Who you callin’ a dip?

§ March 28th, 2005 § Filed under big red cheese, from the vast Mikester comic archives Comments Off on Who you callin’ a dip?

So occasionally I dip into the vast Mikester Comic Archives and pull out a run of books to reread and, hopefully, re-enjoy…sometimes spurred on when I come across the same books while working at the shop and I think, “hey, these were pretty good, I should read them again.”

One of the recent titles I poured through recently, as the scan might hint, was Walt Simonson’s run on Orion. Coming on the heels of the previous Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, presumably the powers that be at DC Comics thought a title focusing on one character rather than an all-encompassing New Gods might catch on more than previous attempts with this particular batch of Jack Kirby’s characters. Simonson is one of the few cartoonists to really “get” the Fourth World, and this title was filled with his usual fast-paced action and wackiness, on top of the inherent nuttiness of Kirby’s creations.

Rereading Orion makes me wish Simonson was given full reign on another monthly title again…I know he’s working on the new Elric series, but that’s not quite the same. His work on Thor really was the peak for that the title, and everything that’s followed in that series has suffered by comparison. Simonson turned Thor into a frog for several issues, for God’s sake, and managed to make it work…that’s talent to reckon with! (That frog storyline is even referenced in Orion at one point.)

Next on the reread list is Power of Shazam, which was a gorgeous-looking book, with Peter Krause and Mike Manley on art chores at first, and Jerry Ordway (who painted the wonderful covers for the whole run) finishing up on the interiors at the end of the run. The late Curt Swan popped in for a guest-penciller appearance once or twice as well. Ordway also provided the scripts, which…well, seemed a little rough around the edges sometimes. The dialogue was a little wonky, and stories seemed to end when the book ran out of pages, rather than build to any kind of conclusion.

Despite my minor qualms, my memories of the book are that it was a fun and enjoyable title, walking that fine line between the whimsy of the original Captain Marvel stories of the ’40s and ’50s and the tastes of modern comic fans. Ordway even managed to work in Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and come up with a new origin for Mr. Tawky Tawny! Besides, any comic where you can send away for a decoder card can’t be all bad! One oddity from the series that I was reminded of last night, as I read the first couple of issues, was that the teacher from Calvin & Hobbes, Mrs. Wormwood, is also Billy Batson’s teacher…now there’s an odd in-joke.

In other (old) news:

Here’s an old article I came across about superhero movies (it mentions the possibility of the forthcoming Hellboy movie, for example). Of interest is a list of “best” and “worst” super-movies…Swamp Thing is on the “Worst” list, naturally, and apparently some kind of typo put Batman Returns on the “Best” list. Also of note is a sidebar regarding the troubled attempts at a Fantastic Four movie.

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