Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Put your hand inside the puppet head."

Man, I hadn't done a Deadpool strip since...a brief one for Retro Toy Week back in April? Fun as they are to do, I always forget how much I hate the yellow fill on his balloons. (In fact, on the last page, the fill didn't want to take, so bagged it...) I haven't read a lot of Deadpool lately, although I would love to have Legends-scale Deadpool Corps and Evil Deadpool.

I've had the puppets--little thumb-wrestlers from a vending machine--for some time; as well as the idea for this strip. Couldn't quite come up with a good reason for Deadpool to be doing a puppet show, except, duh, he's crazy. I need to bin Franklin, Timmy, and that kid from Secret Saturdays together, since they're my default little kids yet it always takes me a while to figure out where I put them.

And if you don't recognize the title reference, check after the break!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The last week or so:

Over the long weekend, I was offline for most of it. I managed to catch a bit of reading, after hitting up The Book Exchange in Missoula, MT. (For quite a while when I was in college, I bought most of my comics there.)

First, Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. It's a fun, fast-moving, hilarious read, that's inappropriate for just about anybody. A private eye with a knack for stumbling face-first into the worst perversions you can think of, is hired by the heroin-addicted chief of staff, to find the secret Constitution of the United States. It's not as hard as it sounds, after he realizes the book is "currency for perverts."

If this had been written by, say, Chuck Palahniuk, this material would doubtless be soul-crushingly demoralizing. But Ellis is really a big softie. There is a moment I particularly liked, where the hero didn't necessarily want to roll America back to old-school conservative whitebreadism; but thought a blind guy raping his guide dog was a bit too far...

Since you already know I'm a big Hellboy fan, it should be no surprise that I enjoy the novels as well. While they don't reveal any big secrets about the character, the fun is in the foes, and the main characters' interaction with new characters. Hellboy: the Fire Wolves (written by Tim Lebbon) does well with both: monsters escaped from Vesuvius, the ghost of a fallen demon hunter, and a young Italian woman who escaped her family and now has to escape the family curse.

In the same vein, Thomas E. Sniegoski's Lobster Johnson novel the Satan Factory has a great villain (a disgraced mob doctor, who finds a demon's bones that ooze monster-making blood) and a good supporting character (a framed and broken ex-cop) but Sniegoski doesn't get the luxury of interaction with the main character. The Lobster remains a mysterious, aloof figure; even to his agents: in the end, you don't gain any more understanding of him than when you came in, but that's rather true for most of his tales. Lobster Johnson's an enigma even now; but check out the link: as usual, the cover design is a winner.

I also got Shocker Toys ShadowHawk for cheap at I had ordered the Watchmen Nite Owl as well, but they sent the classic version (old guy, short pants) when I ordered the modern, armored one. Might send it back, but in their defense, it was still cheaper than cheap. I am hard-pressed to remember if I've ever read any ShadowHawk comics...or even appearances...and his helmet inexplicably reminds me of Phantom of the Paradise, a movie I know of but have never seen. Still, while he's a little bare-bones, he's a good figure.

In Montana, I picked up Star Wars: the Clone Wars volume one--the Genndy Tartakovsky animated series, that predates the current, more computer-animated one. They're shorter, 'micro-episodes,' and I know I've seen some of them, but not many. Maybe I should just sneak in an episode here and there, then. Got it for two bucks, and got them to throw in the old PS1 game Hellboy: Asylum Seeker for free. While it's archaic, by all accounts it's not very good. But I slogged my way all the way to the end of Evil Dead: Hail to the King, so apparently my standards on the low end for games. (If you ever try that Evil Dead game, it's definitely enjoyable if you're a Bruce Campbell fan, but the controls and the camera are iffy; and when I played it, it was so dark it was like being in the forest in the middle of the night...with a bucket on your head. That may have just been my TV, in retrospect.)

Lastly, my parents are loving their iPads, so my mom passed me her Sony Reader thing. I downloaded a fair pile of free stuff from Project Gutenberg: some Edgar Rice Burroughs that I hadn't read yet, a couple Philip K. Dick shorts ("The Defenders," "The Gun") and Robert E. Howard's "Red Nails." OK, that last I've read more than once before, but I'm now in the market for any free stuff I can find, so any hints, let me know.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Enemy Ace would've had too much class for that...

Amazing High Adventure #5 is the only issue of that series I've ever seen, which is a bit of a shame. From 1986, it was an anthology book that seemed pretty far afield from the usual super-hero fare. This issue opens with "The Skyhook" Written by Mike Baron, art by John Ridgeway. Post World War I, a young pilot and his sister lose their father to a gangster and his torpedo, the Kraut. The pilot recognizes the Kraut as a former German ace, from a run-in with him in the skies over Verdun.

The pilot and his partner hatch a scheme to get back at the gangster with a robbery, and a daring escape via skyhook, a trick they had been prepping for flying exhibitions. Everything goes to plan, except they aren't the only ones with a plane lying around...

This issue also features a straight retelling of David and Goliath, from Baron and Tomosina Cawthrone-Artis; and a tale of rebellion in British-ruled India from Bill Mantlo and Steve Purcell that's very different from anything I had seen from either of those creators before. On the other hand, the last story, "My Brother's Keeper" is exactly what you would expect from aviation fan Ken Steacy: during the Cold War, a Soviet spy tries to commandeer a flying wing on a test flight, but may have forgotten about the attached parasite plane. For a little extra drama, the parasite plane's pilot is the brother of the wing's captain, and scared of heights when he's not in a plane.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Milligan and Fegredo may not have had Morricone in mind here...

...ah, maybe they did. From Weird Western Tales #4, "What a Man's Gotta Do" Written by Peter Milligan, illustrated by Duncan Fegredo. While watching old westerns, a put-upon, hen-pecked realtor gets the idea that he needs to get in touch with his inner cowboy. With mixed results...

Damn, I have the rest of this series somewhere. This issue also features a brutal revenge story from Bruce Jones and Cully Hamner, "Savaged," and "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" from Jen Van Meter and Dave Taylor: on a cattle drive, three cowpokes try to press on after a fourth dies of natural causes, and they try to get his body to the nearest town for a decent burial. Slapstick ensues, but with a tragic ending.

Anthologies are often hit-and-miss; but I thought Vertigo did all right on this one. And after the break: some Ennio Morricone, which I probably should've had at the start of the post, but I couldn't embed "The Ecstacy of Gold," so this'll do.

Huh, Morricone composed the score for John Carpenter's the Thing, another movie that like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I'll always stop and watch.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

80-Page Thursdays: Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #2!

For the next stretch, as long as I can find them, every Thursday we'll check out an 80-page comic! Not 64, not 100, 80-page giants only! Today, Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #2! Featuring "Team-Ups from A to Z!" and stories from Priest, Abnett and Lanning, Mark Waid, Marv Wolfman, Chuck Dixon, and more; art by M.D. Bright, Oscar Jimenez, Andy Kuhn, Mike McKone, and more.

Priest and Bright open with Aquaman and Kyle at the bottom of the sea, with an alien artifact, altered aging, and a trapped French sub. Next, Kyle tries to teach art appreciation to Big Barda, as a museum is robbed. Then, one of Kyle art teachers runs afoul of Deadman when he's accused of drug dealing; and Kyle visits Guy Gardner's Warrior bar.

Mark Waid and Mike McKone pit Kyle against Hector Hammond...and Impulse.

Plastic Man and Kyle have a run-in with a mysterious green shape-changer at the JLA Watchtower; then Steven Grant and Matt Smith send Kyle to Zatanna's magic show, where they face a mysterious attacker, a power-swap, and don't really seem to hit it off, at all.

A lot of fun. I know I have at least one of the other two Green Lantern 80-Page Giants, so maybe we'll see another later.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Slow week..."

While I know I have a couple of his appearances, including Tales of the Green Lantern Corps (starring Hal MFing Jordan) #3, I had no particular love for Nekron. Until I got his figure for cheap, like about five bucks. He's a creepy death guy, and I have some plans for him later...that I have yet to get around to, since I actually bought Nekron in July.

Anyway, while I'll be out for Thanksgiving, we still have an 80-pager tomorrow; and probably something on Friday that I should maybe look into doing now. Have a good holiday!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Still no idea why Thor remembers Loki or Odin fondly...

So, we blogged about Rage of Thor a while back; and today we've got another Thor comic set back in the day, well before his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83. The Thor of then was arrogant and headstrong, although not quite to the point where Odin would banish him to earth; especially since Thor appears to be Asgard's main line of defense against the frost giants.

Now, this issue got confusing for me when the golden apples of Asgard were brought up. I understood that the Norse gods needed to eat them to maintain their immortality and power, OK. And Thor was stockpiling his, only eating them when he knew a big fight was coming; fine. But the only goddess that could harvest the apples was known by many names: Freyja, Iduna, Gefn...Enchantress. What? That's a new one: Amora, the Enchantress, is a straight-up Marvel creation, with no analog in the traditional myths. Iduna had actually appeared in Thor comics before, but the wikipedia entry points out the various Ragnarok cycles may adjust the continuity.

While Thor leaves to "hunt giants for the winter," a mason approaches the city with an offer, to repair a defensive wall crushed by a falling giant. All he wants in exchange, is the Enchantress for his wife. The gods are outraged, but Loki points out the opportunity for a wager: bet the mason that he can't complete a year's work in six months. If he can, why, he can have the Enchantress, the sun, and the moon. Which apparently the Norse gods could give away. The Enchantress is understandably not thrilled about being collateral in a bet, but no one asks her.

The mason works steadfastly, impossibly fast. As the deadline nears, an angered Odin tells Loki to clean up his mess. Distracting the mason's horse, Loki ensures the mason comes up three bricks short of victory. Enraged, the mason reveals himself to be a frost giant, bent on revenge against Asgard. That doesn't go over so well, since Thor shows up and kills him stone dead. Possibly smashing the Hel outta that wall again.

Some time later, Loki, exiled for his most recent crimes, wanders the frozen wastelands of...I don't know, Niffleheim or somewhere. A giant eagle offers to feed Loki and return him to Asgard, in exchange for a bride: the Enchantress. Loki obliges, and the giant eagle turns out to be a frost giant; for her part the Enchantress is pissed for falling for it again. Maybe she thought Loki was feeding her a pickup line, not plotting her abduction...
Without anyone able to harvest the golden apples, the gods of Asgard begin to lose their strength. Loki (somehow welcomed back into the fold) points out Thor's been hording apples, so Odin and the gods go to demand Thor share with them. Thor sends a hot concubine to tell them 'no.' At which point, Heimdall points out he saw Loki with the Enchantress. Odin gives Loki a Homer-style choking before sending him out to rescue her.

Forcing himself to man up, Loki attempts just that, noting she is hot enough to kidnap for himself. The escape doesn't go well, but Odin finally convinces Thor to pitch in, which he does. Although he's not thrilled about having to...Odin notes Thor is becoming cruel and cold, and something would have to be done about him. Except Thor's not the one that almost lost the Enchantress in a bet, was completely unprepared for emergency famine, and listens to the son that lies to everyone, always.

From Thor: Ages of Thunder #1, written by Matt Fraction, art by Patrick Zircher, Khari Evans and Victor Olazaba.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

This issue: Superman beats up a guy in a skirt...

'Quarter' is just a fancy way of screaming 'Uncle!'
I've read only a couple of issues from the crossover Our Worlds at War (and I think I blogged the Flash and Green Lantern's issues before) and had to look up on wikipedia who died in that one: Aquaman, but he came back. Guy Gardner, except that may have been a mistake, he was fine. Hippolyta? No, she came back too. OWaW couldn't even kill off the Kents or Lois Lane's dad.

Steel may have been considered dead, or merely MIA: he was trapped in some kind of Apokolips-built armor. Which leads to today's issue, the one-shot Superman versus Darkseid: Apokolips Now! Written by Mark Schultz, pencils by Mike McKone, inks by Marlo Alquiza and Cam Smith. Supes challenges Darkseid, one on one, for John Henry Iron's life. Darkseid doesn't buy it, thinking (or acting) like Superman is gunning for the throne of Apokolips.

After getting a Mother Box from Big Barda--who strikes me as one of the few heroes, who if you tell her this isn't her concern, don't get involved, she'll take you at your word and leave you to it then--Superman has the Eradicator, Superboy, Krypto, and a pair of Supergirls cover Apokolips so Darkseid's forces can't interfere. (Two Supergirls? This was from the very tail end of Peter David's Supergirl run, with the Linda Danvers/angel version and a Silver-agey version of Kara Zor-El.) Natasha Irons, John's niece, disobeys Supes and armors herself up so she can find her uncle.
Well, mostly dead...

Meanwhile, Superman quite simply whups Darkseid. By working his face, Supes blinds Darkseid, beating him until his eyes swell shut and taking the Omega Effect out of the equation. Supes offers to keep the fight under his hat, if he gets Steel; and the injured hero is recovered...although Nat seems to think she is going to be Steel, going forward.

The Superman 10-Cent Adventure and accompanying new direction was advertised in the back of this issue, so this was a bit of a reset. Still, I like Mike McKone's art; and this issue moves along even while rehashing Our Worlds of Whatnot...
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Friday, November 18, 2011

David, Bob, Ron...sorry.

Page (mostly) from Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #4, "Chapter 4: Knightmare's End" Plotted by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, script by Michelinie, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Layton. Got the series for four bucks the other day. It might seem a bit old-school to some, tying into Iron Man #149-150 (they're great!) and #249-250 (they're OK.) Tony is recycling some old armors, when he finds a data recording he doesn't remember...featuring Dr. Doom.

Claiming humanity is at stake, Doom summons Iron Man to Latveria, which is currently under siege by rebels. Doom is unfazed: a little neutron radiation will clear that right up! Tony is forced to turn back the rebels to save their lives, then joins Doom on a trip to hell...where Doom double crosses him and trades him to Mephisto! And that's just the first issue! The rest of the series features Merlin, Tony's evil dad maybe, Morgana le Fay, and the evil eyeful up there.

Unlike the regular Iron Man book for a stretch there, Tony actually gets to do heroic things in this series; although in the end, disgruntled and cheesed, Tony sets up a little revenge that would be seen in #250. Not on Doom, even: Tony knows Doom is a snake, so he's never really surprised when Doom betrays him.

EDIT: Bad timing on my part. From Bleeding Cool, as Bob Layton may be done with Iron Man now...

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Bastards up at Poe's!

New Bastards of the Universe at Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation! This one's for Geeks for Tots, a great cause that helps you out as well! Check it out, and get cracking on the donations!

Also Infinite Hollywood is going BIG: they're matching donations! (When you make a donation, they make one as well!) Let them know when you donate too!
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80-Page Thursdays: Superboy #147!

For the next stretch, as long as I can find them, every Thursday we'll check out an 80-page comic! Not 64, not 100, 80-page giants only! Today, a reprint of some reprints, with the replica edition of Superboy #147. Featuring stories from Jerry Siegel, Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan, George Papp, Jim Mooney; and a previously unpublished story by E.Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanza.

The constant rebooting of the Legion of Super-Heroes has become a joke over the years; which bugs me since the LoSH was never that hard for me to follow because of cheap reprints, like DC's Blue Ribbon Digests. This issue features a quick recap of the team's origin, the adult Legion and Superman vs. the Legion of Super-Villains story, and how Ultra Boy and Supergirl joined the team.
Not a lotta scans this time, since the binding on this one doesn't scan well.
Oh, and the Legion of Super-Pets. Why not!
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"My Lunch with Stel."

Where did this one come from? I have no idea where the milk came from, but the lemon is from a Stargate: Atlantis figure; and the idea for this strip is probably that old episode of Gilligan's Island where the castaways think they're going to get scurvy. It makes scurvy out to be a total death sentence, like you were more apt to die of scurvy than cancer, if you didn't eat some freaking oranges like right now. I just had a big glass something, and some pills that hopefully were vitamins.

I was going to say I was pretty sure Kyle would've watched Gilligan's Island, except post-reboot he's probably too young. Unless kids still watch it, but with so many channels there should be something better to watch...for the fifth time. And between scurvy and that one with the giant spider, I'm pretty sure that show scarred me emotionally on more than one occasion. Super.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh, what the hell, Silver Age?

I'm cold, my head hurts, I could sleep for fourteen straight hours; but I still had time to be psychologically scarred by "Beware of the Bug-Belle!" Reprinted in Superman Family #173, originally from Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #69, story by E. Nelson Bridwell, art by Kurt Schaffenberger. Creeped out to the point I have only the vaguest idea what the rest of the story was about.

I got a couple issues of Superman Family from the dollar boxes, and wouldn't you know it, Lois has a creepy transformation in the other one, too. Well, not as creepy as bug-Lois, but still, later for that one.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Out today, so...

Please enjoy this Kyle Baker cartoon from Marvel Age #59. We had seen another one of these some time ago, but I have no idea how many he did. See?

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Set lasers to 'Byrne.' (Sorry.)

I've mentioned before how brutal the pre-Kirk era of Captain Pike's Star Trek was; today we see it was pretty harsh before then, as well: from Star Trek: Crew #1, "Shakedown" Story and art by John Byrne.

After three days stuck waiting and reading tech manuals, a young Starfleet cadet finally gets to her assignment: a final shakedown mission for the as-yet unnamed new Constitution-class ship that will carry the name Enterprise. With sixty-some crew--including Dr. Boyce, from "The Cage"--and under boring old Admiral Rasmussen, the ship sets a body is found in San Francisco, beamed into the ground. Three cadets have been replaced by Klingons, whose ship awaits them to hijack it.

Although the unnamed cadet has a plan to save the ship, and sacrifice herself; an injured Rasmussen takes her place. Afterwards, Starfleet Command plans on commending the crew and the cadet, who declines, wanting full credit to go to Rasmussen, in his memory.

The admiral says her name will be remembered, but it's never given this issue, because it never was in the series: the cadet will later be known as Number One, first officer of Captain Pike's Enterprise, played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. While she's appeared in other novels and comics, I always thought it was implied that something unpleasant happens to her; since otherwise she probably would've been on the Enterprise with Kirk, possibly even as captain. In Star Trek Annual #1, for example, Number One is injured in a cargo accident, to get her off the stage. Likewise, in Marvel's last issue of Star Trek: Early Voyages, Number One is rendered comatose; you would think she'd recover, but you don't know.

A brutal start to this limited, though: three cadets beamed into the ground, we see several lasered to nothingness, and while the Klingons lose a ship; only nine and the medical staff survive...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

80-Page Thursdays: Captain America #400!

For the next stretch, as long as I can find them, every Thursday we'll check out an 80-page comic! Not 64, not 100, 80-page giants only! Today, Captain America #400!

The main story, "Murder by Decree!" was Cap's third of four chapters in the Operation: Galactic Storm crossover, and finds Cap trapped on Hala, capital of the Kree Empire. A team of Avengers, led by Iron Man, have left Cap behind as they attempt to stop the Shi'ar Nega-Bomb from destroying the Kree. The captive Cap is brought before the Supreme Intelligence, but after an explosion Cap finds himself in battle with...King Cobra? And Batroc? As other villains start showing up, Cap knows something isn't right, but Flag-Smasher, Crossbones, the Viper, and the Red Skull all pile on.
It's really embarrassing to snap your fingers and have nothing happen...
Eventually pinned, Cap's in a bad spot, with the Skull about to give him the dust of death. But, that wouldn't be sporting, especially if you're Batroc, who lets Cap's arm loose in time to break free. Afterwards, Cap notes Batroc acts as he would expect him too, but...

The Supreme Intelligence had wanted to absorb Cap into its collective, but ultimately Cap's "insufferable desire for freedom and independence" made him unsuitable. Meanwhile, the Nega-bomb comes closer...

Also this issue: USAgent and Falcon team up against Flag-Smasher, to rescue the amnesiac D-Man. Poor D-Man had been living with the Eskimos for some time, and unfairly is given what would be his defining characteristic this issue:


Next, some ninety issues after her first appearance, Diamondback gets an origin, in the form of an inconveniently timed flashback right before she drops a cinderblock on the skull of her captor, Crossbones. And Crossbones wasn't just her captor:

When her brothers get mixed up with a gang, young Rachel Leighton wants to join as well, which leads first to her being raped by Brock (Crossbones, before his mask) and then the deaths of two of her brothers. Only the thought that Cap wouldn't approve of murder stops her. It probably shouldn't. (Writer Mark Gruenwald seemed to hit a wall with the character of Diamondback; where he'd been doing great with her trying to reform to be Cap's girlfriend, then couldn't figure where to take her next.)

Closing with a reprint of Avengers #4 by Lee and Kirby, this issue still holds up. Stories by Gruenwald, with art by Rik Levins, Danny Bulanadi, Larry Alexander, Kathryn Bolinger, and Dan Panosian.
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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"Programmed for Distraction."

I don't know if it's ever come up in the comics, but I wonder if the Manhunters have a special grudge for Stel: the Manhunter robots were the Guardians of the Universe first attempt at an interstellar police force, and didn't work out. On the other hand, Stel has been a Green Lantern for years, and was the current trainer, last I heard. I could definitely see the Manhunters as being jealous, or considering Stel a sellout bastard...

I'm not positive I've read a comic where Stel had a speaking part, but such a great figure. Wish his hands opened, though.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

While I don't do a ton of research for this blog--aside from reading every comic I can get my grubby hands on--every so often I have to check some facts; since there are sometimes things I'm sure of, that are completely wrong. Usually, my misconceptions are the result of not paying enough attention, or just stupid: during a football game a couple weeks back, I was positive "New England" was a state. Bzzztt!

In the same vein, I was dead certain the Trix Rabbit never, ever got a bowl of Trix. I knew there had been 'elections' where kids voted on whether or not to give the Trix Rabbit some motherlovin' Trix; I knew the vote overwhelmingly ran to yes, but still didn't think he got any, because it's such a great ad campaign. (This also strikes me as another Voight-Kampff test question, since if you voted no, you are an inhuman monster.) Looking it up, apparently the Rabbit did get Trix a couple of occasions, and is now completely hooked and still chasing that high...

Aside from me being wrong quite a lot, my point was sometimes if the hook is strong enough, it's going to keep being used, probably even long after you would prefer that plot to be resolved. Like today's book: Turok, Son of Stone #107, written by Paul S. Newman, pencils by Angelo R. Todaro, inks by Alberto Giolitti; and Turok #89, pencils and inks by Alberto Giolitti.

Got four or five out of the quarter/dollar boxes recently. If you've never read Turok, or don't recall his popular N64 games from 1997; well, it's a pretty good hook: Native American brothers Turok and Andar are out hunting when they become trapped in the Lost Valley, a mysterious region full of dinosaurs (called 'honkers'), cavemen, and monsters. Each story is thus their attempts to survive and find a way out. While the younger Andar's curiosity or overconfidence sometimes gets them into trouble, the level-headed badassery of Turok gets them out. And they had 'poison arrows,' that were usually one-shot, one-kill; even on the largest of creatures. (Even more than I wondered what that super-fast acting poison was, I wondered how they could eat the meat from an animal killed with said poison...maybe it was an allegen, like a bee sting?)

There would be later, updated versions of Turok from Valiant, Acclaim, and Dark Horse; and I don't know if a big deal was made of this, but in the original stories Turok and Andar were from a Pre-Columbian tribe: they may have never seen a white man, or a horse until they entered Lost Valley. Granted, historical accuracy was not a big concern in this book; but I thought that was weird, and had just assumed he was from 'western' times.

I think Turok usually ran two stories an issue, and while I haven't read every Gold Key comic out there, it seemed to stick to its formula a little more rigidly than Magnus, Robot Fighter or Dr. Solar, which seemed to have at least the bare-bones of an ongoing storyline. Turok and Andar are stuck for some time in the Lost Valley, which is apparently the size of Australia. Every time they find a clue towards a possible way out, it's either false, or blocked. After a couple hundred failures, most people would be a bit discouraged, but Turok takes it pretty stoically. There's not a lot of deep characterization in these, but it would be easy to read it as Turok holding it together for his brother's sake.

So, reading a random Gold Key Turok (which is the only way I've read them) is like reading a random Archie comic: while entertaining, the stakes never change and progress is never made. If you read a bunch at once, well, it's like playing Chutes and Ladders on a board with nothing but Chutes back to the start. I picture editorial for the book simply asking the writer and artist for Turok stories, until one day they were cancelled; whereas nowadays it's impossible not to figure editorial would've demanded some kind of shakeup if sales slipped.
I think a lot of Turok's comics end like this.

Of course, Turok is just one of any number of unresolved properties: did the Robinson family from Lost in Space ever make it home? Did the A-Team ever clear their names? (Maybe?)
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Monday, November 07, 2011

This would be House's best cold-open EVER.

From Face #1, written by Peter Milligan, art by Duncan Fegredo. As the GCD points out:

Synopsis:From the "On The Ledge" column: "The first of the Vertigo Voices one-shots explores the horrific consequences when the world's most famous artist hires the world's most brilliant plastic surgeon for his own warped agenda."

It's pretty good, but hard to beat that first page there. If you're not one for blood, this one won't be for you; but it's one to check out if you've got the stomach. I do believe DC's reprinting the Eaters, another Vertigo Voices from Milligan (with Dean Ormston on art) but I did prefer Face, and wish Vertigo was a little more free with the one-shots these days.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Spoiler Alert: Going to see They Might Be Giants!

In about an hour or two, I'm going to see They Might Be Giants at the Knitting Factory in Spokane! I've seen them before, but that was ten? Maybe twelve years ago. Really looking forward to it. Not looking forward to work at five in the morning tomorrow...

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Friday, November 04, 2011

OK, this week's comics:

I have no intention of doing this every week, especially since I don't necessarily get new books or go to the comic shop every week; and there's only so many times I can tell you to buy Hellboy or whatnot. Anyway, so there's a new Hellboy hardback this week, and you should buy it.
Rotated this picture the wrong way like four times, so the hell with it.
I was almost going to leave it at that, since as a hardback, it's not going to fit in my scanner. But Hellboy: House of the Living Dead continues the tale that began in Hellboy in Mexico or, a Drunken Blur: after befriending three luchadores (who were told by a vision of the Virgin Mary to kill vampires) Hellboy is crushed when one is turned into a monster and he's forced to kill him. He spends some time as a luchadore himself, drinking to forget; until a strange man comes with an offer for a match...

Mignola mentions House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula as inspirations for his one, and while it shows, I think it's a little telling that while those movies were the last gasps of that run of monsters, it's not an unusual day for Hellboy. He's moved past that. There's also a brief appearance by one of the series' main villains, who makes an ominous proclamation tying into future books. Oh, and Richard Corben is 71, and just killing it on the art. While I only have a vague awareness of his own work like Den or Mutant World, I've enjoyed his recent Hellboy stories, and with Garth Ennis he did one of my favorite Punisher stories--in fact, that is one of my favorite single-issues, ever.

I picked up Wolverine and the X-Men #1 from last week, and it wasn't bad. Mainly, I wanted to see what was up with the little Nightcrawler-Bamf-gremlin things pictured on the regular version's cover. But, I have to say I like the idea of Wolvie and Kitty (and Marvel, for that matter) trying to do something different with their new school for mutants. Even if they're in way over their heads. There were a few beats that didn't quite work--I don't think Rachel would ever out a student as a bedwetter, even in psychic self-defense class--and some of the students don't really grab me; but still a good start.

I also tried something a little different with OMAC and Static Shock, reading the first three issues of both. I'm still enjoying OMAC, even if OMAC's alter-ego Kevin really hasn't gotten to do much yet--I don't think he's been on-panel with his girlfriend yet in the series. Meanwhile, Static's horrible big sister Sharon is twice as bad: she's been duplicated somehow, with both of them in the same house claiming the other is an evil clone. Fine, but when the hell did that happen? On-panel? In Teen Titans or Milestone Forever? Again, it's a perfectly fine plot point, but it just strikes me as completely messed up if Milestone Forever is in-continuity and Crisis on Infinite Earths isn't.

The villains seemed a little soft this month in both books as well. I hated the Checkmate Elite--DiDio and Giffen seemed to be trying for a Kirby spin on a paramilitary team but hit the wrong excesses, like terrible names. And when Static passes himself as a gang member from Dakota (the city, not the states, as someone has to be corrected) and the Big Bang comes up; it just reminded me the Blood Syndicate was so much more bad-ass than Virule or the Pale Man, a.k.a. that guy that looks like the Joker but doesn't like you mentioning it. Still, these are just minor nitpicks so far; and I'm enjoying both books.
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Thursday, November 03, 2011

80-Page Thursdays: Lois Lane Annual #1!

For the next stretch, as long as I can find them, every Thursday we'll check out an 80-page comic! Not 64, not 100, 80-page giants only! Today, more reprints in Lois Lane Annual #1! Featuring work from Otto Binder, Bill Finger, Kurt Schaffenberger, George Papp, and more; on nine tales to test your tolerance of Silver Age tomfoolery. The stories are convoluted and inventive and sexist and manipulative, but they have their moments.
When Lois worries Superman might not be attracted to her as she ages, she tampers with a scientist's youth experiment, and ends up aging backwards. In another story, the Daily Planet sends Clark and Lois to the Army for a month; Clark as a lowly private, Lois as a power-mad lieutenant.

When her legs are crushed and her lungs collapsed in a diving accident, Aquaman saves Lois, but an experimental operation to save her life turns her into a mermaid. (You would think she would be happy; she knows Superman likes that...) And in the issue's last story, Lois tries to see Superman's future a witch's magic chair. Yeah, that'll go well. And Superdickery aside, only one story this issue really has Superman being, well, a dick to Lois.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"The AquaScum 3000 isn't even going to make a dent in that."

The Oldest had a goldfish for some time when he was a kid, that lived for a surprisingly long time with no filter, and with me cleaning his bowl, if I'm honest, rarely. 'Course, the Oldest also had snails, leftover from a school project that he brought home, that likewise survived for quite a stretch. (For snails, anyway. I'm assuming they generally don't live to be 80.) At any rate, if I had a fishtank like that goldfish swam around in for this strip...I wouldn't use it, since, I'd have to boil any figures I put in there.

Anyway, a quick one today with Naut Kei Loi from the Green Lantern Classics. I like this head better than the Medphyll one, but I can see why a lot of people probably bought two.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yeah, you don't get to call yourself 'Superior' and dress like that. One or the other...

Huh. Superior has a different look than I would've expected from a Mark Millar book, but I guess that's why he's an innovator--wait a minute! Not that Superior! This one's from a Shazam/Captain Marvel story! I'm somehow devoting another day to World's Finest #259, with "The Secret of Mr. Tawny" Written by E. Nelson Bridwell, pencils by Don Newton, inks by Kurt Schaffenberger.

We've posted on him before, but I think Tawky Tawny may be my favorite character from the Marvel Family. (Although I always thought his name was spelled Talky Tawny, or Mr. Tawny.) And today, we see it's not just that he's a tiger that's learned to talk and walk upright, Tawny's real power is that he can wear the hell out of a suit. (Although you might not know it from this issue!)

Tawny is offered a job modeling suits for the Hubb Clothing Company, and Captain Marvel comes with him to check out the contract. (You need the wisdom of Solomon for that one.) Part of said contract is a physical examination, and CM drags the skittish Tawny to an appointment with Dr. Ambrose, who is thrilled to chart his evolution. Originally, Tawny just learned to talk by hanging out with an old hermit who complained constantly about the city; but that's silly. Of course, the hermit gave Tawny a formula that accelerated his personal evolution. Naturally.

Examining Tawny's blood sample later, Dr. Ambrose isolates and duplicates a chemical found therein, the evolutionary catalyst. Ambrose then tests it on himself, as you do in comics; and it turns him into a lunatic super-villain, as you would also expect. Putting on a phenomenally terrible outfit--what is that, a pink nun's whipple? Armbands? Booties? Stockings? Good god, this makes the Creeper's outfit seem meticulously thought out...calling himself the Superior, he crashes a United Nations special session, tells them to quit arguing and follow his orders. He was ahead of his time, really; yelling at people and expecting them to fall in line.

Although they scuffle for a moment, Captain Marvel is able to outwit the Superior after Tawny recognizes his scent: a quick trip to India, and CM uses the hermit's notes to create an antidote. Then, when Tawny acts like he's reverted to an ordinary tiger, the Superior goes to get another dose of serum and gets antidote instead. (Huh? Somehow...I kind of thought Superior had whipped up another dose, but he might've just had it in his fridge, and Captain Marvel switched it out.)

Back to normal, Dr. Ambrose thanks Captain Marvel for saving him, and destroys his notes. If he was, say, a Spider-Man or even Batman villain, he would relapse over and over and over again throughout the years, but I don't think we've seen him since. Maybe.

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