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I’m so right about the Jonah Hex movie, don’t you even deny it.

§ November 29th, 2010 § Filed under this week's comics § 15 Comments

So this week’s comic shipment is thankfully a little lighter of a load than in the previous weeks, what with those new comics days with six simultaneously-released Batman comics and three Deadpool comics and such. And that’s a good thing, since we have a shorter “new this week” window due to comics showing up on Thursday (at least in the U.S.).

Some new items of interest:

  • Achewood Vol. 3: Home for Scared People is the latest print collection of the long-running and popular webcomic. The hardcovers for this series (and other Dark Horse web-to-print comic reprints) have all been quite handsome-looking and packed with content…lots of value for the price.
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers #1 – Pal Ian expands his Disney comic empire with this, a second Disney cartoon comic featuring his sharp scripting. Ian’s probably feeling what I’d be feeling if I’d been given the scripting chores on a Land of the Lost comic.
  • Marvelman Family’s Finest #6 – sold a bunch of the first issue, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only person at the shop buying this last issue. The lettering may be a tragedy, but I’ve been enjoying the unpretentious, simplistic fun of the stories…but it seems that while there’s still interest in the character, reprints of the original stories are not what the people want. (Yeah, I know, “no duh.”) I get the feeling we’ll be seeing a new Marvel Universe version of Marvelman before we get the reissues and continuation of the Moore/Gaiman storylines from the ’80s / ’90s.
  • Lady Death #0 – When the Crossgen version of Lady Death came out, the primary complaint about it was that she was wearing too many clothes. …And this was coming from the female fans of the character. Well, if those readers are still around, I suspect this’ll be more to their taste.
  • Rasl #9 – Latest installment of Jeff Smith’s sci-fi adventure/crime/mystery series…took an issue or two to get into it, and now each issue doesn’t come out quickly enough for me! Nice work, quite a switch from Smith’s previous project Bone.
  • Shadowhawk #5 – I suspect this series must sell for somebody somewhere. We’re getting a copy for the rack, which will end up going in the back issue bin at the end of the month. I don’t want to cut the order entirely, because you never know when someone might come in looking for it, and it’s just one comic, after all, so it’s not that much of a burden to carry it. But, man, poor ol’ Shadowhawk.
  • Boys #49 – While I generally enjoy this violent and dark-humored anti-superhero comic, I think maybe I’m about ready for this freaks-and-bastards parade to wrap up. Especially with the series getting stretched a bit thin with a couple of additional concurrently-running mini-series in the last year or two. Still sells relatively well, though, so why am I complaining?
  • Classic Marvel Figurine Collection #134: Son of Satan and Classic DC Figurine Collection #69: Detective Chimp – at last, they can fight!
  • Gumby’s Gang #1 – The return of Gumby to the comic stands, though without creators Bob Burden and Rick Geary from the previous series. I do love Gumby, so I’ll give it a look, but the new guys have big shoes to fill.
  • Wolverine: Best There Is #1 – sigh.
  • She-Hulks #2 and Ant-Man & The Wasp #2 – the first issues of both of these sold out pretty quickly for us. Here’s hoping everyone comes back for the next installments!
  • Jonah Hex #62 – Well, the movie didn’t kill the comic, but it sure gave it its best shot. By the way, I finally watched the movie the other day via the Netflix, and…man, instead of rolling the end credits at the one hour, 12 minute mark, this film totally should have gone another forty-five minutes with some full-on sci-fi Hex action. …You know I’m right.

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

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 on Just how bad-ass is Jonah Hex?

HE KILLED A GUY


WHILE HE WAS DEAD, STUFFED AND MOUNTED

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

Only eight issues of O.M.A.C. was a crime.

§ March 17th, 2021 § Filed under dc comics § 11 Comments

So the problem with saying “LEMME TELL YA WHAT COMICS I LIKED READING, OH, A DECADE AGO” is that now I have to depend on my dumb brain to dredge up specific memories from those books. What’s getting in the way is that most of these books I read once, as they came out, and only very rarely did I go back and read a whole run of issues in succession to more firmly lodge events in the ol’ mental file cabinet.

Thankfully, nearly-decade-younger-me, when I was sprightlier and full of hope, I did a three-part overview of the New 52 launch titles (one an’ a two an’ a three). Looking over these posts, they do seem to bolster some of my partially-retained thoughts on the titles, though I seemed to have been more faintly-positive about the Superman title than I thought I would have.

Interestingly, I noted in my discussion of the Green Lantern books that “four were too many, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they added a fifth” and, well, hello solo Sinestro series (which I kinda pushed for in those older posts of mine). In retrospect, I did enjoy the GL books from this period, which (coincidentally I’m sure) were among the least-affected by the New 52/Flashpoint changes of the Big Name DC titles. Plus, I’m in the bag for Green Lantern stuff already, and somehow too many GL titles didn’t burn me out. …Reading my old recaps did remind me 1) Red Lanterns was a far better series than it had any reason to be, and 2) I miss Larfleeze. He had a later-wave short-run New 52 title that I liked quite a bit.

Okay, to the Super-books…I thought then, and still do now, that the main Superman book by George Perez was cluttered and confused, though as we’ve learned in the years since Perez faced some editorial issues on that book so it’s not entirely on his shoulders. Plus, as I’ve said before, if Perez can’t make your costume look good, then the problem is with the costume. Anyway, remember when Lois had another love interest? That blonde guy? Whathsiname? That was weird.

Okay, I’m supposed to be focusing on the titles I liked here, but reminding myself how crummy Superman was makes me appreciate Action, with Grant Morrison writing “Young Superman,” all the more. I’m sure he faced as much editorial finagling as Perez did, but somehow Morrison managed to make it work, mostly, as I recall. After Morrison left, both books kinda fell into the doldrums ’til we got the “Superman’s Identity Revealed!” storyline, which was actually compelling and then eventually undone, of course, which I’m sure isn’t a precursor for anything happening in the Superman books now.

Also of note in my original analyses, I said that reading these Superman books was like reading an “Elseworlds” or parallel-Earth Superman book. Given how this version of the character was eventually replaced by the post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint Superman, I guess the DC Continuity Gods agreed.

Some of the oddball books were fun as well…that O.M.A.C. series was definitely Kirby-Ahoy, as it should have been. It was too beautiful for this world, alas, and was amongst the first wave of cannings. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. was also a blast of welcome weirdness, one that didn’t depend on any of the New 52 nonsense to just do what it did. In fact, neither did OMAC, really. It’s almost like the farther removed from the “event,” the better the books are.

The obvious one you’re probably expecting me to mention is Swamp Thing, which, yes, I liked well enough. The main issue with these is a fanboy-ish one, that arbitrary changes were made to the character’s history and supporting characters (especially Arcane) that don’t really add anything except “it’s different now.” I’ve gone on about this before, and my own realization that they’re not writing these for people who’ve read every single comic with Swamp Thing in it, but for new-ish readers who may be vaguely familiar with ol’ Moss-Head. But overall I think I enjoyed the comic, once they got past the set-up and Swamp Thing was actually in the book.

It’s funny but Justice League Dark was a title I was lukewarm on at first, but it became a comic I enjoyed quite a bit and still follow now, even if it’s been relegated to a back-up in the main Justice League title. And no, not just because Swamp Thing is in it…I like seeing all the horror characters just sort of crammed in here together, plus Detective Chimp. What kind of soulless monster doesn’t like Detective Chimp?

All-Star Western I didn’t pick up ’til the time-travel stuff kicked in, because I do love Jonah Hex travellin’ through time. I know, I know, recent Jonah Hex comics were good the whole time, but it took the gimmick to get me in there. I’m shallow, what can I say. (Remember that time travel stuff started as part of DC’s planned “WTF?” cover stunt ’til someone realized “maybe having an implied ‘fuck’ on the cover isn’t the image we want to sell?” Oh, for those pre-Titans TV show days….)

A couple later-wave New 52 books I really enjoyed, like Justice League 3000 (then 3001). I got a real “anythiing could happen/L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 vibe from it, which 1) was helped along by being new characters removed from regular DC Universe happenings, and 2) L.E.G.I.O.N. writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis wrote this too. I really kept hoping they’d bring this back someday, but given DC’s current publishing strategies, seems unlikely.

In addition: Constantine (fun seeing Johnny playing in a superhero universe again), Batwoman (stunning art), Animal Man (can’t think of a specific reason why I liked it, but I always like Animal Man), Secret Six (writer Gail Simone being evil, always a positive in my book), Batman Incorporated (continued over from pre-Flashpoint, which remained good but felt undermined by the relaunch).

So as you can see, I did like quite a few of the New 52 books. I mean, I couldn’t read everything, but what I kept up with I enjoyed (except maybe most of the Superman comics, which I sorta hung in there on out of inertia, which is a terrible way to read a comic but a lot of us have one of those in our reading lists). There were a couple of books I mentioned back then as ones that I liked, but afterward I’d drop (like Aquaman) or I just can’t remember anything about (like Firestorm). Maybe I’d still like them now? Once I find an eighth day in the week, I’ll do some rereading.

ADDENDUM: I am reading your comments, and thank you for them. Just wanted to let you know I’m not ignoring them just because I’m not addressing them in these posts yet. I’ll get to responding eventually!

I didn’t forget about The Losers, just didn’t have anything to say about it.

§ December 2nd, 2020 § Filed under movie reviews § 26 Comments

Okay, on to the DC Comics films. But first, Thom reminds me that I forgot Into the Spider-Verse, which really is a fantastic film and quite possibly the best of the bunch.

Also, if folks want to leave long ol’ comments on my posts, that’s fine with me! So long as they’re reasonably on-topic, y’know? And everyone has been lately…haven’t had epic-length disturbed rants show up in quite a while. I mean, c’mon, leave those to me.

So, DC Comics movies. Hm. I’d been thinking about how I was going to approach this topic, since there’s definitely a shift in filmmaking between the Christopher Reeve Superman films and, like, Birds of Prey, and my initial instinct is to split them up into different “ages” but, sheesh, that would be too confusing, what industry would do something like that?

The elephant in the room is the Snyder-verse films Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Justice League, which are pretty divisive among fans. Personally, I generally like them, though I can completely understand why people wouldn’t. The dark tone, the odd choices (jar of urine in my superhero movie? sure, load it up) adding up to productions that seem like the exact opposite of what the characters are about. Well, okay, maybe not Batman, but surely Superman should be bright and cheerful and Henry Cavill has such a winning smile it’s a shame it was barely used.

But I did enjoy this more somber rendition of the characters, while realizing, yeah, maybe a lighter touch might have been more appropriate. So, mixed feelings on these, but generally positive. And I’ve noted that Justice League, while having some of the tone problems of the other pictures, I thought was successful in being a bit more of a cheery adventure. With grave-robbing, sure, and the buckets of “we gotta get that Avengers money” flopsweat, but it was all in good fun. And I have to say, my favorite scene in any modern DC superhero movie is still that fight sequence between a newly revived Superman and the rest of the heroes (particularly as he “slowly” becomes aware of the Flash).

The Snyder-verse-adjacent flicks, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, were more to everyone’s tastes, I’d imagine. Certainly lighter in tone, well, aside from the whole “World War I” thing in WW, but seemed to be more crowd-pleasing than their dour brethren. Of all the films, Aquaman was the one that felt the most Marvel-like, extremely jokey and high in the “we’re having a good time here!” energy. But that was the film, I’ve said before, where I felt like I was seeing the seams in superhero movie-making, where every point felt predictable, every reveal unsurprising. I don’t know, not saying it wasn’t likeable, and that the actors weren’t all watchable and entertaining. Maybe it was just my mood that day, but for whatever reason this film felt more like “product” than the others, like something specifically constructed to get after some of that Marvel money. Maybe I’ll need to rewatch it at some point and see if my opinion improves.

Okay, this is going to go on forever if I keep up all this typing. So:

Shazam – good, still don’t like the Billy/Captain Marvel relationship has been altered to “Tom Hanks in Big” status, but that’s how it is now and I have to live with it. Also hate he’s called “Shazam” now, because I’m a nerd. Anyway, Shazam’s characterization put me off, but I get it’s the “has to learn to be a hero” trope and that’s just how it’s done.

All the Batman movies – the 1966 one is a favorite because Adam West is Best Batman, of course. The Keaton-etc. films were an exercise in diminishing returns, with Keaton’s performances elevating the first two, along with the Tim Burton weirdness. The fourth is goofy fun, brightly colored and very silly and enjoyable on those terms.

The Nolan films may have been better as a duology, but then we wouldn’t have had a million impressions of Bane from the third film, which is just straight-up comedy gold. I remember when the first one had trailers in theaters, folks groaned when they realized it was a Batman film, as the previous movie Batman and Robin was still fresh in everyone’s minds. But that film turned out good (actually convincing you “well, of course he had to dress up as a bat”), but I think the second one is the best. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is one for the ages, and it’s a film about moral ambiguity and moral choices and it’s all amazingly effective.

Of the Reeve Super-films, the first is of course the best…I know people like the second one quite a bit, and it is fun, but I don’t think it’s as…well, well-made as the first. Third is fun and goofy, and the fourth is an abomination. Reeve is great in them all, of course, but I wish he was surrounded by better material. Definitely classic scenes in those first two films, combined with some inexplicable ones (levitate-people-with-your-finger-beam power, Superman’s magic chest-emblem cellophane net).

And there are a few others: Superman Returns, in which Brandon Routh is great, but everything’s too mired in trying to be the Reeve film. Birds of Prey, a fine, and funny, adventure romp which gives Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn a proper venue. Constantine, which turned out a lot better than it had any reason to be, despite not quite getting the title character right (I mean, beyond the hair and accent). Watchmen, which I adore but recognize it falls apart the farther away it gets from the original plot…great cast, though. Catwoman, which almost seems like it might be okay, at first, but it’s all lies.

And there are others, but let’s get this down to “worst” and “best” so we can all move on with our lives.

WORST is definitely Superman IV, and I say this even though I couldn’t even finish Supergirl. Supergirl at least had the charm of Helen Slater. Superman IV looks like, if I can borrow a phrase from Mystery Science Theater 3000, everyone’s last known photo. It’s cheap looking, it’s unpleasant, it’s made by people who seemingly had contempt for the material. I know Reeve cowrote it or plotted it or something, but it’s dire.

I want to plug Jonah Hex in here too, but folks are rewatching it and finding new entertainment in it, and I’d like to see it again before it vanishes. Suicide Squad wasn’t great, but it had good performances (Will Smith, the aforementioned Robbie) so it may live.

BEST is…well, I think Joker is actually the best-made of the bunch. It holds together as a story, the deterioration of the main character is tragically fascinating, and it just plain looks great. I understand the qualms one could have with it, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so fascinating.

But I think I’d watch The Dark Knight before I’d see Joker again. It’s more fun and a little easier to take. And it’s a little thought-provoking as well, which I appreciate from my funnybook movies.

Now, like I did with the Spider-Verse movie, I left out the animated feature films (and I’ve seen them all!). And I still want to say Return of Swamp Thing is my favorite. Do any of these other movies have Swamp Thing driving a jeep with Heather Locklear? I submit to you, dear reader, that no they do not.

49 (and change).

§ March 16th, 2018 § Filed under jack kirby, obituary, old, smallville, superman, television § 13 Comments

So one of the victims of my part-week blogging break was no birthday post. Yes, that’s right, your pal Mike just began his last year of his forties this past Tuesday…the warranty’s long expired, the creaking frame continues to bow, and the decay continues apace. I did mention the occasion on the Twitters, however, and received some very kind response there (as well as wishing birthday-and-blogging-brother Andrew a happy day).

The Bullest with the Mostest, Bully the Little Birthday Bull, worked up a bit of magic:


You can find the original image he used on this page of nightmare fuel. Oh, and by the way, now that I can make GIFs I may need to revisit that last pic.

Oh, and Tom Spurgeon over at Ye Olde Comics Reporter also noted the occasion, as he does every year. Thanks, Tom!

Another reason I kinda skipped out on the birthday post this time around is that I had my heart set on a particular panel, but could not find the thing, which has me wondering if I’m remembering the right comic, or if my age-addled brain has it confused with another comic, or if I didn’t just make up the whole thing out of thin air. Anyway, I’ll mention it here in case it rings a bell with any of you fine folks:

What I’m remembering is a panel from a Star Trek comic, maybe in the first DC series, or possibly the second run, where mention is made of Captain Kirk’s 49th birthday. However, and the reason this has stuck with me all this time (assuming I’m remembering it correctly at all) is that the “49th” in the comic had very obviously been relettered just prior to going to print, and almost certainly read “50th” originally. I mean, that was my presumption, in that they probably wouldn’t be making any kind of big deal out of a 49th birthday for story purposes. I remember guessing they were likely saving a 50th birthday story for some bigger event, or someone at the main Trek headquarters decided that they didn’t want Kirk to be that old, or some darned thing.

I hunted through my Trek comics for the scene, and couldn’t find it…I still have full runs of both series (didn’t give ’em up to my store!) plus all the specials and minis and whatnot, so if it actually exists, it’s in there somewhere. But, like I said, at this point I’m even sure it was in a Trek comic and involving Kirk. If you know, please share your knowledge!

• • •

So this week, DC released a freebie funnybook tying into the imminent Superman-prequel Krypton series appearing on the SyFy cable channel:


My immediate reaction to seeing that cover is “…Tom? Tom Welling?” but that’s likely because I watched all ten seasons of Smallville and I’m still recovering. But it didn’t help when I looked inside the comic at the “meet the characters” section and Superman’s grandfather is dressed like this:


…which all the world looks like the get-up Clark was wearing in the latter seasons of Smallville:


I mean, that has to be deliberate, right? Aside from all that…despite my initial skepticism regarding the show (“It’s about Superman’s grandpa?”) I’m actually intrigued, particularly now that I know about the time travel element and the inclusion of DC’s classic space hero Adam Strange. I may be one of those “wait to binge it on streaming” guys, since I’m way behind on everything as it is, but I’ll at least try to catch the first episode. …There better be at least one Thought-Beast on the show, that’s all I’m saying.

This tweet from Twitter pal Joe sort of got me thinking about that Smallville-esque comparison, though Joe’s point of contention/admiration was more for the “Fight Like El” tagline, which is admittedly both amazing and appalling. And if you’re wondering, yes, the entry for the Zod family character has a reference to kneeling, because that’s just a Zod thing now and you better be used to it. (“Fight Like El” reminded me of these somewhat confrontational DC bookmarks from a while back.)

Oh, that World of Krypton comic, by the way, is a reprint of the first issue of the mini-series of the same name from the mid-ish 1980s by John Byrne and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. If you’ve never read it, it’s not bad…and if you like it, the entire series has been very conveniently reprinted in a World of Krypton trade paperback released just a week or two ago (along with other Krypton-based stories).

• • •

Oh, and there’s going to be a live-action New Gods movie…you know, no big deal. That of course means…LIVE ACTION SLEEZ:


Well, okay, maybe not. But the director of A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay, is signed on to direct, and given what I’ve seen of the visuals for that film (which I haven’t had a chance to see yet, despite really, really wanting to) gives me a good feeling about her take on Kirby’s Fourth World. Also, to quote my hopes for this film from Twitter, only with the stupid typo in the original corrected:

“I want this New Gods movie to be the Kirby-est thing that’s ever Kirbied. I want to SEE the quotation marks around assorted words in actors’ dialogue.”

I mean…right? Yes, yes, I know Thor: Ragnarok was very Kirby-ish, but New Gods was straight out of Kirby’s head, no Stan Lee required. I want everyone in their original costumes (yes, even…especially…Black Racer), I want dialogue quoted from the comics, I want that opening bit preserved in its entirety (“THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODS DIED!”), everything. I don’t care if movie audiences are ready for it. Let the studio paraphrase Jack himself on the movie posters: “DON’T ASK, JUST WATCH IT!”

Alas, it comes too late for the Don Rickles cameo:


…though it was suggested having one of his old movies/TV appearances on a television screen might be a good reference for those in the know.

But…c’mon, a New Gods movie. I can’t wait.

• • •

Mark Evanier reports that comics writer Michael Fleisher passed away last month at the age of 75. He was probably most famous for his Spectre and his Jonah Hex (and, ’round these here parts, the amazing Hex), but this is what I’ll remember him for the most:


I wrote a bit about that book a couple of years back…man, I spent I don’t know how many hours perusing that tome. And there it still sits on my bookshelf today, nearly forty years after I first acquired it. Thanks, Michael, for all that entertaining information you provided a young me, just beginning to learn about Superman’s history.

“Suddenly, fourteen years later….”

§ December 5th, 2017 § Filed under suddenly... § 7 Comments

Hey, remember blogging? That’s a thing this fellow you’re reading right now has done for fourteen years, long past anyone’s interest in actually reading blogs! That’s okay, I’ll probably soon switch over to that all-video format all the kids are into. Auto-playing video, of course…that’s what the people want.

But honestly, thank you to everyone who’s kept reading this site after all these years, and of course big thanks to my internet pals who continue to support this behavior. Special thanks to my girlfriend Nora, my family, and pal Dorian, who have all pretty much just accepted this is how I’m going to waste my free time. Big thanks to Neilalien, The Most-Firstest of Comics Bloggerers, for his longtime support.

This year, my store Sterling Silver Comics just had its third anniversary, and it’s still going strong. If you’re in the area, drop by and say hello! If you’re not in the area, feel free to give me a call. Oh, and buy something, if you’d like…I won’t stop you!

I still have a Patreon, though my planned regular reviews of Swamp Thing comics hit a snag when suddenly my extra blogging time disappeared. Still planning on keeping that going, though perhaps at a more reasonable pace…I keep saying the new installment should be up soon, but really, the new installment should be up soon. No, really, stop laughing.

Speaking of free time, I still chime in on the Twitterers once in a while, opining on your favorite comic book movies:

…or talking about my day-to-day delights running a funnybook store:

…or relating the vengeance Diamond Previews has exacted upon me for all my End of Civilization posts:

…or telling you about my exciting dream life:

…or remembering this especially-timely Brush with Greatness:

…or admitting this very specific personal problem:

…or just straight-up twittering about Twitter:

…and sometimes my friends pipe up with some True Facts:

Anyway, enough about me posting stuff online, now here’s more about me posting stuff online! Once again I’ve pointed out the highlights, the lowlights and a few of the middling-lights on this site from the past year for your perusal, entertainment, or reawakening of terrible memories. Enjoy, won’t you?

DECEMBER 2016:

The Teen Titans are weird, the passing of my girlfriend’s mother, METRON VERSUS DISCO, some comic book lettercol funny business involving my home town, boy Suicide Squard was not a good movie, so long Carrie.

JANUARY 2017:

Unleash the Youngblood trading card, a nice Swamp Thing pic by a pal and a Richie Rich cover I messed around with, who else dares to draw a connection between Wolverine and the Three Mouseketeers.

FEBRUARY 2017:

So long Dan, at long last the Flaming Carrot one-shot is mine, Wendy the Good Little Witch versus the World, I end up talking a lot about Swamp Thing in this Justice League Dark movie review believe it or not, the award-winning (well, not really) story about Willie and the Bug comic, “The Arch” if you can believe it, BAMM-BAMM CAN SEE YOU.

MARCH 2017:

This is a terrible joke I’m totally proud of, I write a bunch about Don Rosa, I made a joke here about Dr. Manhattan stealing Superman’s red trunks that other people came up with independently and it turned into this whole Twitter thing and anyway I still think it’s funny, this birthday post worked out nicely, so long Bernie, DC’s “hardcover/softcover” plan (parts one and two and oh here’s three), Archie Vs. Swamp Thing, Archie Vs. Arcane, a brief discussion of DC’s Hanna Barbera books.

APRIL 2017:

A little about Logan, rating Swamp Thing creative teams (one and two), that is one fancy-pants leap, a look at the initial installment of “The Button,” what in the comics world has caught me by surprise of late, presenting a Halloween ad in April because why the heck not.

MAY 2017:

Oh my God Reggie, Free Comic Book Day before and after and after-er, we’re very close now to finding out how Nekkid Manhattan will actually be handled, so long Rich, the first freebie installment of the Swamp Thing-a-Thon which I will be getting back to soon I promise, yet another Howard the Duck movie post in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen.

JUNE 2017:

And here’s another Howard the Duck movie post, let me know when Riverdale shows Jughead doing this, so long Best Batman, the amazing Ing takes my ideas and makes them beautiful, the Zero Month video is both terrifying and beautiful, Brit buttons, JONAH HEX TALK, I sold this comic so it’ll be another 10 years before I see another one, on second thought maybe you’d better just shoot Charlie Brown, FOX AND THE CROW TALK.

JULY 2017:

The Spidery-Mans movie, JUGHEAD WANTED BY JOHN LAW, come to think of it Betty’s legs do seem awfully scrawny, that’s a weird use of dialogue I don’t think I’ve seen too often, who were those mystery Legionnaires (as to be seen soon on The CW, “Dare to Defy”).

AUGUST 2017:

The mystery of that specific issue of Saved by the Bell, always time for a little Garcia-Lopez Superman and Firestorm, you probably hadn’t heard how good this new Mister Miracle comic is so thank goodness I’m here for you, can you believe some dumbass got on my case about taking the apparently extreme position of not liking Hitler, I will be talking about the Death of Superman ’til the day I die, your guide to price guides, I think Helper was probably my earliest “what th–!?” moment in comics, I still can’t believe I had this comic in my hands even briefly, it’s no Google Doodle but here’s a Kirby tribute.

SEPTEMBER 2017:

Where’s my Eisner…nay, my Pulitzer…for how I altered this Preacher page, let’s not do this again, a customer-made Swamp Thing drawing, so long Len, Batman ’89 retail and cultural memories and the market crash and a little Dark Knight thrown in (one and two and three and Bob and Ted and Carol and Alice).

OCTOBER 2017:

Good Lord Batman CONTINUES (here and here and also here), the missing DC Comics event book, Comic Show News issues #1 and…#0, the Swamp Thing Omnibus and an old ad slick, the return of Maximortal, the end of the original New Teen Titans series.

NOVEMBER 2017:

Boris the Bear is here to teach you about variant covers, Marvel wasn’t quite sure what to do with this comic were they, the Classics Rack, more about variants (specifically those DC test covers), a promo for Swamp Thing #60, Valiant would like you to order more Valiant please, a follow the book plug with PAPER TALK, an old promo poster and some Xerox humor, the joy of Not Brand Echh.

DECEMBER 2017:

However tangentially I still consider this a Death of Superman post.

• • •

A very sincere thanks to every one of you for sticking with me for all these years. I can’t say how much I appreciate it. I hope you come along with me as I work my way through year 15 of this silly ongoing project of mine.

For reading all that, here’s a pic of me taken literally moments ago, sitting at my store counter waiting for Godot my weekly Diamond Comics shipment to arrive:

Thanks again, and I’ll see you again in a couple of days.

Pretty sure there was an episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold too.

§ June 23rd, 2017 § Filed under question time Comments Off on Pretty sure there was an episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold too.

Back to your questions, and that good man Gunga Din asks

“Can you talk about Jonah Hex? I miss him :(“

Well, sure!

The real tragedy of the Jonah Hex movie from 2010 is that a lot of the pieces were right, or at least close-to. Josh Brolin made a good Jonah Hex, most of the supporting cast was pretty solid, the film had the right look…this could have been a good film. Alas, nothing ever really gelled here, and it’s probably just as well the movie gave up and hit the credits at the one hour, 12 minute mark because it just plain wasn’t working.

Now, I joked at the time that instead of ending the narrative at 72 minutes, they should have taken what was at best a mediocre movie and turned it into the Best Film Ever Made by tacking on another half-hour or so of Jonah Hex trapped in the post-apocalyptic future. You know, just like the comics. I mean, what, were they afraid that might end up with a bad flick?

But seriously, it’s the time travel gimmick that makes Jonah Hex stand out from other western heroes, and one that’s come into play in other media adaptations of the character. In both the Justice League animated series, and in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, we are given a Jonah Hex (or Jonah Hexes, I guess) who is an old hand at dealing with people from other times. In the latter show, Jonah and Rip Hunter are already old acquaintances when we first meet him. And in the cartoon…well, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but I believe the gag is that shortly after encountering the Justice League in disguise in the Old West, he realizes what’s going on and states “oh, you’re time travelers.” And it’s made clear he’s dealt with time travel before. In both series, it works…it’s an amusing twist on the expectation that someone from the past would be shocked/surprised by people from the future. Instead, Hex is fairly blasé about it all, and that’s pretty funny.

The actual Jonah Hex comic…okay, to be fair, I haven’t read a whole lot of the original series, but I’ve read enough, and what I read seemed like a standard-issue western. That sounds like I’m being more critical than I am…I mean “standard issue” in that there really wasn’t anything in the series that wouldn’t expect in a western. Not a comment on quality, but rather just a description. No weird monsters, no ghosts, no time travel…well, not ’til issue #92, which was the precursor to the infamous Hex series I’d linked before. Instead, the gimmick of the series was that Hex had those famous and somewhat improbable scars on his face, giving him his distinct look. And I say “improbable” because I once read in a comics mag somewhere a person opining that if an actual cowboy had had a flap of skin like that over his mouth he probably would have cut it off long ago, and that’s been stuck in my mind ever since.

Anyway, after the future Hex series, the first big revival of the character was as a run of mini-series under DC’s Vertigo label, and it was here that we started to get more expansion of the genres ol’ Jonah found himself in. Suddenly, it was a horror comic, with the “weird monsters” I’d mentioned earlier, living up to the title of the comic in which he’d debuted long ago: “Weird Western Tales.” After that, the next major revival was in the 2000s and it was (as I recall) more or less a straight (and very well done!) western, followed by the New 52 relaunch as All-Star Western, which eventually brought us back to Time-Travelin’ Jonah. Of course, Jonah ended up back in his own time, and continued on as normal, making his journey into the future just another thing he had to deal with.

I like having that particular element as a now more-or-less permanent aspect of Jonah Hex. He’s a bounty hunter in the Old West who sometimes has to deal with time travel and it’s No Big Deal. Those stories I mentioned above were from the comics he himself starred in…that doesn’t even mention similarly-themed stories with Jonah as a supporting character, like this 1978 Justice League of America comic, or that one Swamp Thing, and a DC Challenge, too, if that counts.

Oh, and there was that issue of Secret Origins that maintains the whole future Hex series was still part of Jonah’s official continuity, which makes me happy.

In conclusion, Josh Brolin’s Hex should have teamed up with Stiletta and fought Borsten over control for the Soames pills. I’m sure you all agree.

For more Jonah Hex stuff, I recommend Matching Dragoons, probably the most comprehensive Jonah Hex site on the planet. I’ve written a bit about Jonah, too, over the years, but not as much as that guy!

C’mon, just revive Hex already.

§ September 1st, 2014 § Filed under this week's comics § 1 Comment

SPOILERS ahead, but mostly just for All Star Western:


I don’t read the regular monthly Simpsons titles, for ultimately no good reason whatsoever except perhaps “I already get too many comics and I have to draw the line somewhere.” It’s clearly good work, very representative of the show and an all-around professional package…I just never got into the habit of following the ongoing series.

On the other hand, I do pick up the minis and specials, particularly the character-focused one-shots they release every few months. That’s generally enough Simpsons funnybookin’ to keep me going…they probably appeal to my childhood enjoyment of the treasury editions, the extra-sized anniversary issues, and what have you. Basically, I’m a cheap bastard who wants more bang for his buck, though if you’re going to be one of those people that does a page count and “number of cents per page” breakdown to tell me I’m better off buying the regular-sized $2.99 issues if I’m that concerned about pinching a penny…well, off with you, then.

Besides, these specials usually come with some kind of fancypants novelty insert, like the “Don’t Blame Me, I votes for Kang”/”…Kodos” bumper stickers that accompanied the special pictured above. Okay, I’m still too anal-retentive a fanboy to want to remove those stickers, but it’s nice to know that they’re there and I can enjoy ’em every time I open this comic. Well, until that glue dries out and the stickers come loose, but that’s a problem for whatever creditors come digging through my house after I’m gone. So, you know, in a week or two.


This isn’t a specific review about Red Lanterns, though of the Lantern Bunch (“Here’s the story of some lovely Guardians / Who were bringing up 3600 very lovely GLs”) it probably is my favorite series, which is not something I’d expected to say way back when DC was originally threatening to publish such a thing. But there it is: the characters and situations are more exciting and compelling than those in the other Green Lantern books. Not that the other GL books are bad…I still like them, but Red Lanterns kind of brings it in a way the others don’t.

Anyway, not what I wanted to mention. It’s just that the DC Universe books (at least, most of the ones I read) are sort of wrapping up storylines in order to make way for the “Futures End” one-shots with the 3D covers an’ all that are debuting this Wednesday and hopefully not bankrupting all of us retailers by contributing to insane distributor bills. I talked about trying to order these things before, and at the time it didn’t occur to me that the weekly series event-thingie the one-shots are tying into might turn out to…well, underperform, thus cutting off that entry avenue. With not a lot of interest in the event, there is the danger of ending storylines giving readers jumping-off points on titles they were sort of iffy on, or maybe just to cut reading costs and spend that money on, I don’t know, feeding the kids or something. Hopefully the novelty of the 3D covers will still entice people to continue, but that sort of thing does make me worry.

I am getting requests from customers to pull all the fancy covers for them, so the interest in there. Still wondering if we’re going to get anything like the rush from last time.


When DC, and then everybody, cut page counts down to 20 pages from 22 in their standard books, it felt like the story content were slighter. I mean, technically, it was; comics were two pages shorter. Maybe it was just psychological, but it felt like there was some kind of event horizon crossed, that the two pages significantly affected the amount of content present, far in excess of the actual storytelling loss caused by the truncation of the page count. The feeling’s lessened a bit, as creators have adjusted to the page loss and I’ve just sort of become used to it, but I occasionally read a comic, come to the end and think “what, already?”

That’s a long intro to say I didn’t have that feeling with Flash Gordon #5. In fact, this is the first standard-sized comic book I’ve read in quite a while where it seemed like things just kept going, where I kept expecting to come to the end of the comic, but nope, there was still more comic coming! After I finished reading it, I even went back and counted the actual number of story pages in the comic, convinced this was some kind of unannounced extra-sized issue.

20 pages. Including a two-page spread. Amazing.


A clever twist on what has been one of the more…macabre and great “ultimate fates” for any of DC’s characters. We all know how Hex is supposed to go out (I cover his death and adventures afterward here) and it’s nice that the last issue of All Star Western pays homage to that famous death while finding a new spin on it, one that also doesn’t necessarily reset Jonah’s life to the pre-time travel adventures status quo.

And it’s all drawn by Darwyn Cooke, so it’s very pretty looking, which is not a descriptor one usually uses for Jonah Hex, but, well, there you go. I do wonder what they’ll do with Hex after this, but now that time travel adventures for the character are once again on the table, look for his future Justice League membership. …Actually, he’d fit right into Justice League Dark, wouldn’t he?


I’m just going to remind you that a new issue of this has come out whenever it does come out. It’s pretty great.

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