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Really, that Ghost Rider appearance was totally out of left field.

§ September 30th, 2008 § Filed under cartoons, galactus Comments Off

So, the other day I was watching an episode of the mid-1990s Fantastic Four cartoon, which adapted the 1982 Terrax/Galactus storyline from FF #s 242 through 244. Here’s the cover of the middle installment, just so this post isn’t all boring text:


Anyway, the episode takes this three-issue storyline, including the introduction of Frankie Raye and the “she’s got powers like the Human Torch” storyline from the previous year’s continuity, and manages to squeeze it all into a 20-something minute episode.

Most of the storyline’s plot points from the original comics make it into the show, with some adjustments here and there. The most noticeable change is that, instead of the guest-starring-superhero free-for-all like you see on that cover up there, the only guy that shows up in the cartoon is Thor. And taking the place of Dr. Strange is Ghost Rider, who in the cartoon puts the mystical showing-Galactus-the-souls-of-his-victims whammy on the big G that Strange did in the comic. Apparently this was Ghost Rider’s first appearance in the cartoons, judging by the reaction of the other characters. He just pops up, says “hello,” gives Galactus the ol’ magical hairy eyeball…er, eyesocket, and takes off, confusing children watching at home everywhere.

But the story plays out more or less the same in the cartoon as in the comic…Galactus’ reserves are depleted and he’s on the verge of dying, Reed Richards decides to save his life, Frankie volunteers to become the new Herald of Galactus and lead him to a new world to consume, and Galactus takes off, vowing to never trouble Earth again and notes that this is the one world where he may have friends. The end.

There’s another change I should note, concerning Frankie’s characterization. In the comic, she had a habit of using excessive force on the bad guys, giving as her reasoning, “well, they’re bad guys, right? So what?” When she decides to sacrifice herself to become a Herald, it’s pointed out that she’d likely have to lead Galactus to inhabited worlds for him to consume. Her response:

“So? A few bug-eyed monsters? What’s that compared to my being able to go…out there?”

An amoral stance for a superhero-type, to be sure, and it’s not surprising that it didn’t make it into the cartoon. In its place we get some very broad hinting that Frankie may be, if not outright falling in love with Galactus (a plot development that turns up in later FF issues), at least completely admiringly awestruck by him.

Not quite sure why I’m so fascinated by these comic-to-cartoon translations of specific storylines I enjoyed as a younger Mikester. Particularly since the end result, after having watched this episode, is the realization that as profound and significant it all seemed on the printed page, seeing essentially the same story in animated form made it all feel a bit…silly, I guess. Perhaps it’s just the nature of the bare-bones condensing of the original tale, or perhaps it’s just the recontextualizing of the story from the familiar printed format to an animated one, forcing us to reconsider the storytelling tropes freed of nostalgic memories (see also: the ’60s Batman TV show, discussed previously).

Or perhaps I’m just overthinking a cartoon whose primary purpose was to sell toys to children.

But, honestly, that Terrax/Galactus story from Fantastic Four #s 242 through 244 is really good. And maybe a little silly, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

"Oh, man, this guy’s going on for a third day about the whole ‘death of Jonah Hex’ thing? This blog sucks."

§ September 29th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Well, yeah, I do have a few more things to say about Hex, but only briefly. Don’t panic.

I was going to bring up some of Jonah Hex’s other time-travel/non-traditional western encounters, specifically in light of his appearance in the recent Justice League animated series, where Hex clearly is aware of the concept of time travel and is able to I.D. the Leaguers as being from the future. Well, you folks beat me to it in yesterday’s comments section, with this anonymous commentator whipping out specific cites to Jonah’s wandering about the DC Universe. ‘Course, he gives out the titles in shortened form, and if you’re able to identify them all in row without stumbling, you get a cookie. (NOTE: Get your own cookie, I’m not gonna mail you one.)

What’s interesting, I think, about the Justice League cartoon appearance is that the idea of Jonah being the Old West character that Weird Sci-Fi/Horror Shit Happens To is apparently been mainstreamed into the character’s concept. Even in the current Jonah Hex series, which while generally playing the comic as a straight western, featured supernatural elements in its Halloween issue. I think I remember reading somewhere, too, that one of the proposed concepts for the theoretical film adaptation would have incorporated the Vertigo Comics’ horror-themed Hex stories. (I didn’t Google that up, so if someone has more recent, reliable, movie information, feel free to drop it in the comments.)

So, in short, I like the well-traveled-in-time-and-space Jonah Hex. Here’s to more of that sort of thing.

An addendum to the fate of Hex’s stuffed body following the Secret Origin‘s tale related yesterday. I was looking at the Wikipedia entry, and it states that the body eventually made it into the hands of Booster Gold, who placed it into his “Planet Krypton” restaurant (and visible in the Kingdom Come collection-only epilogue, if I recall correctly). I’m now going to imagine Booster Gold wrestling Hex’s body from the hands of the elderly Tall Bird, because it’s both cruel and amusing and I’m a bad person.

By the way, this blurb was on the cover of Hex #18, the last issue of that series which I was also discussing yesterday, and while I was all ready to make fun of it:


…I am, after all, still talking about this series, 20+ years after its conclusion. It’s a classic to me.

In which I talk a bit about the ends of various Jonah Hex comics, so consider that a SPOILER warning.

§ September 28th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized § 2 Comments

Following up on yesterday’s post:

Reader Ha-rel asked why ol’ Jonah Hex was dead, stuffed and mounted in the first place, and the really short answer, without trying to explain the entire story (as seen in DC Super Special #16, 1978), is that after he was killed in a tavern during a card game, his body was acquired by a traveling circus and put on display.

And the last page of that story followed Hex’s body from circus to antique shop to warehouse to standing in front of a wild west theme park in the early ’70s. And honestly, those last two panels, featuring Stuffed Hex just standing out there in the rain while a kid with toy guns play-shoots at him…that’s really one of the saddest, most pathetic scenes in comic book history:


We do get a sequel of sorts in Secret Origins #21 (Dec. ’87), which both R.D. and Dwayne — Dwayne who runs this swell Jonah Hex weblog and I hope doesn’t mind me encroaching on his territory a bit, here — pointed out contains a second case of Hex’s dead ‘n’ stuffed body taking a life. In this case, it’s more of a mysterious “who could have pulled the trigger…except the ghost of Jonah Hex, woooOOOOoooo!” thing instead of that dope triggering the guns himself as shown in yesterday’s post.

In any case, this story, which takes place presumably in the mid/late-’80s, ends with a character promising to retrieve the mounted body so that Jonah’s still-living common law wife, Tall Bird (last seen in that DC Super Special) can put it to rest properly.

More on that in a moment, but now it’s time for some CONTINUITY!

In the Secret Origins tale, Tall Bird relates that Jonah once briefly disappeared to another world:


…which, as that footnote indicates, is a reference to that great series Hex, with Jonah Hex trapped in an apocalyptic future:


Man oh man, do I love Hex. I’ve spoken about it before (and funny how there I’m coy about revealing endings, but now I’m all about the Hex spoilers), but one of the things I love most about this series is its last couple of pages in Hex #18 (Feb. 1987).

It’s the year…oh, I don’t know, 2048 or something, and Hex is recovering from injuries and just sorta killing time, toolin’ around a warehouse filled with antiques and amusement park materials. And what does he come across but…


…and thus, like the Secret Origins comic that follows, establishes that Hex does eventually get back to his rightful time. How he does so is something that’s never been revealed, far as I know, and I doubt it’ll ever be addressed, unless it turns up as a Booster Gold plot-point or something.

And going back to the ending of that Secret Origins story, the happy ending that the story seems to give us, with the impending recovery and return of Hex’s body to his wife, is undercut by what we’d read a few months prior in Hex. Tall Bird’s intention was to burn the body, apparently, but it obviously doesn’t happen if the body is still around for “Road Warrior” Hex to discover in that future warehouse. Don’t know if it was stolen, or if Tall Bird simply died of old age before she should have anything done, or what…regardless of the reason, the closure of the story is not quite so closed after all.

It’s a nice, dark twist, which only has its full impact if you’d been keeping up on your Hex comics, which clearly not many people were since the series was canceled after 18 issues.

But really, consider again that the Hex series ends with Jonah Hex face-to-face with his own stuffed and mounted corpse:


I am both appalled and amused and damn if I don’t love this comic.

image sources:

Hex #1 (Sept. 1985) – cover art by Mark Texeira & Klaus Janson

Hex #18 (Feb. 1987) by Michael Fleisher, Keith Giffen & Carlos Garzon

Secret Origins #21 (Dec. 1987) by Fleisher & Gray Morrow

DC Special Series #16 (1978) by Fleisher & Russ Heath

Just how bad-ass is Jonah Hex?

§ September 27th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

HE KILLED A GUY


WHILE HE WAS DEAD, STUFFED AND MOUNTED

from DC Special Series #16 (1978) by Michael Fleisher & Russ Heath

"Recall Explicit Swearing Error Banned Alternate Mint"

§ September 26th, 2008 § Filed under all star batman Comments Off

Various ways the misprinted All Star Batman and Robin #10 is being described on the eBay:

Banned edition

Bat-ho variant

HOLY F&#@ All Star Batman & Robin #10 BANNED potty

Batman F-Bomb #10 Recalled Error

Recall Explicit Swearing Error Banned Alternate Mint

ERROR RECALLED NM/M F&#@ WOW

Holy #*&$ Batman!! Printing error shows foul language

RECALLED – Swear Words

You know, it’s not really banned, as such.

Interestingly, I found one auction ended with a “Buy It Now” at about ten bucks for a current, non-misprinted version of issue #10. It’s not unimaginable, I suppose…a number of years ago, I used to list brand new comics on eBay every week at cover price, and occasionally one would get multiple bids, driving the price up. But I looked at this auction for the F-bombless version of ASBAR, and found this in the item’s description:

“Corrected Edition
Already Sold Out at Diamond ! Definitive Collector’s Item with Error Variant!”

They’re trying to say “this corrected edition also has an error variant, maybe you’ve heard of it,” which is likely there just to get the word “error” into the description text to grab searches. But I think it’s within the realm of possibility that whoever bid on this may have thought “say, this item comes with the error variant! Woo hoo!”

Hey, it might have happened.

I should also note that prices are coming way down on the misprinted #10…my prediction a while back that I’ll be able to get a copy for about five bucks or so within a few months is well on its way to coming to pass.


  • DC Comics cans its Minx imprint. Don’t have much to say about it myself, other than they didn’t do all that well for us, either, but Kevin Church has some extended commentary (beginning with some joke commentary which, really, may be more true than one would initially think), and longtime comics blogging treasure Johnny Bacardi gets into it as well.

  • All but two of our copies of Simpsons Treehouse of Horror #14 were misprinted, featuring repeated pages. Retailers, check your copies…customers, check yours, too.

    By the way, what I’ve been able to read of this issue is typical top-notch Treehouse of Horror funnybooking. Includes a black and white Death Note parody (in that manga Simpsons style that’s been getting some play over the last year or two), and Gilbert Hernandez’ installment is just downright peculiar. And great.

  • Pal Dorian looks at Green Arrow strutting his stuff, and uses the single longest Green Arrow panel scan I’ve seen on a website. IT’S HUGE.

Progressive Ruin presents…the End of Civilization.

§ September 25th, 2008 § Filed under End of Civilization Comments Off

Ellohay, internetway alspay! It’sway onceway againway imetay orfay ethay Endway ofway Ivilizationcay, asway Iway owplay oughthray ethay ewestnay issueway ofway Iamondday Eviewspray andway ickpay outway itemsway ofway interestway orfay educationway andway iscussionday. Ipflay openway ouryay ownway opycay andway ollowfay alongway! Ou’reyay otnay eallyray eadingray isthay, areway ouyay? Eviouspray installmentsway areway, asway alwaysway, inway ethay idebarsay.

p. 137 – Superman/Batman Series 8 Action Figures:


Okay, I probably shouldn’t be complaining about in regards to a set based on the Superman/Batman comic, but, honestly, I think the Direct Market has reached its Superman/Batman action figure saturation point. Where’s my kick-ass Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt two-pack?

p. 211 – Archie #592:


Wh–what’s this? A reasonably up-to-date video game reference on the cover of an Archie comic? Given the joke is based on the novelty of a video game that requires folks to peel their hinders from the Barcalounger to jump and move and flail about with the controller, it’s only about two years behind since everyone in the real world is more or less used to the idea of the Wii by now. But, you know, a couple of years behind is pretty good for Archie.

p. 313 – M.I.L.F. Magnet #1:


“That’s right. You read it correctly. And don’t lie to us, you know what a MILF is! You know the kind of guy we’re talking about. It’s not his fault; he just attracts women like nobody’s business – with catastrophic results! After a magical accident during a fight with a supervillain, a young and innocent hero named Taser discovers that he now has a more specific kind of ability. Women of a certain age will just not leave him alone, 24/7!”

I should add something to that, but for the life of me, I can’t.

p. 389 – Topps 2008 Sterling NFL Cards:


No relation.

But wouldn’t it be something if these were cards of me? A card set showing photos of my exciting life…see Mike working! See Mike blogging! See Mike drinking Diet Coke! Not to mention the special rare chase cards, featuring bits of my clothing and clippings from my luxurious golden mane of hair.

p. 400 – The Spirit “My City Screams” Black T-Shirt:


Ooh, I was hoping that one of the more ridiculed lines from The Spirit movie’s advertising campaign would make it onto a shirt I’m not going to wear.

p. 414 – Cinema of Fear Jason 2008 San Diego Comic-Con Deluxe Plush:


I just picked this item at…well, not at random, but this is the goofiest example (is that machete plush, too? I gotta know) of all the leftover “exclusive” merchandise from the San Diego Comic Con. Really, there’s a lot in this catalog…action figures, paperweights, etc. …Wasn’t there a time when a lot of leftover Warner Brothers Store merchandise was making it into the Previews catalog? Because it sort of feels like that.

p. 422 – The Spirit Movie Keychains:


Now, honestly, I enjoyed that brief clip that was up on the internet for about a minute, showing the Spirit fighting the Octopus. It was amusingly goofy, and at times looked as if it were drawn by Will Eisner. But some of the stuff from the ad campaigns, which has ended up on these keychains…egads.

p. 424 – Gangsta Babies Series 1 Dolls:


I can’t say it any better than the solicitation info:

“Comin’ straight outta crib-town! Each of these 10″ hoodlers are A-Listing in the playground! Rockin’ fab-tastic clothing and so much baby bling that other rug rats can only catch their vapors! This first series of Gangsta Babies contains Pookie, the green-eyed baller who features a thermal shirt, t-shirt, dew rag, ring, and pimped out pacifier necklace; Benjino, the carrot-toped homey with a red bubble vest, football jersey, jeans, cassette-shaped ring, and old school boom box necklace; Rey Rey, a playa who is #1 with all the Shorties with a hoodie, skullcap, camo jacket, and shorts; and Big Deuce, the liíl shot-caller is runniní things with a baseball hat, shirt, cuffed jeans, and white do rag, diamond ring, gold rope bracelet, and crown pendant.”

STARE INTO THE DEAD EYES OF BENJINO:


p. 424 – Star Trek The Original Series Tribble Role Play:


You have no idea how disappointed I was that this wasn’t a costume for tribble cosplay…basically like a big ol’ furry beanbag you can roll around in.

Someone, somewhere, at some Star Trek convention or even just in the privacy of their own homes, has dressed as a tribble. Let that ease your dream-filled sleep.

p. 442 – Thor Classic Helmet 1/1 Scale Replica:


This bad boy costs $369…but if you’re the kind of guy who’s gonna dish out for a winged metal hat to display in your home, you’re gonna wear it too. Ain’t no denying it.

p. 442 – Clash of the Titans 2008 San Diego Comic Con Mini-Bust 3-Pack:


Probably the only product featuring exposed breasts that didn’t sell out at the ‘Con.

p. 444 – Rock Iconz Ted Nugent Statue:


WARNING: Mike will repeatedly say “The Nuge!” at the slightest provocation, such as, say, seeing this Previews ad about mid-day at the store. Just letting you know.

p. 446 – Star Wars The Clone Wars Ahsoka Tano Maguette:


“This pre-memorial statue based on the Clone Wars cartoon character pays tribute to young Jedi padawan Ahsoka, doomed to be either exiled or simply outright killed (likely by her master Anakin, for full dramatic impact) during or shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Enjoy her while you can, kids!”

p. 466 – Peter Pan Captain Hook Bust (Color Version):


I’m not seeing the appeal of a Hook statue that doesn’t, oh, I don’t know…show his hook.

p. 486 – Star Wars R2-D2 4 Port USB Hub:


You know, this is about the best match between “licensed character” and “USB hub” that I’ve seen. Pal Sean made a joke about that USB cord being R2’s robot naughty bits, but I’m runnin’ a clean site here, sir. Good day…I said good day!

Marvel p. 83 – Punisher War Zone Minimates Box Set:


If you’re familiar these kinds of figures, you know of their disturbingly noseless visages:


Except this guy, who has enough of a vestigial bridge where his nose should be to wear a NOSE BANDAGE:


This is just slightly upsetting my Minimates worldview.

The future King Richard I would like you to know that he is a fighter.

§ September 24th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off


from Ideal #4 (January 1949)

EDIT:Bully is also a fighter!

"His accent…advantageous!"

§ September 24th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Just a few days ago, I mentioned that internet pal Andrew, who puts out some of the best comics ‘n’ music commentary I’ve ever read over on Armagideon Time, had just started Pronounced Woo-bin, a site in celebration of the Bostonian accent. Each post features a short recording by Andrew his own self, reading poetry, reciting common phrases used by inhabitants of far-flung Bostonia, what have you.

The man also takes requests, and when I asked if he could do me the great favor of applying his wonderful accent to one of my all-time favorite “read it aloud for maximum impact” comic books, he was enough of a gentleman to agree.

So without further ado, to-do, or hoohar, I present Andrew and one of the best-selling comics of the 1990s.

Things that are rad.

§ September 23rd, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off


Original sketch card of Bat-Mite by Tone Rodriguez, from the Rittenhouse Batman Archives trading card set.

Who gets the ladies?

§ September 23rd, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off

Sluggo gets the ladies:


In other news:
  • Chris Sims presents a new chapter in the Solomon Stone saga. A laugh in every line!

  • Pal Dorian takes issue with a kind of…peculiar…defense of current Spider-Man comics.
  • This installment of The Rack reminds me of a similar situation from our store, many years ago.

    I’ll wait until you read the strip before I continue and spoil it for you.

    Hmmm mmm mmm mmm…okay, you’re back? Good.

    So quite a while back, after a week where the new comics shipment had another holiday-delayed new comics shipment, a customer came into the shop and pressed what looked like a home computer-printed banner into my hands.

    “This is for you to post in the window when the new comics are delayed a day,” said the customer, voice tinged with irritation.

    I unfolded the banner, which read “NEW COMICS DELAYED UNTIL TOMORROW.” It was printed on a color dot-matrix printer, with a combination of hues that could have been described as “garish” if it hadn’t have been printed with a color dot matrix printer.

    He continued: “Now I can drive by and see from the street whether or not the new comics are in, without having to park and look.”

    Now, I was much younger then, only about 50 or so, so my response was probably something along the lines of a nearly-sarcasm-free “gee, thanks,” and not “what, is your phone broken?” or “great, this should help keep out customers on a day that’s already going to suck financially.”

    We never used it. The guy never said anything about us not using it, far as I can remember. Come to think of it, I bet it’s still floating around the shop, somewhere, packed in a box in the back room.

    I’m not unsympathetic…I know a new-comicsless New Comics Day is a drag for the customer. But it’s a drag for us, too, and putting a sign in the window that’s basically discouraging customers from coming into the store at all is not a good idea. I mean, I’m already telling folks on the phone that new comics aren’t in, so they’re not going to drop by. If customers expecting new comics on a comicsless New Comics Day actually show up at the store, there’s still a chance they may buy stuff…a chance that’s gone if I’m stopping customers at the door before they even step foot inside.

    We have one-day special sales on those holiday-created new-comicsless New Comics Days, but even putting up sale signs may not counter the full-on comic-blocking posted in the window, telling the New Comics Day customers that the exact reason they’ve come to the shop is not in effect. As a store, we need people to walk through that front door and look around, and giving them any excuse to not do so is a bad idea.

    And if you really need to know if the new comics are in, give the store a call. We’ll tell you, honest. But if I have to tell you they’re not in, I’m gonna pitch our one-day-sale to you, too. I hope you don’t mind.

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