Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well, I wasn't going to, and then the Comic Book Shop was sold out, but I did manage to find a copy at Hastings of that new fangled Justice League book everyone's on about.

Bwah-ha-ha, indeed.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Last Call."

Click to enlarge!

Tomorrow, the new DC continuity gets rolling with Justice League #1. I haven't decided if I'll pick it up or not--I kinda figure it'll be available, and will probably be reprinted here, there, and everywhere, like Ultimate Spider-Man #1 was. Which makes me wonder if Ultimate Spider-Man brought in a lot of new readers, since that's what DC's hoping to do here.

I think that may be the thing for me: DC wants to bring in new readers, ones that haven't read a ton of comics already. Warren Ellis said, "The New DC comics stuff looks so much like stuff I would never read that it oddly fills me with hope that they are targeting the core audience they want." And that's OK, and even if most of it isn't to my taste, I hope it does well for DC; because if they can create new comics readers, that should help make new comics creators in the future. (That said, I can't remember ever reading an interview with an artist that said they were inspired to draw comics by New Mutants #87.)

I will confess to being curious how this League gets together, since I don't think Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are going to use the Appellaxian invasion again--the team turning into trees, while a charming image, is probably a little dated for what they're hoping to do with the relaunch. And it would be just as well if they did something different, since I've seen that invasion three or four times already.

And with that...I think I'll take tomorrow off, here!
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Monday, August 29, 2011

A thousand years ago or last week, let it go already.

There are problems with being an immortal god that probably wouldn't occur to you right away. For one thing, if you find yourself in a rut, it's doubtless even worse than it would be for a mortal, even if your rut is fighting, drinking, and wenching. For another, if you hold onto a grudge, it can make the next several centuries unpleasant...

In the Trial of Thor (which I haven't read) Thor is accused of a series of murders. Although later exonerated, Thor is still a little pissed that everyone turned against him mighty quickly. Although he can usually put it out of his mind while fighting, as in a series of battles with Surtur; Thor is getting less and less able to put up with Odin. Finally, Thor leaves Asgard for Midgard, Earth.

In medieval-like times, as 'Tor,' he settles in a farming village; occasionally taking up his hammer to defend it from raiders. (He does fight as a man, though; not unleashing his full power.) Thor has a woman, Atali, and is as a father to her son; while in Asgard Odin and Balder don't fare as well against Surtur as Odin had with his son. Badly injured, Odin goes into the Odinsleep, and sends Balder to Midgard to fetch Thor. Unwilling to leave, Thor eventually has to go home, promising to return.

In Asgard, Odin is thrilled his son has "been man enough to forget our differences," and gets his drink on in celebration. Still pissed, Thor leaves the next day to take on Surtur himself, without his hungover dad or Balder, who is guilt-ridden for bringing Thor back from a happy life. Although it takes some time to track him down, Thor turns his rage on Surtur, driving him away again.

Returning as a hero to Asgard, the citizens no longer seem afraid of Thor; but the rage persists. Loki offers to fix Thor up with some Asgardian women, rather than his human "grudge," earning him a punch in the face. Balder tries to tell Thor that Loki never changes, and Thor angrily replies Asgard never changes. "It all seems old. Very old." He leaves for Midgard, Balder wisely not trying to stop him.

Thor returns to the village, too late: the black death has already taken most of the people, his adopted son, and he barely has time to say goodbye to Atali. Even more depressing, her last words are for 'Tor' to find her sister, in the next village over, and make her as happy as he made Atali. And the sister had already died of the plague. In a serious case of bad timing, a band of raiders attack: attacking a plague-ridden village, during a funeral, while Thor is there and seething with fury. Unleashing his full rage, they don't last long...

With nowhere else to go, Thor returns to Asgard. Odin apologizes to Thor for accusing him, and then for making light of it...but while the rage may subside for now, it is still there.

An interesting story, if a bit tough to fit into Thor's history. Usually, he had been portrayed as arrogant and headstrong, but he seems less so here. Also, I don't know how often we've seen Thor so bored with Asgard; although it doesn't seem to have the Kirby-level of grandeur here, either. Still, if Thor can hold a grudge for a single incident for so long; it's hard to believe he would be so forgiving of Odin, Loki, or anyone else later in life.

From the Rage of Thor #1, written by Peter Milligan, art by Mico Suayan. Tomorrow, new homemade strip: "Last Call!"
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Friday, August 26, 2011

No blog today!...except this bit here, I guess.

Took the afternoon off to finish reading Norman Spinrad's A World Between. Found a coverless copy at a yard sale, and quite enjoyed it. Published in 1979, but Spinrad seems to foresee the ubiquitous Internet media, and the progressively shrill and loud and hateful nature of political campaigning. Not a bad read, so if you see a copy, grab it.

I was also on a Stephen King kick lately, so I finished Duma Key. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I've been a fan of King's since Pet Sematary. While some of his work stands out more clearly than others, I think the only major book of his I haven't read is Hearts in Atlantis.

Anyway, might try and hit up the used bookstores today, and I did want to get to the comic book shop to get the last issue of Xombi, since I suspect the shop could get swamped next week with Justice League #1. Ugh, I don't think Xombi sold a tenth of what Justice League will, but I guarantee you it's a better book. And you know it. Find a copy if you can and salve your conscience.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

80-Page Thursdays: Superman, "I, Witness"

During the Comic Book Shop's 23rd anniversary sale, I picked up a nice pile of 80-pagers on the cheap, so we'll take this next month or so to look one every Thursday. Today, Superman 80-Page Giant #3 from 2000: "I, Witness." Written by Jay Faerber, with art by Yvel Guichet and Walden Wong, Ron Lim and Joe Rubinstein, Paul Ryan and Joe Rubinstein, Justiniano and Chris Ivy, Sunny Lee and Walden Wong, Mark Bagley and Scott Hanna, and Carlos Barberi and Keith Champagne. (A couple inkers did more than one chapter.) With a nice Kevin Nowlan cover.

Like the recent Question Quarterly issue we looked at, this is a Rashomon Style story--or so it seems. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luthor are among the attendees of a museum gala that is crashed by something. After a security guard discovers the thing is bulletproof, Superman arrives to fight the monster and try to protect the bystanders. At one point, Superman is knocked outside and lands on Luthor's car, then the thing escapes while Supes keeps a wall from collapsing.

However, none of the accounts they give the police agree on much else: the monster is noticeably different in each version. Superman and Perry both see lizard-like giants, but their descriptions don't match. Jimmy sees a Gundam-style robot, and Lois sees "an Amazon or something. You know the type--all musclebound and ugly." Do you suppose that says something about how Lois sees Wonder Woman?

After Lex's account, where the thing is basically a big alien bunny rabbit innocently trying to escape from the big bully Superman, even taking into account everyone's personal bias, it's obvious they all saw something different. Interestingly, while both Clark and Lois tell their versions like Clark was with the bystanders (when he was Superman at the time) Jimmy and Lex both have Clark in the background in their stories, where they would assume he would be. (Being a more astute observer, Perry at least noticed Clark saying he was going for help early on.)

Lois and Jimmy do a little detective work, and find the villain of the piece; which I don't want to spoil, even if this issue's GCD entry does! Look, he was on Thursday's Who's Who at Mighty God King's, so click away if you wanna know. The reveal almost works...but not quite. For one, just based on that Who's Who entry, the character doesn't have the juice for this (he's described as only being able to affect eight people at once, for example) and it's not like it's anyone you would've guessed, either. (It's kinda like the Mysterio reveal in Kevin Smith's Daredevil: it makes sense on all the 'how' points, but not the 'why.')

Still, the villain reveal notwithstanding, this is mostly an excuse for different artists to do some Superman, and it works on that front.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Doom Lantern."

Click to enlarge!

Even when Hal's making an honest effort, that's not working out. What is working out, is Stel! I had no intention of coughing up full price for Green Lantern/DCUC series 2, but a combination of mark-downs, some eBay'd parts, and great reviews at It's All True and sold me on the big GL robot.

I keep losing it in the tidal waves of DC Relaunch stuff, but Robotman will return in My Greatest Adventure #1 (per iFanboy) but with a different design, which makes me wonder if that's Cliff Steele...I guess we'll see.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Give your henchmen too cool of costumes, sign their death warrants.

I still haven't been to see Conan the Barbarian...not unlike the rest of you, judging by the box office numbers. (I probably will spring to see it in the theatres, because when else can you see Conan on the big screen?) But, I did pick up a good pile of old Conan the King comics, most of #29-#37. I had most of those back in 1985-86, but lost several of them. (We will have the last issue, #55, for this year's "The End" week.)

Today's scans are from Conan the King #30, "Revenge on the Black River" Written by Don Kraar, pencils by Mike Docherty, inks by Geof Isherwood. Whereas the first nineteen or so issues of King Conan were mostly one-and-done adventures, the book had been full-on serial mode since Prince Conn's alleged death in #20. #30 was Kraar's second issue writing, and the intrigue was also ramping up: the savage Picts are rising on Aquilonia's frontier, supplied weapons and siege engines from the rulers of Ophir, Nemedia, and Argos. The three nations have allied and move against Conan's capital while he takes forces to the Picts.

In an opening that suggests the new writer raising the stakes, or getting rid of some characters from the old writer; Conan's elite Black Knights are wiped out inside the first five pages. Conan, wearing his Thor helmet, swears vengeance.

I thought the Black Knights' chain mail uniforms were cool, but I can't recall if Conan ever instated new ones. And to be fair, this is a bit of reverse refrigerator stuffing: one of the Dragons was seeing Conan's daughter Radegund, who gets pissed at her dad over this and becomes a handmaiden of Mitra. (Basically a nun, although she doesn't realize the head priest may not be what he seems...or rather he might, since he looks pretty damn evil.)
This issue would probably seem tame today, but I think if you tried to sell kids a comic today where Conan rather implicitly endorses prostitution; there would doubtless be problems somewhere. There's also some race issues, since while there are noble Kushite tribesmen serving as one of Conan's mercenary legions, the Picts are dark-skinned murderous savages. Led by Shooz Dinj, who is painted white not unlike Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die. Uh...huh.

Conan mentions he hasn't seen Shooz's ugly mug in twenty-five years, but he'd recognize him. Well, with that makeup, I'd hope so. I think Kraar might've been used Shooz a couple times in Savage Sword of Conan, having run-ins with the younger Conan, possibly with the idea of making him a recurring villain. Who is killed this issue, but still. Not unlike the Punisher, I don't think Conan needs recurring villains; or at least they shouldn't be around for more than a year; because I don't think it takes Conan longer than a year to kill anybody, and that's if they start running last year. (The Conan movies seem to have this problem: Conan is orphaned, grows up, get revenge. I'd really rather Conan get orphaned, gets revenge that afternoon, and then we move on.) There are a few exceptions, like Thoth-Amon and maybe the Devourer of Souls; but then, like the Punisher, Conan shouldn't really be in the same room as them until the big finish.

When the Picts are defeated, the survivors offer to go back beyond the Black River and never return. Conan counters with his best offer: "Go back to your warriors and tell them to sing their death song." (I would not want to be the guy that had to go back with that news. "So, what'd he say? Did he go for it?" "Well...") Conan's forces kill the lot of them, then Dinj after he's captured later. Faced with the headman's ax, Dinj hesitates, but Conan points out he himself would not get off so easily, if the shoe was on the other foot. Still, it's not like Conan was singling Dinj and the Picts out, either: this would be a start to Conan's road to empire, whether he wanted it or not, and there would be tougher choices to come.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

"He loves only clay" would be a crummy post title, but here we are.

So, we mentioned Joker's Asylum II: the Mad Hatter some time ago; but I picked up a fifty-cent copy of Joker's Asylum II: Clayface the other day. "Midnight Madness" Written by Kevin Shinick, art by Kelley Jones.

Like many readers, I was introduced to Basil Karlo in "The Mud Pack" beginning in Detective Comics #604 from Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. (That wasn't his first appearance, but since that was back in 1940, it may as well have been.) A former horror-film actor, Karlo now had full-on clay monster powers; and this issue, an entire revival theatre of clay and fans who didn't care if they lived or died.

The Joker has a pretty good chuckle at the headline "Clayface Kills at Box Office," and Jones' art does wonders for this story; but what I've seen of the Joker's Asylum stories don't seem to go quite far enough. And, since it's not entirely certain if these are in-continuity stories or entertaining lies spun by the Joker, I hope if there's another round of these sometime that kick it up a notch. Of course, since Joker's Asylum already done Joker, Penquin, Two-Face, and seven others; I wonder if the third wave would be down to Killer Moth, Calendar Man, Zsasz...(There are, of course, other decent Batman villains, but I firmly believe in the separation of Arkham and Blackgate inmates.)
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Whenever I see a dancing girl in Conan...

...I hear the Orion slave girl music, from the Star Trek pilot, "The Cage." You can decide for yourself if that's unfortunate or not.

The new Conan the Barbarian opens up today, but I probably won't get to see it for a bit. Still, I did restock some old and lost comics at the Comic Book Shop's 23rd anniversary sale! Today's book: Conan the Barbarian #158, "Night of the Wolf!" Plot and art by John Buscema, dialogue by Michael Fleisher, inks by Rudy Nebres.

More after the break!

Riding through the desert, Conan runs across two brigands dragging a woman in a crate. Conan wouldn't put up with that on the best of days, but the brigands give him some lip, which doesn't help matters. After rescuing the girl, she in turn saves him from her vengeful father, who has coming riding to her rescue with his tribe. A rival sheik had taken her, refusing to take no for an answer. Grateful, Conan is toasted that night, and the father doesn't seem to mind Conan eying his daughter.

But, the chieftain is disturbed to hear the howl of a desert wolf. He leaves to check it out, in time for a werewolf to attack Conan. The monster's strong enough to choke even Conan, who barely holds out until help arrives; but it escapes. Conan's about to go after it, but the chieftain holds him back, noting it may not be a good idea to try chasing that thing down in the dark.

The next morning, the chieftain's daughter is missing, kidnapped again. With Conan's help, they follow the trail, and find the daughter tied to a cliff face. The sheik that supposedly wanted to marry the girl, wanted to kill her, revenge for the death of his son, since of course she's the werewolf. She doesn't seem to be to broken up about it, either.
Kids, if your dad says this about your mom, don't hold it against him on his next weekend.

The sheik had an arrow prepared with the poison of the black lotus, but her father takes the responsibility and kills her himself. As Conan rides off, the narration notes that the survivors of this night will tell that story for years to come, but also admits this probably isn't the weirdest crap Conan will see this week.

Although I don't think he brought the A-game on this one, big John Buscema still delivers a solid issue, and I like Nebres' inks too. Buscema gets a plotting credit, but it's so standard I was pretty sure it was Fleisher, since I've seen this "hero rescues helpless damsel who turns out to be something else" before from his work in Warlord and Jonah Hex. Which may have been before or after this issue, but here we are. Have a good weekend!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'd definitely read more Question Quarterly, but I'd probably read Rashomon Quarterly too.

Over at TV Tropes, this issue was under Rashomon Style, and it was a grail for me for some time. I finally found a copy a couple weeks back for myself: The Question Quarterly #5, "Outrage" Written by Denny O'Neil with Kelly Puckett, Mike Baron, and Mike Gold; art by Joe Quesada, Denys Cowan, Shea Anton Pensa, Jan Harpes, Mark Badger, Mike Mignola, and Mike Manley.

The facts are clear: Vic Sage, aka the Question, No-face, or That Sumbitch; punched out his old flame and mayor of Hub City, Myra Fermin. But why? Yeah, no one's going to agree on that, especially when you ask Vic's kung-fu buddy Marco, former bad cop Izzy, a crackhead, and Myra herself. Myra's story may start with the truth: a representative of a crime cartel tries to bribe her, in order to set up shop and bring in drugs without interference. Myra's first instinct is to send him packing, but she knows Hub City is in such terrible shape that even dirty money could do some good.

Vic talks her out of it...until a child is bitten by a rat in the street in front of them. Myra goes to meet the cartel, but the Question stops her. She figures he knocked her out, then went straight to the cartel to bust some heads, and she's grateful for Vic saving her from a terrible choice. On cue, Vic arrives, and explains tomorrow there'll be a fifty-thousand dollar contribution for the city, from "concerned businessmen who have decided not to relocate to Hub City." He says the money is "relatively clean," and Myra asks if she guessed the truth. Leaving, Vic tells her she got it all wrong.

I don't think the Question had been wearing the trenchcoat and fedora combo that is usually associated with him, for some time, but it's back this issue. (For most of his series, Vic had been improving his fighting skills, and usually wore clothes more suited for brawling in.) A great issue, although now I'm a little sad that I've read just about all of the Question: it was a nice feeling, knowing there was at least one more issue out there waiting for me. Well, I still don't have the Question Returns...or his run in 52. Man, if DC had announced a new, Denny O'Neil written, Denys Cowen drawn, Vic Sage Question book in the relaunch, I'd give them a lot less grief.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Build your own papercraft Iron Throne!

I enjoyed HBO's Game of Thrones, even though I have yet to read any of George R. R. Martin's books. (Well, not those, anyway; I read the Wild Cards books way back when.) And the other day, for some reason thrones came up at work, and I was thinking of the Iron Throne. If you've seen any promo pictures from the show, you've probably seen it:

No spoilers, especially since I'm going off memory here and haven't actually read it: before the start of the series, a king unified the land by conquering the hell out of it. As the old barons and nobles surrendered to him, the king took their swords, and had them melted into his throne. Which is kickass, if not particularly practical or comfortable--in-story, characters have mentioned getting cut just sitting on the damn thing; which is a pretty good metaphor: fighting your way to the throne is hard enough, but you can't rest easy when keeping it is a pain in the ass to boot. Still, the Iron Throne does send a message; even if I figure it's like using your vanquished foe's skull for a goblet: symbolic, but not entirely functional.

(I also have no idea how medieval blacksmiths would've made that thing; although I do like the notion of a somewhat crazed king dumping a mountain of swords on them and screaming at them to make him a goddamn throne, right now.)
Since Conan has it on him, you can see his sword multiple times in there.
So, I had a hankering to build an Iron Throne. From years of collecting action figures, I had a big honking pile of swords. But, I didn't have enough for this, and even if I had, I wouldn't necessarily want to bend them up and glue them. So, we're working with the cheaper medium of paper! We're not going for an exact replica, more of a homage. Or a swipe, either or.
Crappy template!
First, you'll need a printer, glue and a gluestick, tape, comic backing boards, scissors, an x-acto knife, and probably a black sharpie. For my throne, I gathered up all the action figure swords I had handy, and experimented a little: the swords that were mostly flat worked better for this, and I scanned or copied several...I probably should've counted how many. Oops. Below is one of the scans I used; I just saved it to a flash drive, took it over to Kinkos (about a block from my house) and got a couple color copies, and a lot of black-and-whites. (Partly because the whole thing is going to be on the gray side anyway, and partly because I had no idea what I was doing.)

Using one of the backing boards, make a base. The front is vaguely trapezoidal, and as you can tell by the crappy template there, was drawn in about two minutes with a pencil and a Borders gift card with five cents on it. Slap one together and tape it up. (Or, if you go to a craft store, you could doubtless get a hunk of styrofoam or something in a shape you like, then go from there.)

Now, the swords. Here's a scan of some of the ones I used: I know there's Conan and the Devourer of Souls' swords, two from Ultimate Nightcrawler, and I think Loki's and Taskmaster's; all from Toy Biz. The Black Knight's Ebony Blade from Hasbro is in there, one from DCUC's Deathstroke, 200X Masters of the Universe He-Man and Teela's swords, and MOTUC's Vikor as well. from an old Witchblade toy, Excalibur from that Merlin figure I got a while back; and some more I don't really recall. Mostly flat ones work best for this, OK?

You're going to want most of them printed on just plain paper, but you'll want some either printed on card stock or glued to a backing board before you start. (You probably want the color ones on card stock.) Then, get cutting! And cutting. And cutting. Be careful with the crossguard, since it's really easy to bend them right off. How many do you need? Um...gee, I really should've been counting when I started this, but a lot.

Starting with the ones on plain paper, start gluing the swords to the base in layers. A lot of the swords in the Iron Throne are bent or melted then hammered into position, and I think the whole thing is just swords on top of more swords, so that's the effect you're going for. You will want a few of the swords on card stock for the sides: think of them as making the armrests. Really uncomfortable armrests. There are a couple swords in there that I glued to the backing board, then glued another cutout on the other side, so I could use it on the sides and it would look OK from front or back.

For the back, take a backing board, and if you used the template size, you want to cut out a piece about three gift cards high. The bottom third is going to be mostly behind the main section, but you'll want to overlap the swords on there.
On the backside, use a bunch of the black-and-white ones for the blades pointing up that remind me of lines from a child's drawing of the sun. The HBO version has well over a dozen on the back, but you can cram in as many as you think looks right, or can fit. Keep slapping them on, until you like the look of it. If any white areas don't look right to you, use the sharpie to black 'em out.
A couple of notes: Again, the flatter swords work best. You can see He-Man's sword in there, and it was a bear to try and cut out; but Skeletor's sword might not work at all. (I'm thinking the 200x version, there.) If you had a modicum of Photoshop skills and wanted to do this, it would probably be pretty easy to set up multiple versions of the swords you want to use on the same printout. A throne made out of He-Man's sword, or Lion-O's Sword of Omens, would look sharp. Ha. Ha.

Even though a lot of action figure swords are made out of plastic that should be in quotation marks, it would be mighty tough to actually get enough to build a plastic Iron Throne. For example, Ultimate Nightcrawler is an all right figure, comes with two swords, one double-bladed, both terrible; but even then you would need dozens. If you have the skills, you could take an impression of a sword you wanted to use, then cast it in wax. Keep in mind, we're already way out of my skill set here, but if you make a ton of wax swords, you could probably bend them enough to cobble them into shape. The other idea I had was to use metal snips, or some sort of sword-shaped cutter, to punch them out of tin or something...that seems like a good way to cut the hell of your fingers.

You might be wondering why Negative Man, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman are in the pictures, instead of a He-Man or Conan or something. The ones I have aren't poseable enough to sit on it! Or they have stiff fur loincloths or capes. That's why in all the Bastards of the Universe strips, it's usually Beta Ray Bill on the throne (from the Mephisto Marvel Select figure) and even then his cape makes that a little tricky.

If you build your own throne, let me know how it turns out, or leave a comment with a link!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Lemme check those dice, Mike." "Bite me, Jack."

An oddball of an issue: Warlord #35, "Gambit" Written and illustrated by Mike Grell, inks by Vince Colletta. (Colletta had a reputation for speed, or hackwork, depending on your perspective, but I know he did several issues of Warlord and don't recall seeing anything out of line, as it were.)

This issue, Travis Morgan prepares to leave Wizard World--prehistoric Skartaris--to return to the present day Skartaris, and Mariah and Machiste elect to stay in the past. (Aside: Machiste is king of Kiro, but as is typical for a comic-book king, never there, ever.) With the magic sword Hellfire, Travis is launched through space and time, arriving in what appears to be a suburban living room of the seventies.

Before he has time to be dismayed at being back in America, in that outfit, Travis is attacked by an armored woman. Named Agnes. Although initially amused, the fight quickly becomes earnest, until Agnes goes for a rifle in the game room. Two shadowy figures discuss the point, and Agnes is disqualified.

The scene shifts to a bar, where a bartender helpfully tells Travis where he is, Quakertown, PA; but also slips him a mickey, what you kids today would know as a "roofie." Travis is then slated for human sacrifice, with an electric carving knife, before regaining consciousness in what looks like a lucky saving throw. Travis is running all over the cloaked cultists, before one completes the stabbing himself.

Now faced with a flaming demon, Travis is forced outside, and manages to beat it with a fire hydrant. Even Travis thinks he's been getting overly lucky, but the house is on fire, and he figures the time portal that brought him there is still inside, so it's back into the flames. There, he's attacked by a chainsaw-wielding Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. (Aside: I don't think I've ever read any Lewis Carroll, but frankly if you read enough comics you'll get the gist of it eventually.) Travis defeats them, but the fire has him trapped Mike and Jack congratulate themselves on a game well played and a deadline made!

As they box up their game of "Devils and Demons," Travis appears in Skartaris proper, with his companion Shakira. He writes off the experience as weirdness brought on by the magic of the Hellfire Sword, which may be (and in fact is) more than meets the eye...

A fun bit of tomfoolery here. I may have to dig up an issue in a similiar vein, Forgotten Realms #24, which takes a little look behind the curtain as well. One character specifically points out what a pain in the ass it would be to plot out a comic by playing D&D, since the whole thing could be derailed by a few lucky throws. And that was in a comic based on D&D!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

This is why my figurehead is a fluffy bunny:

Another one from the quarter bins...rather, a drawer at a used bookstore in Kalispell, MT. Somehow, I got talked out of fifty cents for Worlds Unknown #7, featuring the Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Yeah, based on the Ray Harryhausen film. (Well, that's not quite accurate: Harryhausen didn't direct this one, but even so.) I don't think I saw Golden Voyage until fairly recently; as opposed to Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, which I've seen many a time.

The cover copy proclaims "Sword versus Sorcery--in the epic tradition of Conan!" That's a blurb that I would've sworn Marvel would use many a time (although I suspected they used it for Gulliver Jones) for books like Kull or John Carter, Warlord of Mars. Of course, after thirty seconds of looking, I didn't see any covers with it, so maybe it was just the house ads.

I've been working on something--a little craft project--so I haven't read a lot of comics lately. Going to have to do something about that.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

I wish my dog had a costume...'d mean less hair lying around, for one thing.

Picked up all of Prelude to Deadpool Corps and the second two issues of Deadpool Corps out of the dollar boxes the other day. I didn't pick them up the first time, when Marvel was flooding the market with as many Deadpool books as they could cram in there. But for a buck a pop? Way more enjoyable than they oughta be!

To save the universe from an unstoppable alien force, Contemplator of the Elders of the Universe (who are more varied and slightly less dickish then the Green Lanterns' Guardians of the Universe) gathers the Deadpool Corps, featuring Deadpools of several different realities. There's our Deadpool, Zombie Deadpool (or Headpool), Lady Deadpool, Kid Deadpool (aka Kidpool, or 'Tito'), and Dogpool. They work about as well as you'd expect.

The book should be completely unreadable: no, not because of the Rob Liefeld art; it's not so bad here! But all of the Deadpools have multiple caption boxes, as needed for the multiple voices in their heads. Even Dogpool! Here is a typical panel:

And here's what it could've looked like:
The 'Woof!' boxes are actually in that series somewhere.
Written by Victor Gischler, pencils by Rob Liefeld, inks by Adelso Corona.
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two Super-Soldiers figures...after he goes back to being Cap.

Over at It's All True's Armchair Comicon Coverage, there's a link to pictures of Hasbro's upcoming new Marvel Legends, including Steve Rogers in his Super-Soldier outfit. I wasn't completely excited for that one, since he's back in his Captain America suit already; and I hadn't read a lot of his appearances in that suit.

So, I lucked out finding all four issues of Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier out of the quarter bins. (All right, for a buck an issue.)'s not bad. In a nice opening, Steve gets a tip from Britain's Pete Wisdom: the grandson of the creator of the Super-Soldier formula, Professor Jacob Erskine, has 'taken back the family name' and announced he's cracked the formula. Steve realizes he knew the new Erskine's grandparents, but is more alarmed to hear the formula is going up to the highest bidder.

Steve investigates the auction in Madripoor, and gets a surprise when he seems to recognize Erskine's wife: she looks like Lt. Cynthia Glass, a Nazi spy who died to save Cap. After fighting his way through some newly enhanced guards, Steve confronts Erskine, who denies everything, but is killed by a sniper...

I liked the set-up for the first issue, and although the reveal of the bad guy was a nice surprise, there's a few holes and odd spots. Just like the recent Avengers: Prime series, Steve kisses another girl, which makes me wonder where his and Sharon Carter's relationship is now. Steve also gets turned back into his old, 98-pound weakling, pre-formula self...and then back, both of which are a little iffy even for comic book science. And the big bads' master plan is likewise questionable: having re-created the formula, now they plan on wrecking the economy and giving as many candidates as possible a Steve Rogers-style upbringing, so they can put the two together into an army they can control. But--oh, I'm not going to get into it.

It's also odd for me to realize Steve's had multiple costumes over the years, besides his traditional Cap look: the Nomad suit, his black costume that went to USAgent, the terrible no mask/leather jacket/headset thing he had for a bit in 90's Avengers comics, his armor, and now this. Although it's weird to see Steve without a mask, because that makes this outfit seem like Steve's casual wear. While I was glad to see him using his energy shield option, it was also surprising to see Steve using other weapons as well; more of the soldier than usual.

Anyway, good pickup for the price, so keep an eye out. I am a little disappointed Steve doesn't bust out the flamethrowers he has on the cover of #4. Written by Ed Brubaker, art by Dale Eaglesham, color art by Andy Troy.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Doom Secret." totally beat me to this one, but when I found Catman the other day, I thought the Secret Six is in the same boat as the Doom Patrol. Both comics had a crossover together recently, have recently been cancelled, and as far as action figures go, are never going to get complete teams made. (OAFE's blog also has a post on the various lineups of the Secret Six, as well as a rundown of which members have figures!)

The Bane here is the somewhat undersized DC Super Heroes version; the Collect-and-Connect one would be nice, but I bought the figures I wanted from that series on eBay, sans parts. (The Creeper and Jonah Hex, if you're wondering!)

Even though there's been a pretty good-sized outpouring of love for the outgoing book, I only read Secret Six a couple of times myself. In fact, I was a little disappointed in #28, where two Secret Six teams go at it in Skartaris; since with all that going on, Gail Simone didn't use Warlord characters Shakira and Machiste to the fullest...

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tomorrow: Hellboy: the Fury #3

I don't always get to the comic book shop every Wednesday lately, but tomorrow would be a special trip either way. Hellboy: the Fury #3 (spoilers!) comes out, and...this could be a big one. If you've ever had an interest in Hellboy, this wraps up years worth of storylines. I think it's going to pay off, since Mignola and Fegredo have been consistently on top of their game here. It's going to be an issue you want. Better hurry.

Scan from Hellboy: the Fury #1 (and love that variant cover) Written by Mike Mignola, art by Duncan Fegredo.
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Monday, August 08, 2011

If you're seeing Superpro here this morning, something's gone amiss...

Maybe the blog's on lockout? My collective bargaining deal fell through? Maybe I'm on a sixty-day suspension from blogging for using performance-enhancing drugs? Maybe I didn't pay the cable bill before I left? Maybe I'm back from vacation but still need a bit of a lie-down?...I'd bet on that last one.

From Superpro Special Edition #1, written by Fabian Nicieza, art by Jose Delbo and Bob Hall, inks by Tom Morgan, Mike DeCarlo, Kim DeMulder, and Bob Hall.
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Friday, August 05, 2011

I was just watching (some time ago, really, but bear with me) Godzilla vs. Mothra: Battle for Earth, a 1992 film with a very pro-environment message. For a kaiju monster movie...anyway, towards the end Battra and Mothra team-up to drag Godzilla outta town, in a rather undignified fashion. Which reminded me of one of my favorite Twisted ToyFare Theatre strips, which is conveniently available online: "Annoy All Monsters!" Check it out, it's a good one. Read more!

Reading list: Fantastic Four: Doomgate!

I'm guessing this one isn't involving tapes from the Latverian throne room...but these Marvel novels are fun summer reads. I'm not familiar with author Jeffrey Lang, or if it's a traditional or Ultimate-style Fantastic Four, but we'll see. EDIT: It's traditional, set post-Civil War sometime after the core team reformed.

I actually read this before going on vacation: I wasn't sure how much time for reading I was going to have; as it happens, plenty. I also read Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars and Brian Cronin's Was Superman A Spy? (If there's still a Borders store in your neighborhood, you may be able to find the latter for well under $4! I picked those two up, along with the new Underworld CD.)
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