Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"The Power of Iron Man!...oh, and he has a movie coming out, yeah, I heard something about that..."
Most of these fights probably only happened in my toy box, sorry.
Iron Man vs. Brainiac would be a lot of fun, since I picture Tony drooling at the thought of taking Brainy apart and playing with him.
Where did I put that rocket launcher?

The last regular issues of Iron Man that I've read were Warren Ellis' Extremis arc, which I liked even if it's more remembered less for the story and more for giving Iron Man powers, being an ad for cell phones, and Adi Granov's art. Then the whole Civil War thing came down, and while I've heard the Knaufs have done some solid stories, I just haven't been able to pick a lot of those issues up.

I missed Adam Warren's Hypervelocity limited, too; but plan to check that out in trade. That probably goes for a lot of the planned limited series coming pretty shortly.

Even though he's about the same size, the old Heroes Reborn Iron Man--that was a Jim Lee design, right? Well, he's got about as many joints as a Simpsons figure. Hell, maybe less. I think I 'lost' the pipes that attached to the back, but I'm wondering if I still have the...whatever the hell the accessory was. The vac-metal finish is starting to chip a bit, too.

I've been keeping an eye out for one, but I haven't found a clearanced Hasbro Legends Ultimate Iron Man. I'm just not willing to cough up full price for him, since I'm not smitten with that design. I prefer the idea of Iron Man's suit fitting in a suitcase, not a dump truck. I missed the red and silver version too: either I thought I wouldn't need yet another Iron Man, or I was asleep at the wheel.

Not much to say on this one. Might have to go back through that box of Iron Man and Force Works comics later. Tomorrow, I have to take those kids back to Burger King to see what the toys are this week. Yes, I would make all my dining choices based on toys if I could.

Also, over the course of this blog, I've had four different Iron Man tags. I should go back and make sure I've tagged them all correctly... Read more!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dr. Doom's semi-annual domination of the earth.
I like it when Reed occasionally forgets his guilt over Ben, and lets him have it.
We had panels from Fantastic Four: the World's Greatest Comics Magazine earlier, and here's a look at the last issue. Over the course of the series, Dr. Doom's been collecting objects of power/classic Marvel macguffins, like the Cosmic Cube and the Universal Machine; and then drained the power from Galactus. Things aren't looking good for earth, or the Fantastic Four.

But, since this is set between Fantastic Four #100 and #101, they kind of have to wrap things up. Doom expends enough power that he gets the Galactus-sized hunger, then stupidly lets Reed get the Cosmic Cube. Yeah, Doom didn't think he needed a weapon that can alter reality anymore. (Apparently, he thought the Galactus power and other stuff would cover it. Not so much.)
Every time you have a boring afternoon you can't remember, or a day at work you more or less slept through, that's Doom losing his rule and Reed resetting the world again.
So, in the end, Reed uses the Cosmic Cube to put everything back as it was, which I think is actually a button on the Cube somewhere. Doom's back in Latveria, Galactus has his power again, the Cube goes back to wherever, and nobody except Reed, the Watcher, and Galactus remember anything. But then, if he doesn't remember trying this plan and failing, won't Doom try this exact same thing like twenty minutes later?

I guess events fell into place in just the right way for Doom to get the power--in an early issue, for example, the FF was out of the Baxter Building at just the right time for Doom to attack. Also, Reed may simply not be concerned about Doom trying a failed plan again: while time-consuming, Reed knows he could beat Doom on that one, as opposed to the outside chance Doom comes up with a winning plan next time.

Side note: The series also mentioned Doom's place in upstate New York, which I think was another castle, and wasn't that where the X-Men fought Arcade and Doom? (Or a Doom robot.)

Panels from Fantastic Four: the World's Greatest Comics Magazine #12, "Victor Von Doom, Emperor of Earth!" Plot by Erik Larsen and Eric Stephenson, script by Stan Lee, layouts by Erik Larsen, pencils and inks by Ron Frenz and Joe Sinnott (on the first panel) and Frenz and Scott Hanna (on the last two), other art by John Romita and Tom Palmer, Dan Jurgens and Al Milgrom, Steve Rude, Jorge Lucas, and Bruce Timm. Read more!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Other people's posts and contests, and why don't I have a Predator figure?

Pete over at Fanwank has a contest going, with a Legendary Heroes Conan vs. Wrarrl two-pack up for grabs! (Huh. I was able to spell 'Wrarrl' correctly off the top of my head. Wouldn't have bet on that one, and now my mind's wandering to old Conan comics I probably had stolen twenty years ago...) Pete is having a lot of fun, with a lot of toys I never even saw in my neck of the woods. No spoilers, but check it out and put your Superman knowledge to work!

And Poe Ghostal has the third part of a Batman vs. Predator series up, and he features a very logical guest-villain who's more than up for some Predator smashing. I know there were three B. vs. P. limited series in the comics, before snowballing into Superman/Batman/Alien/Predator, but I haven't read all of them. In fact, although I love the first one, the only issue I could find the other day was part four of the third series. Pretty sure Huntress was in the second one, but the third features Robin.
This is at least the third time Batman's worn the anti-Predator armor, so that's pretty much in the regular rotation.
Would Batman tell Alfred to shut up, under any circumstances? And did all Predators wear...thongs? I didn't care for Bat's helmet in this one either: too Robocop. And all of this is making me sad that I don't seem have a single Predator figure. Weird. I have more than a few Aliens, but then, Aliens, like zombies or stormtroopers or Borg, look even better if you have a pile of them. Which reminds me of something I should dig up, so later.

Ooh, almost forgot: Page from Batman vs. Predator 3, written by Chuck Dixon, pencils by Rodolfo Damaggio, inks by Robert Campanella. Read more!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Like saying George Lazenby is your favorite Bond. He totally should be, sure, but try convincing anyone else of that.
This might be the smart way to do this, but...
While John Ostrander's work on Suicide Squad is a fondly remembered cult classic, I liked Manhunter better. I'm already in the minority, but then I liked the Mark Shaw version better than any of DC's sixty other Manhunters. Even more than Paul Kirk...mmm, maybe not, but close.

In the first few pages of his debut issue, Mark stalks the Penguin, who had been just about reformed in his last appearance. Didn't take.
There's a very real possibility Oswald's got a piece in there somewhere, and I would not care to check.
Even though I stumbled back across this issue first, I had been looking for the house ad for Manhunter: the subscription pitch was for the first three issues packaged with a Manhunter mask. Did anyone get that thing? Was it cardboard? I loved the mask design, but it only worked when Doug Rice was drawing the book. Rice was one of the first to bring a manga/anime inspired look to American comics; I mentioned his and Ostrander's Dynamo Joe a coupla hundred posts ago.

Shaw was allegedly killed in a b-lister massacre in Eclipso, then brought back in the last issue of Steven Grant's Manhunter series, and has since appeared a few times with the most recent, Kate Spencer Manhunter. Later this year, DC Direct has a Green Lantern box set, with a battle-damaged robot Manhunter; and will have a figure for Paul Kirk as well. But I'd still love the Shaw one. And over at Title Undetermined, the home of former Batman Azrael, I saw a while back (before Manhunter went on hiatus) that Shaw may have fallen in with Azrael's Order of St. Dumas. I maintain, that mask is gonna look sharp on Azrael's costume. Just a thought.

Panels from Manhunter #1, written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, pencils by Doug Rice, inks by Sam Kieth.

Fixed the links. Did I miss any? I read a lotta blogs...hell, it's cheaper than actually reading comics. Read more!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Danger Room: Now for ages 6 and up!
Admittedly, Ben and Johnny fight harder over who gets the last cold soda, so this doesn't seem like a big deal.
Years ago, the X-Men were given the shaft when it came to origins ("You're all mutants. Next!) but had the seemingly revolutionary notion that super-heroes might have to practice and train with their powers. Did you ever see Superman or Batman training before that? Batman maybe...what about the Legion of Super-Heroes? I've read a lot of old Legion digests, and I can't recall them ever practicing anything other than the Planetary Chance Machine.

Now, I think Spider-Man has like two panels in his origin of him practicing with his web-shooters, but allowing for Marvel time compression, he's been fighting super-villians, thugs, and whatever on a nightly basis for about ten solid years. So, Spidey probably doesn't need to spend a lot of off-time practicing. And neither do the Thing or the Human Torch, judging by the healthy larf they're getting out of the Danger Room. Spoiler warning: They're goaded into trying it out, and events pretty much go apescat, with live Sentinels smashing into their workout. Actually, that's not really a spoiler, since any time any other hero enters the Danger Room, it'll go nuts. Of course, after Joss Whedon's Danger stories, retroactively all those "malfunctions" were just the enslaved sentience of the Danger Room trying to get someone to help him escape from those damn mutants.

My kids were both a little grumpy today, so I re-read Fantastic Four: the World's Greatest Comics Magazine instead of getting to the comic shop for new books. If you haven't read it, it's a twelve-issue tribute to the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Fantastic Four, with story and art from Erik Larsen, Ron Frenz, Bruce Timm, Keith Giffen, and a ton of others. (The above panel's from Ron Frenz and Paul Ryan.) It's not the most innovative take on the FF--that would probably be Unstable Molecules--but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it.

Also, I need to start working on a new banner for this dive, so we'll see about the rest of this week, OK? And any tips, let me know, since I'm rather a monkey at this kind of thing: I have to take the trial and error approach, mostly...

Edit: And I accidentally lost most of my links. Crap. Well, there's a project for tomorrow...
Read more!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No pictures today, so how 'bout a load of rambling about toys?

Over in the forums for Toy News International, poster Tom E. put up a little checklist for the projected Hasbro Marvel Legends and Mattel DC Universe Classics coming out over the rest of the year. (Oh, and some of the Iron Man movie figures, since those are close enough to ML scale.) Let's try a link here, and I must say, it's not only a sharply made list, there's a lot of neat stuff coming.

A lot. A lot of lot. To ballpark some numbers, the average figure is about $9.99 these days. Ignoring the SDCC Exclusives, I believe the two packs would be $15 each, maybe? And the Hulk Wave is allegedly also going to be $15 a piece, literally in that case: the Fin Fang Foom build-a-figure is supposed to be huge.

Ballparking the numbers, based on my guesswork prices above, the whole list would run around $620 retail. Ooh, I don't have DCUC wave 2 yet, so you could probably tack another fifty bucks on there. (Particularly since I really kinda want Magorilla Grodd...what?)

Did anyone else hear a booming THOOM! Like a vault door slamming shut?

Admittedly, your financial straits may vary, but that would chew up a huge chunk of my toy/comic budget, and I could pretty much kiss off driving...and eating.

Some warnings: my pricing could be completely off and are at best vile speculation. Especially on the two-packs, I think. Any or all of this list could conceivably be delayed, repackaged, or go completely vaporware. Prices above don't include tax. And of course, even though it would be ever-so-swell, I have no intention of buying every damn thing on this list. It's a shame, but I could end up with even more orphaned build-a-figure pieces than usual on this one.

The Hulk waves are a little disappointing for me, since it looks like Valkyrie's dropped. She may turn up in a two-pack or something further down the road. Incidentally, that reduces the number of female action figures on this list to seven, out of about seventy-three. (And at least one of those is a reissue, I think.)

Out of the rest of the Hulk batch, the only one that's absolutely positively guaranteed buy-on-sight...for me Doc Samson. Hey, I have plans for Doc Samson. That tool.

Iron Man movie stuff...there's an Iron Man car, that if scaled right, could be kind of interesting. Or suck. It's fifty-fifty. The only other one I'd likely get is the Captain America one, which is getting a lot of mileage out of a.) a fake-out promo piece for the end of Civil War and b.) The same Iron Man mold as Satellite Armor, Stealth Armor, Easy Bake Oven Armor...but, oh, it does look cool, and I can always use another shield around here.

For DCUC, the third series could be a short one for me: Green Lantern's a definite, but the rest I could maybe skip. I have the old DC Direct Hard Travelling Heroes GL, and he's past due for an update. But Sinestro, Robin, Nightwing; the old figures may be good enough for me. Deathstroke...I just don't like him. (Which is kind of odd, if you consider I'm a huge Deadpool fan, and Wade started as a bit of a knock on Deathstroke.) Then the two-packs: probably the Azrael/Batgirl one, probably not the Orion/Lightray.

Target Wave: Definitely Union Jack and Adam Warlock, and that Infinity Gauntlet had by God better be a removable piece. (I'm still kicking myself for not getting the Thanos Marvel Select: a great figure of a badass villain I love, and that Gauntlet would be getting passed around like a cold.) Silver Savage and Spiral are maybe's, and black costume Spidey and Wolvie...probably not. Unless there was a sale or giftcards involved, or I get a bee in my bonnet to build Red Hulk; and I gotta say that seems doubtful.

DCUC Series 4: Foo, I have the DC Direct Captain Atom and Batman Beyond. Wonder Woman's a definite, and the variant, Artemis, would be nice; if it shows up and isn't immediately scalped. Wave 5's a Wal-Mart exclusive, and it might just be the Atom and Black Lightning on that one for me. The Eradicator's in that one, though; which just leaves one more to complete "Reign of the Supermen," and...yeah, that's probably gonna be it on that score.

The ML two-packs, aside from Ultimate Cap and Nick Fury, aren't really twisting my arm. Except maybe Forge...he could be a fun character in terms of being the mad scientist plot device: when your characters need a time machine or a bionic arm or that special gun or a killdozer, Forge is a good guy to have around. Sure, no one cares about Forge for Forge's sake--he's an accomplished mystic as well, you know! He has other interests beside prosthetics and killdozers, but I don't care either.

DCUC Six has Hawkman and Mr. Miracle, although, if you read the comics, who knows who's going to be either of those characters by fall. Hawkman in particular could be two midgets with a pigeon taped to their back by then.

And lastly on the list is the Marvel Legend Wal-Mart exclusive wave, which was originally supposed to be non-exclusive and on sale right about now. That was one of the few waves I was excited enough about to plan on getting the whole lot, but December might as well be a hundred years away from today.

Of course, I have to doubt everything on this list is going to make it out this year--something's going to get pushed back sometime in there. And then there's probably going to be at least one or two figures that get short-packed or scalped to the point that I never even see one. And while this is where the bulk of my toy purchasing will probably go, it seems like there won't be new toys around here for months. Ah, well. In the meantime, there's clearance, I guess...

Using the Wife's computer today, so no pictures today, but we'll have a real post tomorrow. In the meantime, if there's any toys you think I absolutely have to buy, or if you know anyone that'll pay top dollar for donated pancreatic bilge or spinal fluid... Read more!

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Unused footage from Ms. Marvel's PSA" (Just not the Public Service Announcement you'd think)

I saw this solicited Ms. Marvel cover over at Comic Book Resources, and wrote this pretty quickly. It's mostly a monolog, but here goes, and click the pages to enlarge:

It's still pretty early on, and the book doesn't come out until July, but so far opinion seems split. (Some like it and some do not.) What do I think of the cover? Well, the buttons don't quite have the feel of the propaganda slogans that I figure they were trying for; but I readily admit, even a classic like "Loose Lips Sink Ships" probably wouldn't work anymore. I don't think even "Snitches get Stitches" would get the point across; today, a memorable chant or motto would probably have to have at least a couple swears.

Oh, the art...well, it's nicely done and pretty hot, sure; but even for Greg Horn, it's a little too cheesecakey. And maybe a bit out of character, since Carol seems a hair overly primped and made up, and if she was going to do a propaganda poster or something, wouldn't she do it in costume? I think the helmet and rifle would be enough to tie in Ms. Marvel=soldier, and the buttons could still be put on her costume.

Also, while I freely confess my knowledge of guns is limited, is the handgrip on the M-16 not normal? Hell, maybe that's not an M-16, but even more than the rest of the piece, that wonky piece gives the feel of the "Chicks Who Love Guns" scene from Jackie Brown. And the solicit also mentions, "she must find the warrior within" which, I kinda thought she was already doing.

I like Ms. Marvel as a character, even though I don't read her book. (I can't read every damn thing.) But Horn's covers always make her look polished and shiny and impossibly hot; and I would've figured she'd be a bit earthier. Like she'd be pretty, but not the type to wear a lot of makeup or fuss about her looks in situations that didn't merit it--that's the Wasp's job!

I don't think Ms. Marvel is necessarily a perfect paragon of womanhood, like, say, Wonder Woman, who's magical and godlike and looks immaculate even after being fighting thirty-seven super-villains in the rain after a really late night. But, MM does have some degree of invulnerability, right? If she still has hair, and it hasn't been burned off or something, then it would follow it shares to at least some extent that invulnerability...and still stays bouncy and manageable!

So, hypothetically: in a typical superhero fight, Wonder Woman is thrown through a wall. She gets up, dusts herself off, and gets back into the fight with grace and determination and still looking like a million bucks. Same situation: Power Girl gets up, pissed and ready to fight and probably enjoying herself more than WW. Adam Warren's Empowered: her costume tears, leaving her powerless, and she's tied up and mocked for several pages, but in a much more funny manner than it sounds. And Miss Marvel? She gets up, taking a moment to mentally kick herself for getting thrown through a wall, looks at the situation tactically, asks herself what she's doing wrong, and gets back in there, noticeably dirtier than before. Actually, the building might fall on Carol, too, just for good measure.

There was the temptation to try and do a strip based on Dr. Doom's smack talk to Carol, but that has been pretty well covered. Read more!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Four-Twenty: This means nothing. Maybe.

Every year, for this day that probably maybe means nothing (it honestly doesn't, I just think it's funny) we post a little something tying into the popular reference of 4-20. Enjoy!
Well, step one, put the lighter down...
'A crack in the plaster'?  Seriously?
Um, yeah, that's how it got in my garden, too...
'Control other creatures,' oh, yeah, sure.
'Yes sir!  I snipped it, weighed it, bagged it, and sold it while you were sleeping!  Hope you don't mind!'

From Strange Tales #94, "Save Me from the Weed!" Plotted and written by Larry Lieber and Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers. Reprinted in Monster Menace #2.

For more, and frankly, more terrifying horror, check out The Horrors of It All, which posts classic pre-Comics Code horror at a frantic pace. It's not just the old EC stuff, which is about the only ones I'm familiar with; Karswell is posting stuff I'd never even heard of before. I had no idea Harvey, home of Casper and Richie Rich, used to have a horror line, until The Horrors of It All. Check it. Read more!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yeah, "To be concluded" in six or eight months, when I find that goddamn issue.
It's not this issue, but Frank gets to Ireland for one issue in the prior series.  It's not super uplifting.
Ooh, son of a biscuit. Is there anything more frustrating than picking up a good-looking pile of comics--say, half a dozen Ennis Punisher issues--and then realizing you have #11, #12, and #42-45? How the hell does that even happen?
Thankfully, I had a spare of this one...
I've also just realized that B.P.R.D. is a bear to sort. Some of the inside covers have "Issue such-and-such of a series" but some don't. There's one-shots too, and some are five-issue runs, and at least one was only three, and I keep expecting them to run six-issues. Right now, I'm still looking for issues in three different story arcs...

I don't think of myself as a huge Superman fan either, but I've got an entire longbox full of random Superman, Action, Adventures, spin-offs, annuals, one-shots, this and that. The vast majority of it, I think, was pulled from the quarter boxes. Actually, I think my Legion of Super Heroes are in there as well...maybe? Damn, I had the kid label the boxes, then I think half of them got turned around so the labels are facing the wall. Point is, I've lost and bought back a lot of Legion issues, like most of the "Five Years Later" run.

Batman has about a longbox and maybe a half, so far, spread across umpteen books. There are long stretches, runs I've had and held on to forever, like Parobeck's Batman Adventures or Breyfogle's or Jones' art.

Anyhoo, the sorting continues, like six days in. I still have a couple more days to wrap it up, and this Sunday we've got a special post, then hopefully a new homemade comic on Monday. See if I'm done by then...

Panels from Punisher (MAX) #11, "Kitchen Irish, part five" Written by Garth Ennis, art by Leandro Fernandez; and B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs #3, written by Mike Mignola and art by Guy Davis. Read more!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"It's the Great Disaster, Charlie Brown"

Countdown to Halfassery!
I may as well 'fess up right now: Charlie Brown isn't actually in this one, I just loved the title. Sorry. Click to enlarge, last week's strip is here (or further down the page...) and a big thanks to Doomkopf for their Countdown to Final Crisis coverage. Taking a bullet and saving me three bucks a week...
Say what you will about the dogs, they have a space program.
Could I have picked a less dramatic font for Kamandi?

I know Galactus showed up like twenty minutes after Excalibur got back, but the how is still fuzzy...

Filmed on location in New Zealand!

All dungeons have hardwood floors on Earth-51.  Yeah...
Kamandi could've grown up to be Thundarr the Barbarian, maybe.
Since Countdown retold/reset/mangled up a new origin for Kamandi, there's been a lot of write-ups on him lately. Comics Should Be Good! has a good one here, for example. Jack Kirby's original Kamandi was set in the future of the DC Universe, as seen in an issue where Superman's costume is found. Now, it's set in one of DC's 52 earths, and apparently, the stupid and unlucky one. It also may or may not get blown up as well, that was a bit unclear, but again, I'm not really reading Countdown, sorry.

I've complained before that I don't like the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity change of Kamandi, with the Great Disaster averted, growing up to be Tommy Tomorrow. He's OMAC's grandson, and to my mind, it's not too big of a leap to see Thundarr the Barbarian as Kamandi's grandson. I really liked Thundarr as a kid, even though I always wondered where the hell they were riding off to at the end of each episode. They weren't on a quest, or really going anywhere, and every new place they went was just as dangerous and crappy as the last. And this last paragraph is a stark reminder that I really, really want that set of Thundarr action figures from a few years back.

On the subject of action figures, let's talk about "Tuftan." Now, his friends are from the Stan Winston Realm of the Claw line of a few years ago, when the action figure aisle was thickly packed and companies tried new things and a lot of figures went on steep clearance. (That has to be how I got them, I'm afraid I'm not a cat person, sorry.) One is Zynda and the other Sabyr, and these reviews from OAFE just made me wonder where the hell all of their accessories, and the bases, got to.

As for "Tuftan" himself, well, I don't remember. I know I bought him for like $2.50, and I'm 90% sure he's from a video game. He's not very poseable, and the legs are immovable pegs, except one that pops off due to a fall. Still, the paint is very nice, and I like his little tiger whiskers.

But the best thing about Tuftan, Talky Tawny, whoever he is; is that I bought him right about the same time we moved into our house, and more-or-less ever since he's been perched on a ledge in the window over the basement stairs. Tuftan's one of the few action figures I have that's been out of that basement for any extended period of time, and has also survived the occasional header off the ledge. He's been good luck and has kept the house safe, except for the basement, which is apparently out of his jurisdiction, and what do you expect a tiger-guy to know about plumbing anyway?

The "Fellowship" shot came out of...well, happenstance. It's snowed here quite late this year. Even this morning. Climate change, my pale white ass. If there was such a thing, would my seasonal affective disorder be so bad? (I'm joking, of course. Climate change is real, and anything with the abbreviation SAD has to be a joke.)

Now, I read the Lord of the Rings books as a wee little kid, and then quickly moved on to Robert E. Howard's Conan or Michael Moorcock's Elric, i.e. books where things happened. I liked the movies much, much more than the books, because even allowing for the occasional dramatic panaroma shot they can gloss over the endless hours of walking, walking, walking...hey, didn't they have horses in the books? I remember ragging on the first movie for the conceit of trying to cross basically an entire continent, with a party including four hobbits and a dwarf, or five midgets, on foot. Yeah, no hurry, guys. They would've made better time riding the human characters...

But if I was forming a Fellowship, hey, who would you rather have, Pippin, or Trapjaw? If you say Pippin, you are only lying to yourself. And it only occurs to me right now, about a month too late: I have two Battle Cats, rescued from a yard sale. Why did I only use one? They were in the same bin!

And the dwarf and the...ogre-y thing are both from Shadowrun: Duels, and I don't remember their names. The dark elf girl may or may not be from the same game as Tuftan, but has way more articulation, so she's from a different company. God, I'm helpful. I used to work in a mall, and bought a ton of toys on clearance with my lunch money.

Deathlok and Frankenstein are both Marvel Legends like Nightcrawler and Deadpool, and we all know Timmy. Deathlok's from a very 70's horrible future (set in the far-flung year of 1990!) and I think I had Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke's Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein in mind as well. And even the most useless reanimated semi-corpse would be preferrable to Samwise...whatever his name was. Before the hate begins, I did like the Lord of the Rings figures that I bought, and Toy Biz produced the hell out of that line: try and tell me a character that didn't get a figure there. I didn't buy a ton of them, but I kinda miss seeing them on the racks.

And if you can identify Pool's new sword, that would be impressive. And disturbing. Pool and Kurt have (at least) next week off, since we'll probably have some strips looking at some guys that are in a movie this, not you, Hulk. I did one Hulk panel and don't think I could do another that didn't sound like Toyfare's version. Read more!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

File your taxes, snake the drain.

My wife does the taxes (since she has to itemize some of her business) and I have to snake the drains. I don't know who's getting the better end of the deal on that one.

New toy comic tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a two-page spread from Ultraforce/Avengers #1, "Becoming More Like God" Written by Warren Ellis, art by George Perez, and featuring a couple dozen of the 1990's independent comic heroes...
Admittedly, I could just barely cram this into my scanner.
...who were apparently all wiped out in the next few pages of the issue, but have fun seeing who you can identify. I've lost the cover and copyright info for this one, so I don't have all of them, either. I know Perez's Crimson...Plague? and Sachs and Violens are in there, Chaykin's American Flagg!, Edge, Dragon Lines, Groo...there's a few more easy ones, but give it a onceover and see who rings your bell.

There's a little Ellis touch in this issue that I've always liked: The Ultraverse and the Marvel Universe are Amalgamated together (it was all the rage, in the 90's) by Nemesis, the seventh Infinity Gem-slash-operating system. (And no relation to either of the previous Marvel or DC Nemeses. Nemesises?) Nemesis runs the conglomerated universe in fast-forward for twenty minutes, from creation to roughly the present; until it breaks when Topaz punches Loki in the face: "Elements from two wildly different continua--the structure snapped." A cool universe break, and one that often occurs to me when I have toys from four different universes on the same shelf. Read more!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Late, so late.

So, I had a post all planned out for last week, then couldn't find three of the issues I needed panels from. One would be bad enough, but three? Time for reorganization, trying to get runs of books together, and maybe even pulling out some of the duplicates out. Two days in, and the Oldest helped me today, although, I caught him reading Shogun Warriors comics instead of sorting, but can hardly blame him. Well, we'll see how long it takes to get through this, and it'll probably turn up some new stuff anyway.

Well, feel like I'd better get something done, so here's something weird from Killraven by Alan Davis:
Even after Martian invasion, and the end of the world, there's still time for a few laughs.
This was a pretty straight retelling of the seventies Marvel serial...I think from Amazing Adventures. I've only read a couple of those, and might have to re-read those later. Leaping off from H.G. Well's War of the Worlds, the Martians have recovered from their colds, society's been destroyed, and the remnants of humanity are either mutated monsters or slaves. And the Martians like gladiator movies: Killraven is a gladiator that leads a revolt, escaping into the frankly, pretty horrible future world. Think your typical post-apocalypse, but more things that used to be men, and old-school Martian tripods.
Thanks again, intelligent design.
I really need to look at those old issues again, because I don't know how much of it transfers into Davis' version. Most of the characters do, but I'm not sure about the plotline, or some of the creepiness of the monsters.

In the next issue, they all run in three separate directions, and the thing pulls itself apart...
This would be pretty damn creepy if someone like, say, Steve Niles was drawing it, but it's so incongruous with what I think of in terms of Alan Davis art. Worse, if Niles (or whoever) did this, it would be a lot darker; Davis shows you the whole horrible monster. Brrr.

From Killraven #3, story and art by Alan Davis, inks by Mark Farmer. Check it out. They're also midway through a new ClanDestine series, and I'm liking that one too, even as I go through box after box trying to find if I still have the old series... Read more!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Waiting for the End of the World

It's probably not tomorrow, but the post will be. Got my niece's birthday party at Build-A-Bear (and if that doesn't put you in the mood for the End...) and three of the books I was looking for and positive I knew where they were...weren't.

From Last Days of the Justice Society of America #1, written by Roy Thomas, pencils by David Ross, inks by Mike Gustovich. It's great, but dated in that the JSA's been killed off and brought back at least twice since then, there had only been one goddamn Crisis, Power Girl's chest wasn't outlandishly huge, and it only took one writer, artist, and inker to crank out 68 pages. Read more!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You can tell these girls weren't intended to be um, 'dancers,' they're really not that poseable.
As usual, click to enlarge, and last week's strip (so to speak...) is here.
Rock's been wearing those ammo belts like suspenders for like sixty years now.
I'm not positive on this, since it wasn't one of his good writers, but it has been established that Deadpool's skin and flesh feel pretty gross.
To be continued...
I know some people, including his creator Robert Kanigher, subscribe to the idea that Sgt. Rock dies of the last bullet fired in World War II. I can't buy that, because if so, who shoots the guy that shoots Sgt. Rock? I suppose maybe Bulldozer could beat the shooter to death, but Kanigher also figured the rest of Easy Company would also be killed before it was over.

Now, I liked Sgt. Rock's multiple Brave and the Bold appearances, but I don't know about the idea of Rock dying in Our Worlds at War or his unsuccessful Suicide Squad series. Hanging out with Fury and Blackhawk seems like more fun, even if Rock's half-senile. Three-quarters senile. Completely gone.

Incidentally, in DC continuity, what did Blackhawk die of? And a tip of the hat to the Fortress Keeper, who saw this coming! I occasionally get frustrated with DC Direct, but they have got a ton of figures out that probably would never have happened otherwise.

Deadpool and Nightcrawler, or Pool and Kurt; will be in the deep end next week. Rest makes no goddamn sense whatsoever. Read more!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It may seem like I only do these when I'm behind schedule, but this is an honestly topical pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:
There's probably like eighteen different kinds of discrimination here, but it's funny, sooooo...
I could buy the Enterprise having some chipmunk-guys assigned to it, sure; but what are the odds they'd all be assigned to the same deck? Way to kick my suspension of disbelief in the gut, David...

Just kidding there. I wanna say this issue came out about the same time C'hp was in Green Lantern Corps, so maybe chipmunks had a brief surge of popularity. You know, like Australians or girl pop groups: everywhere for a bit, then everyone denies ever liking them at all. So, I guess that's C'hp, D'le, and...what was the other one? Was there another one? Sorry, but I was probably trying to watch scrambled satellite porn when Rescue Rangers was, I hope my mom doesn't read this...The worst part is, if they get hurt, they don't get to see Dr. McCoy, they have to see a vet...

Anyway, back in the day of DC's first series of Star Trek comics, the Enterprise was packed full of more aliens than usual. The first movie seemed to be building up for that, since there were a ton of extras in latex masks floating about. This issue had a Klingon serving on board, that would have to be retconned/never spoken of again with the recent coming of Worf, and I think one of the following issues had a Horta on board, from the classic "Devil in the Dark." M'ress and Arex from the Animated Series are also on board at this point, although I couldn't say if Peter David was responsible for that one or not.

Then in Wrath of Khan and the rest of the sequels, Spock and maybe his protege seemed like the only non-humans aboard. The comics would start to reflect that more, and everyone here seemed to get reassigned off-panel. Am I building up to a point? Sure, why the hell not! Arex appears on a recent cover for IDW's Star Trek: Year Four, and Peter David returns yet again to Trek comics with a new New Frontier series. (I liked the last one he did for Wildstorm, which I think actually showed up here the last time I did one of these panels.)

Are we going to see a return to the days when the comics actually made use of the fact that they didn't have to make aliens look like guys with bad foreheads (I should talk!) and Starfleet wasn't just humans-only? Should M'ress and Arex dust off their resumes? Or should they be asking themselves why they're constantly in and out of continuity? (There's your first issue right there. You're welcome.)

Panels from Star Trek #54, "Old Loyalties" Written by Peter David, pencils by Gordon Purcell, inks by Ricardo Villagran. It was also reprinted in the trade Who Killed Captain Kirk?, which is well worth a shot. And Australians: of course we still love you. At least as much as anthropomorphic chipmunks. Read more!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Old roommate of Skrullduggery Week:
It would be easier to list people who have never been replaced by a Skrull...
I need to think of a time for this, a recurring feature around here. No, not Skrullduggery Week; I need a name for that thing where I bag on comics I have no intention of paying cash money for.

My Oldest son ran off with the free copy of Secret Invasion Saga we got from the Comic Book Shop, so I've only skimmed through it, and thus don't know if this little number is in there: recapping Avengers #209 in Defenders #105, where a Skrull trader replaces the Avengers' butler Jarvis. This was (presumably) a short-term infiltration, the sort of thing where the Skrull knocks the target over the head with a pipe, ties them up in a closet, and takes his place to do whatever right away. The short game seems like a lot easier and safer way to go: if you disguise yourself as say, an Avenger, for weeks or months, you vastly increase your odds of being noticed as not who you claim to be, or worse, getting killed by one of the Avengers' foes.

I've clicked on a few of the spoilers for Secret Invasion, and I know the Skrulls are now undetectable...because, that's why. I think there's going to be a reason for that later, and I have to admit, if the Skrulls were still vulnerable to everything that's been used to find them before, the series would be over pretty quickly. I'm kind of hoping the Skrulls have gone extra-stealthy: instead of using disguised Skrulls as agents, they're using brainwashed humans. Harder to detect, no one's looking for them, less risk to the Skrulls...Well, we'll see. Now that I think about it, I believe Incredible Hercules is the only series I'm reading right now that's going to crossover there; and maybe the X-Men spinoff one. I don't know if I have high hopes for that one, but the World War Hulk: X-Men was a good enough comic.

Page from Defenders #105, "...Rising..." Written by J.M. DeMatteis, art by Don Perlin and Joe Sinnott. Read more!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

(Mostly) Off-Topic: All the Colors of Fail

If the tire will hold air, tomorrow I'm going to start biking again. I need the exercise, and I'm sick and tired of throwing so much cash away at the pump. Oh, and I plowed into a parked car this morning.

Yeah, this year my moral high ground in biking, is kind of on shaky ground. In my defense, that car was parked really close to the corner; and I did leave a note. There was the momentary temptation to floor it, but not only is that wrong, it's also exactly the sort of thing that someone would see...that and it was on the same block as my house, so it might've been easy to track down.

I didn't do much damage to the parked car, but I did crunch up one of my headlights and a turn signal. I didn't think it was that bad in the morning, but when I checked it on my break, it was a lot worse than I'd thought. And then I left the lights on when I checked it, so it was dead when I got off work...when it rains, huh?

Luckily, I was able to get a jump, and my folks were in town, so the rest of the day got better. And I actually have full coverage, oddly enough, since every month it comes out of the account and every month I bitch about how expensive and stupid car insurance is. So, in a perverse way, even though I'm going to have to come up with the deductible, since I refuse to drive around in a half-smashed jalopy like everyone else in town, I at least feel like I'm getting something out of this whole mess. Ugh. Anyway, have a good weekend, and if you know a good body shop... Read more!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Man, Cap's hand looks weird there...
As usual, click to enlarge, and so on, and so forth...last week's strip here.
I know Cyclops is in charge and giving orders and blah blah blah, but is he effective?  At all?
Production values away!

Originally Wonder Man was going to be manning the desk, but I thought it would be more funny to go with someone who was more qualified.
I don't think I'd tell Ms. Marvel I was a Skrull...but I might not disillusion her of that notion, either.
Cue up the loudest, trashiest music you have right about now...
I kind of wish I had at least flipped through Ellis' Thunderbolts, but he kinda needed maybe one likeable character...
From the Sugarpie collection.  That dog actually wanted to get in his cage when I was doing this.
And here I insult maybe three readers...oh, prove me wrong.

Credit where due: Pretty sure the Helicarrier art is Jack Kirby, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent art by Keith Pollard, from various Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe issues.

Nick Fury is going to be back in short order for Secret Invasion, along with the "dramatic" reveal of where he's been. I defy you to tell me it would be better than this, and personally hope Nick shows up smelling of booze, cigar smoke, and cheap sex, no other explanation.

I haven't read Iron Man regularly since Tony Stark was made secretary of defense, towards the end of his previous series. Even though that probably wouldn't, or shouldn't, have been a permanent direction; I didn't care for the way Bendis went out of his way to crap all over it in Avengers: Disassembled. And I wasn't paying attention: how did Stark manage to get fired from secretary of defense yet still become head of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Oh, I don't care.

By the way, the role of Bob has been taken by the figure of Enterprise's Lt. Reed, the actor Dominic Keating. Give him a hand! Read more!