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Sometimes you just need a cosmically-attuned Albert Einstein to come in and straighten everything out.

§ July 20th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 12 Comments

from DC Challenge #6 (April 1986) by Elliot S! Maggin, Dan Jurgens & Larry Mahlstedt

Long day, short post.

§ July 15th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 7 Comments

There’s likely going to be a lot of piling-on of Superman #701 today (which is why I posted my main complaint yesterday to beat the rush), so I’m just going to drop this link here to Elliot S! Maggin’s “Must There Be A Superman” as that appears to have at least some thematic relation to Supes’ current saga.

Now, I didn’t hate the comic…there’s the germ of a good idea here, and there were a couple of nice moments, but Superman comes off a bit too jerky for my tastes. Also, I thought Superman was keeping himself literally “grounded,” walking across the country and eschewing flight as a travel option. At least, that was the impression I got from the publicity, but he gets a couple of flights in there. Straight up in the air, sure, but our boy Supes is still flying.

On the other hand, J. Michael Straczynski’s work on the new Brave and the Bold (#35, art by Jesus Saiz) with the Legion of Substitute Heroes and the Inferior 5 was actually pretty good. Amusing, some clever time-travel shenanigans, and no heavy-handed moral like in previous JMS B&Bs.

The new Simpsons spin-off mini-series Comic Book Guy started up this week, and that was a lot of fun…the multiple covers wrapped around the book parodying various comics were a nice surprise. That Crisis on Infinite Earths one is the best. The “nerd knowledge” requirement is actually fairly low, with the gags remaining funny even if you aren’t familiar with all the specific comics references.

And if you were one of the four people still waiting for the latest comic book series based on the Wild Cards novels, The Hard Call, to finally wrap up…well, #6 is on the stands and waiting for your cold, hard cash, friends. ‘Course, I’m going to have to go back and reread the previous five, because I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what happened in those earlier installments.

I liked some bits of Superman #701…

§ July 14th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 11 Comments

…and then there was this bit which seemed awfully un-Superman-ish:

from Superman #701 (Sept 2010) by J. Michael Straczynski, Eddie Barrows & J.P. Mayer

Since when does Superman think it’s too bad some folks aren’t dead?

(Kevin Church has more to say.)

Well, they have photos. That proves it.

§ July 14th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 8 Comments

ad from Space Warp (Summer 1979)

The world is a little less cranky.

§ July 13th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 3 Comments

from American Splendor #15 (1990) by Harvey Pekar & Mark Zingarelli

It’s seems weird that the comics industry will no longer have a Harvey Pekar roaming its edges, occasionally writing some comics, complaining about not making enough money at it, while still gifting us with low-key stories of humorous observations, of found beauty…and of trying to save a buck. God bless that man.

Internet pal Dave posted a nice appreciation of the man, and Tom Spurgeon has a brief initial reaction which should be replaced by a full obituary at some point today. And I may have written a small tribute to him in Monday’s News Briefs at The Bureau Chiefs.

And here are Pekar’s appearances on David Letterman’s talk show which are so hilariously awkward, and the exact opposite of the typical showbiz shilling that these shows are created to facilitate. Letterman never could get a handle on this guy.

So long, Harvey, and thanks for all the good work you’ve given us over the years. You really were an original.

• • •

In other news:

  • Kevin Church and Tracie Mauk have unleashed a new webcomic upon an unsuspecting world: FIGHT!. WARNING: comic may contain fighting.
  • You know, I’d like to start a comic book empire! Thankfully Don Rico drew a comic explaining exactly how to do that. My favorite bit is on page 2, where it’s explained that you shouldn’t build your empire on superheroes, but on another particular genre entirely. BONUS: Sergio Aragones name-check!
  • Andrew has wrapped up his series of Atari 2600 reminisces and has moved on to the Sega Genesis. Nothing to do with comics, really, but Andrew’s a smart and witty writer, and as someone who also had a Genesis, I’m looking forward to future installments.

    And this is as good a place as any to announce this…after countless hours of grueling behind-the-scenes negotiations (“Hey, Mike, you wanna take it over?” “Yeah, sure, what the hell”), I will be continuing Andrew’s “Growing Up 2600” here on my site. Should start up soon, though I probably won’t do it on a weekly basis like Andrew did, and I’m sure I won’t be nearly as in-depth and societal context-aware, but hopefully you folks will tolerate my occasional classic video game blathering.

Three things I just noticed and feel very stupid for having missed them.

§ July 12th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 12 Comments

I happened to focus my attention on this cover the other day, because I thought it was kind of an unusual design choice to obscure the “5” in “25” in the banner, but then I realized the misspelling of “anniversary” was probably a larger problem.

For all the attention that’s been on this comic lately, I’ve barely glanced at the cover of Wonder Woman #600 aside from “oh, yeah, we need more Wonder Woman comics on the rack” or “yes, here is the new issue of Wonder Woman…yes, she’s wearing her new costume inside.” So, basically, I’ve been handling and selling this comic at the shop for a couple of weeks, and I just now realized that the lasso on the cover is in the shape of the number 600.

So, get this…Ms. Tree sounds like “mystery” — read this comic for years before finally saying the name out loud at the shop and realizing that. Okay, this realization actually happened years ago, but I still feel pretty dumb about it.

But I realized right away that the cover to Ms. Tree #21, pictured above, is one of the most awesome covers ever, so hopefully that balances out.

In which Mike didn’t read any comics but decided to have a “review” post anyway.

§ July 9th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 16 Comments

from Superman #295 (Jan 1976) by Elliot S! Maggin, Curt Swan & Bob Oksner

We can only hope the future we have is as great as this.

Anyway, I had quite the busy New Comics Day, and I didn’t get a chance to read any of said Comics What Are New that evening after work, but I did get to briefly glance at a few, both bought by me and left on the shelf at the shop, so let me throw my uninformed opinions out regarding them:

  • Marvelman Family Finest #1 – A nice, thick, and extremely light funnybook, printed on black and white on plain ‘ol newsprint…I’ve only read whatever original Marvelman comics Eclipse Comics reprinted as part of their Miracleman hoohar, plus what was in this Marvelman special (itself reprinted by Eclipse as Miracleman 3-D). I’ve liked what I read, and it looks like more of the same here…good, clean superhero-y fun, with charming art and some appalling lettering. Of course, what the people really want (whether they know it yet or not) is reprints of the ’80s Marvelman revival by Alan Moore and his super-pals, and Lord knows when we’re getting that, but this classic Marvelman stuff has its value, too, I think.
  • Fantastic Four Annual #32 – Wasn’t going to pick it up, because good gravy, $4.99, but I flipped through it and saw 1) some nice art by Bryan Hitch, 2) a few amusing bits of dialogue, and 3) one of my favorite goofy Marvel villains…and it looked like there was a lot going on in this comic, so I think my funnybook dollar is well-spent here. Come on home with me, Fantastic Four comic book.
  • The Smurfs: Smurfnapper – Like I noted yesterday, I’m very excited about this. I know the Smurfs have bit of a cheesy reputation in the States, thanks to the cartoon from a couple of decades ago, but the Smurfs have a fine legacy of print comics and this $1 special is a good introduction to them. If you’re a fan of Carl Barks’ Duck stories, or of Jeff Smith’s Bone, the Smurfs comics fit right in with them. Well worth your dollar…and hopefully worth your $5.99 a pop once they start putting out the new editions of the albums!
  • Batman & Robin #13 – Haven’t even cracked it open, but the cover has Robin about to beat Joker with a crowbar as drawn by Frank Quitely, and that’s not only a beautiful thing to behold, but it gives me a reason to run this thing again:

    You know, it doesn’t matter what else I accomplish with this site…that I had reason to create that animation all these years ago is enough to justify my efforts here.
  • Hercules: Twilight of a God #2 – No idea why someone decided we needed another series in the Bob Layton Hercules saga, since the last installment of Layton’s run was…how many years ago? Was it in Marvel Comics Presents? Anyway, I liked this version of Hercules, so I’m glad this series is coming out (and it’s probably only doing so because Marvel’s got some buzz with their other Hercules books), but it seems just a wee past its sell-by date. (Unlike most other superhero books which are absolutely cutting-edge, yes, I know.)
  • Batman: The Odyssey #1 – Gentlemen, ladies…I think we have something to tide us over ’til Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All Star Batman returns next year. This comic is just full-on craziness, and it’s awesome. Neal Adams, I salute you.
  • Hellboy: The Storm #1 – Hey, it’s a new Hellboy comic.

    Sorry, not much else to say about it. Hellboy‘s always good readin’.

  • Irredeemable #15 – I always like to point out when a new issue of this or Incorruptible comes out, since Mark Waid is doing some fine superhero serial writing on these two comics. But I also wanted to point out this Twitter post of Mr. Waid’s, where he says

    “Annnnd today was the day I stopped reading super-hero comics. One that I won’t name finally broke me. Collection stops as of now. No joke.”

    Which of course got all the folks on the Twitter all a’tweetin’ about “which comic could it be?” I bet it’s Darkwing Duck. Don’t tell pal Ian.*

    But it got me wondering what could possibly happen in a superhero comic that would make me quit reading superhero comics? I mean, sure, I’ve read my share of bad ones from which I could extract no entertainment value (either sincerely, ironically, or otherwise…if there is an “otherwise” left outside of those two options), but what would make me give up on a whole genre? I mean, I read New Warriors #1 (1990), and I’m still here.**

    I should note that Waid later clarifies it was the latest in a string of awful comics…I suppose after reading a whole bunch of terrible ones, that would give me pause as well. But such bad luck, reading a bunch of comics and not a good one in the group? That’s pretty rough.

    Anyway, please don’t fill up my comments section trying to name which comic it was. And go easy on Mr. Waid…the man’s read more superhero comics than most of us have even heard of, so he’s entitled to give ’em up if he wants. But be as hard as you’d like on Ian. He probably deserves it for some reason or ‘nother.

  • X-Women #1 – No, I didn’t buy this comic, just glanced through it enough to wonder why they even bothered to put dialogue in it. It’s page after page after page of nearly-naked, sometimes wet, generally gape-mouthed gals who sort of resemble characters you might know from the X-Men line of comics presenting their bits, posing sexily, and occasionally hugging, as drawn by Milo Manara. Granted, it’s beautifully-illustrated, and finely detailed, but boys, you’re going to want to hide this one from Mom. Not under the mattress, she knows about that spot already.

* I’m only kidding, Ian. Honest!

** Here comes the hate mail.

Presenting DC’s best comic book.

§ July 8th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 17 Comments

house ad from Superman #247 (Jan 1972)

I’m sure you were as startled as I was.

Watching the Metropolis TV news has got to be one freaky experience.

§ July 7th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 6 Comments

from Superman #250 (April 1972) by Cary Bates, Curt Swan & Murphy Anderson

I mean, seriously, how do you segue from your top story, Terra Man, to a story about a small brush fire in Queensland Park?

A while back I noted that televised news in the Marvel Universe must be like having professional wrestling on the air all the time, but, you know, at least that’s safely predictable. I think I’d be more comfortable watching Marvel News and seeing “Sub-Mariner and Dr. Doom have teamed up to fight the Fantastic Four,” which is something I could deal with, versus never knowing what new horror awaited me whenever I’d turn on DC News: “Top story tonight: Superman’s giant ant head…the world’s leaders react!” “The Dow dropped 300 points after today’s appearance of the Zebra Batman.”

I don’t know how much of that I’d be able to take.

I suspect the daily news would be easier to handle in print form.

No midi-chlorians necessary.

§ July 5th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 6 Comments

So I was poking through a copy of Star Warp magazine, dated Summer 1979, and within was the article “The Force Can Be With You” — in which the author first outlines what we know about The Force as revealed in the first Star Wars movie, and then suggests methods by which you, the reader, can develop your very own Force abilities.

For example, the articles suggests practicing on moving peas with your mind, or trying to guess cards held by another person, and

“…have your friend hide something, say a button. Again, you let the Force guide you until you find it. […] If you’ve succeeded with the peas and the cards, it should only take you five minutes to find the button the first time. Eventually, you should be able to work up to finding the button before your friend has even hidden it.”

Emphasis mine, by the way, because that’s awesome.

Anyway, after you’ve done that, get a load of this:

This article is, like, five pages long, and I’m assuming this was written with tongue firmly placed in cheek, particularly since it’s credited to one “Steven Shlocmeister.” Well, this was the 1970s, when belief in ESP and other imagined magical powers was quite the fad, so you can’t be too sure.

This next article, however, is absolutely 100% serious: “DARTH VADER VS. MUFFEY!” Yes, Muffey, the robot Daggit from the original Battlestar Galactica:

“Muffey springs at Darth’s throat. His metal jaws can find no grasp on Darth’s armor. Darth swings his lightsaber playfully at Muffey, lopping off one of the daggit’s ears. Muffey goes for Darth’s ankles, snapping ferociously. Darth simply snickers and lops off the daggit’s tail.”

And so it goes, with a gratuitous but probably deserved backhanding of Boxey, Muffey’s owner. But Muffey gets his second wind, takes out Darth’s “life support panel” on his chest, and Darth totally bails, zipping back to his home universe via a convenient space/time warp.

Yeah, yeah, I know…but count your blessings, it could have been Darth/Muffey slash fiction.

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