Sunday, February 28, 2010

Look & Find: The Amazing Spider-Man

Up until today, the Spider-Man Sunday additions have all been a Spider-Man comic series. Today we are taking a new approach and exploring Spider-Man outside of an actual comic, yet still in a book...a very fun book.

Spider-Man Sunday - "Look & Find: The Amazing Spider-Man"

"Look & Find: The Amazing Spider-Man" is basically a Marvel (1992) "Where's Waldo" book. It is an over-sized 12" x 10" book which has 9 (2 page) scenes of web-slinger chaos. Howard Bender is the layout artists on this book and should be recognized for his mashed scenes and large scale vision. Bender takes us to such settings as in a multi-floored office building, on the beach, at a carnival, a baseball stadium and inside a theater.

Heroes and villains flood the pages of this "Look & Find: The Amazing Spider-Man". Besides our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man heroes include the Silver Surfer, Luke Cage, the Hulk, Daredevil, Thor, Vision, Moon Knight, the Scarlet Witch and many more. Filling out the villains roster are the likes of Doctor Octopus, Scorpion, Stilt Man, Calypso, Rhino, Mysterio and few more. The heroes and villains interact a little bit, but are mostly playing in their environments and messing with regular people who are scattered in the scenes.

Mysterio's character is particularly fun because there are a ton of fake Mysterios without fishbowl helmets running around causing a ruckus. The fake Mysterios are picking peoples pockets and even trying to drawn people (in a tasteful way) in the beach scenario.

In the last couple of places to the look through there are a bunch of fake Spider-Men crawling all over the place. There is a portion on the last page where Hulk is rounding all of the fakes up and tossing them in a huge pile of red and blue bodies. Thor is also throwing a barrel, like a bowling ball, at 10 Spider-Men lined up like pins. The heroes are plentiful on the last page helping get rid of the fakes and making shameful appearances. Night Thrasher is in a shot! Although, in his defense the whole New Warriors (Marvel's answer to DC's Teen Titans...Marvel was not as successful) group is helping out.

Sure, like the "Where's Waldo's" of yesterday you are supposed to find some scattered random objects in each scene, but "Look & Find: The Amazing Spider-Man" is more for hero and villain fun. I get more enjoyment out of seeing the goofy interactions amongst the characters than I do when I find a stray frisbee on the beach. "Look & Find: The Amazing Spider-Man" isn't necessarily a comic but on this website, it is still the comic of the day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ultimatum #1 (of 5)

In the Alias #1 post from earlier this month I mentioned that I do not usually buy comic books out side of normal continuity. More specifically (because obviously I have reviewed books such as the Marvel 2099 and Old Man Logan lines), I do not like reading stories about characters who have been altered or changed to create a different story about who they are and things the are involved in.

For the reasons above I avoided Marvel's Ultimate Universe books. I know they get great reviews, but they usually do not appeal to me. I avoid them in the same way I avoid reading the "Harry Potter" books. Many readers (adults) I know enjoy these books, yet I will not touch them. The books have always seemed like children novels; thus, I have avoided them because I am above the fancies of the youth. With that said I love the movies and have a website where I review a comic of the day. I'm an idiot. This is a fact...

...or is it?

So finally I convinced myself. "Get off of your high elitist horse and try an Ultimate Universe book out already," I appealed to my wallet. Rather than get a collected volume already released and reviewed with high praise, I decided to get the newest issue and complete a mini-series of individual issues. This was a mistake.

Ultimatum #1 was written by Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween, Spider-Man: Blue) and penciled by David Finch (New Avengers, Moon Knight). The issue is a quick paced disaster tale in which we see the earth's heroes dealing with a flash worldwide flood/environmental devastation. Magneto has fallen into grief for the loss of his children and has taken his rage out on the planet. The story isn't all together stupid, yet the jumping of events and scenes is quite dramatic. The book simply doesn't have any readable flow. It's as if Loeb put the book together on a cocktail napkin: "this happened, then this happened...oh, then this happened too!"

The flow of the overall Ultimatum five issue story is much like the flood in Ultimatum #1: fast and destructive. The art of Finch holds up, but I fear people may look down on it because it accomanies such an unflattering story.

Back to my point above about avoiding Ultimate Universe type books; was I right and this is what happens when I do not trust my instincts, or is Ultimatum a shear coincidence? It would be as if I picked up a "Harry Potter" book and it happened to be "Harry Potter and The Star and Moon Wizard's Hat." Not a strong "Harry Potter" book (it is rare and hard to find). It just happened to be the only bad one of the bunch. I think it is likely that I am just unlucky.

And as if getting turned off of the Ultimate Universe based on one bad story line wasn't bad enough, being the true comic collector I am, I still bought the last four issues to round out the series. I have since stopped collecting a series just to finish it out because of the lingering pain I received psychologically from Ultimatum. Once a month I bent over with cash in hand in the name of completing the collection. I clenched a board tight in my mouth for the pain and made the issue where a bag since it was violating me with it's poison monthly.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Heroes for Hire #1 (Vol. 2)

This is why you shouldn't get "tie-in" issues to comic book events.

Heroes for Hire #1 follows a random group of mostly martial arts based characters including Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, Shang-Chi, Humbug, a female Tarantula, Orka, Paladin and the Black Cat. Yeah it's like that. I had heard of Paladin, and everyone know the knock off Black Cat (Marvel's Cat-Woman type character), but the other bunch... Shang-Chi is from Masters of Kung-Fu (or something like that) and the first two women are daughters of some great former fighters...maybe? And Humbug?

In fairness, I was just getting back into comics after some time off and the cover was suggesting there was an important "tie-in" to the current Civil War event. I guess I was torn between thinking, "Who the heck are these chara...oh Black Cat, I know her. Hmm, and that's it. Ah what the hell! It has the Civil War "half of the cover is blank with just the words Civil War thing" going on...must be important. I'll take two!"

There is some plot about possibly drawing Captain America out of hiding and capturing him by a double crossing Paladin, but beyond that... I really didn't want to go back through Heroes for Hire #1 and read it again. There. I admit it. I just don't care.

I chose Heroes for Hire #1 as the comic of the day to highlight a point I have since followed in regards to publisher events: stick to the main mini-series. The tie-ins are never as important as they are hyped up to be. To be honest, often time the ongoings that adopt the event tag for a few issues can be rubbish, as well. When a book is forced based on another writer's idea, the issue may not read with the same tone or enthusiasm that a writer with their own idea may exude. Plus, and most importantly, nothing very important happens in the side stories. The more import moments happen in the main mini-series making the "tie-ins" issues empty or hollow.

Too often do publishers throw issues out there telling you they will "tie-in" when they have no importance to the overall story. The publishers are simply trying to make an extra buck off of the marketed event. Please, next time when you are considering getting a "tie-in" issue, remember Heroes for Hire #1 (Vol. 2), and don't make the same mistake I have.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nextwave #1

Like many mainstream Marvel readers, I had no idea what Nextwave was about (until it was too late). I saw it on the shelves for about a year, noticed the cover art was fun and impressive, and was aware that Warren Ellis was the writer; yet, for some unknown reason I never picked the book up. My action, along with many other comic book consumers, is a partial reason for the cancellation of the series (which by issue #3 had changed it's title to Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.). The sales were not that great and could not keep the superstar grouping of creators on the book.

As I mentioned, Warren Ellis wrote and created Nextwave. His name alone can usually carry a title, but on Nextwave, Ellis had some help by the names of Stuart Immonen and Dave McCaig. I know...how did this book get canceled with these three names involved? Immomen, the current artist on Marvel's New Avengers, provided excellent sharp looking characters and environments. His work is very crisp and lends itself well to colorists looking to keep their reds, blues, and what have yous in between the lines. Colorist Dave McCaig took full advantage of Immonen's clean characters by using a very bright wide spanning pallet to make the art pop right off the page. The action has power behind it and the panels separate themselves from each other while still maintaining a familiar vibrate tone. What I am trying to say is...I've seen better.

Besides the amazing art Ellis marks his territory as always with sharp dialog and great story configuration. He tells the Nextwave story in a unique way that establishes the characters along the way. A quick flash back of the former Captain Marvel in Nextwave #1 gives a bit of depth to the character in a way that doesn't feel forced. Ellis has the ability to make this Marvel book feel like it is an independent book in it's own world while still using the Marvel universe as his base. Ellis hooks the reader with one issue as few writers can do.

The creative team's comic of the day, Nextwave #1, is both a quick introduction to some of the characters readers will be following and the first story of this anti-terrorist squad code named, H.A.T.E.. They are a group of "semis" and "almost made its." Nextwave #1 has the feel of a comic book re-energizing former D-list characters. Right off the bat you know you have heard of the cast of characters, but what you thought you knew about them isn't important. After reading Nextwave #1, clearly Warren Ellis has better memories in store for readers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cable: Blood and Metal #1

Since this 1992 two issue solo mini series, Cable: Blood and Metal, Marvel has tried repeatedly to capture the early 90's popularity of the time traveling mutant, Cable. Cable originally appears in New Mutants as a time traveling soldier looking to take down the Mutant Liberation Front headed by his arch nemesis Stryfe. The seemingly experienced combat veteran Cable becomes the leader of the New Mutants and eventually the mutant group named X-Force. Though his character was a stand out in New Mutant and X-Force titles, Marvel, as it does with every character it owns (Wolverine, Deadpool, Spider-Man at times...to name a few), tried capitalizing on his popularity by hammering him into fans pull-lists by giving him repeated solo titles.

Cable's first solo issue was Cable: Blood and Metal #1. It is the first part of a 2-part tale where Cable leads a group of soldiers named, Six Pack, to appose his arch-enemy's (Stryfe) ambitions to steal artifacts for some unknown reason. I believe this is the first time that Cable sees Stryfe's face and learns that they have the same face. Cable: Blood and Metal #1's cliffhanger! I guess it isn't a cliffhanger...more of a standard surprise half-way-point ending thingy. It was crazy at the time, okay!

Cable: Blood and Metal #1 is cool issue to have for Cable fans. It marks an important piece of information in the Cable story and contains a couple of Cable buddy/regulars such as Domino and Kane (Weapon X). While Domino has evolved over time, the character Kane has remain the same for some time now. It most stories I find him in he is non-stop emotion. Just an angry fighter. Why can't he be more like Mario and enjoy his adventures. Kane needs a smile and a mustache. Oh and overalls. 1 up!

The book also features a John Romita Jr. cover and interior pages. JR Jr. is one of those artists that most people either love or hate. I, however, am on the fence when it comes to his style. At times I find it quite boxy and filled with too many straight lines, yet at times he will surprise me with a beautiful layout of characters. In fact, I own a print by John Romita Jr. which I have framed to hang in my room. It includes many Spider-Man figures fighting many different classic Spider-Man villains. The piece has action, movement, and excitement drawn all over it. JR Jr. made it on a good day. Cable: Blood and Metal #1, the comic of the day, was made on a bad day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sabretooth #1 (Vol. 1)

I have two of these. Have you ever gone through your collection and notice you have two of the same issue? Plus, not only are you seeing double, but you have some how produced very random twins. I don't recognize one child let alone two of the same. If I was going to have two of one comic book it would most likely be a Spider-Man related title: a couple duel Amazing Spider-Mans, maybe two Venom Lethal Protectors, but two Sabretooths?

Sabretooth #1 follows Victor Creed, a.k.a. Sabretooth, as he is getting home from some undisclosed meeting. He fights many Hand ninjas outside of his place who were waiting to kill him for killing one of their leaders (What else are the Hand going to do on a Tuesday night?). This mini scene establishes that Sabretooth is a load to hand-le (it happened), as proof by holding off a horde of trained ninjas (not those untrained ninjas that are always attacking...anyone can take them on). His assistant, whom he slaps around because he's Sabretooth not a teddy-bear, basically calls some group of armed men to come ambush Creed in the night and drag him off to their base. There they supe' him up with physical enhancements and tell him to kill Mystique. The issue ends with Sabretooth telling who ever captured him that he will take out Mystique, but then he is coming after them.

Artist Mark Texeira takes a break from his youth baseball to pencil this book with very raw drawings. He captures the savageness of Sabretooth even when he isn't in his classic uniform. Texeira's rough sketch-like style lends it's self fittingly to Creed's menacing faces of anger and sick joy. The art feels like what Sabretooth art should feel like: sandpaper to the eyes...in a good way.

I am actually glad I pulled this issue out because I noticed the friendly neighbor-hood Richard Starkings lettered it. There is a dotted "i" I wanted to ask him about.

I have the second issue in this series, but having two of the die-cut covered Sabretooth #1's is enough to make me take another look at this comic of the day. Most days in the year this book is just a duplicate in a box of "S"-es (how do you spell out a plural letter "S"? Yes! Another question for Starkings!), but today it's multiplicity made it stand out in my mind and on this site.

Monday, February 22, 2010

SleepWalker #5

After writing yesterday's post on "The Revenge of the Sinister Six" story arch in Spider-Man, I started thinking about one of my old comic book favorites, Sleepwalker. He was a non-human creature which inhabited the mind of Rick Sheridan, a college student. When ever Rick went to sleep, Sleepwalker appeared and began roaming the streets looking to cleanse his environment of evil. There is more to the character created by Bob Budiansky, but that's about all anyone needs to know about him. Oh, also he can warp matter with his pinkish-red eye beams. But who can't?

Sleepwalker had a solo comic title in the early 90's which included appearances from many popular 90's characters including Spider-Man. Spider-Man first meets the alien looking Sleepwalker in Sleepwalker #5, part one of "Web of Confusion" and the comic of the day. In the issue Sleepwalker is unsure if Spider-Man is a good guy or not, so before Rick wakes up Sleepwalker makes a sketch of Spider-Man's face with the options below: Good? Evil? Rick finds the note and circles "good." Hooray for Spider-Man! Sleepy and Webby then team up to take on criminals. Good guys unite!

The cover of Sleepwalker #5, and issue #6 for that matter, are quite strange. For whatever reason Spider-Man's face is colored in black on each cover. I never really thought about it until I re read the books today, but I wonder if it is some kind of "appearance on limited covers" thing at play. I don't think it makes much sense in the story. It could be an inside joke, but more than likely its a cover appearance thing. I'll ask Richard Starkings the next time he is at the comic shop. His letters were all over the place in the 90's. He has to have some kind of inside information.

I may be one of the few people who still enjoys himself a sleep induced, float'n alien, bug-eye-beam'n, matter warp'n hero in scrunched-up purple gloves and boots, but...wait, what was I talking about? Sleepwalker? Who the fuck is that?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spider-Man #18 - 23

Comic books which are jammed packed with multiple characters that do not usually interact are awesome. With books focused on a solo character, Spider-Man is often by himself in battle against his many foes but from time to time Spider-Man will appose multiple enemies at the same time. In those instances, even a great solo hero needs help, and most of the who's who in the Marvel universe have come to the aid of the web-slinger from time to time.

Spider-Man Sunday - Spider-Man #18 - 23: Revenge of the Sinister Six

Spider-Man #18 - 23 is a six part story which focuses on the villainous team the Sinister Six coming together and combining their powers to become unstoppable (and take over the world I assume...it's not very clear why). The members include the Sandman (who actually isn't on the side of the Six), Doctor Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, the Vulture, and Demogoblin (taking the place of the deceased Kraven). Basically, Doc. Oct. gets the group together to act as his soldier support as he tries to become all powerful. Dr. O has just recently bin fitted with new adamantium arms making him powerful enough to put down the Hulk, which he does in issue #19. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to put down the Sinister Six, Spider-Man finally gets some combined help from many superheroes he meets along the way (in the story-arch).

In the finale, Spider-Man #23, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Nova, Deathlok, Solo, Sleepwalker the Hulk and the Fantastic Four join forces to fight the Sinister Six and Gog. Oh, who's Gog you ask? Just some creature from another dimension the Sinister Six picked up along the way. Keep up!

All of the villains are over run except Doctor Octopus, who is still holding his own against all of the heroes, until the Sandman surprises Dr. O with an attack. The superheroes win, the scatter, Peter and Mary Jane make-up after a random fight, and at the end Peter gets a surprise birthday party. Happy endings for the win!

Eric Larson writes and pencils this Sinister Six story leaving a strong mark on the Spider-Man series. His Spider-Man looks very clean and acrobatic making for a version of the web head which I love. He handles the guest heroes with great ease and really lets Doctor Octopus's mechanical arms fly about the page. The exaggerated length of the arms makes his panels feel very alive with movement and action. Larson also handles the webbing which Spidey flings everywhere very nicely. The scene where Spider-Man's web-gun contraption explodes and sends web everywhere dusts the cob-webs off of what you thought you knew about webbing. In fact, Larson uses so much intricate webbing that his colorist, Gregory Wright, has a hard time filling in all of the correct coloring in between the spaces of the web.

Other notable moments in these comics are the advertisements in the comic books. The ad for James Bond Jr. comic books has set the cartoon television show's theme song off in my head. It will now be on repeat all night. ("Look out he's coming through, he's got a job to do...while he's saving the day! Bond! James Bond Jr.") Thanks 90's ads! Also...who had a Game Genie?

Cheaters!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In My Lifetime #1

While at the Long Beach (1 day) Comic Con today, I met and briefly spoke to a few recognizable artist. I also spoke to Tony Fleecs. That line was for Tony (he has a sense of humor). Tony writes and draws In My Lifetime, a Silent Devil published comic book filled with mini stories of moments he has actually experienced. The comic is an autobiographical book. Tony is totally conceited.

Honestly, the book is very well done. Tony is the furthest thing from conceited if you consider the way he draws himself, and uses his own self as the anchor for most jokes. In his first story he captures a moment where he thinks he may have cancer in his testicle and goes to a doctor for confirmation. He is the everyman while waiting for the doctor to basically do a ball check. As apposed to thinking about possible cancer and ill health Tony begins to wonder if the doctor will think his penis is small. Fearing the doctor's office gossip, he uses a little help from a certain J-Lo to make sure he appears manly to the doctor. The story is brief but highlighted by a diagram of the male genitalia. Besides maybe an issue of a 90's Quasar, I think this is the only other time I've seen a detailed drawing of a guy's junk in comics.

In My Lifetime #1 also touches on awkward moments in life such as: do I let a fallen bird lay outside and die. This situation presented itself to my girlfriend and I once while walking outside. There was a crow that had fallen from a tree and had a hurt wing. As Tony points out in In My Lifetime #1, you are not supposed to touch birds or other birds won't like them anymore. "You used to be cool Robin, but now you just let any ol' human touch you. You've changed. Caa Caaa!" That last part was a bird call.

So my girlfriend and I looked for near by sticks to at least move the fallen bird out of site. Facing facts, we knew this birdy was going to be swimming with the fishes soon. If we could only move this bird from site we would feel better about ourselves as humans. It can fucking die in the bushes, but not in the open where others will see it, thus passing on the burden of awkward thoughts of what to do...as my girlfriend and I had. You may think this is leading to a kind act of using sticks to move the bird under bushes to be eat'n by a cat out of sight, but what actually happened was quite different. When we got close to the fallen aviator a bunch of other crows circled us and started yelling out. I've seen "Birds". I knew what was going to happen next. So I just kicked it to the side and we moved on. You try and do one nice thing for the birds... "This bread is too stale, the bird feeder seed tastes funny, stop poking our comrades with sticks while on the ground with a broken wing..."


In My Lifetime leads to the above. Tony Fleecs short stories relates to everyday events in my lifetime and others'. The comic is a part of the anit-comic comic culture. The comic relates stories that are identifiable and possible. Common moments fill these black and white pages ("color costs money" - 1700's slave trader) and go against the fantasy and outrageous adventures mainstream comic books convey. In My Lifetime #1's cover even mocks the mainstream comic books by implying that an adventure floods the pages of this book when in fact we lead right into a man visiting the doctors office. Shazzam!

Pleasantly, In My Lifetime #1 is the comic of the day because Tony tries to do what he wrote on my signed purchased copy of In My Lifetime #1. "Keep it real!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thor Corps #4 of 4

For what ever reason I have several mini series ending issues (not issues with the endings of mini series). Last month I wrote a post on Death's Head II #4, a forth and final issue of a tale mixed up in time. Today's comic of the day is a forth and final issue of a tale mixed up in the multiverse. Both stories may not make much sense by just reading the last issue, yet that is what I have done. Unfortunately, unlike the Death's Head II #4, Thor Corps #4 is not as cool.

Though Thor Corps #4 lacks the luster of a well written comic book, it does include some pretty eye familiar moments. The issue includes 4 different dimensions of Thor (i think) which include Beta Ray Bill which Marvel fans may know from the current "Planet Hulk" DVD movie. At one point to save the multiverse from destruction, the Thors join their Mjolnir hammers together and literally "cross the streams" of the hammers' powers to counteract the multiverse's destruction. They basically "Ghostbuster" the multiverse to swing it's doors the other way. After they save the day they all yell, "Busting makes me feel good!"

Another part of Thor Corps #4 which caught my eye was the design of the bad guy (turned good by the end...standard), Demon Staff. See he has this staff...yeah, it's a clever sweet-ass name. Anyway, he looks exactly like Deadpool but with a trench coat! No joke, the guy has the mask, sweet sacks on his utility belt, and at one point is even disfigured under his mask. Same exact guy in design. Even back then Deadpool was in everything.

Besides these cool little nods to the art of ripping-off, the book is pretty lame. Love saves the day...blah, blah, blah. Yes, ghost-bust'n was key, but love actually made it happen. Just once can "crossing the streams" save the day?! Oh... Just twice can "crossing the streams" save the day?!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DoomWar #1 of 6

I was never a Doom fan. I don't hate the villain, rather if he was opening at the Filmore for The Get Up Kids for a one night only performance, I would most likely show up a little late...maybe catch the end of Doom's set just to make sure I caught The Get Up Kids.

Growing up I was mostly a fan of Spider-Man and his world. For the most part, the Spider-Man rogue gallery has standard villains with basic powers and a lot of straight forward plots for committing their crimes. Doom is a villain that often has a more complicated means of getting what he wants. Plus, Doom's powers always seemed weird to me. Is he magical? Does he have some kind of power from his suit like Iron Man? It is probably a mix of both but I don't really care to check right now.

DoomWar #1 has basically set up a plot of Doom trying to steal vibranium (Captain America's shield is made from this substance) from the nation of Wakanda, the Black Panther's home country. Wakanda is currently under the control of a dissenting group of  Wakanda locals, but with the help from a few X-Men, T'Challa the former Black Panther is taking his nation back by force. The story is leading up to Doom getting his hands on the vibranium while Wakanda is distracted with internal affairs.


I just don't care about this comic of the day. Once again, the comic of the day isn't a hidden gem or even that fun. That's how comic books are, though. Some good. Some bad.


I think first I may try giving Doom a chance by checking out a bit of his past and future. I will most likely ebay Ed Brubaker's mini-series The Books of Doom and the first couple of archs of Warren Ellis's Doom 2099. An understanding of this so called powerful foe may be necessary.

With everything said about Doom, DoomWar #1 may have some potential. But as of now, I just don't see it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ZVR Aventure #1

Don't be a fool as I so childishly was. Just because a book is called Zombies Versus Robots does not mean it will be awesome. In fact, more likely than not it will be the equivalent to dead scrap metal. The child in me got carried away, not to mention the cover had a very cool feel to it: a painted dark color pallet depicting a soldier with a gas mask...standard zombie and robot cover stuff.

The IDW published ZVR Aventure #1 consists of three separate stories by three separate writers and three separate artists. The only thing they have in common is that they are all boring. All three stories have a bit of robot in them, but no robot killing or clamptastic action. No clamptastic action?! Errorrrr! Every book with a robot (ever) should include clamps and that robot going berserk on a zombie. I'll let the Vision slide because he is a gay robot. He is all about the nuts and bolt. Lubricating some man-bot gears. Pipe cleaning the exhaust. Okay, I think that's about good.

I cared before I opened ZVR Aventure #1, but after I did not. If anything, I regret buying the book. Sure it led me towards some cheap shots at the Vision, but no metal and dead flesh fury. Besides the story not being compelling, the actual dialog and written narrative reads very poorly. The sentences do not break correctly and the grammar seems odd. It may be written that way for effect. You know, if the effect making a reader not want to buy the next issue and take a clamp to his own throat. Squeezing pressure 12!

Alright, I'll stop piling on these guys (that's not what I meant Vision), but please don't get this comic of the day. Not every comic of the day is good. Some of them are warnings.

Finally, in the words of Tobor, "Beep beep bop beep bop bop. Bop beep! Bop bop bop beep!" Well said, Tobor. Well said.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Daredevil #295

When the devil rides with Ghost Rider, you have to buy that issue! In 1991 Marvel placed the then Ghost Rider Danny Ketch with "Man Without Fear", Daredevil to do what else, but fight ninjas.

The cover tells the story with Daredevil #295. Ghost rider and Daredevil combine forces to take the Hand in this action packed comic. As the cover eludes to, ninja stars are thrown and Daredevil does block them. Daredevil is in his element fighting the Hand, yet Ghost Rider is new to the situation. He doesn't quite understand why the fizzle away when mortally attacked, and does not understand the specific ninja's reaction to his "Penance Stare." Ninjas be crazy!

I remember getting Daredevil #295 from my cousin Mikey when I was young. I picked up the comic book and my father said, "Hey Mikey! I think he likes it!" It may have been my first introduction to both Ghost Rider and Daredevil. The only other knowledge of the two may have come from Spider-Man books or the Marvel trading cards.

The trading cards were the shit back in the good ol' days of...well Marvel trading cards. They were so fun for comic fans because they had the official Marvel ratings of how strong, fast and agile the various characters were. Plus, the cards had a scale for intelligence and fighting skills! The leader is soooo smart! My favorite cards were the cards that recapped classic Marvel battles and team-ups. I thought they were neat because they let you in on the comic books worth buying. These were the issues that included memorable battles or great story lines you would want to hold onto. I wonder if there was a Ghost Rider/Daredevil card? Horns and flames...there had to be!

The cover of Daredevil #295 makes it my comic of the day because no matter how old I get, or how many times I see these two characters riding into battle on a bike a'blaze, I always get a rush of adrenaline and wonder: Is it weirder for Daredevil to wrap his arms around Ghosty, or Rider to have his body of bones held tight by a man in spandex?

"Is that a bone in your front pocket or are you just hap...oh. It is a bone? Sooooo...you know I'm blind, right?"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Iron Man #285

Iron Man was never a character I knew very well. I mean sure, I understood the basics. Tony Stark...Stark Industries...Pepper Pots and Rhodey who became War Machine. I have basic Marvel comic book reader knowledge of him, but as far as his story lines have gone I didn't know much about what went on before Marvel's Civil War. Did you know he has had different types of suits?

In Iron Man #285, Tony is apparently dead and Rhodey is releasing his supposed ashes at his funeral. Some D-list villains, and by D-list I mean villains I do not recognize, break into Stark Industries during the funeral and start a building fire. Rhodey finds a suite that looks like a mix between the War Machine armor and the basic Iron Man armor, and puts down the D-listers. One of the villains may have been Whiplash. On the cover it says Whiplash, but in the comic one of the villains calls him Blacklash. Either way, the guy had a whip. Look out man in a metal suit! He's got a whip!

Iron Man #285 also includes a scene in which Tony (who it seems is not dead) is remembering a moment from his past. Tony sees his father being quite cruel to his family while being under the influence of alcohol. It seems that Tony makes the connection that his drinking problems stem from his father. This part in the book is very brief, yet I found it to be the most interesting.

Besides the stuff about Tony and his history with his father, Iron Man #285 is quite forgettable. I feel this summed up the Iron Man series for too many years. There were parts to Iron Man's solo series which were very well written and fresh for comic characters, such as the "Demon in the Bottle" arch. Unfortunately, the overall series fell flat and failed to produce the magnetic energy needed to attract me as a reader. One of his popular enemies has a whip...come on! Oh it's electric...never mind. Avengers Assemble!

A side note with this comic of the day includes Rhodey saying "M'man" a few times. Standard black vernacular...duh. Translation for all of you honkies: "My man."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Super Soldiers #1

Coming right on the heels of the 1992 Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren action movie "Universal Soldier", Super Soldiers #1 introduces another story about creating the perfect human soldier. Like "Universal Soldier", Super Soldiers is about men which the military have reanimated with upgrades to their strength, agility, and stamina. The men had died in military battle, and their governments ("Universal Soldier" - U.S.A., Super Soldiers - U.K.) made them into soldiers lacking pain or the ability to question orders...or so they thought.

Super Soldiers #1 opens with Joseph Hauer, a super soldier, awakening from frozen animation when he wasn't supposed to. He wakes up with only one thought: kill Childs! Childs was a soldier who had done evil things before he to was turned into a super soldier. The first installment of Super Soldiers is primarily a retelling of the Marvel Universe's super soldier projects, and how we have come to the point of one such soldier waking up early with nothing but vengeance on his mind. The history recap touches on Captain America, the first super soldier, and an out of control soldier named Nuke (who was recently put down by Captain America and Dare Devil).

I reread this issue because I just watched the new, straight to DVD movie, "Universal Soldier: Regeneration." The third film in the Universal Soldier line stars some UFC fighters including Andrei Arlovski and Mike Pyle. They add to cast which includes the always entertaining Van Damme and Lundgren making the film a fun throw-back of an action film. It feels like the classic late 80's and early 90's action films which Van Damme made famous with "Bloodsport", "Lion Heart", and "Universal Soldier". It has an old school action feel, yet is shot in an updated style. For a straight to DVD film, the movie is actually really good. The actors in this film were made for these roles: emotionless (for the most part), fighting soldiers. When Van Damme and Lundgren throw down, and you knew they had to, you will find yourself leaning forward feeling every punch, kick, and wall.

Super Soldier #1 is the comic of the day because I was treated to a Van Damme good movie last night that made me pick up the Marvel UK comic today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Alias #1

This is kind of embarrassing but, I just read my first Marvel MAX comic book today. I know, I know. For a person who writes about a comic book everyday you would think he has at least dabbled into the popular Marvel MAX line.

Well, the past is behind me and today I dabbled. About a month ago I won a bunch of comic books at a charity event and many of the issues were Brian Michael Bendis's Alias. Alias follows private investigator Jessica Jones, a former superhero. In the first installment to the Bendis 28 issue run, Jessica takes a case to locate a woman's sister. The missing person seems to be found easily enough, but it is who she is found with that leaves readers in suspense as the issue ends.

The Marvel MAX line is the perfect place for a gritty detective tale to take place. Bendis definitely uses the MAX line to his advantage creating dialog that cuts the comic realm and is more closely connected with reality. The opening scene displays the word "fuck" many times, and an appearance by Luke Cage brings the "n-word" from his lips and to the pages of Marvel, as well. It feels slightly vulgar, yet very real.

The dark art of Michael Gaydos (not the dark arts - he isn't a warlock or into witchcraft...as far as I know) adds to the world of the detective and mystery. Every scene is at night and the only thing well lit in this comic is Jessica's cigarette.

One issue in and I am already wanting to finish this post and pick up the next book. I guess I thought that the Marvel MAX line was like the Marvel Ultimate line in that it doesn't follow the Marvel characters in normal continuity. While this may be true for some Marvel MAX titles, it is not for Alias. Adult comic book readers of all types should be able to enjoy Alias as I have so far.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Extinction


Extinction is a Ruben Martinez art collection book and the comic of the day (the second art collection in 3 days). It is his second art release book and includes many designs and pieces of work that some of Martinez's fans may recognize from his Deviant Art website. Since the book is a private release and is not a Marvel, DC, or any other major publisher release, none of Martinez's Marvel and DC character art is included. Some fans may be bummed out about that, but others, like myself, will appreciate his unique playful style and grace their bookshelf with Extinction.

Extinction includes many horror and monster like characters all with Ruben Martinez's hint of playfulness. How does a person make a deformed man with a scary clown mask and large knife playful? Well, his exagerated body types, such as long thin legs gives the character just the right amount of cartoon to his evil character. Plus, the smiley face clown-skull and cross bones patch on his jacket helps. It's all in the character details with Martinez. Just ask his zombie bunny with the peg leg made from a zombie carrot. Go ahead...zombies are great listeners. Granted your answer may just be a drawn-out moan...

Some of Ruben Martinez's prints, which he will sell at various signings or conventions, are included in the book as well. His pumpkin headed creature carving out the heads of humans print entitled "Revenge" is collected in Extinction. I bought this piece (which Ruben signed), framed it, and placed it on my wall. Some people may think it is simply a Halloween period piece, but I regard it as a very unique and skillfully crafted piece of art. Thus, to the wall with it!

If you haven't been to Ruben's Deviant Art page, please check it out here. You don't want to miss his interpretations of many classic Marvel characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man. After viewing his work you'll wonder why he isn't currently on a Marvel ongoing title. I still have no idea why. His Marvel art is very vibrant and eye-gripping that even though his Extinction book has a theme of creatures, horrors and monsters, I still asked him to sketch an Iron Man on the inside cover for me. He did it very quickly (maybe 3 minutes) and it looks awesome. A little ink...colored markers...saved some white space for armor glare...bam! Iron Man.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel

Yesterday dealt with the outside of the Fables issues and books. Today we are dealing with the content of Bill Willingham's 2009 novel release, Peter & Max. For the second day in a row the comic of the day isn't really a comic.

Peter & Max is Willingham's novel which takes place in between events that are going on in the Fables comic book series. The novel uses the same Fables world and characters already created by Willingham. At first thought, many potential readers may be turned off by the idea of a book based in a comic world they know nothing about. Fortunately, as Willingham explains in the beginning of the tale, readers do not have to know anything relevant when picking up this book. Everything the reader needs to know and understand is laid out in the novel. A non-comic book fan can, and will, enjoy this book. With that said, if you are aware of Fables characters, and even read the comic books, you experience with the novel may be more enjoyable. It is the same as watching an X-Men movie and not reading the comics. The movie will explain all you need to know for the story to make sense and be enjoyable (that sentence applies to "X-Men 2" only).

In a very small nutshell, Peter & Max is a story about two brothers who head down two very different paths. Max, the older brother, starts to build a jealousy towards Peter that hits a very dark tipping point. The story follows the lengths which brothers will go to to survive and get what they want. The story covers many emotions including joy, fear, and anger. At times the story is surprisingly dark and twisted. At some points in the book I could not believe the direction Willingham took his novel.

Willingham's Peter & Max is a very difficult novel to peg. It would almost be an all ages read if it wasn't for some scenes of passion which are quite shocking and appropriately crude. The style of writing is not advanced making the book read very quickly. Sentences do not use incredibly difficult terms nor do the run on in endless flowery detail. It really feels like a person whom primarily writes comics wrote this book.

The story is very enjoyable. Willingham's story structure reads like a "Lost" episode. As you continue down the trail of the plot, Willingham tells past tales which place you into the minds of the characters that help explain their situation. You grow to know each character by following their individual journeys. Oh, and no smoke monsters.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fables Covers by James Jean

The comic of the day is an art collection, a collection of covers by artist James Jean. It has every Fables cover from issues 1 to 75. Plus, it includes covers of TPBs (trade paper backs), special stand alone issues, and several sketches and preliminary covers. All of the art in this book is simply amazing.

As a reader of the critically acclaimed series Fables, I own several individual comics and TPBs in the series. While "Fables Covers" does show you a smaller picture of how each comic actually was printed, text and all, the book also provides slightly larger final portraits of Jean's covers. Though all of the final shots are beautiful, the actual comic covers are slightly superior in quality. When in the actual comic size printing, Jean's art appears more defined and crisp. It is almost like a digital picture that was blown up just slightly too large, and the resolution is not quite good enough. I must stress this is a very minor flaw I noticed only after viewing the complete book. Readers without the individual comics will not even notice.

With that said, the bonuses in "Fables Covers" are exactly what a fan of James Jean's art could hope for. The beginning sketches and alternative cover ideas takes one behind the scenes and into the mind of Jean as he places the whole interior story on a single page cover (2 page wrap around covers on the TPBs). An excerpt of each issue is included with each cover to help add context, and each work of art is accompanied by a caption describing how and with what the cover was created (example: Oil and Ballpoint Pen on Wood Panel, 18 x 24". Fables #1).

Bill Willingham, Fables writer, also writes a short praising passage for his collaborator. The passage follows a short interview Jean gives Willingham. Besides some written entries by Jean that about sums-up "Fables Covers".

Jean uses several different artistic styles to create his covers: pencil sketching, acrylics, oil, digital, watercolor, pigment ink, graphite, charcoal and so on. His style of anything and everything to tell the story in a captured scene stands him out as a leading artist in not just the comic industry, but the art industry as well.

Jean has done work for Prada, Nike, ESPN, Rolling Stone Magazine and many other major companies. His career started taking off as soon as he graduated New York City's School of Visual Arts in 2001.

James Jean has created some of the most memorable and gorgeous covers over the past 7 years. "Fables Covers" captures his talent and is a must own for any comic, fantasy, or art lover.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Punisher 2099 #1

The last 2099 book I own is The Punisher 2099. There is also a Doom 2099, but for whatever reason I do not have it in my collection (yet). The Punisher 2099 follows Jake Gallows, a police officer in the year 2099 who's family is killed by a psychopath. After the corrupt justice system let's his family's killer out on a fine, Jake finds Frank Castle's old "war journal." The journal's last entry reads, "You who find this, I charge you to carry on my work." Jake suits up and calls himself the Punisher.

So far, this is the first 2099 book to not have curse words replaced with the word "shock." At one point Jake yells an expletive that appears as asterisk symbols. I actually appreciate the symbols more than goofy new slang words. Slang may change but the rage and vulgarity expressed in random symbols always conveys they same message.

The Punisher 2099 does mark one of the early projects in the career of Jimmy Palmiotti. Palmiotti inked The Punisher 2099 and later wrote many Marvel and DC titles, but he is currently known for his critically acclaimed run on Jonah Hex. The story of Jimmy Palmiotti and The Punisher 2099 is a very inspiring tale. Even when it looks like the world has turned it's back on you just think of Jimmy, hang in there and think...WWJD?

The last of my 2099 books and the comic of the day, The Punisher 2099 #1, was actually a little refreshing. Out of all of the books it felt the least annoying and even had some cool imaginations such as the 2014 Magnum gun, the last metal throwing gun. Four more years and we shall see how the predictions start to turn out from the 2099 comic runs. I can't wait.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ravage 2099 #1

Continuing with the 2099 theme, from yesterday's Spider-Man Sunday's Spider-Man 2099, we find one of Stan Lee's forgettable comic books, Ravage 2099 #1. Lee writes this Marvel 2099 Ravage solo title for reasons unknown. Ravage is a lackluster hero with no powers and a very familiar Punisher feel to him. Interesting enough, there is a 2099 Punisher title, as well. Though later in the Ravage 2099 comic book run, Ravage would gain powers...he was still boring. Ravage was the one 2099 title character that was completely new (not re-imagined like Spider-Man or the Punisher), and yet Lee really missed the mark with him. I mean come on Stan! He had red hair! That's like giving Jimmy Olsen his own series. What's this? Olsen had his own series? Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen? I wonder why that one is not still around anymore...(cough) red head (cough).

The covers of the 2099 #1 books are themed. They have a framing around the main image with a computer or mechanical looking foil. It is like the C.S. Lewis 2099 Wardrobe. Enter the book to a magical place of bland futureness. Currently, the foiled framing pretty much identifies books that didn't appreciate in value.

As far as what is in Ravage 2099 #1...well they say "shock" again. The "shock" use alone made Ravage 2099 #1 the comic of the day. As I mentioned in the previous Spider-Man 2099 #1 post, in the future people say "shock" in the place of a curse word. Making this even more confusing is the fact that in Ravage 2099 #1 a character says he is "shocked". In this instance he is referring to the term in the way we new it in 1992, "startled." Stan, you can't do that to us. It's shocking confusing!

Forgiving the legendary creator isn't hard to do, but buying the follow up to Ravage 2099 #1 was. I hear they made more issues. I mean it has a Wikipedia page that swears to it. But you shouldn't believe everything you read on Wikipedia. I mean, it says there's a Jimmy Olsen comic book...which I still don't believe exists.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spider-Man 2099 #1

Spider-Man Sunday - Spider-Man 2099 #1

This Sunday night I reread one of my Marvel 2099 books, Spider-Man 2099 #1. The 2099 line which Marvel Comics started up in 1992, is supposedly the distant future which the Marvel Universe could be in store for. Deciding to take a look back, I noticed a few things depicted that were quite noteworthy in regards to the year 1992, and that era's depiction of the future.

Early on in the issue we see Miguel O'Hara, who is the title character in Spider-Man 2099, listening and watching his messages. He sits in his home and watches holograms of the people who tried calling/contacting him. The holograms appear as the person leaving the message and basically works like an answering machine in the early 90's. I took note of this scene not because it's possible cool technology for the future, but because of the length of the messages. The messages were super long! Most people don't even leave voice messages these days because the caller ID will pick up the caller's name anyway. It takes way to long to hear the answering service's message and then to leave a long detailed message. Who still does that?

The book did not anticipate the huge use and reliance on the cell phone. The cell phone has turned into the main phone for many people. They provide our A.D.D. society (something else the 2099 line didn't anticipate) with the means to get through messages quickly with the use of caller ID. One knows right away if they want the message or not. Also, the message may just be in text form. Maybe not as advanced as a hologram, but people don't want to see light imitations. Just a quick "R u there" works now. Star Wars would have been a lot shorter movie if Princess Leia would have just texted Obi Wan. "Ob1 u r last hope..."

On a non time related issue I had with this book, the lead's name is Miguel O'Hara. Really? Does the O'Hara line have many Miguels in it? If there is one Miguel O'Hara alive today, or in the year 2099, I will be shocked. And that's another thing! In place of curse words in the future, everyone says the word "shock." The future loves unexpected electrical discharges.

Besides the zany future stuff in the comic of the day, the 2099 Spider-Man had little claws on his fingers. That's cool...right?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Silent War: TPB

Silent War is one of those mini series, or trades, that slips through the cracks. It was an important period of time for the Inhumans, but not very compelling to many Marvel readers.

The Inhumans have always been the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" of the Marvel Universe. Not everyone who follows Marvel really knows who they are or what they are about, but you know they exist. They have a cult following of readers and watchers (not the bald getting punched by Red Hulk type) that enjoy their rich histories and stories dating back to early Fantastic Four and Avenger adventures.

Inhumans are a race of genetically altered humans from many years ago. The alien Kree experimented on humans in hopes of making super-soldiers to fight their hated foes, the alien Skrulls. The Kree abandoned their project and left a group of altered humans to establish their own society led by their current king, Black Bolt.

In the story Silent War, the Inhumans are held up on the moon to keep out of human affairs, and to keep humans out of theirs. After an accidental incident on earth, Iron Man and the U.S. government capture the inhuman Gorgon. Using the Inhuman's sacred, and stolen (by Quick Silver) crystals against the captured Gorgon, the U.S. government deform him further and disgrace the Inhumans through this act. Basically, the government and Inhumans collide over the crystals and the disrespect committed by both sides. After the battle takes place Black Bolt's brother, Maximus, is chosen to lead the Inhumans due to recent unfortunate events. Rather than fight for his throne he accepts his kingdom's wishes and does nothing.

The title of the tale is Silent War because, at least at first, there is not any confrontation. It is much like the Cold War in U.S. and Russian history. Also, and mainly, the leader of the Inhumans, Black Bolt, does not speak. If he does his words can crumble mountains. His act of not fighting back or attacking the U.S. governement is looked at as being weak by his brother and race. Black Bolt remained silent and allowed the Inhumans to be wronged...or so Maximus would and did spin it. It is the Silent War because it is the war which Black Bolt refused to wage.

The story is written wonderfully. David Hine writes a story which is very magnetic and easy to grasp, even if you have never heard of the Inhumans. Hine makes their world very familiar to our own, and their leader's problems very similar to our leader's problems. Hine's story is also aided by the unique and out of this world art of Frazier Irving. Each frame could be hung on a wall and instantly turn that wall's building into the most popular gallery in town. The style is fresh to Irving and this book.

I enjoy this comic of the day, Silent War a great deal because it never fails to draw it's readers into the world of the Inhumans. Every person I let borrow this book want to know more about the Inhumans. Silent War screams to the reader until their brain is filled with nothing but Inhuman thoughts. The characters with a cult following just went all Heavens Gate after Silent War. People are dieing to read more.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Siege #2

I enjoy taking a few days to view readers' reactions before I type up my thoughts on some comic books. Siege #2 has a pretty big moment in it which touches several Marvel books.Without going into it too much, readers who keep up to date with Marvel news know, and knew, that someone big would die in Siege #2. Not big like Goliath in Marvel's Civil War, but rather big as in important and popular in the current Marvel universe. The death is quite shocking and made for that moment I was looking for in readers' reactions.

Many readers, who have posted their thought in the Marvel forums, were shocked in the brutal way the death happened. The lack of emotion in the killer was the key to the surprise. After reading the incident many forum posters became quite enraged at the killer and called on great superheroes to smite the perpetrator. This is where the book hits it's mark.

Brian Michael Bendis writes an excellent second issue, which both stuns and engages readers. Angering comic book readers a little bit can be a good thing. Many Marvel fans have expressed their distaste for the writer and his twisting of events to either hurt their dear Marvel Universe or their beloved fans. But, and this is a strong but, the readers are intrigued. They know the Universe has changed in their books and they want the old familiars to right BMB's wrongs. It is pretty funny to think that the readers want the characters to correct the writer's (the real person mind you) alterations. They think through the characters they can achieve vengeance. As BMB knows, readers may say, and even think, they hate a story, but often they still buy the books and love it. You only hurt the fictional character when you stop buying a title.

The comic of the day, Siege #2, is overall a very good book. Written well and drawn beautifully by Oliver Coipel. His Thor and Captain America drawings are amazing, plus his sharp clean style fits the iconic characters he wields in Siege. If you haven't read this issue, read it. Nuff said.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Avengers West Coast #102

In January of 1994, the 100 plus issue run of the secondary Avengers title, Avengers West Coast, ended. Stamped over the title was the word "Terminated," and the tag line on the issue declared that this issue marked "the Demise and Fall of the Avengers West Coast."

Avengers West Coast #102 is much like a stage production. It could be adapted into a scene on stage because the whole issue takes place in one place. Like the movie "Reservoir Dogs", the comic book is a dialog heavy performance. Captain America, the Vision and other regular Avengers meet with the West Coast squad represented by characters such as the U.S.A. Agent, the Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman and Iron Man. The originals make the case that the West Coast team should be disbanded because of their lack of mental strength, calm action under pressure, and overall lack of Avenger style discipline and character. When the decision falls on a vote the current leader of the team Iron Man casts the surprising decision to disband the group since they have lost the respect of their fellow allies, the main Avenger team.

Rather than become reserves for the main Avengers group, the West Coast Avengers all quit. At the end of the book Iron Man reveals that while they may not be an Avenger Team, they can still be a team on their own. This leads to the series and creation of Force Works: a new Marvel team created from the ashes of the Avengers West Coast.

The comic of the day starts out with the Vision declaring the team should disband. This is a twist to how the team started with the idea from the Vision that the Avengers team should expand. The series has important looks into the mind and actions of the Scarlet Witch. The Scarlet Witch's story in Avengers West Coast lead to the mental instability that later drives towards the event "House of M."

The Avengers West Coast began with a Roger Stern 4 issue mini series in 1984. I would recommend these older West Coast books to readers just so they can get a glimpse of Iron Man's horribly colored armor. The mid 80's were not good to Tony Stark.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #6 (of 6)

No line sums up a book, in recent memory, better than "A lotta $%$#& Ghost Riders."

Jason Aaron and Roland Boshci's Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire mini series concluded today with the release of their sixth issue. The Ghost Rider brothers, Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch battle the "power-mad" angel Zadkiel who is trying to take over Heaven and become God. Blaze and Ketch lead an army of former Ghost Riders against the fallen angel until he is beat to hell...literally. The Ghost Riders then fight back a horde of demons led by the Kid Blackheart, the Anti-Christ.

Basically, every page is covered in flames curtsy of colorist Dan Brown (when he's not writing novels of his own). Roland Boshci went to Brown with the finished pencils and told him, "Now you may see a lot of sharp and squiggly lines all over every page. Those are meant to be there. You'll need a lot of yellow and orange."

Boshci's rugged style goes well with Ghost Rider. The way flame twists and dances is not always crisp and Boschi captures that visual through broken lines and quick marks. Plus, a rugged style seems like it would fit any type of motorcycle oriented character. His Ghost Riders look very menacing and include distinctions among their ranks. His little Knuckles O'Shaugnessy Ghost Rider is especially cool. He carries a lil' bat, wears a striped shirt, and has a burning skull with a newsie-style hat on top. Standard Ghost Rider attire.

My one problem with this comic of the day, and it's Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire predisesors, is that Marvel throws in reprints of an old "Son of Satan" story. I am not a big fan of multiple stories in one comic book. You end up paying a little more for the book and the new story always makes the old one look bad. The art alone looks hoorible after experiencing a current style. And the words! Boy could those old timers fill a book with dialog and thoughts. Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire was a fun two burning wheel ride, but the detor at the end of each book was hell...literally

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Action Comics #662

When I was younger I used to get the Wizard magazine just for the price guide in the back of it. Back in the day Wizard included the price guide in every issue. The guide included many popular current and past comic book titles and was very handy for valuing ones books. More recently, Wizard has shyed away from using up pages in the back to relay the market value of comic books, but every once in a while the guide is listed.

Have you ever looked through the price guide and realized an issue you have is listed with a notation? This happened to me sometime ago. I noticed Action Comics #662, which I randomly have thanks to Costco (see yesterday's post), was marked as the first time Superman reveals himself to be Clark Kent, to Lois Lane. Granted the comic of the day is only valued at $4, but it still is cool to know a book I didn't even know I had is a noted part of Superman's history.

The cover is quite interesting. For some reason you can see Clark's reflection in the glasses' lenses. Also...come on! They are 662 issues into the first appearance of Superman and just now Lois is discovering that when Clark takes his glasses off he looks exactly like Superman? This is why guys avoid wearing glasses, if they can.

I myself wear glasses often, though I have contacts, because my eyes are sensitive after wearing the contacts. I usually need a few days to recover. But if I could, I would stick with contacts more often then not. I have this idea in my head that a man without glasses is much more manly and desirable than a man with glasses. I blame this on Superman and Clark Kent specifically. Not only have they shaped my subconsiouse, but they have shaped the minds of everyone with access to pop-culture around the world. Why couldn't Superman have the glasses and Clark Kent have the contacts? Thanks to Superman...I'm a nerd.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Captain America #395

Marvel's comic lines in the early 90's were wild. I enjoy going through my old 90's books once in a while to see what crazy gems I have in my possession. Today's crazy gem, and comic of the day, is Captain America #395.

Just look at the cover. "The House that dripped-- Dough?!" Possibly the best tag line ever for a comic book.

The book is just a random issue in the ongoing life of Captain America. The begining of the book shows him exercising followed by sketching a picture of a woman he likes. Of course after that Cap has a talk with a fill in Thor (not the original Thor), and then takes him on a training mission to Red Skulls old house. Standard day in the life of early 90's Cap.

The book includes classic Cap villains such as the Red Skull who seduces some woman in a hot tub. Yeah. Also, Zola and Crossbones make appearances, as well. The book pretty much has everything including the greatest hero of all time, Quasar. Yep, Goldie-locks him self greets the pages of Captain America right along side Hercules.

I feel like I got this book in a 20 pack of books that you could buy at Costco, or some place like Costco, which sold a variety of Marvel and DC books packed together. Blaming all of my cheesy books on Costco seems like a good idea. You can get anything at Costco, why not bad Captain America books?

Okay, I know what you're thinking...can we get back to that dough? So the dough turns out to be a super villain crony of Professor Zola. His name is Dough Boy. I don't get it... Hold up! What I have just written is officially the most in depth analysis of Dough Boy ever written and all I mentioned was his name and that he knew Zola. I actually heard rumors that when Captain America was shot, Ed Brubaker considered having the shooter be Dough Boy. It makes sense. Captain America was always all up in his mix.

January Comic of the Day Recap

Well, I did it. I have completed one twelfth of my goal. I wrote a post, every day, about a different comic book or comic related book, in the month of January.

So far it hasn't been incredibly difficult, but at times I did have to reach deep and just write. I am starting to understand my writing schedule: when I prefer to write, what type of book suits me when, and when I'm just feeling it and can bust out a couple of posts for later use. I am also starting to recognize my style of writing. I am purposely trying to use different tones and not (hopefully) repeat the same sentence/paragraph/post structure every time. I am trying to be thoughtful about the process of written composition, stale writing techniques, and plain laziness. Looking at this post so far you may notice there are already five sentences which begin with "I". I could have fixed it. I left it to finish out this visual and written gag.

These post are meant to be fun for the reader and myself. The quality of each post is very important to me, as well. Readers will notice that these are not quick Facebook update style posts. The content of each entry is thought out and hopefully not too bland for even casual readers.

January was filled with many pieces which I am proud of. Some highlights are:
This post may appear in February, but it is just a reminder that January did exist and it was good...

...for me at the very least.

The first comic of the day post for February will appear later today. See you then. Enjoy the following February!