day?’ That’s where we give kids comics for free, in the hopes that they’ll like ‘em, and that they’ll come back with money to buy more. ‘The first one’s free!'” he says, laughing.
Comic books apparently don’t occupy enough of his life, as Sterling also maintains a “weblog” — sort of like a personal diary, except kept “online” on the Internet where anyone can read it — on the topic. His weblog (sometimes referred to by expert users as a “‘blog” for short) can be found at “Progressiveruin.com,” which he updates daily. “I just like to talk about comics, whenever and wherever I can, with other like minded people.” Sterling says that there are literally dozens of other comic fans on the Internet, using this space-age technology to discuss this mundane subject.
“I realize it’s a peculiar hobby,” Sterling admits. “It’s an even stranger job. But I’ve always loved comics, have always had the support of my family…” (family too embarrassed to comment) “…and, what the heck, it’s a living.”
If you can call that living.
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