Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Reading Plan 2012 (or What's in your suitcase?)

"Vacation -- All I ever wanted.  Vacation -- Had to get away." Go-Gos

Well, if all goes as planned I'll be heading west today with my family for our annual 5000 mile round-trip driving excursion.  Actually, the first leg will just be me and the six kids as my wife is staying behind the first week to put our rental house up for sale. So as always happens this time of year, I'm left with the daunting task of deciding what reading material to pack (not to mention the daunting task of driving 9+ hours and 500+ miles by myself for the first two days). 

Sure, I've got TONS of things that I need to catch up on, but those Omniboos aren't really designed for travel.  I don't even want to take any Masterworks either (and I'm suspending my successful Avengers Reading Inititive for the time being -- up to 20+ issues in each group so far! [more on that another time]).  Anyway, this year I determined to pare things down and not overpack.  I'm pretty sure I failed in that regard, but judge for yourself, since I'm going to show you what I selected.  Y'all can be my accountablity parnters on whether I actually read any of this stuff.

Blame it on Lee (and a nice segway from yesterday), but first up is the original 12-issues of the Micronauts. Technically, I'm bringing the 5-issue Baxter reprint series, but I wanted to show off my favorite Micro cover. (Yes, I was too lazy to take some of these out of their bags to scan...)

6 more after the break (I always wanted to say that -- not really)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Question of the Week

I am starting a new feature. It's the Question of the week. Kind of an either/or situation that requires a brief explanation. Usual rules apply (mostly to Matthew)... 3-5 sentences. No more than 7. The objective is clear and concise. Responses by Monday please.

Question of the week: There have been comic book tie ins to toys for as long as Jim can remember. It's a great marketing tool for toy companies and sometimes we readers even get great stories. But, sometimes publishers lose the license and suddenly something that was once fantastic cannot be reprinted. This week, which toy inspired comic deserves to be reprinted more: Micronauts or Rom?

Lee: It has to be Micronauts. Both were poorly written so the deciding factor has got to be art. Rom had the very workmanlike Sal Buscema for the majority of the run until some inspired work by Ditko at the series end. But Micronauts, oh la la the Micronauts. It starts with a masterful 11 issues run by Mike Golden which is just stunning! Then it gets Ditko, Chaykin, Kane, and early Butch Guice. For that reason alone, Micronauts needs reprinting.

Jim: Lee has a point, but I actually thought Rom's story was decent. Plus, if memory serves it actually had an ending. Micronauts wins art, but at times I remember it being muddy, Maybe if done today it would look better, but I'm still voting Rom, story over art.

Matthew: I've only ever managed to get a handful of Rom comics, but I liked the ones I've read and hope to one day get the whole series (the first Annual is really good). But, Lee is way off base about the Micronauts being "poorly written" -- SACRILEGE, I SAY!!! -- as it is one of my all time favorite comic stories (and it did have a definitive end, actually two of them). The first TWELVE (not eleven) issues of Micronauts may be the best Bronze Age story of all time with great character dynamics: Rann and Mari; Biotron and Microtron; Bug and Acroyear; Acroyear and Shaitan; Ray and Steve Coffin; Force Commander and Baron Karza (the greatest villain this side of Darkseid); even Slug and Lady Belladonna. He also forgot to mention the best artist to come after Golden and that's Pat Broderick (Chaykin's work was RUINED with poor inking)! Two omnibuses should do it for Micronauts (forget about the second series), which definitely should be reprinted first (I'd buy an IDW Artist Edition). However, both should be collected by Marvel, since they crossed over with the regular Marvel Universe often. Now, please apologize for that disparaging remark concerning Sal Buscema's wonderful art!
There. I counted seven...creative...sentences.
Thomm: Need is far too strong a word for either series.  Neither needs to be reprinted.  I read most, if not all, of Rom, which was not good, in either art or writing, final ending notwithstanding.  Micronauts definitely looked better in the few issues I read and appeared to have more variety in its character development.  Rom was all knight errant and genocidal slaughter.  I vote for not republishing either of them, though. Lee, you’re just making Matthew into a master of the run on sentence.
Matthew: Gwen can just donate some of her leftover sentences to me.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Indies Previews for August Part 3 of 3

Sterling Publishing
Princess of Mars Illustrated Classics GN by (w) Ian Edginton (a/c) I. N. J. Culbard
I was filled with a terrible, single purpose ... to survive! First serialized a century ago as Under the Moons of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs's planetary romance is recognized today as a genre-bending pulp-fiction classic, more influential even than the Tarzan stories that earned its author fortune and fame. Perhaps the founding text of modern sci-fi, its doomed love story (between the heroic explorer John Carter and Dejah Thoris, The Princess of Mars) was the first to imagine the green men of the Red Planet! 136 pgs. $15.95.  Visit the artist here.
Lee: There have been more comics about John Carter in the last year than you can shake a stick at. It’s been ridiculous. So why would I pick this one? I think this will be closer to a true adaption than the others. And I believe this won’t be a book filled with gratuitous t-n-a. I love the Mars books and Edginton is an excellent, established writer whom I think will do the books justice.  Let's not forget that the art is by Culbard, currently the New Deadwardians artist so that will be good too!
Gwen: Doomed love story?? Maybe they only read the first book... I'm pretty sure I have the artist's adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles and I remember liking it. From what I can find online it does seem to be a faithful adaptation which is good. I'll end up with a copy since I have almost every version of this book out there (since A Princess of Mars is the best book ever written). Seriously, I have a shelf just for Princess of Mars. Okay, maybe only part of a shelf for this book specifically as the other books in the series take up some room too. Also, this is already out, you can buy it from Amazon.

The final 6 below the break

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Indies Previews for August Part 2 of 3

Fulcrum Publishing
District Comics: Unconventional History of Washington DC GN by (w) Scott O. Brown (a) Various
District Comics is a graphic anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, DC, from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis. Spanning 1794-2009, District Comics stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate's speakeasy, a look into the punk scene, and much more. 256 pgs, $24.95 Read the Amazon hype here, but buy the book from your local LCS!
Lee: I hate using Amazon to hype a book but there’s a better list of artists/writers and their accomplishments there. This is full of talented people and since I live relatively close to DC I think it will be fun. DC really is an interesting city and I can’t pass up a chance to learn more about it.
Gwen:I wonder if they'll talk about how the first attempt sunk into the swamp. Anyway Lee, what's wrong with Amazon hype? I love Amazon, the customer reviews can be really helpful if you know what types of pros and cons you're looking for.

6 more below the break

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Indies Previews for August Part 1 of 3

Lee: Everytime I think it's gonna be a light month, I seem to find a ton of books to talk about.  I could limit myself but why...
Gwen: Another 3 parter. Let's dive right in!

Abrams Comicarts
Economix: How & Why Our Economy Works & Doesn't Work GN by (w) Michael Goodwin (a/c) Dan Burr
Stimulus plans: good or bad? Free markets: How free are they? Jobs: Can we afford them? Occupy Wall Street... worldwide! Everybody's talking about the economy, but how can we, the people, understand what Wall Street or Washington knows - or say they know? With clear, witty writing and quirky, accessible art, this important and timely graphic novel transforms the dismal science of economics into a fun, fact-filled story about human nature and our attempts to make the most of what we've got. It's the essential, accessible guide to understanding the economy and economic practices. 304 pgs. $19.95
Lee: The market has been flooded with these ‘explanation’ books lately. Between philosophy, history of comics, and now this I think I am just about done with them. That said, this one certainly looks interesting and in this day and age, anything that can simplify world economics for the masses has got to be a good thing. AND, the art is really good too! Burr was the artist on an early, super-amazing gn, Kings in Disguise.
Gwen: I'm a fan of putting topics like this into comic book form. I loved Action Philosophers not only because it was fun but it was also educational. Let's face it, there are a lot of people interested in a variety of topics but not everyone wants to pick up any old dry book on something like economics. Having a comic book alternative is a great way to get such info out to the public. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Week in Review – Starring BW The Comedian, Saga, Mars Attacks and Dark Avengers

So I cannot possibly tell you how much the cape and cowl set is boring me to tears. I have dropped Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine and the X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and FF. Marvel has jacked many prices to $4 which made it even easier to drop. I keep knocking DC books off my list also as the mainstream stuff has lost any charm. To be fair it has taken 50 years of reading comics to finally hit this point, but the new DCU killed my love for those characters like the way One More Day killed it for Spider-Man. The common thread is that the company decides they want to make up brand new continuity without starting the character over. So they throw away what they want and don’t care about what is and what is not canon for the character. The idea is to just wash away any issues, keep the characters younger and tell good stories. Which is fine and they are welcome to do it. For me it just means what I have invested in the characters is gone. It is freeing in a sense as my once massive list of close to 125 books is more manageable and now I find that I’m actually enjoying what I do read a lot more.
Saga #4 – Written by Brian K. Vaughan and Art by Fiona Staples – Publisher Image Comics – Price $2.99. This book seems to be a critical favorite and will probably climb up the sales charts as time goes by. I’m enjoying this book, but Vaughan stuff has never had any staying power for me. I dropped off “Y” the Last Man and fell off his Ex Machina, so Saga has to prove itself. The story is simple at this point two star crossed lovers are running from everyone in the galaxy and being chased by a die hard mercenary killer. Of course it has a cast of characters that are out of a drug induced haze that would make Grant Morrison jealous. The supporting cast includes a talking dog sized cat, a chopped in half ghost, a TV headed royalty. In this issue Will, the bounty hunter, visits Sextillion and we get to see copulating angels, fat whores and a six year old waif who is a whore. The story becomes more expansive every issue and at this point I’m enjoying this space opera that seems half Star Wars, half Romeo and Juliet and half whatever nightmare I had last night. It is both familiar and odd and right now I’m in for the ride, I just hope Vaughn can make this story into something that will hold my interest for the long term.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: My First Comic

This week something different.  Our first covers!  I asked everyone what was the first comic book they remembered buying, or being bought for them.  I was interested to see how different our collective reading experiences were.
For me,
Marvel 2-in-1 #28, June 1977.
We at at the local grocery store back when grocery stores still carried comics, I whined, Mom caved, and I got it. Boy oh boy did I ever get it because my punishment for whining.... having to read it out loud with Mom. I loved the book but I really just wanted her to read it to me.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Free Digital Comics x 2 -- 2 Free Digital Comics

Amazing Spider-Man #687: Ends of the Earth Part 6


Avenging Spider-Man #8: Ends of the Earth Epilogue


The second one is better than the first.


Okay, I've been very busy at work lately trying to get an analysis report wrapped up before I go on vacation next week.  So even though I'm enjoying one of my early-off Fridays, I don't really want to sit in front of the computer and try to compose something with all the hub-bub going on right now with six kids home from school.  Besides it's my last weekend at home for a while and I need to catch up on my reading! So, partly out of necessity and partly in response to Lee's call for brevity, I'm presenting a cover -- a single cover.

I almost missed how cool this cover was until I started questioning something. See if you can figure it out and we'll chat quickly after the break.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Free Digital Comics x 4 -- 4 Free Digital Comics

go to

Avengers vs X-Men #7 Redemption Code


New Avengers #27 Redemption Code


Secret Avengers #28 Redemption Code


Uncanny X-Men #14 Redemption Code


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Image Previews for August

Lee: And we’re on a roll folks! Image continues to shine with more and more good stuff. They have actually started to account for more of my monthly budget than DC.
Thomm: Considering how things are with DC, that’s not surprising. Oddly, I may be the most satisfied with DC amongst our dedicated staff of writers. Then again, I shop by creators rather than publisher.

story Matt Hawkins art / cover Rahsan Ekedal - Brian Reber
32 Pages / BW / $3.99
Fighting The Man… With Science! Dr. David Loren is many things: child prodigy, inventor, genius, slacker… mass murderer. When a military think tank’s smartest scientist decides he can no longer stomach creating weapons of destruction, will he be able to think his way out of his dilemma or find himself subject to the machinations of smaller men?
Lee: I can’t help but feel that I’ve read this story somewhere before but I can’t figure out where. No matter, I love the idea of super smart man fights the system. And with all the other great stuff Image has been putting out lately I’m good for the first issue.
Thomm: If I’m reading this right, anyone who invents something that kills people is a mass murderer. Plus, I don’t think our blurb writer understands what a think tank is. Those people sit and think and write stuff. They don’t make stuff. This may be a fun read, but the blurb is irritatingly linguistically flawed.

Five more below the break...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Empire State: A Love Story (or Not)

When it comes to clothes and just about anything else I'm not a sales shopper.  I'll buy stuff on sale if it's something I need anyway, but I'm not hunting for sales or just going to sales to find stuff.  Except with comics.  Then I'll hit the sales just to see what looks interesting.

Which would be how I stumbled across this little gem.  A $5 trades and hard covers bin is a good place to find something good to read on the cheap.

I know nothing of author Jason Shiga, but his story of unrequited love, both near and far, is interesting and amusing.  It's a slice of life sort of story, albeit a fictional life.  Lead characters Jimmy and Sara have known each other a long time.  Jimmy has feelings for Sara but doesn't share until after she moves from Oakland to New York.  Jimmy ends up taking a bus ride across the country to see her, where she already has a boyfriend. 

It's a nicely told story with many small moments that make it feel like an actual life being observed.  The art is spare and effective.  It's a surprisingly quick read, too.  It's a fairly long book but Shiga uses a good deal of moments of silence and vistas to bring across the feelings of a moment.  That has the side effect of moving the reading along quickly, as does the use of non-expository dialog.  The conversations between the characters is clipped like a real conversation, not a speech.  The maxim "Show, don't tell" is well observed.

My only moment of confusion was that there are some shifts between past and present in the narration of the story.  Took me a little to realize the panels with red/pink background were past and the panels with blue background were present.

In the end, Jimmy is disappointed in his quest and flies back to Oakland.  No Hollywood ending, but a wonderful story of one man's unrequited dreams.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

IDW Previews for August

Lee: And we’ve officially reached the end of the summer in previews land. The last of the last before the big countdown to Christmas… which should start next month. Actually, it already started at Dark Horse.

Thomm: As any retailer knows, the earlier Christmas shopping starts, the better. It’s not about some guy who rose from the dead later. It’s about profits rising.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1 (of 4)
Mark Waid (w) • Chris Samnee (a) • Samnee, Dave Stevens (c)
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rocketeer with an all-new full-length series!
A ship docks in Los Angeles harbor from a far-off and exotic locale—with a big, mysterious… and living… cargo! Danger and mayhem abound as our hero leaps into the fray! Plus, we introduce a lovely new character who will be vying against Betty for Cliff’s affections! FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Lee: I’m not completely sold on the Rocketeer character but I am sold on this creative team. Waid’s been doing some great stuff lately, and Samnee is criminally underrated. Those two alone make it worth the investment.
Thomm: Waid’s the big draw for me here. I haven’t but so much experience with the Rocketeer, but Waid’s consistently good to great in his writing.

5 more below the break...

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Week in Review – Featuring The Massive #1, Planetoid #1 and BW Silk Spectre #1


Well last week’s ambitious posting schedule has now subsided to just a post for this Monday. Just to mix things up a little I’m going to review a few comics that I found of interest. As a form of  a self challenge and based on something Lee said about another reviewer, I want to try and keep each book’s review between 125-175 words. The credits don’t count. Note the credits go writer, art and color art.

The Massive #1 – By Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson and Dave Stewart, Publisher Dark Horse - $3.50. The story focuses on the ship The Kapital and its crew. This group is part of the Ninth Wave, which is a direct action conservationist force. They rode out the cataclysmic wave of disaster on the ocean and are now searching for their sister ship the Massive. The disasters could be still ongoing and consist of a radical shift in the earth itself, with earthquakes, tsunamis and other changes creating disasters that have radically changed civilization. The story begins with an attack on the Kapital. We also get flashbacks to what happened during the last year. It immediately draws you in. The plot and characterization of the crew are given equal weight. Brian Wood added some journal entries from Callum Israel, the captain of the ship, as back matter that helps to flesh out more details and personalities of the crew. With both excellent writing and art this is a brilliant first issue. I’m curious as to what exactly happened and exactly what will this group make of their lives.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Witches Tales

It's Father's Day and since I am a father, this post is all about me and some of my favoritist covers of all time.  I freely admit that I have a weakness for horror covers, especially those from the 1950's.  EC covers are probably best known to the general public for obvious reasons but the truth is Harvey's classic 1951 series, Witches' Tales, had better covers.  In terms of ghoulishness, you couldn't top the Harvey's! 

Which begs the question what was wrong with the 1969 version of the series?  A publisher called Eerie gained rights to the name and launched a truely awful series that is better off forgotten.  But, somewhere along the way they created some astoundingly bad covers in really bad taste.  They are soooo bad they are great.  Forget Warren's Eerie and Creepy painted masterpieces!  These are neon colored atrocities that you can't stop looking at.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Witches' Tales Vol 1, #7, July 1969.
This should set the tone for what's below the link.  Six heads, a stack of skulls and a crazy lady making apple juice from people.  Yep, it's safe to say this stood out on the stands in 1969.
More insanity below.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Three More Free Digital Comics - Avengers, Captain America and X-Force

Go to

Uncanny X-Force #26 - Redemption Code


Avengers #27 - Redemption Code


Captain America #13 - Redemption Code


I wonder if anyone is redeeming these things?


Go to

Incredible Hulk #9 Redemption Code


Avengers vs X-Men #3 of 6 Redemption Code


Archie #69 -- Inside A RARE GEM!

I've got a real treat for you this week folks!  We're going to set the Wayback machine to 1954 and delve into the awesome goodness inside Archie #69.  I picked this up for $2 (it's held together more loosely than the Millennium Falcon) at my local store's weekly Whiz Bang last week.  I almost passed it up due to its strong moldy odor, but then I realized I may never get my hands on a Golden Age comic book again! 

I'm glad I decided to buy it (you've just got to read it at arms length), because it was FANTASTIC!!!  If it wasn't illegal, I'd scan the whole book for you, but instead I've sampled a few snippets to help you see what I'm talking about, since mere words would be insufficient to describe this RARE GEM!!! (Now I know why Lee loves this old material so much.)

Let's start with the cover:  Check out that banner!  And pay attention to "Approved Reading" stamp.  I love the expressive eyes too.  Betty seems to have a lot more going for her than Veronica.

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Open Letter to Alan Moore

Dear Alan Moore,

I have been reading on the internet how you maybe upset over the whole Before Watchmen thing. I know you are upset about Watchmen because the contract you signed was standard fare and you never thought the product would be in publication forever. Now that you made a deal that happened to make you rich, you have been crying about how unfair it is to you. Of course I never noticed that you really cared about the fact that you were ripping off the work of the original Charlton characters that DC had purchased. Of course your first big hit which was Swamp Thing was your creation, oh no wait it wasn’t and I believe Len Wein and Berni Wrightson get credit for that. Of course that was derivative of other earlier work. Let’s move on to you doing work on LOEG which is I believe is your creator owned work, although someone else had the rights to market the movie I guess. LOEG is very original using famous characters throughout literacy history that are now in the public domain and making them work all together in a group. Again, originality I guess for the story, not so much characters. In fact I can’t think of one character that you personally created that were unique as to not be derivative.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Rabbi's Cat 2

This, I think, is a product of good hype from Lee.  If memory serves, he was one of the voices saying that Joann Sfar's The Rabbi's Cat was a great read.   He wasn't wrong.  Unless he wasn't one of those voices, in which case I'm giving him credit he doesn't deserve.

Anyway, I bought The Rabbi's Cat during a sale at Cards, Comics and Collectibles.  I'm pretty sure I wrote up a review about it somewhere along the line.

Now I have The Rabbi's Cat 2.  Another sale purchase and another excellent buy.  In fact, I'd say this one is better than the first.

The premise, for those who don't recall, is that the Rabbi Sfar, living in Algiers in the 1930s, has a talking cat.  Only some people can hear the cat's words, with the rest only hearing meow.  Somewhere along the line the Rabbi has gotten caught up in his duties as Rabbi and the travails of his daughter's marriage to a young rabbi from France.  As a result, he lost the ability to understand the nameless cat.  By the end of this volume he regains that ability.

The best part of this volume is the epic trek undertaken by Rabbi Sfar, his cousin who's an imam, a refugee Jew from Russian, an expatriate swashbuckler from Russia, and the cat.  Oh, and the imam's donkey is brought along, too, but he doesn't talk to people.  They're on a mission to drive in a half-track from Algiers to Ethiopia to find a lost tribe of black Jews who've never seen white Jews.  The impetus for this is the refugee who has had himself shipped in a crate of books whose destination was Ethiopia but instead wound up in Algiers.  The communists turned out to be no better for Jews than the imperialists who ruled Russia previously.

Along the way the swashbuckler is killed in a fight with nomads, which he unwisely instigated, and the refugee finds love with an African woman who was once a slave but was working in a bar when they met.

For most of the story the refugee understands the cat, and vice versa, but because the Rabbi no longer understands the cat, the cat can't interpret for him.  The swashbuckler does the job until he's killed, and by that point the refugee has learned a good bit of Arabic. 

As with the first book there's a lot of humor in the cat's observations of these people whose language he understands but who mostly don't understand him.  Having one human who does gives him a sounding board and give and take to his observations.  Where the first volume used the Rabbi to that end, this one uses the refugee. 

This volume was published in 2008, so hopefully there's a third volume, and maybe even a fourth, out there that's been translated to English (as there are at least 5 French volumes and a movie).  And yes, the cat that's the hero of the books is based on a real cat the author owns.  It's that ugly, too.  There's a picture of the author with his cat on the dust jacket.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DC Preview Review for August

Jim: I’m so tired of DC this will be a one day event. Not only are the capes boring me into an apathy coma, the hard cover offerings are a drag. The quality of the hard covers has been lacking and often they are the advertised books collected together with no introduction or any bell or whistle. Next month we should review the Bluewater Production books. They have VSS: Russian Roulette, Vincent Price: Tales of Darkness and The Misadventures of Adam West. Now there are some awesome sounding titles.
Gwen: I am also a bit burnt out on a lot of DC. Most of what I still enjoy is more in the Vertigo line.

Art and cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
On sale AUGUST 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS • FINAL ISSUEAll questions are answered in this final issue! Will Gwen make the ultimate sacrifice before Xitalu consumes every soul on Earth? Will Gavin and Spot make up before it’s too late? Will Ellie and Frankenteen find true love? Will Horatio get his original hair color back? With art and colors by Eisner Award nominees Michael and Laura Allred!
Written by JASON AARON
Art by R.M. GUERA
Cover by JOCK
RESOLICIT • On sale AUGUST 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS • FINAL ISSUERetailers: This issue is resolicited. All previous orders are cancelled.
Jim: All good things must come to an end and both of these have been very good series with Scalped being possibly one of the all time great series. I just think in Scalped no one gets out alive, but I could be wrong. iZombie has been the successor to the Buffy type of vibe for me and I will miss both series.
Gwen: I am looking forward to seeing how Scalped is wrapped up. It has been a great series and I love building up to an actual ending point. I will miss iZombie though. It's such a fun book.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I’m Getting Wednesday (actually Thursday via USPS)

This old column idea is returning due to popular demand. Actually Matthew said he missed it and I decided to get ambitious this week. I have actually been very busy with my real job, so I have no clue why I have been so motivated. Maybe the fact that we are looking to take a month off in August has stirred my blogging passion.

American Vampires Lord of Nightmares #1 – This is another mini-series expanding the America Vampire world.  Scott Snyder’s Vampire series has been great. The last two arcs of the regular series were just okay, but the mini-series gives him a chance to really expand the story. 

Before Watchmen The Silk Spectre #1 – The credits had me buying this book, write Darwyn Cooke and artist Amanda Conner. The sexiest heroine of all time staring in her own series by Cooke and Conner, a no brainer. 

 Frankenstein Agent of Shade #10 – Ever since Grant Morrison used Frankenstein in Seven Soldiers I have enjoyed the character being used this way. The whole crazy super secret organization and having Ray Palmer being their main scientist is just cool. The book is the height of good solid entertainment.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Week In Review Staring Creator Owned Heroes and Before Watchmen Minutemen

So I got caught up and then got two weeks worth of books at once. Now of course it is a race to catch back up. Friday night is when I would usually get a few books read but for an early father’s day gift my daughter Gwen and her husband Andre took me to a USA World Cup qualifying match. It was raining almost the whole time, but at least in Tampa it was just getting wet and not freezing your ass off. Never thought I would get into soccer and I’m still not a huge fan, but it was a fun sport to watch. With the US winning 3-1 over a vastly inferior team you would have thought the game would be boring but it was actually a lot of fun to watch. Enough about me, what about this week’s books you read I can hear you saying.

The Marvel stuff is mostly standard fare, the worse part is the Avengers vs X-Men is making the regular series, like this week’s Wolverine and the X-Men feel like filler. After conversing with Lee I have come to the conclusion that I really need to cut almost every normal Marvel book off my list. FF #18 is a prime example why, we had Johnny Storm being a little more grown up and have the power of the negative zone behind him. This issue he allows free elections and Annihilus wins. This signals that the “growth” of the character is gone and I am also gone as soon as Hickman wraps his run. Stuff like Age of Apocalypse I can still enjoy because it is all alternative earth stuff. What is funny is I don’t know all the history of the characters that well so the little things they do that may shock a devoted X-Men fan pass me by, but the story of a bunch of humans fighting as the last resistance to the mutant overlords is plain comic book fun. The Thunderbolts, now Dark Avengers is also fun as it manages to avoid the rest of the Marvel Universe. Finally Fury Max is a great mini-series that examines the early days of the Viet Nam war and gives us a good picture of Nick Fury as the reluctant and cynical warrior. Nick is a man again in the Max series and not essentially a super hero. So at this point I look forward to jumping off points with many series and will continue to find the niche series that can play in their own little world.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Adults Only

And now for something funny!  There aren't many adult comics that are funny, intelligent, and adult in nature.  Most of the time adult comics are just pointless exercises in... well adultness.  They are what they are.  But every now and then an adult book comes along that is something more.  And such is the case of Xxxenophile.  The series was created by Phil Foglio, of Mythadventures, Girl Genius, Phil/Dixie from Dragon magazine and many other great books! Phil brings his trademark humor to the adult market and it's wonderful to read.  The stories are fun, intelligent, and sexy too. 

There's no nudity on any of the covers, but just in case.... You can see the first one and then check below the link if you wish.

Xxxenophile #1, June 1989.
This is one of my all time favorite covers.  It's appeals to my inner geek. 

More below.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Free Digital Comic The Ultimates #11

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Enter Code


First wins

Simpsons Summer Shindig #6 (2012) – A Review

Happy Summer Everyone!  Time of leisure and hiatus – oops – I mean leisure and relaxation.  Actually, those are both synonyms, so let’s put it more simply:  TIME OFF!!!  (“[Time] off to the great white north, [Time] off it’s a beauty way to start…”)  You know what’s funny about summer? I’m not sure when it actually begins.  Oh sure, you have that whole solstice thingamajig, but you also have Memorial Day weekend and the annual opening of the neighborhood pool.  Then there is the summer movie season, which really starts the day before Free Comic Book Day (and we all know what film kicked it off  [and it is still kicking] this year and I’m not going to mention it today – five weeks in a row is enough).  I guess when it comes right down to it, especially if you have children; the start of summer coincides with the end of school.  And miraculously due to no snow days (because Jim flew south for the rest of his life), my kids just got out yesterday, which is WAY earlier than they’ve ever been out before.  So, to celebrate this wonderful event at least until everyone starts to get on each other’s nerves (I predict by Monday), I’m going to review the latest Simpsons Summer Shindig special by Bongo Comics that came out the Wednesday before last.  (C’mon, it hasn’t been that long since I reviewed something; it just seems that way.)

Friday, June 08, 2012

First Impressions Extermination #1 - BOOM Studios

As I said I will on an inconsistent basis do a review of a first issue of a new comic, giving a page by page review/impression of a new series. I just like to try to find different ways of reviewing a comic. This book is from Boom Studios, a company that seems to be struggling to find an identity and is written by Simon Spurrier and art is by Jeff Edwards.

The Cover – Lots of yellow and dark brown, the main character looks super hero like and there is a bug like creature behind him. So the book is about a super hero bug killer. Did I guess right? Decent cover, not sure it would jump at on the stands, but the title grabs my interest.

Inside Front Cover – Credits and way too many covers as the credits include the artist for nine different covers. Do people really care about this anymore?

Page 1 – Four panels, the seemingly new wave is long rectangular boxes. We start with a quote. I guess setting up the post apocalypse setting. I find most quotes in comics annoying. Why can’t the writer find a way to say it? It looks like a cityscape that is now destroyed and covered in sand. A motorcycle is being chased by a blue streak and two guys (one in side car) are arguing as they are firing at it. Like a Batman and Robin team fighting what?

Page 2 – Almost full page splash with one rectangle panel underneath. Nox is introduced via the annoying gimmick where the character’s name and a few facts are just laid out next to him. It says “Nox The nocturnal knight of righteous redemption, the good guy.” He appears to be a Batman analogue. Also introduced is “The Red Reaper. Mincing Megalomaniacal science, tyrant, eeevil.” Note the clever spelling of evil. Bad guy is driving the motorcycle and Nox is shooting and apparently destroyed the blue thing.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Free Digital Uncanny X-Men #13

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Free Digital Comic Avengers vs X-Men #5

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What I read this week

It was pointed out to me that all my stories seem to have me 'winning' or otherwise causing trouble and antagonizing my ever so innocent wife.  Well, this week I want to set the story straight that what comes around goes around at my house.

It started last week when I was working in the attic.  I thought I had taken all the necessary tools up with me, but as with any home project, things quickly got out of control and I needed some additional widgets.  So I leaned out of the access hatch and calmly called out, "WWIIFFFEEEE  IIIII NNNNEEEEEEEEEEDDDDD HHHHEEEELLLLPPPP!"

Which earned me an exasperated, "How come your projects always become my projects, but my projects never become your projects? What do you need now?"

"Sorry darling.  Thank you very much, but could you get me a couple of tools?  I need the socket wrench, a pair of wire cutters, and the small hand drill.  The wrench and the cutters are in my tool bag, and the drill should be on top of the work bench."

Now it should be noted that Wife is a very smart woman and normally this wouldn't be an issue.  But my work bench is a pit, always has been, always will be.  This just means that finding tools isn't always the easiest.  And from the semiglazed look I got I knew I was going to have to provide more details.  So I added, "Sorry, I mean I need the silver tool that goes rinka rinka rinka clack clack clack.  It should be next to the orange tool that you always think I am going to cut my arm off with.  The cutters look like little tiny grooming scissors, and the drill isn't the big orange one but the smaller black one that you always complain sounds like nails on a chalkboard."

"Don't be like that.  I know what tools are."
"Sorry, I was just trying to help," I responded.  But it should be noted that I got the right tools.

The very next day I was in the kitchen cabinet looking for something to eat.  I was digging and rearranging and searching high and low.  All I wanted were some dried cherries.  The cabinet is always a mess, and I was just about at the curse out loud stage when I caved.  "Honey, where are cherries?  I can't find them."

"Have you tried looking behind the green box that goes schwooba schwooba schwooba when you shake it?  Or next to the odd shaped box full of stuff that you're afraid to try?"

Even though I think she was making fun of me, I found the cherries.

Anyway... I managed to read two books this week, Chew Omnivore Edition Vol 1 and Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson.  You can see what I thought of them below the break.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Dark Horse Previews for August

Lee: DH is a strange little company. I really like them and all their offerings but it always seems… I don’t know… static. Not this month! Wow oh wow do they have a ton of great books coming out. And, to keep the post short, I actually had to skip a couple.
Thomm: DH has a nice variety of things, so a short post is not easy.

Rod Espinosa (W/A/Cover)
FC, 100 pages, $19.99, 6 5/8” x 10 3/16”
Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is given a fresh twist—with a female Scrooge! Rod Espinosa (The Courageous Princess) adapts and illustrates this story of the miserly Eliza Scrooge, who is visited by the ghosts of the past, present, and future on one fateful Christmas eve. This hardcover volume makes a perfect gift for the coming season!
Lee: Now this is interesting. DH is smart enough to solicit this wwwaaayyyy in advance of Christmas. It’s semi-annoying but it has built in lag just in case there’s problems at the printers. As for the story… I like it. It sounds like a fun twist on a traditional tale.
Thomm: I’d wager the female Scrooge has been done somewhere already. As many TV shows have done a riff on it, it’s almost a certainty. Doesn’t mean this isn’t good, but it’s not all that original. I’ll stand by my favorite, the WKRP version.

Six more below the break...

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The List - May 2012

I think I'm getting less books at the moment, which means the quality tends to stay high.  There's only a couple that might get dropped at this point.  On the other hand, I'll be checking out some of the Watchmen pre-quels in June.  I like a good bit of the talent on those books, so they might make it, but you never know.  Could be a quick crash and burn, too.

On to The List.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Apathy Where is Thy Sting – The Week Not Reviewed

A funny thing happened on the way to the week in review, no books showed up on my doorstep. I get my new books mailed to me. Due to the one day slip in books arriving and my store sending some hard cover collections that had accumulated via parcel post versus the normal priority mail, I have yet to read a new comic from last week. On the plus side for the first time in what seems like a year I’m current on all of my new comics. Yet that still leaves me with nothing to talk about with current comics. Sadly that leaves you, dear readers, with a column that is more of a rant then anything else.

Much of my apathy for regular comics stems from my lack of enthusiasm for the new 52 from the DCU. I worry because as one gets older the loss of interest in your normal enjoyments can be seen as a sign of depression. So I was glad to hear from a reader and my two daughters that my apathy for this new DCU is a shared phenomenon. I was also amused when I realized that DC is grouping their books by families and the group that included Animal Man, Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein Agent of Shade and four others are all titles I still collect. In other words everything that reflects the actual cape and cowl stuff has fallen in to disfavor for me, except Wonder Woman. Batman is an odd bird, because I like the writing but still feel going backwards was a bad idea.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

A Night To Remember

June 03, 1992

A couple of friends
Sit side by side
Arm presses against arm
Thigh touches against thigh

As the video ends,
Boyz in the Hood,
The closeness is intimate
Though not yet understood

She on the left
He on the right
A wall invisibly thin
May crumble this night

With one simple gesture
Risking rejection once more
Nervously, quietly, subtly, shyly,
Her hand he holds

Making the first move
The second time around

Flashback – six months prior
Spidey card between pages
Announcing beyond friendly affection
Ends in heartbreak later

“I think of you as a brother.”
“You don’t have a brother.”

“If you ever change your mind, you’ll have to make the first move, because I’m not going to put myself out there again.”

The friendship endured even
While he was away
And independence then grew
But spending each day
Around and beside her
In “Legal and Law”
Those feelings again resurfaced
In old Norris Hall

With anticipation and dread
He offered a plea:

“Lord, if it’s not your will for us to be together then please take these feelings away. I can’t go on just being a friend and wanting more.”

Charlie Brown scene with
Backs to the grass
After afternoon bike riding
A promising exchange passed:

“Anyone I marry would have to call me Matthew, not Matt.”

“I don’t know if I could ever call you Matthew.”

A clue – a hope
An answer to prayer
Emboldened her best friend
To try something later

Return now to when
All is made known
As she encircles his
Fingers with her own

In silence they sit
Who knows how long
The barrier now broken
As hearts become one

Awkward first kiss quickly
Improves as long pent
Up desires are finally
Allowed freely to vent

One month from engagement
And wed that November
Friends still a couple
Twenty years later remember.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Comic Covers Sunday: Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane

This almost isn't fair because these covers are beyond awesome.

Be prepared for the glory that is Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane!

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #6, January 1959.  Ok, let's see Lois is behind bars and Superman is finding clues in the license plates she makes.  Where did they get this stuff?

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #10, July 1959.  Only in Superman land could Lois be a third wheel as a baby. 

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #13, November 1959.  I really don't care what's going on... Lois has a SQUARE IRON BOX on her head.  That's all I need to know to make me want to read this.

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #26, July 1961.  Another classic cover in which Lois calls herself a loser.  On the cover... yes she does. 

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #27, August 1961.  Finally, Bizarro goes on a date with.... huge head Lois.  I can see why this series lasted for 20 years with classics like this.


That's all folks, now go enjoy your Saturday!  Yes, this feature normally appears on Sunday, but Matthew asked to post that day this week.  You'll understand when you read it.

Friday, June 01, 2012

What I've been reading the last few weeks

So, it's been awhile since I've actually read anything.  Why you ask?  Because I received the Game of Thrones box set for my birthday.  Even I understand that's a poor excuse for not reading since it is reading.  The problem is that I am a slow reader.  Like really slow!  It's taken me weeks to read all 807 pages plus appendices.  It's ridiculous.  As Wife says to me, "aw, it's like a child using training wheels!  It's so cute when you read a book without pictures"

Anyway, I am happy to report that the TV series follows the book exactly.  There are no major deviations and much of the dialogue is lifted directly from the book.  If anything, the book helped me understand the show even better.  If you have the time, or are a fast reader, then I highly recommend it.

In the meantime, I did manage to read a couple of trades in between chapters...
There was Kingdom: Call of the Wild, written by Dan Abnett, illustrated by Richard Elson, published by Rebellion, (long review here).  A straight forward Kamandi type story in which our hero is more Tuftan the Tiger instead of Kamandi.  It's fun, fluffy, pointless fun.

Son of the Guns Vols 1 - 2, written by Alexandro Jodorowsky, illustrated by Georges Bess, published by Humanoids (long review here).  Jodorowsky is one of my writer heroes because he is just insane.  Seriously, he has more whacked out ideas than even Morrison.  In the first 4 pages the story is established when a dwarf, transvestite hooker finds a baby abandoned in a trash can. He’s about to feed the baby to dogs when he notices the child has a tail. Yes, a tail. Realizing the child is as much of a freak as he is, he takes the child to raise as his own.

This is seriously twisted stuff that isn't for the meek.  If you like your crime comics dirty, and nasty, and leaving you feeling.... well dirty and nasty then this is the book for you.  It's great but you've been warned.

More below the break...