Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snake Pit 2007 and 2008

And the last of the most recent mailings from Lee.  This is two books by Ben Snakepit.  Each book is 365 three panel comic strips that feature something going on in his life for each day of the year.  Ben works in a retail store as a manager and plays in a couple bands.  Ben also gets drunk and stoned a lot.  Ben has a girlfriend who also likes to get drunk and stoned a lot.

The problem with these books is that, as far as I could tell, that's all that happens.  To be fair, I only made it half way through 2007 because it was just the same things over and over.  There was one really long road trip one of his bands took that was interesting, but that was a very small part of it.

Now, truth be told, no one's life, seen on a daily basis, is probably all that interesting, which is a question of format for this book.  On the other hand, the life of a slacker is particularly uninteresting to me.  I might have more interest in the daily tribulations of parenthood and responsibility, both of which are nowhere in evidence in Snakepit, but even then it'd be a tough sell.

Really, does anyone want to read about my daily work investigating, negotiating, settling, and litigating (well, guiding litigation) auto claims?  With the wide variety in crazy and stupid things that show up in claims, that might be more interesting.  Of course, I don't have the free time of a slacker to write it up.  It's enough to try to write up these posts and my own daily posts on my own blog.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

IDW Previews for July

Lee: A surprisingly light month for IDW. There’s still plenty of good stuff, just not the usual hoards of it.
Thomm: Hey, it’s vacation time, we’ll take our lighter load and like it.

Classic Popeye #1 by (w/a/c) Bud Sagendorf
Representing the classic Popeye #1 from 1948 by Bud Sagendorf! This collector's item begins a reprinting of the complete Sagendorf's Popeye comic book series, nearly 100 issues long! Carefully reproduced from the original comic books and lovingly restored. Eat your spinach! $3.99
Lee: The feel good pick of the month. This is a small investment for some great stories that will leave you smiling, and maybe even laughing. You don’t need to be a fan of Popeye to enjoy these stories, just a fan of good comics.
Thomm: These I’ll have to check out. I’ve often been told that the early Popeye is far better than the hokum that was around by the time I was a kid.

There's 5 more below the break!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Marvel and DC Gay it Out

It’s raining men, I guess or at least men who love men. I plan to skate on the edge of political correctness and possibly alienate a bunch of people but the hype over all of the gay stuff is just over the top in the comic industry. First things first, should we have gay marriages? I don’t know. On one hand I’m more then willing to grant gay couples the same headaches and joys that a committed relationship can bring. I also think if a church does not want to allow marriage of gays, they have that right also. It is due to the fact that the term marriage is so woven into our legal fabric that not allowing marriage creates undue problems for people in a committed relationship. Of course the next question is what about plural marriages? Is it cultural basis stopping those from happening? Also what happens when, like Catholic Charities did, that companies say we will cover children and our employees and not spouses under healthcare. The unintended consequences of change are often far reaching. It is not the question of marriage it is the question of the legal rights of partners. Our rule of law society has become so complex I expect to implode.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Week in Review - Mind Mgmt #1 and Batman Inc #1

I almost feel like I can legitimately call in the week in review because as of this writing I have read all the Marvel, Vertigo and other books I got this week and almost all of the regular DCU books.  The regular DCU stuff keeps falling to the bottom of my pile and that is because of the severe lack of interest I have in that stuff. In the last week I have few weeks I have dropped Batman The Dark Knight, Catwoman, Justice League, Superman and Green Lantern The New Guardians. DC’s is bringing back all of Bob Harras’ buddies from the nineties and those guys were never my favorites. Instead of DC trying to get all the new names popping up at Image, IDW and Dark Horse they have gone out and gotten Scott Lobdell, Rob Liefield, Tom Defalco and other writers who just are going to bring us the same song and dance. Plus DC seems to have a mandate to start every comic in the middle and then explain how the characters got there. Yes it is a nice story telling device to start with the action, but if you do it all the time it is no longer a story telling device, it is a house style and anything done to excess is boring. Marvel has problems because I’m tired of reading about the same people all the time, but that blandness of the big two was shattered by Grant Morrsion in Batman Inc and Matt Kindt in Mind Mgmt, both #1 issues.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Memorial Day

Nope, no covers today.  Oddly enough there aren't any comics related to memorial day.

So today, just a couple of photos of what the day is about.  While we enjoy hotdogs, and hamburgers, and all the wonderful things we have in life.  We should pause and remember those that have given everything so that we may have a picnic.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Is the Avengers movie THIS generation’s Star Wars?

We close out our month long Avengers focus with the above question, not coincidentally exactly 35 years after the opening weekend of Star Wars back in 1977.  The gap in time should be about right, since I’ve always heard that a generation lasts about 40 years.  I don’t know for sure who came up with that number or what it’s based on, but I suspect it has something to do with the length of time the Israelites were wandering around in the desert (see the book of Numbers in the Bible).  For the sake of this discussion, I’m going to take the 35 to 40 year range as valid and proceed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Edible Secrets

More stuff from Lee.  While Henry And Glenn Forever was amusing, this is a polemic that's trying to be funny and failing. 

The premise of the book is that declassified documents can be funny because of their pedestrian references to food in the midst of reports about international and domestic affairs.  And that can be pretty funny, because when you get right down to it, most classified documents are boring and meaningless.  Documents are over classified as secret and contain really pedestrian affairs far more than anything of significance to the government collecting the information.  Hell, most often they events chronicled aren't significant to the people performing them.

The problem with this book is that its an utter fail.  If humor was its aim, it misses the entire firing range, let alone the mark.  Ok, there's the unintentional funny of it.  In this era of right wing conspiracy being primary (mostly about the Kenyan radical Muslim/Communist/Facist/traitor President) it's funny to see a left wing conspiracy book.  Takes me back to a course in law school that I took called Race, Racism and Radical Legal Thinking.  Man, was that ever full of unfounded assertions.  So's this.

Much of its problem is that it takes the assertions of subjects of the classified documents at face value and dismisses the investigations of the government as automatically baseless.  That may be so, but there's no evidence presented.  There's also an automatic presumption that capitalism is a bad thing.  Unfettered, I'd agree, but that's not the case, particularly in the time of a lot of these documents.  Before Reagan, capitalism in the US was a lot more restricted than it is now.

Here's a brief quote from the book.  I'm pretty sure it'll tell you whether this is your cup of tea.

"We must rember that while accusing the innocent marks everyone as a potential target, attacking actual Leftists unmakes political activity and intellectualism, sewing seeds of fear and distrust into Leftist communities.  The louder the government spoke against communism, the more difficult - or risky - it became for citizens to speak.

To say the 1950s were quiet years lacking in dissent would be a mischaracerization, falling prey to mediated images of nuclear families and uncomfortable marriages.  The Left was alive, it always is.  Resistance is ever present.  But the climate of fear and the publicity of punishment surrounding the Rosenbergs' trial and executino froze the Left out of political life."

Um, yeah.  'Cause there were no Democrats in the 1950s.  Or they weren't sufficiently Left.  One of those.
To me, you could make this entire assertion, which, by the way, comes from the use of a Jell-o box in the Rosenberg case, into a cry of resistance by the Know Nothing/Tea Party of today.  Just substitute a few words and its the same kind of paranoia.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Indies Previews For July Part 3 of 3


Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics HC by (w/a/c) Margreet De Heer
A fun introduction in comics to deep thinking and the history of Philosophy! What is Thinking? And how does our thinking set us apart from other animals? Now that we're thinking, what is Reality? Is there an objective reality or are there numerous subjective realities? And do we move in it with a free will or is everything predestined? Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Erasmus, Descartes, Spinoza, Nietzsche: just a few philosophers who have pondered these questions. Comic artist Margreet de Heer and her husband Yiri travel through the history of Western Philosophy and draw a colorful picture of all these questions. 120 pgs, $16.99
Lee: This could be good but it has to compete with Action Philosophers.  Actually, this will probably be better and more educational.  Maybe it owes some thanks to Action Philosophers because before that book I would never have considered this.
Thomm:  Action Philosophers is a lot of fun.  Can you get too much comic book adaptation of philosophy discussions?  Different artistic interpretations alone would be worth the visit.  Plus, this is  a European perspective that might differ from the American Action Philosophers.

The final 4 below the break!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Indies Previews For July Part 2 of 3

Conundrum Press
Song of Roland GN by (w/a/c) Michel Rabagliati
The Song of Roland focuses on the life and death of the father-in-law of Rabagliati's alter-ego Paul, who has been called The Tintin of Quebec By Le Devoir. As the family stands vigil over Roland in his hospital bed, Rabagliati weaves a story of one man's journey through life and the legacy he leaves behind. The French edition, Paul à Québec, was critically hailed, winning the FNAC Audience Award at France's Angouleme festival, a Shuster Award for Outstanding Cartoonist, and was nominated for the City of Montreal's Grand Prize, and the Audience Award at Montreal's Salon du Livre. 192 pgs, $20.00 A stack of preview pages from Rabagilati’s other books here.
Lee: Paul, Rabagliati’s other work, was stellar! It captured a young man’s life perfectly. Now, expanding on that Rabagliati is going to discuss one man’s entire life. This should be fantastic and well worth your time and money.
Jim: Gwen is off today. Slice of life at times is not my thing, but this has some appeal.

5 more below the break.  Check'em out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Indies Previews For July Part 1 of 3

Lee: I can't believe another month has gone by.  It's suddenly summer and previews are starting to get thin.  Oh well, makes it easier to pick books!
Gwen:If my comments are somewhat I apologize. With the school year coming to an end my work is rather hectic at the moment.

215 Ink
Little Heroes GN (w) Estevao Ribeiro (a) Mario Cesar (c) Anderson Nascimento
This award-winning Brazilian graphic novel is now being released internationally for the first time ever. Little Heroes is the story of the everyday adventures we encounter and the moments when we discover the meaning of true courage. Because while everyone may dream of strapping on a cape and flying off to save the day, true heroism isn't something exclusive to superhumans and demigods. $10.99
Lee: Let’s start the month off with something feel good! And it doesn’t look any more feely-goody than this. The art looks crisp with almost a graphetti artist vibe and the stories sound heart warming so what’s not to like about this?
Gwen: Feel good seems to work for this. It looks cute.

5 more below the break!  Check it out.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Adams, Apathy and The Week in Review

A reader Rob said it best about DC in reaction to my column about the Batman family; the new DCU has left him feeling alienated and apathetic. It is a perfect expression about what the new DCU has done to me also. When I was a manager working for Citicorp/Citibank back in the 80’s I was a rather brash and some would say arrogant person. Some people liked me and some people hated me. My feeling was at least I left an impression. I never wanted to go through my life as a cypher. Apathy is more dangerous then being upset over changes, at least being upset you still care. Achieving apathy means you just no longer care.

I want to review/talk about three books from DC this week, that show that I still care just a little, but it is more about the reasons why they have pushed me further and further into the realm of apathy.

Justice League #9 is an atrocious book and a horrible book to be the flagship of the DCU. In it we have Geoff Johns CCO as writer and Jim Lee Co-Publisher as pencil artist and the book is making a zero impact on me. Geoff Johns’ characterization of the main characters has no resonance and in fact he makes each of them some sort of sad saps that we are suppose to feel sorry for, I guess. When you go and read Grant Morrison’s revival of the JLA back in the nineties and compare it to this, this book ranks below the JLA Detroit years.  It opens with someone being killed and then we focus on Steve Trevor and this entire implied history about him and Wonder Woman. The Wonder Woman in these pages has no relationship to the Wonder Woman in her book. Then we focus on Batman and get a flashback of poor Bruce repainting his room after his parents died moping over not having a favorite color anymore. Next Superman is crying in a flashback about not being picked first for guys forming up teams when he was a child. Finally we get Cyborg moping over his Daddy issues. Fortunately we are treated to Steve Trevor being tortured to round out the book. These characters are not even reflective of their own books, except Cyborg who has no book and is now an integral member of the league and really has no background at all. The new Shazam origin by Geoff Johns is being used as a back up in the book. It has its moments, but it is Gary Frank’s wonderfully realized art that is taking this slow to develop story and making it in to more then it is at this point. Also Captain Marvel will never work with the costume that he has had traditionally, good luck trying to make him a character that can fit inside the DCU. Since I know they will be collecting this into its own book I realize that paying four dollars for a back up story makes no sense. I can no longer buy this comic and I have assigned this book to the cancellation side of the coin.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Atomic Bombs

Nothing defines the 1950's better than paranoia.  Yeah, yeah, yeah there's lots of other good stuff about those wonderful days but it's hard to top the Red Scare and general fear of the bomb.  It was so pervasive within the culture that comic books were more than eager to profit from it.  Here's a collection of covers that have something to do with the bomb.

Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub #7, September 1955.  Not that this cover is Red Scare stuff, but the movie Battleship opens this weekend and I think I found it's inspiration!
Atomic War #1, November 1952

Atomic War #3,
February 1953

The first is one of the all time classics of bomb covers.  Can you imagine seeing that on the stands?  And of course, issue 3 in which we seek revenge for Detroit getting bombed.

Atomic War #4, April 1953.  And the bomb says it all!  Happy New Years!  Seriously, it's written right on the bomb!  Check it out.

World War III #1, March 1952.  This is another one of the all time great bomb covers.  Not only does it have the big explosion but the Capitol is going up in flames too.  One of the best ever!

World War III #2, May 1953.  Man oh man you have to love the fancy gadgets.  Actually, it's kinda depressing because in the 60 years since this was published we still haven't perfected the helicopter backpack.

That's all folks, now go enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

HULK SMASH AVENGERS #1, #2, & #3 – A Review

“It’s time to light the candles…” – all 42 of them.  Well, that was actually yesterday (still today for me as I write this beginning at 20:30 EST).  However, since it’s still technically my birthday I’ve set the timer for one hour and if I’m not finished writing this post by then…  It was a pretty memorable day, but I’ll spare you the play by play (including the pond burial service for Rocky the turtle).  I will say that I saw Dark Shadows last weekend and thought it was really good.  I considered talking about it at length, but I figured I’d keep the month-long (haven’t you noticed?) Avengers theme going instead.   One more important note before we begin…THE LORD OF THE RINGS LEGOS ARRIVE IN LEGO STORES ON MONDAY (MAY 21st) AND THEY’RE AVAILABLE FOR ORDER ONLINE RIGHT NOW!!!  I could just talk about that, but I’ve still got to atone for my last “Toy” post. J

HULK SMASH AVENGERS is a weekly five-issue mini-series that just past the half-way point this week.  Each issue is $2.99 (which is a nice break) and features a gorgeous Lee Weeks cover.  Weeks (who had an excellent run on Daredevil [that issue was fantastic this week] once upon a time is one of my favorite artists.  He’s also responsible for some really good Spider-Man mini-series and I think a Captain America one too.  Regrettably, he doesn’t handle any of the interior art on this title.  Instead, it’s a bit of a mix bag with rotating writers and artists for each issue telling an untold tale of the Hulk and his relationship with the Avengers over the past nearly 50 years.  One neat thing about Lee’s covers is that despite all the physical changes the Hulk has gone through over the decades, he illustrates him consistently with the same “look” on each one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dark Horse Presents Review and Recap

Predominantly I am a trade guy. I made the switch a coupe of years ago and haven't looked back.  Normally this isn’t a problem because 99% of what I read gets collected in short order. But that wasn’t true for one series that I really wanted to read. Thomm’s been raving, and I’ve been loving the covers every month, so I’ve been dying to read the latest incarnation of Dark Horse Presents. Since it doesn’t appear that DH is going to collect the series anytime soon I was in a spot. Luckily, Thomm was kind enough to loan me his copies!

So what did I think? I’ve managed to read the first six issues and… and… it’s all below the break.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Free Digital Comics TWO FREE ONES

A v X Round 4

Avengers vs X-Men #2 of 6

Redemption Codes



Go to and enjoy

Image Previews July

Lee: Image is starting to get like Marvel and DC with a huge number of books on the stand. It’s taking more and more time to get through the solicits each month because there is so much good stuff to be had. And even the books I know I won’t buy are fun to look at.
Thomm: Which makes it different from Marvel and DC, too. Almost none of the stuff on their solicits is of any interest.

The Walking Dead #100
story Robert Kirkman
art Charlie Adlard / Cliff Rathburn
40 Pages / BW / $3.99
This extra-sized chapter contains one of the darkest moments in Rick Grimes’ life, and one of the most violent and brutal things to happen within the pages of this series. 100 issues later, this series remains just as relentless as the debut issue. Do not miss the monumental 100th issue of The Walking Dead!
Lee: It’s finally here, the 100th issue! If you had told me years ago that this would make 100 issues AND been a tv show I would have laughed at you. Now it’s one of the great success stories of the last 10 years. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Thomm: I’ve been along on this ride for a lot longer than I thought. It seemed like I was late when I started, but it’s kept going so smoothly I’ve not noticed how long it has been. Of course, what I want to see is a visit to Baltimore County, seeing as the cast is in the DC area these days. Somehow I don’t think that’s the big even planned for this issue.

A bunch more below the break

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DC Preview Review July

Jim: Every new month for DC is more and more of a challenge. In some ways DC has broken my heart and like a jilted lover I keep hoping maybe we can spark the romance anew again. I use way too many allegories of personal relationships with comics, but the characters were always real in my imagination.
Gwen: I also feel bored with DC, and honestly with a lot of cape comics these days.

Written by LEN WEIN
Art and cover by JAE LEE
Backup story art by JOHN HIGGINS
1:25 Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
1:200 Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale JULY 4 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $3.99 US • MATURE READERS
Combo Pack Edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
“I have goals to achieve. Dreams to make come true.”
Plus, a new CRIMSON CORSAIR backup feature from writer LEN WEIN and artist JOHN HIGGINS!

Jim: Len Wein was a decent writer in his day, but that day has passed. I would be shocked if this was any good and I would be even more shocked if it comes out on time as Jae Lee is not always a deadline type of guy. At least with Jae Lee the book will look good. I keep see Bob Harras bringing back people. DC needs to be tapping all of the new talent floating around. Scott Snyder is one of their brightest stars and he is still a relative newbie.
Gwen: Again, I am just not feeling the new pre-Watchmen stuff. I do like the cover though, very compelling.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Henry & Glenn Forever

Lee sent me some more of the leavings of his Alexandrian library of comics related material.  I'm going to take these one at a time because they're just that...curious.

First is Henry & Glenn Forever, a publication of Igloo Tornado.  This is a 6x6 book and, scarily, is the best of the bunch.  Not for being overly professional in presentation, because it's lacking a bit there, but it's the most entertaining. 

All it is  is a series of one off panels operating on the premise that Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins are lovers.  As two of the hardest of hard core rockers, this is a pretty funny premise.  The writers make it a bit more so by implying they're living in fear of retribution.  Oh, and Daryl Hall and John Oates are the gay couple next door who are Satanists.

The panels themselves are hit and miss.  There are various creators, based on the differences in art in the panels.  My favorites tended to be the ones where Glenn is depicted as a sort of Little Orphan Annie/Goon character. 

For no particular reason there's also a panel where Wolverine asks Colossus if his pants make his butt look big.  It's that kind of out of left field that pulls it back for me, because when it's on, the book has some really funny takes on issues ranging from homosexuality and abortion to vanity and Satanic rituals.  Not likely to be to a wide audience taste, but a good read if you don't mind being offended every now and again.  Just don't tell Glenn.

Lee's comment:  If you're familiar with heavy metal and the music of Henry and Glenn, there are lots of references to lyrics which make many of the pages even funnier.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Farewell to Batman


The new movie the Dark Knight Rises talks about the epic conclusion to the Dark Knight sage. Of course we know this is talking about the Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale trilogy. All good stories have beginnings, middles and ends. As I have said ad nauseam this is the problem with so many of the cape stories. The nature of the beast has quashed the love I had for the Marvel characters and the new DCU has destroyed my love of those characters. The last cape and cowl character I held onto was Batman, but I feel like even that is at end.

Scott Snyder is writing hands down the best cape and cowl book on the stands, yet it is not drawing me in like his work on Dick Grayson as Batman in Detective comics did. The Court of Owls is just way too big at this point. I find it hard to believe that this organization could be so underground and undetected for years and years. I’m enjoying it, but I’m not buying it. Even worse the cross over nature of the story I think has made the story itself almost too broad in scope and if just feels like every bat member gets a Talon to fight. The most ridiculous I have read to date is that Batgirl gets to have a girl Talon as a foe. I’m surprised Robin did get a ten year old Talon to fight.

The problem is the new DCU was stated to be a soft re-launch. What this left us with is a DC that is not my DCU at all. Instead of a brand new world (which Earth 2 is doing and I loved that first issue) we are getting a world where we are suppose to accept what changed changed and what did not change did not, but as readers we have no insight as to what is history and what is not history.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Mothers Day

So it's Mother's Day!  At my house this is one of the craziest days of the year outside of Christmas.  Not because of the gifts but because of the lengths we go to make sure Mom (Wife) is fully appreciated for one day.  In other news, do you have how hard it is to find a comic book with the word "Mom" or "Mother" in it?  Let me tell you, it's darn near impossible!   That's not true, I took the liberty of eliminating all titles like 'Hot Momma' and 'Mom's Love'... there's a surprisingly large amount of those and they are just nasty!  But I did find some good ones that were clean and wholesome.  So, on with our salute to Mother's Day!

What better way to appreciate Mom than with homemade comics.  This is great... as long as you don't read the fine print.  The big letters are nice though.

Ok, so I'm not perfect.  That's a picture of my wife (Mom in this house) in the letter box.  Rawr rawr.

What?  It says "Mother"!  Maybe it's followed by Goose but it still says Mother so this counts as a comic about mom's.

This is the one official Mother's Day comic book I could find.  And it's got bugs on the cover.  What I can I say, comic book boys will be comic book boys.

And this one... one of the best books ever.  Seriously, I have this, and once a year I reread it.  It's a moving tale about a young boy who's mother is there.  It makes you sad and happy all at once. 

That's all folks, now go enjoy your Sunday.... and call your Mom to tell her home much you love her!  Unless she's crazy, then just say you like her alot.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Free Digital Comic

Ultimates #10

Redemption Code


Go to and enjoy

The Avengers Reading Initiative: Four Sets of Ones, Twos, and Threes (50 issues apart)

So last week in anticipation of the new Avengers movie coming out, I decided to get a jump start on my Avengers comic book reading.  It’s been a tradition of mine since the underrated 2003 Daredevil film came out to dive into my collection of back issues and hardcovers and read as much about the particular celluloid comic character until my interest starts to wane.  Say what you will about  Ang Lee’s Hulk movie, but both it and DD spurred the best reading runs to date (Iron Man did pretty well too).   Of course, the comic material in particular has a lot to do with my success (Miller’s DD, Trimpe’s Hulk, and Micheline/Layton’s Iron Man) or failure and up until a couple of years ago I didn’t have either the weekly blogging or at40 recording commitment (meaning I had more free time to read), which probably explains why I didn’t get very far with Captain America beyond the Omnibus.  While I don’t have a complete run of the Avengers, I do have the following:

Marvel Omnibus: The Avengers Volume 1 featuring issues #1 thru 30.

Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 6 thru 12 (by this posting) featuring issues #51 thru 119.
The Avengers (1963): #1½ , 141-202, 209-211, 227-292, 294, 298, 299-323, 334, 355-358, 360-396, 372‑375, and 400 plus a scattering of annuals.

The Avengers (1997): #1-64
Well, I decided to limit my reading to the pre-Onslaught stories, so that threw out the excellent Busiek/Perez run from 1997.  I also knew that I would be struggling to get through the oft-reprinted early issues and may NEVER get very far in the series, leaving scores of stories unread.  Then it occurred to me, why limit myself to one single era? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

First Impressions: Frankenstein Alive, Alive #1

As I said I want to try this out a few times and do this format for new series. As a matter of full disclosure I’m a huge Bernie Wrightson fan. I have loved his work for many years and still keep waiting for DC to do an Absolute Edition of his and Wein’s Swamp Thing.
This week is Frankenstein Alive, Alive #1 by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson published by IDW.

The Cover – Franky checking himself out in a puddle. Extremely dark, I’m curious is by being so dark would it draw your attention or not on the comic rack.

Inside Front Cover – Spot illustration of Frank with the credits.

Page 1 – The art is in black and white, which suits Wrightson’s work perfectly. This is pencil and inks. We are at carnival and the kids and adults want to see the freak show. No words are actually needed.

Page 2 and 3 – Two page spread. Franky comes out from behind a curtain stunning the crowd. Feels like depression era America and Frank’s narrative shows he is self aware and apparently working for the carnival. Wrightson’s expressions are terrific, just drop dead gorgeous artwork.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free Comic Book Day

I went to Free Comic Book Day on Saturday and made a few discerning choices.  Ok, some were discerning.  Others were just to see what's going on in Marvel and DC.  So here's what I picked-up and what I thought of them.

Vertigo Preview 2012 was the weakest offering of the bunch.  That may have to do with the fact that it wasn't actually a Free Comic Book Day offering.  It was just a preview that was published earlier, but it was out with the stuff for the day, so I'm including it.  Besides, I didn't see anything else for Vertigo for the occasion.  It's like an inverse relationship to the quality of Vertigo books.  The problem for me was that it was previews for Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child, Fairest, The New Deadwardians, and Saucer Country.  All four of them came out in March and are already on to their second issue as of April.  A preview of books that are already out is putting the cart before the horse or closing the barnd door after the horse has escaped.  Pick your equine analogy.  I've been buying three of the books.  They're all good but I don't think Dominique Laveau is good enough to last much longer on my list.  I would have liked an actually FCBD offering for Vertigo.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Dark Horse Previews For July

Lee: Many thanks to Jim for helping out last month but it’s time for the return of the original idiot… THOMM! Yeah Thomm. We’ve missed ya. Mostly missed ya.
Thomm: No idiot is more original no this site than our esteemed founder, Jim. Well, maybe his right thumb man, Lee. I cannot claim the honor.

Paul Chadwick (W/A/Cover)
FC, 24 pages, One-shot , $2.99
One of the medium’s all-time greats is back in this collection of Concrete stories from the relaunched Dark Horse Presents! In three new adventures, the most human of heroes intervenes in a burglary that turns out to be much more, investigates a possible sighting of the aliens who gave him his rocky body, and develops an alternative to the Taser: himself. This issue strikes the perfect balance of inviting stories for new readers and character development for longtime fans!  Collecting the Concrete stories from Dark Horse Presents #1–#3!
Lee: I see that DH isn’t going to collect DH Presents as a single collection. Darn it! I should have supported it from the beginning. Oh well, I know Thomm loves Concrete so this pick is for him.
Thomm: And I have all the issues of the current version of DHP, so I already have these stories. And they were excellent, as always. Easily worth the $3 DH wants for these stories.

Five more totally awesome books below the break.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

DC’s Second Wave – Earth 2, Dial H, GI Combat and World’s Finest #1s All

The first thought I have is will DC now be doing the drop six to eight titles every once in a while? Then add eight new ones all the time from now on, holding to just 52 titles? If yes, I’m fine with that philosophy, just curious. Then if this is the second wave, how long does that analogy last? In a few years the 10th wave does not have the same cool sound as the second wave. I was happier with these four books then I was with most of DC lately, so I decided some capsule reviews were in order.
Earth 2 #1 is by James Robinson (writer) with Nicola Scott (pencils) and Trevor Scott (inks) and colors by Alex Sinclair. This book was great. They played off the first Justice League arc and showed in this world Darkseid won the war for a time. Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman sacrifice themselves to take Earth back. We then flip to seeing Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, both are not heroes or connected and both are young. The book ends with Mercury showing up at Jay’s doorstep. I loved it. The JSA (or whatever) is being reborn as the second generation and we get to see them as their careers begin. This is so much better then the unknown past of the characters in the current DCU. I have no clue about who those characters are; here I’m in on the ground floor. Plus I love the JSA and starting them over is fine by me. Heck I would have accepted the same thing in the DCU more then the half ass re-launch we got. James Robinson seems to be in his element, able to craft more of what he wants to do as opposed to making everything work with what he was given. I’m thinking of some of his recent Superman work which did not feel like the same James Robinson whose work I usually enjoy. Nicola Scott with Trevor Scott is looking like a top flight super hero artist. Her work has always been strong, now it moved up another notch. All topped off by the best super hero color artist in the business makes a nice package. This looks like a hit.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Two Books and A Movie

Well it is not a week in a review it is a discussion of two Marvel comics that came out this week and a movie. I’m defining the week being from Wednesday to Tuesday as we are all mainly comic book people. I have given up for all intents and purposes the possibility of actually reviewing the week in its entirety as catching up has become a never ending task. I’m getting closer, but it is what it is.

On some other notes the Avengers was an awesome movie and out and out fun. I hope it holds up over time, as often these summer popcorn movies fall apart with distance. It is nice to see the Baltimore Orioles playing great baseball to start the year, but they dashed my hopes before and I’m unwilling to give them my heart again until July. At least with my new locale I can see them play the Tampa Bay Rays and right now it would be two top teams fighting it out. I can be the outsider rooting for the O’s.

The two books I want to discuss are Avengers vs X-Men #3 and Daredevil #12. Both are examples of professional and well done comics and both are rife with problems that exist because of the never ending nature of these characters.

First up is Avengers vs. X-Men #3, written by the favored writers of the marvel staff (sorry Rick Remender, Jeff Parker, Dan Slott and others you are second class citizens), scripted by Ed Brubaker with John Romita Jr. on pencils, Scott Hanna on inks and Laura Martin on colors. The actual story is paint by numbers with the X-Men escaping and the quest being split into five pieces allowing the cast to be reduced per task. This is classic group super hero book writing and goes back to the days of All Star Comics and the Justice Society. We get an ultra cool moment of Captain America kicking Wolverine out into the middle of nowhere as he does not trust him to follow orders in this case. A very cool moment, but Wolverine never follows orders, it was not a stretch. John Romita Jr. is certainly a strong story teller and his art can be dynamic, but it always gets looser and looser with each issue as I guess deadlines catch up with him. This issue is no exception and I expect we will have a new artist for the next segment as I believe it was scheduled. Scott Hanna helps a lot, but some pages just don’t cut it. The writing is fine and Brubaker does better dialogue then Bendis, still it feels like it is being written down a little. I just get the feeling that there is an additional need to make this more of an all ages read. I know it is the big crossover event and all but it does not mean it can’t have more sophistication in how it is written. All in all I would have to say that it is an enjoyable ride. The type of book that is simplistic and easy enough to follow. The pluses are it feels self contained so far and should make a nice hard cover for those who want to re-read it. For me it is something I will read as escapism entertainment.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Exotic Romances

Many many thanks to Jim for covering for me this week.  It's been over the top busy and life finally overwhelmed my comic book addictions.  Anyway, to celebrate my whining I decided to look at a series that had some excellent weepy covers.  Today I give you Exotic Romances!  In which no one is exotic and the locations even less so!

Let's start with...

Exotic Romances #22.  Yep, tons of exotic here.  Maybe it's the fact that she appears slightly stalker-ish.  That could be exotic.

Exotic Romances #24. Besides the story about back stabbing sisters (always a top seller!) there is the one about "Too Many Sweethearts."  I gotta admit, I am curious what defines too many sweethearts in 1950's America.

Exotic Romances #27 doesn't have the best cover but it's got the best stories.  With tales like "I waited too late," "Afraid to Marry," and "Did I love him enough?" it would have been hard to resist this issue.

Exotic Romances #28. Based on that look, it really appears that the officer was using the girl to get to the private.  Now that's exotic!

Exotic Romances #31.  As a man, if I am to understand this cover correctly, all women are "husband hunters."  Good to know... but a little late for me.  Another classic tale in this issue, "I was the girl in his past."  What did all the ex's in the world do before Facebook???

That's all folks, now go enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Free Digital Comic

Avengers versus X-Men #3 of 12

Redemption Code


Go to and enjoy

The Avengers Movie – A Review

I usually try to lower my expectations before a big film I’m eagerly anticipating comes out with the rule being that it can only go up from there.  Well, I couldn’t really do that for the Avengers.  I was buzzing all night thinking about seeing it at 0900 Friday morning.  And I’m happy to say that it was indeed EXCELLENT!  But is it the BEST Marvel film to date?   You know, that’s a really tough question.  I guess I’d say Iron Man, Captain America, and the Avengers are each just about tied for first, because I love them all, but for different reasons.  Thor is respectably in second-place with the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man II both being deeply flawed and essentially unnecessary to the overall saga. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

X-O Manowar #1 – First Impressions


Again we are in need of a post and again I have decided to pull something together. I get new comics on Thursday via the mail now since I moved to Florida. While I have a list of what I’m getting it is still fun to open the box. I also find I order number ones a lot since I’m not at the store to pursue stuff before I buy. Since I have cut back on DC and Marvel, it is usually fun getting new #1s from various publishers. I have always had a soft spot for Valiant books as I think under Jim Shooter that company had the potential to be the next Marvel or DC comics. Due to various reasons it did not come to pass. Now we have a new Valiant comics and a new X-O Manowar as their flagship book. Instead of the same static review I decided to experiment by doing a page by page impression of the book as I’m reading it.

The cover – Okay, we can clearly see X-O swinging an energy sword fighting some bad guys that are clearly alien, but it is too dark and I can’t imagine it jumps off the rack.

Inside front cover, WTF is this. A timeline of X-O and we are welcomed to 402 AD. Two much information I just want to read the book, I’ll come back later.

Page 1, four vertical panels. Two soldiers are running in the field away from or towards Romans. Last panel it is not going well.  I know Cary Nord is the pencil artist and Stefano Gaudiano is inker, the art looks solid.

Page 2 and 3 – huge two page splash shows a lot of Romans firing arrows into a group of the barbarians. Oddly we see a word balloon pointing to the two guys who were running to the battle?  Minor point.

Page 4 and 5, two three panel pages showing the Romans kicking the snot out of the barbarians and they are deciding to retreat.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Amazing Mysteries The Bill Everett Archives Volume 1 and the Golden Age

Lee is having a personal crisis, I believe it is called having a job and children, in other words the man is busy, busy, busy. Heck we dragged Thomm’s post ahead a day so it would not be the blank page, because we do not work very far ahead. Anyway Lee was going to just have a gone on vacation or some other type of post, but I decided to see if I could opine about something comics related. I can usually bore any non-comics fan in the span of five minutes talking about comics, so I’m sure there is some subject I can talk about.

The Golden Age of Comics is one. First let’s get this out of the way; the early days of comic books were not the Golden Age of Comics. In my mind the term would denote that something was at its absolute best. No matter how you cut it those early days were about production, going with what ever sold yesterday and seeing what sticks. It was more of an Iron Age of comics or perhaps the Glory Days of comics. The Golden Age of Comics started about 10 or 15 years ago and is still ongoing. You can use the Watchmen as the first days of the dawning of a Golden Age when comic books started to become literate and the writers and artists use to medium to its best effect. Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Eric Powell, Robert Kirkman, Terry Moore, Joe Hill, Jeff Parker, Bill Willingham, Jeff Lemire, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Marcos Martin, Gabriel Rodriquez and the list of artists and writers goes on and on and on. Today’s comics, in general, are the best comics have ever been. We are in the Golden Age of comics and the same time the print comic is in its death throes.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The List - April 2012

Ok, here I go trying to figure out how to do this with the new Blogger.  Hopefully it won't look like a totally disjointed mess.

1. Spaceman 6 - I love this book.  I really hope it goes into a larger story at some point in the future.  Not necessarily an ongoing series but just more story arcs.  Azzarello and Risso have one of the best works I've seen in a long time, and that's saying something, because unlike Jim, I like almost all of what I'm reading in comics.  "When the thievers thieve you...this where you buy it back."  A throw away line but encapsulating so much of what's going on in the world they've created for Orson, Tara and the band of kids helping to keep Tara alive.  Reality TV, extremes of wealth an poverty, celebrity obsession, slang that's removed from standard English but easily translatable.  It's our world in extremis.  Beautifully ugly.

2. Fables 116 - A long time love, this book.  No easy infatuation with the new.  Willingham, Buckingham, and Leialoha have been working this wonderful series of stories, intertwined throughout, for almost a decade now.  Hard to believe, but it makes the fact that Snow and Bigby's cubs are around 10 fit right in, too.  Not long ago I thought the story of one of the cubs becomine the new North Wind was going to be occupying our attention for quite some time, but this arc with Therese becoming the queen of the island of discarded toys is a nice look at another of the cubs.  I'm hoping Willingham and crew have a lot more stories of each cub lined up.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Mega Library IV

A shorter sampling of what the Baltimore Co Public Library, Reisterstown Branch, has to offer this time. I liked the last posting's method of the oreder being the order I read them, so I'll stick with that.

First off is Blacksad from Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido. It's another funny animal book, and one that Lee and I had mentioned in one of our Previews postings. Dark Horse put together this English translation. Somewhat amuing that it needs translation, being set in the US, but the writer's not a native English speaker. Guess that'll keep the Know Nothings from reading. Well, the fact that they're Know Nothings keeps them from reading as a general rule. Anyway, this is some great hardboiled noir. Lots of the little guy detective, Blacksad, trying to figure out cases without the powers that be coming down too hard on him. The first story, Somewhere Within the Shadows, was the best of the three stories in this collection. It's a more or less traditional noir with its urban setting and connected suspects. Think The Big Sleep, only making sense. Arctic Nation was the weakest. It's an allegory about race relations. Sort of. It wants to be an allegory by using animals in place of humans, but it's straight up black versus white, as the Arctic, white furred animals run a small, broken down company town. There's a lot of incestuous relations and beating deaths going on. Somehow the whole thing rings false. Maybe it's because the allegory is too one dimensional.

Next up is Noche Roja by Simon Olilver and Jason Latour. An imprint of the Vertigo Crime subdivision, it's another noir tale. I was on a bit of a noir trend this go round. No funny animals here. Black and white humans. Well, the characters are shades of grey. This story is mostly set just over the Mexican border from the US, though there's some action in the US. The protagonist is searching for the killer of a series of poor girls who work as virtual slaves doing whatever piecemeal work is being done at the factory. Some are just sexually molested by the factory boss, a slight improvement over the ones who are being killed by someone. The ghetto where the workers subsist is cowed by the factory operators, and the police are in the pockets of the same owners, so nothing is being done about the girls' deaths. Our hero has a history in the area, having investigated the local boss when he was a cop, until a friend and source was killed. No happy endings to this story. Brutal all around, really. Very much a product of its genre, it has a bit of the conspiratorial with a US Senator that's kind of easy to see coming, but it's enjoyable story.

Finally, there's Trickster: Native American Tales, compiled by Matt Dembicki. There are different writers and artists for each of the 21 stories in the book. It's a nice, think composition with stories from different tribes and regions that all share the common element of a trickster character. Sometimes the trickster comes out on top. Sometimes not. I enjoy culturally specific stories like these. They provide insights into cultures, and in the case of these stories, are well told. Most of the writers are Native Americans from the tribe whose story is being told. Some were told and recorded a long time ago with only the art being new for this book. After the previous two noir books, it was a very nice change of pace. Probably my favorite of these three selections.