Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fantastic Four #25 (#670) -- A Review

Hello, dear reader.  It sure has been awhile hasn't it?  (And it's felt even longer.)  Although, my musings and ruminations have been absent from this blog, my thoughts and intentions often come back to the possibility of writing something for this forum from time to time.  I've actually had several posts brewing in my head recently, but alas there's no guarantee I'll ever get to them.  You really have to strike while the iron is hot.  (Does that cliche refer to blacksmithing or pressing your clothes?) 

For example:

  • I started to write a post comparing the Casino Royale novel with the film.  I wrote one paragraph.  Instead, I ended up re-reading the Ian Fleming James Bond novels for the first time in 37 years (since I was 13) and managed to get through Thunderball (the 9th one of the original 14), before getting stalled on The Spy Who Loved Me.  I also read the British comic strip versions afterwards and re-watched the associated films.
  • I'd like to discuss how cover variants have taken over the new comic market, largely surpassing the content of the books themselves.
  • I finished watching the entire series of Dark Shadows (1225 episodes) in just under two years.  I then re-read the two comic series by Dynamite, which I wanted to write about.  One took place immediately after the show finished and the other was a slight reimagining of the classic 1795 storyline.  I love Dark Shadows so much that I immediately started re-watching it from episode one (usually watching at least one a day) and just finished episode 50 yesterday.
  • After I finished Dark Shadows, I decided to pick up my pencil and start drawing again (to fill the "extra" time in my schedule more productively).  I largely gave up drawing in high school and stopped taking classes after 7th grade.  So far progress has been very slow, but my Dick Blick order just arrived, so we'll see how it goes with better supplies.  Actually, that's another reason for writing this blog post (during a sleepless time), since I've been frustrated creatively in the art endeavor, why not supplement it with some writing?

Anyway, enough background, let's get to the issue at hand:

I'm still getting a quite a number of  hardcover or trade paperback collections of classic comic reading material, but I also come home with a large stack of new comics every Wednesday (from the excellent Cosmic Comix).  Too many, truth be told.  As alluded to above, some I get mainly for the covers.  And in a rather new development, if an issue just isn't interesting enough to me, I may not even finish reading it.  So, it's a pretty special issue or series that cuts through the "noise" and stands out as memorable or blog-worthy.

Fantastic Four #25 (#670 in the legacy numbering) is such an issue! 

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist/Color Artist: R.B. Silva & Jesus Aburtov
"There Shall Come A Reckoning" (31 pages): 

Artist/Color Artist: Paco Medina & Marcio Menyz
"Sight Unseen" (8 pages): 

Artist: Will Robson
"Fantastic Forum" (1 page): 

I was super excited when the Fantastic Four came back again a couple of years ago, but I've got to admit, I stopped reading it consistently not long after the wedding of Ben and Alicia (#5).  That didn't mean I stopped buying it though. I either got behind or was just not very interested in the storyline, but I checked in here and there.  But I definitely started reading again for the Empyre tie-in issues, which makes this the fifth consecutive issue in a row. 

I'm interested in going back and reading those issues I skipped, but let me be clear, this particular issue is a great "jumping-on" point for new readers.  Beyond a little background that I'll briefly provide below, you don't need to read anything before this issue (more after the break). 

Sunday, May 10, 2020


Last Day

What if this was your last day?  How would you live it?

I’ve been thinking about this, because today, 2020 May 10, marks the 50th anniversary of my Daddy’s death.  So yesterday would’ve marked his last full day on earth, 1970 May 09.  He was 31, married, and had three children: a 6-year old boy, a 4.5-year old girl, and another son in the womb soon to be born (me).  I know some details about that last day, which I recounted in my poem from Mother’s Day 10 years ago: And I asked Mama to write up a character portrait of Daddy, which is just wonderful and will be shared sometime today, if it hasn’t already. But while, thinking about Daddy’s final day of life is the inspiration of this message, it not really about him as you’ll see.

Last Day

What if this was your last day?  Would you accept it?

Just thinking about those two words automatically invokes images from one of my favorite movies, Logan’s Run from 1976.  In that film, in order to keep the population under control living in the sealed domed city, the citizens voluntarily went to Carousel on their 30th birthday.  There they would don hockey/skull masks and white-body suits decorated with red flames, stand in a circle, and raise their blinking red life clocks (crystal palm flowers) to “Identify”.  Then they would float up into the chamber until they exploded in a fiery display while their fellow citizen onlookers shouted, “Renew, Renew!”  Why would anyone do this?  Well, they were taught to believe they would be reborn and just get to live another 30 years of fun and pleasure.  Those that didn’t believe the messaged lie realized that the people were actually going to their deaths.  So in order to live longer than 30, they attempted to flee the city seals, becoming Runners.  The City could not tolerate that sort of independent thinking, which would upset their control and delicate balance, so they enlisted Sandmen to terminate the runners. Logan was a Sandman, but later became a runner.  Anyway, it’s a great movie from story to music to costumes, but again not the real subject.

Thursday, January 30, 2020


Well, this is a surprise. 

You may be thinking, "Yeah, you haven't done a blog post in over a year."  Or at least, that's what you were supposed to be thinking. Instead, you're probably saying, "Umm, you posted already today.  What gives?"  You see, the first post sort of just happened. 

Oh, I wrote it, and scheduled it for some distant day, but I totally forgot about it.  I was planning on writing this post for today, which marks the 10th anniversary of my debut appearance as a blogger on Comics And...Other Imaginary Tales. 

Even though the blog has sort of morphed into a private Facebook Group these days, it's still pretty important to me and I routinely go back to the well and resurrect links to old posts I remember writing.  It was a big part of my comic (book-centric) life for a number of years and I enjoyed the creative expression.  Although, I can't imagine how I ever had time to write every week for so long, was ready to take a break, was ready to try again, and now just glad it still exists out there like an old friend. 

Anyway, I loaded up the site this morning, ready to compose something new, and the Ant-Man Marvel Masterworks review was up...brand new today! Foiled by time-travel! Past-me is awfully tricksey.

With today celebrating such a momentous occasion, I wanted to ruminate on the current state of my comic-book reading, collecting, etc.  The hope is that by self-examining my own behaviors and habits, I may arrive at some new conclusions on what to continue doing and what to do next.  After all, I'll be hitting 50 this coming May and I want to be "redeeming the time" well.  While I'm not given to New Years Resolutions, I have been slowly retooling my pull list lately, moving toward some changes. [more after the break -- sorry no photos, but plenty of links]

Marvel Masterworks Ant-Man/Giant-Man Volume 3 -- A Review

As much as I love Marvel Omnibuses, I have to admit that Marvel Masterworks (MMW) is my preferred hardcover of choice these days (a change from 4 years ago), especially now that they're delving into Bronze-Age goodness, both familiar and unfamiliar.  I seem to be getting almost every new edition and when I do skip one, I end up regretting it when it goes out of print (OOP) [Like Luke Cage vol 1 - "sob"].  I also tend to be a completest, which means I'm loathe to begin collecting something that's already started.  Although, sometimes that is unavoidable.  A recent acquisition was MMW Ant-Man/Giant-Man Vol 3, which came out just about 2 months ago.  The fact that I finished it in just about a month (including a week away from it while on vacation) is a testimony to how much I enjoyed it.

It is thought that this is the last of the three volumes in the series.  The first two focused on Hank Pym's adventures from Tales to Astonish (ToA).  I wish I had these now (both are getting pricey) and the Essentials' (phonebook) versions I do have are almost unreadable with the blurry printing and lack of color.  The biggest draw for me was the short-lived Ant-Man solo series presented in Marvel Feature circa 1972-1973.   To my recollection, I had never heard of these stories before (much less read them), thinking that they were old ToA reprints similar to the Human Torch series of the early 70s.  And I was especially ecstatic to learn that the first few stories were drawn by the late, great Herb Trimpe! [more after the break]