You are currently browsing the this week’s comics category

Oh, right, remember Miracleman?

§ July 8th, 2020 § Filed under self-promotion, superman, this week's comics, x-men § No Comments

So a couple of days ago I asked you all for a little help regarding my eyeball-related medical treatments and associated bills via a GoFundMe campaign. I was thinking at best I’d reach the goal amount, which would cover some outstanding bills, a couple laser treatments to hopefully, finally stem the constant bleeding in my eyes, and a few follow-up visits (likely requiring more injections).

Well, you really came through for me. The goal was reached within twelve ours, and folks are still contributing. Any extra money I receive will continue to go to medical bills and debt. If, with any luck, I finally get through this eye stuff and money is left over, I’ll find a worthy charity to give it to.

I said this on the GoFundMe page, and I’ve been blathering about it on Twitter…but I have been very moved by this enormous outpouring of help from everyone. I just couldn’t believe so many people care about some dude who sells comics and also types too much about them on the internet. I can’t possibly thank you all enough for what you’ve done.

• • •

Okay, so this week’s new issue of Superman reminded me a lot of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League series from the ’80s, and I’m sure having that series’ artist Kevin Maguire on this new book helped a lot.

It was mostly a light, funny read except, of course, when it wasn’t, as Superman and Dr. Fate try to work out whatever problems Supes is having. More something that’s essentially talking heads (what, in a Bendis book, who would’ve guessed) it remains compelling reading as Superman works through his feelings on recent events in his comics. It’s not often you see your mainstream superhero books tackle the emotional impact of whatever super-shenanigans they were responsible for. And here you do, and somehow it’s interesting.

Plus I forgot we had a new Dr. Fate, which is from…I don’t know, two or three reboots ago, right? So I didn’t know if that new Fate was still around or if we were back to the original dude. If the new guy’s turned up in other stuff recently, I don’t know, since I’m still behind on just about everything. I’m catching up, though, one comic at a time!

Now this one I was interested in, as, hold onto your hats, I’ve never actually read the original graphic novel! In fact, my primary memory of God Loves, Man Kills is when I somehow managed to catch some religious TV show in the early 1980s looking at some then-recent comic books, including that very volume. I can’t remember many specifics about what the panel on this show had to say, except they weren’t entirely thrilled with the imagery of Professor X being crucified, and that the ended the discussion with “this cost $5.95? I remember when they were ten cents!” (Also, they talked a little about Thor, and his being the “God of Thunder” which was also apparently a problem.)

Anyway, I finally have my mitts on at least half the story, and since this is the “extended cut,” there are a few new introductory pages of what I’m presuming to be a framing sequence (with the other part of the frame in #2), featuring Kitty Pryde. Oh, and it’s by Chris (excuse me, “Christopher”) Claremont and Brent Anderson, the folks what did the original book. You know, that’s kinda neat. And there’s some back matter, too, interviews and such about the making of this story.

The story is pretty much Peak X-Men, with all the characters you’d expect, hanging out in the mansion, getting persecuted for being mutants, all that sort of thing. I mean, when I think “X-Men Comics,” this is what I think of, down to being written by Mr. Claremont, back before the 1990s arrived and the X-franchise was splintered and more-or-less destroyed. Well, okay, maybe the endless array of never-ending subplots aren’t as involved, but you can’t have everything.

And it turns out, it’s a good story, in case you hadn’t heard about this here graphical novel. A Falwell-type religious leader has it in for them mutants, successfully taking them on in the media, and meanwhile, some bad people are going around killing mutants, and The X-Men Are There to put a stop to all this. A nice point that’s made is that in a televised debate between said religious leader (Stryker) and leader of the X-Men, Professer Charles Xavier, it’s Stryker who comes out the clear winner, being charismatic and convincing and knowing ahow to play to the cameras, while our Professor X, who doesn’t know how to deal with the media, comes out a bit off-putting. A nice comment on how “truth” and “facts” can get easily steamrolled.

Another interesting bit in this half of the story involves Kitty, and the aftermath of her fight with a fellow dance class student who thinks Stryker’s got the right idea about getting rid of mutants. Kitty, a mutant herself, clearly objects to this, and her classmate refers to her as a “mutie-lover.” Following a brief scuffle, the instructor of the class, Stevie Hunter, a Black woman, tries to calm Kitty down, to which Kitty responds how Ms. Hunter would have responded if the other student had said “n*****-lover” instead.

The N-word is not censored in the comic, which I wanted to address, if only because not that long ago, in Marvel’s Miracleman reprints, the same word was censored, when it wasn’t in the original. I suspect the difference is context, in which the X-Men usage is simply making explicit the X-Men’s allegorical themes regarding racism and bigotry, while in Miracleman it’s a Black man using the word to describe himself in a derisive manner. Both uses are about the racist treatment of Black people, but the X-Men example is a little more obvious in its purpose. …Or, you know, just different editors making different decisions, and I’m just reading too much into it, which, you know, I never do. Regardless, it was still a bit of a shock to see, particularly in the current questioning of whether white people should even be using that slur in any context, no matter the point being made. Look, I don’t even like typing the censored version here.

I am glad I finally read this, or at least half of it, after all these years. It’s definitely a product of its time, with evil folks using religious as a weapon against the oppressed. Whew, thank goodness that doesn’t happen anymore. Anyway, maybe I’ll get around to reading that New Mutants graphic novel next. Nobody spoil it for me.

Don’t think about the math.

§ June 24th, 2020 § Filed under pal plugging, this week's comics § 9 Comments

Alas, it has come to pass on this, the occasion of his seventh birthday, that Bully the Little Bull Stuffed with Love, is bringing his website Comics Oughta Be Fun to a close after fifteen years.

Bully (with the assistance of his pal John, who helps Bully type since he’s too small to reach the keyboard) has been one of the purest delights of the comics internet, with an endless library of comics and a staggering knowledge of the artform. Always presented with good cheer, enthusiasm, and delightful humor, Bully was a dependable break from the sarcasm and cynicism that too many others (including myself) often utilized. To read Bully was to read joy, to remember why it is we all love comic books…and we all do remember why, even if it’s buried beneath layers of accumulated mental crud caused by industry shenanigans and less-than-great publications.

Bully was also a good friend to me, personally, and I’m glad to have known him…oh, and his friend John too. More than a handful of times have I asked Bully for production assistance on some post I was trying to put together, and he always came through, bless his little fuzzy heart. And of course he occasionally found time to razz me a little:


DARN YOU BULLY

Anyway, I am sorry to see Bully wrap up his blog, but am glad we were able to enjoy it for so many years. And of course, despite me continually talking about Bully in the past tense here, he’s still around on Twitter as one of the very few good things on that platform. And, if I know Bully, I’m sure he’ll find even more ways to continue reminding us that comics oughta be fun.

Here’s to you, Bully and John, and please, always remember:

• • •

So, in a minor tribute to Bully’s long internet efforts, let me talk about a couple of fun comics right now! It’s the stunning return of the “This Week’s Comics” category, after being years behind on purt’near everything due to my ongoing eyeball situation. Well, while I still have eyeball issues to contend with, I have been able to get actual prescription glasses, thus allowing me to finally start trying to catch up on my funnybook reading. Oh, and also work and drive and stuff, I guess.

I’m not entirely behind…I did attempt to at least keep up on a couple of titles during those brief periods I could see well enough to struggle through a comic armed with a pair of dollar store reading glasses. And one of those titles was Immortal Hulk, a new issue of which comes out this week:


This continues to be the best comic Marvel is current publishing. Hulk-as-horror-comic is a natural interpretation of the character, one that’s been touched upon many times in the past but not for the extended examination that this series has provided. Psychological and body horror mixed together with nightmarish interpretations of Hulk’s enemies and allies, combined with the overarching existential dread that always lurks behind every plot twist and character moment in this book. It’s lotsa fun, honest!

Ol’ Sam Sterns, The Leader, the fella what got super-strong brains from gamma radiation instead of the muscles the Hulk received, is the focus of this issue, though perhaps you guessed that from the cover. We see the history of the character, from his beginnings to present day, and if you’ve read Hulk comics for way too long like I have, you definitely recognize some of the stops the narrative makes along the way. Certain events are recontextualized for the overall themes the book explores, particularly those of life and death and resurrection, and it’s all endlessly fascinating.

It was recently announced that the series is wrapping up with issue #50, and while it’s disappointing to have one less good comic to read, it is good that the creative team will be given the option to conclude the story on their own terms. Of course, we’re all gonna feel sorry for whoever takes over the Hulk next.

Should note that this is the work of regular series writer Al Ewing, while quest-artists Butch Guice and Tom Palmer fit right in. I hardly noticed the difference.


A confession: aside from Action Comics #1000, I haven’t read any of the recent 80th Anniversary specials DC has released. I want to read ’em, I have a copy of each of them, but, well, I refer you a couple of paragraphs back where I complain about my eyes yet again.

But gosh darn it the Green Lantern anniversary special came out today, and while I have working eyes and good glasses I was going to read the darn thing. And read it I did.

First, of course I was going to go for the ’60s cover variant, with the go-go checks and the swell art by Doug Mahnke and David Baron. I think they did a good job differentiating the different decades represented on the covers…I didn’t even have to look at the small print in the corners to figure out which one was which. (Unlike the Joker anniversary covers from a couple of weeks ago, where…maybe the ’40s one looked like it was trying to evoke the 1940s?)

The contents are a good read as well, starting off with a pleasantly done Alan Scott story that addresses the origin of a particular aspect of that version of Green Lantern. (Will note that seeing Doiby Dickles, the Golden Age GL’s sidekick, being called “Derby” feels so terribly weird to me.) And I know y’all like to kick Geoff Johns around, but his contribution is a simple character piece with an amusing payoff. The rest of the book is enjoyable as well, with nice bits featuring Jessica Cruz, Simon Baz, Sinestro and Kilowog, plus a story where the other GLs talk about Guy Gardner…it’s a good piece, but a tiny bit distressing, which you’ll see when you read it.

The book is filled out with several pin-ups, including a great image of Guy Gardner by Joe Staton, the very fella who helped usher him back into the DC Universe back in those long-ago 1980s. The back pages are a mini-who’s who of the various Green Lanterns, human and otherwise.

Anyway, both of these are fun comics. As they oughta be.

C’mon, surely somebody loves the Hulk.

§ January 9th, 2020 § Filed under hulk, pal plugging, swamp thing, this week's comics, watchmen § 2 Comments

So the other day I noticed on pal Brook’s Instagram that he posted a picture of his latest rare vinyl acquisition. I of course immediately asked him if I could feature it on this here comic book weblog, and he said that was fine…and also since he was going to be dropping by the store Wednesday for new comics anyway, he’d bring it in for me to see in person.

And here it is, with some new photos I took at the store once I had that record in my umngainly mitts, an original 45 RPM single of “Nobody Loves the Hulk” by the Traits, released in 1969:


This is a pristine copy, only removed from its original mailer by the seller to check its condition prior to selling. And speaking of the mailer, here it is:

And why not, here’s a pic of this classic piece of vinyl itself:


And did I play it on the in-store turntable? I wasn’t going to, as a’feared as I was to do damage to this artifact, but Brook insisted that I did, so I dood it. If you weren’t lucky enough to be there when I did, you’ll just have to replicate the experience best you can by listening to this:

Brook also forwarded this link to an interview with one of the people behind this recording. Apparently it was originally sold only through mail order ads in comic books, with only some of the 2,000 copy print run selling that way, the rest being dumped off in various places. Given the condition of Brook’s copy, this seems likely to be some kind of warehouse find, probably sitting in a box somewhere for decades after being discarded by the original owner. Who knows? But Brook got one and, um, perhaps I may have my own copy on its way now too.

Big thanks to pal Brook for bringing that in.

In other news:


This thing came out this week, which made for a nice addition to my personal collection given that the majority of the reprint material inside is taken from the Watchmen supplements for the DC Heroes Role Playing Game, the originals of which I’d sold off long ago. Thus, it’s nice to have them again.

Also reprinted therein are the entries for the Watchmen and related from Who’s Who in the DC Universe (and given the publication of Doomsday Clock, they really are in the DC Universe!), plus the covers for said Who’s Who issues, as well as material from Amazing Heroes and a Dave Gibbons cover for The Comics Journal.

Most hilariously, it includes that bonkers Rorschach appearance in The Question #17. I mean, sure, why not.

Turns out, when asking longtime customer and fellow Swamp Thing afficionado, and Watchmen and Planet of the Apes expert Rich Handley if he needed a copy…turns out, he was actually consulted regarding content for this book! He was asked what extra Watchmen stuff should be included that hadn’t already been offered in reprint form elsewhere…and I’m presuming whoever it was at DC asking this already knew about Question #17 so I won’t blame Rich for that. Anyway, due to changes in editors and whatnot, Rich didn’t seem to get a credit or even a “thank you” inside (at least, I couldn’t find one in the tiny print, given my ailing eyeballs) so just mentally add his name in there when you’re reading it. Okay? Okay!

Also, in other other news:

Also out this week is Swamp Thing The Bronze Age Vol. 2:


I didn’t really pay much attention to the original solicitation for this book. I just figured “ah, it’s just reprinting that big ol’ Swamp Thing omnibus I already bought, I don’t need this,” but reader, How Wrong I Was. It includes a lot of material not in the big ol’ hardcover…enough material that I probably should have passed on it and just waited for the paperbacks. It has the Challengers of the Unknown issues with Swampy and Deadman, it has the DC Comics Presents and Brave and the Bold team-ups.

Most importantly, it has all extant material related to the unpublished #25 from the original series! Now, I already had copies of the pencil and inked interior pages included here, but this volume also contains pencil roughs for other pages, the script, a paste-up of the letters page for that issue(!), and even the inked-and-logoed cover! Pretty amazing. I’d kinda hoped they had enough of this issue done that they could have released it as one of DC’s currently “facsimile” reprint line, a “reprint” of a #25 that never was, but looks like it wasn’t as finished as I’d thought. Ah, well. But this is great to have, finally.

Now, if we can get DC to reprint the finished pages ‘n’ script from that pulled “Swamp Thing Meets Jesus” story should they ever get around to collecting the stories from that immediate era…that’d be somethin’.

Second time’s the super charm

§ December 16th, 2019 § Filed under superman, this week's comics § 5 Comments

When we last met, I was about to go under the knife for another eye surgery. Well, I’m happy to report things went swimmingly, I was in and out of the operating room in a flash (not so much the waiting room, which we sat in for quite a while) and my eye seems to be healing up nicely. The end result is that I now need glasses for pretty much any close-up lookin’, as the replacement lens in my left eye is meant for distance vision, but that’s okay…at least it leaves me able to drive.

Anyway, I’m fine, and once my other current eye issues settle down to the point of being able to get real glasses, versus the array of dollar-store cheaters I’ve been depending on, everything will be just dandy. Or at least as dandy as my eyeballs will allow.

And it turns out I can still read comical books, which I tested by getting caught up on the last several months’ worth of Superman, culminating in this issue:

[SPOILERS for said issue ahead]

…Okay. I’m fine with this turn of events, just as I was the last time this was done with Superman, near the end of the New 52 run just a few years back. I thought then that the public revelation of Superman’s dual life as Clark Kent made for an interesting twist in the ongoing comics, one we hadn’t really seen before in the mainline continuity as an extended storyline. That was kinda the last hurrah for that particular version of Superman before he was replaced by the return of the post-Crisis/John Byrne reboot/married to Lois/has a son version that had been the main Superman for the 30 years prior to the New 52. (Look, I know that’s a lot to absorb if you’re not familiar with Superman’s publishing travails over the past decades, so take a moment if you need one.)

My feeling about the New 52 version of the public revealing of the secret ID is pretty much summed up by my post about a story just prior to that, when Superman revealed his ID to just Jimmy Olsen. In short, it was fun to read, scratches bit of an itch, but these twists to the Super-formula don’t have the impact they should have had because it’s still this weird not-quite-Superman version of Superman DC was foisting off on us as part of their rushed-into-existence New 52 line-wide relaunch.

But now, we have…well, as close to the “real” Superman back in comics as we’re going to get, without Siegel/Shuster/Swan/Schaffengberger/Boring/Plastino etc. coming back from the dead to do more stories. I think Bendis has been doing a relatively decent job writing a recognizable Superman that falls in line with the Superman comics of the past, while still feeling like a “modern” comic. I mean, there’s the occasional rough edge, or some Bendis-istic quirk, but by and large they’ve been fine.

Thus, the repeat of the plot of “Superman Reveals Himself!” (ahem) so soon after the last time they did it still feels somewhat…new and fresh and interesting, because now it’s “really” happening to the “real” Superman, and not some What If — er, excuse me, “Elsewords” — version. It reminds me a little of [hold on…SPOILER ALERT for Batman: Hush, of all things] that time when it looked like Jason Todd had come back from the dead, but it turned out to be Clayface, which kind of honked everyone off, so Jason Todd really came back later on and though the shock of the return was just slightly muted by the previous fake-out, it was still a surprising twist that grabbed attention. Okay, that’s not a 1:1 analogy, but I think you get the idea.

Back to the current comic, here…yes, I think this will make for some interesting stories. And yes, I’m sure this will eventually result in some reset-button putting of the worms back in the can of restoring the secret ID (and hopefully not yet another reboot). But I’m willing to see where this goes, especially with the idea stated in this issue that Superman will continue living and working as Clark Kent. If that doesn’t result in someone shouting at him “WHY ARE YOU SITTING AT A KEYBOARD…PEOPLE ARE DYING IN ACCIDENTS ALL OVER THE CITY” in every issue…well, I don’t know what to tell you.

I also have a vague memory of one of the Elliot S! Maggin prose novels from decades ago — Miracle Monday, maybe? — where Superman’s ID is revealed, and someone discusses how weird it would be if he continued as Clark Kent, that it would be kind of perverse for him to continue acting like a normal human when everyone knew that he was an alien superbeing. I’m getting details wrong, I know, it’s been many years since I’ve read the book, but it’s something like that. But that message still colors my perceptions of what Superman still hangin’ out as Clark post-revelation in the comics would be like. It’d just be…uncomfortable, if realistically depicted.

On the other hand, the more modern interpretation of the Clark/Superman dynamic, as Byrne tried to firmly establish in his reboot, was that Clark was the “real” persona, whereas Superman was the “disguise.” That’s a difficult thing to do, given that the star of the comics, the guy that puts butts in seats, is Superman, so by default he’s the “main” identity. However, if one does keep in mind that Clark is the real person, then him continuing his life as Clark should feel less peculiar than how that long-ago Maggin book would have it. The end goal is probably something along the lines of “Hey, it’s Tony Stark! That’s the guy who occasionally does stuff as Iron Man!” instead of “Hey, it’s Superman pretending to be one of us, just a slob like one of us!”

This is all based on one single issue of the storyline, by the way. Bendis could very well be planning to address some or all of this in his comics, so I’ll just read it and see. …I did want to point out a couple things about this issue that…didn’t ring true for me. A couple of those quirks I may have mentioned earlier in the post.

First, Clark tells Perry White he’s Superman, and Perry gives him a hug. Okay, I can buy that, because they’ve been friends for years, but it’s not followed by Perry immediately firing him from the Daily Planet for years of journalistic fraud. Okay, it’s comics, suspension of disbelief and all that, but it’s a bit tough to swallow. Again, future storylines may address this, but just in this issue as a standalone story, it still felt wrong.

Next, Superman gives his press conference (a well done sequence for the most part, I thought), and after telling everyone “hey I’m Clark Kent, I’m married to Lois Lane, okay see ya” he flies off, basically leaving Lois to fend for herself. Maybe it’s not as bad as all that, but it felt odd to me that Superman would just bail on his wife and pals in the wake of this revelation. Or maybe off-panel he told ’em “meet you at Big Belly Burgers after the speech” and they all had some fast food after the issue was over. Hey, why not.

Before I shut off the computer for the night, I’ll add that I really did love the scene of Jimmy Olsen messing with Superman as he tries to convince his longtime pal that he’s really Clark Kent. Genuinely funny.

Okay, that’s that. Thanks for sticking around after my brief hiatus, pals, and I’ll be back soon.

Should I be reading anything into “Dark Multiverse” and “Direct Market” both being “DMs?”

§ December 2nd, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics § 3 Comments


So my efforts to catch up on my comic book reading continue apace, having managed to read a whole two this past week, both from DC’s Tales from the Dark Multiverse project.

I talked about this series before, like a week or so ago, commenting on its purpose seemingly being to make new “Batman Who Laughs”-type “dark” versions of our heroes to eventually menace the Justice League or whatever. And the patterns seems to continuue here in these two new one-shots (um, SPOILERS I guess) though the Blackest Night Sinestro isn’t really so much a villain at the end of his story as he is a huge screw-up. You know, kind of how Jar Jar is technically the villain of the Star Wars prequels, but he just kinda blundered into putting Palpatine into power out of his own clumsy nature rather than actual malice? Like that.

Anyway, I am enjoying these comics, despite their dark tone and the overall general belief that what we need less of on the stands are more “dark” comics. Well, these tell you up front “hey, these are from the Dark Multiverse,” so if you read ’em, it’s on you. But I think they’re effectively tragic “What If” type stories and I’m enjoying them on that level.

What’s interesting is that the “host” of these comics, the (hoo boy, hold on) Tempus Fuginaut, is basically telling us that what we’re seeing in these comics are deviations from the events in the regular DC Universe…i.e. the one that’s we’re reading about in the comics right now. Which is a bit confusing, as we’ve had our share of New 52s and Rebirths and such fiddling about with what is and what isn’t continuity. But ol’ Tempie, after he relates what happened in the Blackest Night series, says “that’s what happened in your universe,” so I guess we’re supposed to assume that Blackest Night, and Infinite Crisis, and the Death of Superman, complete with Red-Haired-Clone-of-Luthor-Pretending-to-Be-His-Own-Australian-Son, all happened in whatever version of the DC Universe we’ve got now. (Pending whatever happens at the end of Doomsday Clock, natch.)

And speaking of Infinite Crisis…so the deal with that is that the Earth-2 Superman and Lois, along with Earth-Prime Superboy, were in some “hypertime”* bubble outside the main DCU looking in. What the Dark Multiverse version of Infinite Crisis postulates is that there was a separate Hypertime bubble in the Dark Multiverse, featuring the survivors of the DM’s “Crisis on Infinite (Dark) Earths,” I guess. IT’S MULTIVERSES ALL THE WAY DOWN, FOLKS

Anyway, I’m overthinking it, I’m sure. That’s one heck of a spoiler on the cover of that Infinite Crisis cover, by the way. Should also note that there’s one particularly gruesome full-page shot in there, but hey, remember, says “Dark” on the cover, not “Light Happy Fun Times.” You were warned!

Like I said, I have been enjoying the stories in this series, even the “Knightfall” one, despite Azrael being like an immediate turn-off for me in nearly every other comic book appearance he’s ever had. Sorry, just don’t care for him. …I believe the next one in the series will be taking on “The Judas Contract” from New Teen Titans. Who will be the surviving future-villain-to-menace-the-regular-DCU from that, I wonder? A jaded and bitter Changeling? Dark Wonder Girl? Even Darker Raven? An armless Speedy? …Nah, forget that last one, who’d actually do anything like that?
 
 
 

* Don’t write in to tell me I’m using “Hypertime” incorrectly. As far as I can tell it can only be used incorrectly.

A couple o’brief notes.

§ October 25th, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics Comments Off on A couple o’brief notes.

  • So updating my “Swamp Thing comics this week” post…turns out that Swamp Thing #1 reprint is the fastest selling DC Dollar Book yet…and that Swamp Thing Giant is the fastest selling of the direct-market availble Giants I’ve had so far. Everything’s coming up Swamp Thing! You know, like a plant. Because Swamp Thing is a plant. And plants “come up” by…growing….look, I’m tired, this is the best I’ve got. Anyway, hooray for good-sellin’ swamp monster books.
  • So I hwas doing the entire monthly funnybook order for the store yesterday, as I forgot the deadline was this week…and as usual, I double-check the solicitation for Back Issue magazine to see if there’s anything in there of specific interest to me. Because then, you know, I’d order an extra copy for myself on top of the copies i order for the shelf and the pull lists.

    This time ’round they’re doing a thing on comic book vaporware, looking at comics that were announced but never came to be. Specifically cited was the X-Men/Cerebus crossover, which I remember seeing a small piece of art for it at the time, accompanying a news blurb in The Comic Reader back in the early ’80s.

    Well, Twitter pal Bustronaut came through with a NICE, BIG pic of that image I remember seeing so long ago. And then BobH shows up with a look at X-Men/Cerebus was all about, plus some archived notes from Cerebus creator Dave Sim on the whole thing.

    You know, IT’S NOT TOO LATE

Swamp Thing comical books this week.

§ October 23rd, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics § 6 Comments

So I’m slowly catching up on my comic book reading. I thought I’d only been off for three or four months, due to my various eye issues, but judging by where I stopped reading on several titles, it appears I actually sopped sometime in April. Boy, that’s a long time to just be pulling a handful of new comics for myself every week, only to have it build into an imposing stack of material that hopefully someday I’ll be able to make it through.

But catching up, I have been. Current on Immortal HulkJustice League, where I read, like, the 14 most recent issues in relatively short order and boy howdy does that take you a ride. And, of course, as mentioned before, I’m up to date on Doomsday Clock, which is vitally important.

And I’m still keeping up on my Swamp Thingery, though my need to get every single minor one-panel appearance or dialogue mention or whathaveyou may have finally been broken by the whole Convergence thing with its similar-ish Swamp Thing cameo panel in every title. But I’m still getting those major appearances, and even the occasional reprint, like…


…this buck reprint from DC’s new dollar book line. Coloring’s nice, printing on bright white paper (which makes it look a little weird, as Swamp Thing in my mind is always on lightly-decayed newsprint), and the the cover remains particularly striking. It’s of course a come-on for DC’s new “Bronze Age” reprint books of ol’ Swampy, but still, it’s a nice buy for only a single Washington.


And here’s the first of the Swamp Thing Giants available directly through comic shops, versus the two or three or whatever (I’m not even quite sure) that were only distributed at Wal-Marts. Two new Swamp Thing stories, plus a few reprints, and the new stuff is probably standalone so I’ll probably be able to read this without missing out on much.


Now this series I’m not caught up on, but I’m making sure to snag each installment because Swamp Thing is generally in it. I mean, look, there’s his hand right there on the cover, waiting for a…manicure, I guess? I don’t know what’s going on in the book.

Anyway, there’s your Swamp Thing update for the week. I don’t know if he’s, say, hiding behind a tree in this week’s Action or anything (or actually being a tree, I guess), but hey, at least it’s a start.

Still waiting for my Nancy and Sluggo Funko Pops.

§ October 2nd, 2019 § Filed under nancy, this week's comics § 3 Comments

Your reminder that, while you’re out buying the new Nancy strip collection by Olivia Jaimes, out this week at better comic shops, and even mine:


…you should also be on the lookout for this other Nancy item by Jaimes, released to ye olde funnybooke stores this week as well:


Nancy’s Genius Plan is a children’s “board” book, with thick pages designed to take extra rough handling by young kids or, say, by whoever it was that went through my back issue bins a couple of days ago.

Anyway, it’s a short one, as you might imagine, but features several great full color illos by Jaimes. Also, the book is “interactive,” in that the reader is encouraged to physically interact with the book, like knocking on a window in one page to distract a character in-story, or turning the book upside-down to help Nancy get by an obstacle. Not a lot of Sluggo involvement…mostly he’s just one of the supporting cast in this particuliar adventure.

One thing I’d like to note is how, at first glance, the portraits of Nancy on both covers look identical. It’s basically the same features present on both faces, but with just the slightest adjustments, the open, genial face of Nancy on the strip collection:


…becomes that conniving Nancy on Genius Plan.

So it’s a good week to be a Nancy fan, like I know I am. Maybe I can finally make an effort to read some comics this week so that Doomsday Clock isn’t the only thing on which I’m caught up. Okay, granted, I did read Genius Plan already. Pretty much can read the book just by barely glancing at it, but then I suspect I’m slightly older than its target audience.

Still turned the book upside-down to help Nancy, though.

You do have a Swamp Thing collection, right? RIGHT?

§ August 27th, 2019 § Filed under swamp thing, this week's comics § 9 Comments


The only comic of note to be released this week is, of course, the House of Secrets #92 Facsimile Edition, reprinting the first appearance of the story “It’s Better to Give” illustrated by Alan Weiss and Tony DeZuniga, and written by Mary Skrenes under the pen name of “Virgil North.” Oh, the first Swamp Thing story is in it, too.

Anyway, someday I need to update this list I made in 2006 (eep) of all the reprints of House of Secrets #92 that I own, as I’ve picked up a few since then (including the very one pictured above). I laugh, laugh I tell you, at the concluding thought in that long-ago blog post that a mere eight copies of this issue were enough. Such is the folly of youth.

Also please note this reprint does contain the updated coloring for Swamp Thing’s eyes, making them the dark red we’re accustomed to, versus the whitish eyes of the original printing. A dealbreaker for some, I know.

Aside from that hideously untenable change, this is a nice looking reissue of this classic comic. Like Marvel’s line of facsimiles, it contains all the stories and ads and letter columns and other editorial content of the original, but on slightly better paper and with a UPC code and new improved pricing on the front cover. If you can’t get your hands on the original, or one of the dozen of more other reprints like someone you may know who’s been writing a blog for over fifteen years has, this will make a nice addition to your Swamp Thing collection.

DC borrows from Marvel, so does Marvel borrow from DC, and so has it always been and always shall be. And as what usually happens, one company sees another have a success with something, whoever’s in charge has their eyeballs pop out of their heads with little dollar signs forming at the end, and suddenly Company B is doing exactly what Company A did. And in this case, it’s the “#1000” issues DC recently published to great success for Action Comics and Detective Comics, both of which made it to that lofty peak one issue at a time, once a month (or eight times a year, or biweekly, or, hell, even weekly for a while) since their beginnings in the late 1930s.

Now Marvel doesn’t have anything really close to that at the moment…well, some things are approaching that number, but not for a while yet, and anyway Marvel’s still sticking to hiding the actual overall issue number to a series beneath their favored low issue number stemming from whatever was the most recent relaunch. Like, this week’s Amazing Spider-Man has a big ol’ “29” as its primary issue number, but beneath in smaller print it has “829,” indicating that this is in fact the 829thh issue in the series that began with that #1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko so long ago.

Now frankly I wish they’d just pick a number and stick to it…when Marvel briefly went back to “original” (or approximate, anyway) numbering on a bunch of their titles for their “Marvel Legacy” effort, that actually seemed to goose sales a little, particularly on some of the second-string titles that could have used the sales help. Don’t know if was just a coincidence, or if customers had a little more confidence that maybe there’d be some consistency to what they’re following, and it wouldn’t be relaunched soon with a new #1 just because it’s a Brand New Creative Team or something.

Marvel Comics #1000, I believe the conceit is, is based on the idea that if the original Marvel Comics #1 from 1939 (the one with the first appearance of the Human Torch) had continued publishing, it’d be at about #1000 right now. Or maybe that’s just my interpretation of things, and besides we all know Marvel would have relaunched it with a new #1 a dozen times by now, lest they unleash the curse or whatever.

The cover I have pictured here (shameless stolen from one of the many, many eBay listings since 1) I didn’t scan the copy I got at the shop, and 2) Diamond has no image of it on their retailer site) is the “Rare” One Per Store variant, showing what I think might be the first official comic book (well, comic book cover) crossover between Marvel characters and the hometeam characters of their Disney masters. I don’t know for sure, since Marvel ain’t shy about cranking out variants and I’m sure I haven’t seen them all.

And boy oh boy I was sorely tempted. I actually like that image, quite a bit, and it’s not like I haven’t used the ol’ executive privilege to keep a variant for myself, but…well, I mentioned the eBays earlier, and this was a pretty might total on my invoice this week, so I think I’ll give it up for the sake of the bottom line rather than my collection. OH THE SACRIFICES I MAKE.

Oh, hey, big ol’ article on Dreadstar. I do loves me the Dreadstar. Let me just add this to the previous issues of Back Issue with content I want to read but still haven’t yet because of my ongoing eye issues. I’m sure it’ll make me wish Dreadstar was still a thing again, but that’s the risk I’ll just have to take.

This is the first actual physical comic book I’ve read in nearly six weeks.

§ May 31st, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics, watchmen § 4 Comments

[SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #10]

So in the new issue of Doomsday Clock is how it introduces the idea that the various continuity shifts in the DC Universe are not only Superman-centric, but said shifts also affect the multiverse at large. Explicitly stated at last is the idea that Dr. Manhattan, as we’d figured, is responsible for the recent “Rebirth” continuity changes, as he tests out the nature of the DC Universe.

This idea of “the metaverse” (as it’s called) is a weird and interesting one, which reminds me to some extent of “Hypertime.” As you may recall, Hypertime was DC’s previous attempt at created an in-universe explanation for the various continuity boondoggles that crop up in comics, particularly since Crisis on Infinite Earths (itself created to streamline the DC Universe and reduce continuity issues, ironically enough). Hypertime was a thing where changes/glitches/inconsistencies occurred due to the intermingling of the various timelines of the DCU, basically a way of saying “don’t worry so much about stuff, just enjoy the story.” It was maybe too subtle a distinction, as eventually, as I recall, it eventually just became “here are parallel Earths again!” and I don’t know that the idea of Hypertime was cropped up much in recent years.

Anyway, we don’t have the full story yet as to why the DC Universe, or “Metaverse,” does this, outside of Manhattan’s own interference. Maybe Geoff Johns is going to bring Hypertime back in this. Wouldn’t put it past him. I do like how it’s centering on Superman, and I think it is, as I said, an interesting idea. It’s just a shame it’s being used in a series that’s (if you’ll pardon the expression) doomed to be a footnote in the history of the original Watchmen graphic novel, a curiosity that will be discussed mostly in terms of “…yeah, they actually did that comic.”

Don’t get me wrong…I’m enjoying it, sometimes on its own terms, sometimes as the off-model exploitation of a seminal, and ultimately standalone, work. But, like the “Before Watchmen” comics from some years back, like the HBO series that’s coming, like that big-budget movie, it’ll be regarded as some strange offshoots that surround the original, but never touch it.

« Older Entries