You are currently browsing the archives for November, 2012
As not-really-predicted by the Mayan Calendar…The End of Civilization is now upon us! Hide in your shelters, crack open that tin of survivalist-brand crackers and cheese, and follow along in your Diamond Previews December 2012 edition to check out what new items are going to see us out of this world and into the next. PLEASE NOTE: big ol’ spoiler for the Avengers movie, in case you just landed on Earth and haven’t seen it yet:
p. 84-5 – Justice League of America #1:
…with its fifty-something variants for the U.S.’s different states and its bonus extras, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Frankly, they should combine the blank sketch cover trend with this comic and allow folks at home to make their own variants:
Oh, look, here’s a blank right here:
p. 103 – Batgirl #17:
Hey, remember back when James Gordon, Jr. was like this forgotten minor character from a Frank Miller comic? How long ’til he gets his own New 52 series?
p. 113 – Swamp Thing #17:
I’m going to have to admit to you…I never even considered the idea that having Swamp Thing back in the DC Universe, or what passes for the DC Universe nowadays, could possibly mean a Harley Quinn/Swamp Thing battle (even if it’s “deformed/possessed by Swamp Thing’s nemesis” Harley Quinn)…but I guess I should have realized. THIS IS WHAT I ASKED FOR.
p. 123 – Young Romance A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1:
Yup, that’s certainly a couple of nearly 80-year-old characters on the cover of a comic called Young Romance
Oooh, that misspelling is one letter away from turning a Batman supporting character’s name into something spectacular. “It’s Morgan Freeman in his sexiest role yet!”
p. 167- Mars Attacks #7:
They should do “30 Second Later” variants for more comics! Why, just imagine the possibilities!
p. 230 – Cavewoman Oasis #1:
…Sometimes you just need to say “Well, goodness,” and leave it at that.
p. 233 – Forcebook T-Shirt:
Finally, something to replace my outdated “MyHyperspace” t-shirt.
p. 360 – James Bond FAQ All That’s Left to Know About Everyone’s Favorite Superspy:
“Everyone’s favorite superspy?” Why would a book about Danger Mouse be called James Bond FAQ
p. 362 – Star Trek The Visual Dictionary HC:
When no one was looking, Cyrano Jones imported forty tribbles. He imported 400 tribbles. That’s as many as four thousands. And that’s terrible.
p. 362 – Stuck On Star Trek:
“Mom! I can’t separate the Captain Kirk sticker from the green alien woman!”
“Oh, great, now there’s another alien woman attached to Kirk!”
“I’m returning that toy.”
p. 370 – Son of Satan Black T-Shirt:
I don’t know which is more amazing…that we finally got a Son of Satan t-shirt, or that terrible pun surrounding the picture of the shirt.
p. 375 – Rat Creature T-Shirt:
p. 383 – Star Wars Han Solo in Carbonite Vinyl Bank:
At last. AT LONG LAST. I think my well-earned rest is at hand, now that The Nerdiest Object Ever
has been reduced to affordable form. The End of Civilization…finally here.
p. 403 – Avengers Movie Thor Mjolnir Limited Edition Replica:
There may be a slight delay in delivery, as no shipping company seems to be able to pick these up for some reason.
p. 403 – The Avengers Movie Agent Coulson’s Captain America Trading Cards:
Now, I kept trying to get a good look at the cards in the film, and what I saw reminded me a little of those old Comics Images sets from about 20 years ago. But here, you can get replicas of the cards in a dual set: the “Near Mint” set, and, get ready for this, the “Bloody” set. Yes, you can relive that moment when the cards allegedly soaked in the blood of the beloved Agent Coulson are presented to the Avengers. (NOTE: probably not the actual blood of that actor.)
And don’t even get me started on Agent Coulson’s Captain America card set having a card of Agent Coulson in it. That’s some weird self-reflexive ouroboros type stuff and thinking about it will just drive you crazy. Crazy.
- Bully brings you the Comic News for November 25th, 2012.
- Pal Dorian is going to be a panelist at Bent-Con this coming Saturday, discussing the topic “Understanding the Gay Fanboy (and Fangirl!).” If you see him there, be sure to say hello!
- Tangognat reads Amethyst comics, old and new. …It seems weird to have Amethyst, of all comics, in a black and white format, but…well, I’ll let Tangognat tell you how she feels about that.
- I saw my old pal Fred Noland for the first time in quite a long while this past weekend, and that reminded me that it’s been a bit since I sent you to his site to enjoy his excellent illustration work. Be sure to check out the comics he has available for sale in his store…I recommend everything.
“Ohhhhh, it’s ‘The Rifleman,’ you’re just soooo great!
You’re such a rifleman! Excuse me, ‘The’ Rifleman.
I bet you’re soooo good with rifles!”
• • •
Yeah, I don’t know, either. Anyway, still in Low Content Mode, will hopefully have something for you tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by, pals.
The Rifleman #7 (June 1961)
house ad from Archie’s Joke Book #127 (August 1968)
…by enjoying this picture of Wetsuit Jughead:
image from Archie’s Joke Book #134 (March 1969)
So I received a used copy of this hardcover in a collection I purchased the other day:
And, well, I did have it in the shop as a new item before, but I never really did sit down and give it a good looking-at then, despite my enjoyment of Don Newton’s Batman. Thus, before putting it out for sale I thought I’d take it home and give it a read…what, it’s going to get more
used? …Well, okay, yeah, I suppose it is, but I’ve the gentle touch of a professional comics handler, and can easily peruse this volume without causing further discoloration, dogearing, spine stress, or, God help us, foxing.
Anyway, I was a fan of Newton’s work, both on Batman and on Infinity Inc., which he had just started to work on when he passed away in 1984 at the too-young age of 49. Reading this book, I find myself struck by one thing, which will hardly be a new or original comment in regards to these sorts of reprint projects, but nevertheless it’s still an honest reaction. The pages are just too white and clean. The Young Mike that’s still rattling around in my head is expecting to be reading these stories on brown-ish newsprint. In fact, when I mentally picture Newton’s art, I imagine dark, moody images…all shadows and mystery. Reprinting in this book on bright pages with bright coloring, even the shadows look like you’re staring at the sun. …Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but still, it was a bit jarring to have the art right in front of me and contradicting my memories of same.
And before you say anything, yes, Infinity Inc. was printed on bright white paper with eye-searingly bright colors, but Newton’s sadly brief tenure there doesn’t have the nostalgic hold his Batman work has for me.
As I was writing this, another sorta unsung comics artist fave of mine came to mind that I’d like to see reprinted in a book like this. I’d totally be all over The Complete Irv Novick.
• • •
One of my readers was kind enough to point out that, in an old post of mine…I mean, really old, within the first month of this site’s life…one of the links I’d posted way back then had apparently since gone feral and now pointed to a porn site. Okay, first off…porn on the Internet? When did that start? And secondly…yeah, link rot. This site is on the verge of turning nine years old, and I’m sure many links in a lot of my old posts now go to destinations I did not originally intend. I mean, if I was sending you to a dirty filthy dirty site
, I was usually pretty good about warning you up front.
I’ve heard about some people going through and consistently maintaining and / or removing links on old posts, but frankly, it’s hard enough to find the time to keep with new posts, or sleep. And then there was the great Blogger-to-Wordpress shift I underwent in early ’10, which resulted in some formatting and archived-post issues, and then whatever that company was that was supporting the old commenting system cut that support, so links to those comments are now no bueno, I guess, and…man, sometimes I feel doing a reboot, and just starting this website from scratch. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNEW BEFORE: WELCOME TO THE NEW PROGRESSIVE RUIN! and then I’d never refer to anything before that date ever again.
I’m not going to do it, but, back past a certain point, my site’s a mess. I do still go back and fix links and formatting and stuff if I have occasion to link to an old post, so I’m not letting things totally fall into barbarism, but…well, just assume any super old link is probably taking you straight to a site that’ll sell you V1aG4a or promise you pictures of people inserting Tab A into Slot B.
However, I am happy to note that I still occasionally edit my very first post to make sure it’s still sending you where I want you to go. Man, had I known they’d be fiddling with those addresses every year or so, I’d have picked something else for my debut entry.
• • •
Reader d asks
“Hey Mike, we all know you have every Swamp & Man Thing appearance, but do you collect The Heap as well? Just curious.”
Well, I don’t have every Man-Thing appearance…I do have every one written by Steve Gerber, as well as the first appearance in Savage Tales (not by Gerber), but from about the ’90s forward, I’ve been a little pickier about touching Man-Things.
That has nothing to do with the actual thrust of your question, which is all about the Heap, the original comic book swamp monster dating back to the 1940s. Sadly…no, I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out Heap comics, though I have picked up some of the latter day revivals, such as this 1971 one-shot I’ve discussed in the past, or this new version from Moonstone, or the Airboy/Mr. Monster one-shot from 1987, in which the Heap plays a prominent role, and is a great comic, to boot.
The original Heap comics are about to be reprinted in a series of three hardcover volumes, and I’m still waffling a bit on whether I can afford to pick these up for myself. My usual argument to talk myself into such things is “if I don’t get them now, I’ll probably never have another chance, at least this (relatively) cheaply,” so we’ll see. I am tempted.
• • •
On a related note, in that it’s asked in the same comments section, Casey wonders
“Mike, have you ever done a post about toxic Teen Titans continuity?”
Oh God, no. What I’d wished I had done is recorded pal Dorian and myself going on and on and hashing it all out and realizing that some of the time frames involved would make some of the adult characters a lot older than they should be, or that some of the lengths of time of team membership would be extremely short, or…hell, I don’t remember now. This was prior to DC kind of pushing the “sliding scale” of the Modern DC Superhero Universe to being about 20 years old, as of Identity Crisis, which I recall thinking was a slightly more reasonable time frame, given the amount of “important” events and continuity, not just for the Titans but for everyone, you had to squeeze in there.
Of course, post-Flashpoint, that scale is now about 5 or 6 years, depending on who you ask, I guess, so it’s all a moot point. And I hear tell Titans continuity has even more exciting problems now, as in some indecision whether there were previous Titans teams or not, but I leave the pondering of that question to younger, abler folks than myself.
• • •
And then sometimes I repost a gag I already made on the Twitter
, such as presenting this gag header from Archie’s Joke Book
#134 (March 1969 – hey, my birth month!) and lamenting the fact that in no way does the story live up to this title:
…which is just as well, since Archie couldn’t participate anyway:
Oh, scatological humor! You’re the best
• • •
To bring things back around to the nostalgia of Young Mike from the beginning of this post, just before I soiled it all with continuity nitpicking, porn, poop jokes, and Man-Thing innuendo, I found myself the other day discussing the joys of Omega Men
with a customer of mine.
Although I had read the introduction of the Omega Men in those three or so issues of Green Lantern, I didn’t follow them to their own series (which experienced some small controversy in its early issues due to depictions of violence, back in the “they didn’t know how good they had it” days of fandom). It took Alan Moore, a writer of some note, writing a back-up in two successive issues of the series (#26, pictured, and #27) to get me to take a look…and quite wisely, a new storyline in the main feature started up at that same time, giving Moore-ites like me a solid jumping-on point. It helped that 1) the new regular artist on the series was Shawn McManus, for whom I was developing a strong appreciation, and 2) that the comic itself was just a darned weird, creepy, and plain ol’ interesting sci-fi adventure.
As I was talking about the book with the customer, a couple of things dawned on me that, I suppose, shouldn’t have surprised me but did anyway. The actual run of that “new direction” for Omega Men, from #26 to the book’s eventual cancellation, was only 13 issues, plus an annual. It sure felt like it was longer…not in a bad way, I mean. It’s that a whole lot of stuff happened along the course of that comic, and it’s hard to believe they managed to fit it all into only about a year’s worth of stories (well, technically a year…I think some issues ran a bit late, if I recall correctly). Also, there was a Teen Titans crossover, and, of all things, a Crisis on Infinite Earths-engineered Blue Devil crossover, and an appearance in DC Comics Presents, so that probably helped in the perception of the comics’ apparent length.
The other thing that dawned on me was that the series wrapped up while I was still in high school, which doesn’t feel weird for anyone but me, I realize, but still, it seems like it’s more recent than that. Ah, well…tempus fugit, and all that.
I’ve since picked up the remainder of the series, which of course includes the first appearance of Lobo (which guides at a low $7.00, which sort of surprises me, except I suppose Omega Men print runs at the time were fairly large), and despite the occasional terrifying Kevin O’Neill art job, those earlier issues were fairly staid compared to the outright craziness of the McManus-era stories. Still fun, and worth checking out if you can find ‘em cheap, which they usually are.
• • •
Just to let you folks know, I’m probably entering Low Content Mode for the rest of the week, or at least lower
content mode…the Thanksgiving holiday is coming up, and I’ve also got another project I’m working on at the moment that requires the focus of my creative energy, he said in a hopefully non-New Agey way, so probably you’ll not be seeing much more out of me this week aside from maybe a pic or two. Or you can follow me on the Twitter
where I’m still likely to spout off about something. At any rate, I’ll see you on the other side, and please enjoy your Thanksgiving, where applicable, and everyone else, enjoy your Thursday. Thanks for reading!
• • •
the end of the post! I was wondering where that was.
So reader Michael G. asks, in response to my discussion of Swamp Thing’s continuity nonsense:
“…Maybe in one of these posts you can talk about reasons why you continue to keep up with the character through messes like this. […] …Is there a possibility Swamp Thing could be so badly mismanaged that you would stop buying it?”
To be honest, I really don’t have a problem with them fiddling around with the continuity. I mean, yes, I’ve said that the changes to the new Swamp Thing continuity make my inner fanboy twinge a bit, crying out “b-b-but that’s not how it happened!” — but frankly, I just take it in stride, and so long as this New 52 Swamp Thing comic is 1) entertaining, 2) good, and 3) reasonably consistent with itself, I’m fine with it. (In fact, one of the points in this new series I wanted to double-check was Alec remembering Abby only via fuzzy memories inherited from the not-Alec Swamp Thing that had come before, even though the recent annual presented Alec’s first meeting with Abby before ever “becoming” Swamp Thing…but no, there is an explanation, so everything’s cool there.)
My issues with how it may or may not follow from what has come before…specifically, the Big Event stuff that brought back Swamp Thing in the first place…that’s mostly just a bunch of nerd-pondering, a mental…well, I hesitate to call it “exercise,” but maybe more like a quick mental jog around the block. It’s kind of like when pal Dorian and I used to talk about Teen Titans continuity and how that pretty much screwed up DC’s overall superhero continuity.
The particular problem I had with that Search of Swamp Thing series that following Swampy’s comeback in Brightest Day was first, it complicated that return essentially by undoing it, separating Swamp Thing and Alec Holland again, with no explanation and no resolution. Second, nothing really gets resolved in regards to Alec’s status in relation to Swamp Thing, and the threat set up at the beginning (that Constantine was in danger of becoming the next plant elemental) is more or less unanswered at the end. Not really upset by it, just found it curious.
The other continuity blip I wonder about is in the first issue of the ongoing New 52 seies, when Superman checks in on Holland. Like I said last time, it could just be that Superman knows about Holland’s history vis-à-vis Swampy, and that Holland’s sudden reappearance, alive and well, is of concern to him. But it feels like this is a follow-up to an interaction between the two prior to this new series…an interaction that could be explained by the characters’ involvement in Brightest Day, though the structure of the New 52-version of Swamp Thing is that the events in Brightest Day are no longer necessary.
LFC notes that this could be remnants of story that preceded knowledge of the New 52 reboot, thus the plotting awkwardness. That would certainly explain a few things. But, again, I’m not really all that put out by the changes. I just like discussing them and trying to work ‘em out and noting what pieces fit and what don’t. I may gripe about a change or three, but it’s more out of a sense of bemusement than posting-animated-GIFs-on-Tumblr outrage.
To Michael’s other question…honestly, I can’t foresee a reason I wouldn’t buy Swamp Thing. That’s on the “no matter what” list even if, yeah, it’s absolutely terrible. I’d still be interested in what was being done with the character, even if I didn’t like how it was being done. In the case of that aforementioned Search for Swamp Thing mini, I liked most of the covers, I was amused by Constantine’s SUPER-BRITISH, “have we mentioned that he’s British?” dialogue and his interaction with super heroes, and I liked talking here on the site how this series didn’t quite work. So, yeah, it was awful, but I got some measure of entertainment and discussion out of it so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Anyway, I didn’t finish my New 52 Swamp Thing reread, so I still have a small handful of questions I am looking to answer. But as our old friend Suckmaster Burstingfoam mentioned in the comments:
“I don’t think it matters.
“Any of it.
Yeah, I can’t say you’re wrong. But since when does something not mattering ever kept me from going on at length about it? That’s the stuff blogs are made of!
…I discovered that things don’t make any more sense this time around than before, as least as it pertains to the transition from Brightest Day to that Search for Swamp Thing series.
In brief: at the end of Brightest Day, Alec Holland is resurrected by the White Lantern’s power to become the new Swamp Thing, defeating and supplanting the old Swamp Thing whose nature had been corrupted by the evil force that was behind the whole “Blackest Night” hoohar. After evil is defeated and Swamp Thing gives everyone the ol’ “I’m back to fight for the Green” speech, we get a cliffhanger where Swamp Thing is shown killing a bunch of dudes who are responsible for harm being done to the environment. And then John Constantine shows up to express his disbelief that Swamp Thing was actually responsible for all this.
Okay. Well then, it seems like we need a mini-series or something to shed some light, right? Said mini, Search for Swamp Thing, shows that 1) Holland had been split from the Green again, and no longer Swamp Thing, though if there’s an explanation for it, none seems apparent, and 2) the Green is trying to create a new avatar by using Constantine, as he was Swampy’s buddy and apparently that’s close enough for horseshoes.
When all is said and done in this mini, there is still no explanation for Holland being split from Swamp Thing, the two are not reunited in the end, and there’s no apparent resolution to the Green-persuing-Constantine plot (and in fact, the series ends with the implication that the Green is still trying to get its leafy tendrils on Constantine).
If it weren’t for the explicit references to the then just-completed Brightest Day series, I would have said this was a new reboot for Swamp Thing, unconnected to Brightest Day. But it all ends up a moot point anyway, as within a week or so of this mini wrapping up, the New 52 starts, with its new continuity, and a whole new Swamp Thing series.
The new Swamp Thing starts sort of where we left off from the mini, with a resurrected Alec Holland, only with the Green actively pursuing him, and no Constantine in sight. However, the return of Alec Holland appears unrelated to any of those events from Brightest Day or Search for Swamp Thing, given statements in later issues that Holland “woke up naked in the swamp” and, well, what the Parliament of Trees says directly to Holland in issue #7:
So that’s the line I was looking for, and had somehow forgotten about or overlooked when I originally read this issue. The Parliament themselves
resurrected Alec Holland, to become the one, true Swamp Thing that was supposed to form the first time around, except Holland had
died and the Parliament was forced to “build” a Swamp Thing around what they could glean from Holland’s dead mind.
I still think some kind of Brightest Day thing was supposed to have occurred in this New 52 continuity, as clearly something happened to the previous Swamp Thing, the one that had been based on Holland’s memories. (Or I missed it, or haven’t gotten to it in the rereading yet.) Also, Superman shows up in Swamp Thing #1 to check on Holland, which sort of implied to me that the two were tied up in the Brightest Day event, but that may have been more because those comics were still fresh in my mind more than anything actually presented in the text. It could be just that Superman makes a habit on checking on people who come back from the dead, particularly those tied to powerful characters in the DC Universe.
(Also, Superman seemingly references his own “Death of Superman” storyline during the discussion, so maybe that happened in the New 52 world? Who knows?)
Anyway, my main goal here was to find out if there was an in-story explanation for Holland’s return that didn’t depend on readers assuming a New 52 Brightest Day-esque event whose story Must Not Yet Be Told, and lo, look at the pics above.
Come back…oh, Friday, I guess, when I regale you with more recent Swamp Thing trivia I may have missed.
So blogging brother Tim O’Neil tried to kill me with the following question:
…Is there any chance in the near future you could go into a bit more detail on all the discrepancies between pre-Flashpoint and Nu52 Swamp Thing continuity?
Well, good gravy.
I went into some detail about that here, in which I discuss the new status quo of Swampy’s arch-nemesis, but even now, it’s hard to say what is still “in continuity” and what isn’t.
Some of the big details are the same…Holland is still killed by sabotage of his lab, his memories are incorporated into a Swamp Thing that thinks it’s Alec Holland, Holland is eventually resurrected, and finally actually is transformed into Swamp Thing himself. And along the way, Swampy (the original one) has a romance with Abby Arcane.
Some of the specifics are different…Holland meets Abby and Arcane before becoming Swamp Thing, Arcane is the one who sabotages the lab and prevents Holland from initially, directly becoming Swamp Thing, necessitating the Parliament of Trees’s creation of an ersatz Holland-mind to inhabit the Swamp Thing body.
And I’m still not 100% certain how the resurrection of Holland even happened in this new post-Flashpoint continuity. I mean, Holland was brought back at the end of the Brightest Day series, resurrected by the White Lantern’s power to become the new Swamp Thing in order to defeat the old Swamp Thing, who had been corrupted by evil or…hell, something like that. I don’t know if “Brightest Day” even happened in this New 52 continuity…I guess Green Lantern continuity is pretty much as it always was, or at least recent events carried through into the new series without too many hiccups or revampings, and the White Lantern thing was tied into GL’s adventures, so maybe the Brightest Day event still happened in one form or another.
However, there’s that whole business with Holland and Swamp Thing being two separate beings at the beginning of the New 52 series, and the point of the early issues of this series was to transform Holland into Swamp Thing, so in the new continuity, I guess this is taking the place of the reintegration of Holland and Swampy from the end of Brightest Day. So maybe Brightest Day didn’t happen. Or it ended differently. Or something.
I think, as time permits, I’m going to sit down and reread all the “return of Swamp Thing” stuff from the end of Brightest Day, to that terrible Search for Swamp Thing mini, to the current series, and try to figure out what continuity “plugs” may exist to explain the new status quo that I’m either not remembering or even don’t exist in the first place. Probably should have done that before writing this post, but I started late Sunday night and frankly, I’m tired.
Anyway, I’ll get back to you on this. I’m sure you can’t wait.
In the meantime, Timothy T. had this to say about the end of Hellblazer:
I hope they give him a good sending off. But I have no idea what sort of ending would fit, he’s done so much crazy stuff that any finale will disappoint. Maybe it’d be best if they ended it like Cerebus or maybe just having a beer with his mates (or himself).
I’m hoping for a “THE DEATH OF CONSTANTINE,” which will be packaged in a black plastic bag with a big bloody “H” (or perhaps a pentagram) on the front. …And then a few months later, they can publish a comic in which a bunch of replacement Hellblazers show up, so DC can finally reuse a lot of those Constantine-a-likes that used to pop up now and again.
…or, more specifically, reader Jeff R.’s prophecy, and discussed on this site again a couple of months ago, it has been announced that Hellblazer will indeed wrap up its run under the Vertigo banner with issue #300, and be followed by a new, ongoing series in the regular DC Universe.
And, well, that’s that. Not sure how I feel about it, but I’ll certainly check out the new series when it starts up. Hey, Justice League Dark featuring Constantine turned out to be pretty good, maybe this new series will, too.
Speaking of Justice League Dark, it was announced a few days back that director Guillermo del Toro is expressing interest in making a movie featuring DC’s horror ‘n’ supernatural characters, such as the aforementioned Constantine, the Phantom Stranger, Deadman, and, yes, Swamp Thing. This is very much in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category, but like I said before, del Toro’s plant-monster in Hellboy II reminded me very much of Swamp Thing, so I’d like to see what he’d do with the real thing. …Yes, I said “real thing.” Don’t tell me Swamp Thing’s not real.
And, speaking of using the “and speaking of” transition again…now, I’m enjoying the Swamp Thing comic. Honest, I am. But the Swamp Thing fanboy that lurks deep within me…well, sorta deep…okay, pretty much surface level…still objects to the thorough retooling of Swamp Thing’s continuity for the New 52 initiative. I mean, I get it, it’s a way of keeping the character fresh and fitting into this new timeline and trying to get new readers into it without feeling like they have to know that last few decades’ worth of continuity…but maybe they could have done that without contradicting everything that’s gone before. But you know, whatever, I’ll live. And all those old pre-New 52 comics are still there in my boxes for me to reread.
And on the other hand, the New 52 Swamp Thing got to shout “Superboy! We are not enemies!” in the latest issue, and frankly, that makes it all worth it.
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