Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Looks Good?

Comics are delayed until Friday this week, a double-whammy of both Christmas and New Years, but it's not all bad.  Think about it for a moment: now you have something to look forward to while you sleep off your merriment.

Final Crisis Secret Files #1 -- DC pretty much has their hooks in me at this point, wouldn't you say?

Justice Society of Amreica #22 -- This is it!  The blowoff to the Gog storyline bows here!  Will Citizen Steel be even more awesome than last time?  Is that even possible?

The War That Time Forgot #8 -- It's soldiers fighting dinosaurs on an island controlled by aliens.  If we got Frankenstein's monster in this book we'd be approaching perfection.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8 -- One of my favorite cosmic big bads showed up last time, so you know this one will be near the top of the pile.

Venom: Dark Origin #5 -- Eddie Brock and the symbiote's transformation into Venom finishes up here, in a series I think no one else is actually reading.

War Machine #1 -- It stinks that we had to lose Iron Man, but a new War Machine title is a new War Machine title!

The Phantom #26 -- Not sure how much longer Moonstone is going to hold the license, or when the relaunch will actually go down, but this series has yet to let me down.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not Blog Ex?

If you like this entry, be sure to go check out G Kendall's Not Blog X, where the most badass mutant blogger on the planet makes the 90s X-Books his business on a daily basis.

Excalibur #64

Credits: Alan Davis (Script), Alan Davis (Pencils), Mark Farmer (Inks), Glynis Oliver (Colors), Chris Eliopoulos (Letters).

In deep space, Rachel Summers goes on a tour of her memory thanks to the Phoenix Force, which is starting to come to grips with what it is and what it has done.  Taking the form of Jean Grey, the Phoenix Force appears to Rachel, and says that she is now free, and that Rachel must learn to use her powers without drawing upon the life force of the rest of the universe.  The Phoenix deposits Rachel in orbit of Earth, and disappears.

Back on Earth, Captain Britian and Meggan are attacked by the Seraphim during their beach getaway.  They manage to hold off their attackers until Cap is blinded by a hallucination caused by one of the Warpies and he knocks Meggan unconscious with one shot.  The two are collected and taken to Cloud 9 to be studied.

At the Braddock Estate, Feron bemoans to Lockheed that while Kitty Pryde was very thorough on the list of chores he is expected to perform, she did not leave him much in the way of food.  His complaining is interuppted by the sudden appearance of Widget, who is still unable to communicate his message.  Feron and Lockheed quickly vacate the building to the relative safety of outside.

Meanwhile at Cloud 9, Nightcrawler is proving to be very popular with the young Warpies, who are enamored with the adventurer's skills and exploits.  Kitty Pryde manages to slip away from her Warpie guard and takes a sneak peak in on Peter and his plans -- to create a Warpie army so that the RCX can combat any new threat which arises in Great Britian.  Kitty is discoverd by a Warpie sentinel and taken to the lab of Peter's top scientist, where the other members of Excalibur seem to be held in containment tubes.  Then, a different, oddly pro-RCX Kitty Pryde informs Nightcrawler that their intentions are completely on the up and up.

Continuity Notes
In Rachel's flashback at the beginning of the issue, we see many different events in the character's life, from her birth through her stint as an X-Man, serving Ahab as a Hound, joining Excalibur, and finally fighting Necrom, which took place in Excalibur #50.

We get cameo appearances (on RCX viewscreens) by most of the Marvel UK characters, including Killpower, Motormouth, Dark Angel, and the Knights of Pendragon, representing the "new threats" to the UK.

The cover title is "Fatal Attraction!" most likely a pun on the upcoming "Fatal Attractions" crossover.

Another issue with a lot going on, this Warpie storyline has probably lasted one issue too many at this point.  The build up is interesting, and we get lots of crazy Davis-designed Warpies and insight into the characters, but this feels more like a comic written today (from a pacing standpoint) than one written 15 years ago.  The Cap and Meggan stuff is great, though, as is the whole sequence with Rachel and the Phoenix, so it is hard to find fault with the issue overall.  It's not the most exciting comic book in the world but it definitely fits right in with what Davis had been doing with the book for some time.  All in all a good, but not great installment.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Blogging, Continued

It's time for that age old tradition: The Post-Holidays "Whadja Get?!" Fest.  I'm going to limit mine to things I think the readers of this blog might be interested in -- because while I am sure you want to hear the blow-by-blow of every golf shirt and Christmas towel set, I'd like to keep this reasonable.  

First off, from my lovely and supremely intelligent life I received the Flash Companion, from TwoMorrows Publishing.  This book looked really cool when I first saw the previews for it, and in person, it is even more impressive.  Can't wait to really get in deep with this one.  

From my father, I recieved a very neat Iron Man lithograph, suitable for framing.  Yeah, it was a promotional item from Best Buy or something, but still, Shellhead swag is Shellhead swag!

My brother, in addition to tons of MST3K and wrestling DVDs, got me not one but two different Cobra Troopbuilder toys -- the best kind of Troopbuilder toys!  The single card variants of both the Sand Viper and Tele-Viper were very welcome, as I actually do not have any version of either of these molds.  There's something about single carded  GI Joe toys which makes so much more sense to me than multipacks.  Blame that on being 28 years old I guess!  Also from my brother was The Dark Knight on DVD, complete with a "special edition" homebrew cover art.   Sure, it's not Iron Man, but The Dark Knight was still pretty badass.

All in all it was a great Christmas, despite the 12.5 hour drive up to New York to spend it with my family.  And yeah, I enjoyed more just spending time with them than anything else, but I guess the swag is nice as well.

So, how was YOUR holiday?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Blogging

Well Sir, I liked my post so much from last Christmas that I decided to repeat myself. And any of you who have ever met know that I do love to repeat myself. Over and over and over again.

Have a happy and safe Christmas, folks, and enjoy this clip from Justice League of the Martian Manhunter learning what Christmas really means.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What Looks Good

What's this?  New Comic Book Day this week is Christmas Eve?  And that means you won't be buying your comics on Wednesday?  You think that just because its the day before a major holiday during a season when most people travel or otherwise occupy themselves with family and friends that you think you CAN'T go to the comic book shop?!  Not going to the comic book shop on Christmas Eve is not just immoral, it's Un-American!*

(*Not going to the comic book shop on Christmas Eve is neither immoral nor Un-American.)

The Flash #247 -- This was your life, Wally West... hope you survive the experience.

Unknown Solider #3 -- Take a trip back into the jungles of Uganada, aka Hell, with the new Soldier.

Vigilante #1 -- Ultra-violence in the traditional DC manner.  This series has my interest piqued after Vigilante's appearance in Batman And The Outsiders.

Nova #20 -- The Nova Corps... reformed!  And how!  All this plus Darkhawk!

The Phantom #26 -- Not sure how much longer this series from Moonstone is going to continue before the relauch, but I am very happy to see it still coming out.

So, what looks good to you?

What I Read This Week

Batman And The Outsiders #14 -- Batgirl and Nightwing have it out as a new threat to Gotham City begins to creep up from the shadows.  I'm not sure if what Tieri is setting up here will play out in the new-look Outsiders, or in some other title, but it's intriguing stuff nonetheless.  The art by Benjamin is a little rushed, and looks rough in some places, but overall it seems to fit the fast-paced fisticuffs between the two stars.  All in all Tieri's fill-in stint has been uneven, but considering the inglorious exit of Chuck Dixon and the (apparent) short notice, I think all in all it was a pretty decent couple of issues, this one included.

DCU Holiday Special 2008 -- A big fat anthology just in time for whatever holiday it is you want to celebrate this season.  DC's revived Holiday Specials have been a lot better than their revived Halloween Specials, and this one continues the trend.  Highlights include an in-continuity story by Artie and Franco of Tiny Titans fame (which ties back to Identity Crisis and Outsiders, oddly enough), and a very cool Aquaman story by Dan DiDio!  Big price point but you'd have to be a Scrooge not to like this comic.

Tiny Titans #11 -- Will Beast Boy ever be able to convince Terra of his undying love?  Or will she simply continue to pummel him with rocks?  Plus, can Robin convince his new Russian friend that they already have a Tiny Titan named Starfire?  Continues to be fun every single month.  

Invincible Iron Man #8 -- Marvel's sub service is a little slow around the holidays, unfortunately, so no go.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #1 -- Deep in Shi'ar space, the ambitious Emperor Vulcan has his eyes set on expanding his kingdom as far as possible.  But he has other things on his mind, including the former Emperor Lilandra, as well as the torture and breaking of his older brother, the X-Man known as Havok.  Cool space opera stuff, really hits the Annihilation tone at this early stage.  Also neat to see X-characters I like (Havok, Polaris, Rachel Summers) in a situation which doesn't ape the typical X-Books stuff.  Very interested in seein where this goes.

The Pick Of The Pile was tight, as I really liked both the Holiday Special and Kingbreaker.    I am going to give the nod to the Holiday Special on the strength of the Aquaman story coupled with the Nightwing-Robin-Captain Boomerang story which was really well done.

So, what did YOU read this week?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weekly Dose Of Weird!

Maybe the Secret is that Destiny dislikes using articles.
Secrets Of Haunted House #6 -- Didn't Luke Cage fight this guy once?

I. "The Contest" -- (Frame Story) Destiny welcomes Cain and Abel into his Garden to spin stories to frighten mortals, and we shall be the judges.

II. "Grave Situation" -- A posh Londonite vampire awakens after a short nap and tries to find a pretty girl to dine with. All he gets is a double dose of woman's lib, followed by a bothersome bit of sunlight -- eclipses are bad like that.

III. "A Deadly Allegiance" -- All-around bad guy Peter is partners with the mysterious torture master Mr. Black. They retrieve information about the whereabouts of a payroll heist from one victim, then Peter eliminates the rest of his gang, leaving him and Mr. Black to get the loot. But when they find the loot, it's booby trapped, and Peter is suddenly left alone... betrayed by his cloven-hoofed compatriot.

IV. "Valley Of The Giants" -- Rurik the Viking raids the English countryside but feels they are unworthy of a challenge. An old soothsayer predicts doom for the Viking at the hands of giants. Defiant, the Vikings sail off, only to be caught in a storm and wind up in Arabia. There they leave of a lost city of ivory, deep in the Valley of the Giants. Rurik leads his mean into the valley, where they are ambushed and slaughtered by tiny pygmies. Truly, there were giants in the valle,y but they were the victims, not the executioners.

Overall Weird Rating: 2 (out of 5).

Secrets of Haunted House ran for about 7 years, but it's lack of name recognition amongst its DC stablemates makes it more obscure. Most fans only know of Destiny reading his book from Gaiman's Sandman. But this is a perfectly servicable horror/mystery comic, although the last segment is the least interesting but longest, so that is a strike against it. Oddly, though Destiny introduces a challenge between Cain and Abel, saying that he cannot tell a story, only to measure one's fate, he introduces that third feature. Go fig!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Awesome Files: Pop Funk DC Originals DC Shirts

I always try to keep my faithful readers up to date on the newest and awesomest comic book related merch out there.  And have I got one for y'all today!

Pop Funk -- DC Originals!

I got put on to this site by a forum member over at the Comic Geek Speak Boards, GreenSkeletonII.  Greenie designed many of these very cool shirts, with a lot of attention focused on some rarely seen characters.  Green Arrow?  Check.  Plastic Man?  Check.  Red Tornado?  Check.  Martian Manhunter?  Check.  Hawkman?  Check.  (Oh heck yes.)  DARKSEID?!  Check!

Most of the shirts use Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez's style guide stock art, which is great for retro fans who like to read comic book blogs.

So, please go check it out and see if you can't find a little something for that special person in your life this holiday season, even if that person is yourself! Plus, check out the CGS podcast and boards, another great resource for today's modern comic book nerd.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Looks Good?

Just because we're knee deep in the holiday season doesn't mean we all can't get a little something for ourselves, does it?

Batman And The Outsiders #14 -- The last issue before the big shakeup.  What will become of Batgirl's plan and how will Nightwing react to not being a part of it?

DCU Holiday Special 2008 -- It's the Holoday season, so let's celebrate in the best way possible: over-sized comic books!

Tiny Titans #11 -- I swear, I don't think I will ever get tired of this absolutely adorable book.

Invincible Iron Man #8 -- Beginning the era of "Plan C" (AKA Dark Reign), as Shellhead has gone from the top of the world to the very bottom in a short time.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #1 -- Havok!  Space Adventure!  War Of The Kings!  And Havok!  Woooo!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What I Read This Week, Continued!

Well, I managed to get the balance of the comics from last Wednesday read last night, so if you will indulge me for a second day, I'll be all caught up.  Nyah!

Unknown Soldier #2 -- The horrors of Uganda start to come to a head for the good doctor, his now disfigured face bandaged as he recovers in a tiny Christian girl's orphanage.  But that doesn't stop the haunting nightmares and the voices in his head that compel him to violence.  So far, this title is equal parts expected and unexpected.  It's becoming clear to me that this title will not become more like the old Soldier, with the "master of disguise" angle, but instead focus on this maimed man and the hellish war.  Depressing and distressing but also really damn compelling stuff.

The War That Time Forgot #7 -- The two factions on the island seem to have a common problem in the form of the strange beings who observe them through the shiny eyes of the beasts.  But who are they and what do they want?  Production problems plague this issue, with several misplaced word baloons that you wouldn't expect to see in 2008.  One that confusion is past, though, the issue itself is pretty neat, as the mystery of the island builds, and with a giant spider attack thrown in for good measure.

Guardians Of The Galaxy #7 -- Following the fallout last issue when it was revealed that Peter Quill had manipulated the Guardians into joining up, the team is splintered to the various ends of the galaxy, including Rocket Racoon leading a new team of Guardians against the Badoon.  But what about Quill?  Features a nice primer on the old school Guardians of the Galaxy, which is appropriate as the stories seem set to collide a bit here.  Also, there's a quick reference to the "War Of The Kings."  Will the Guardians be involved in that conflict too, I wonder?  Possibly the most fun you will have reading a comic book with a talking telepathic Russian dog.

Nova #19 -- The Nova Corps... reformed!  On... Earth?  The Worldmind is no longer housed in the head of Richard Ryder, and now is free to repopulate the Corps, whether Richard likes it or not.  Fast paced action, as we are introduced to the new "core" of the Corps, and Darkhawk continues to show up, so that's always a plus.  This series is strong pretty much month in and month out.

Kull #2 -- With the last of his opposition surrendering, Kull's rule in the Seven Empires is undisputed -- openly.  But many are those who would have the barbarian king dethroned through any means necessary.  While the King meets with his tribal enemies the Picts, it seems a serpentine cult has begun to wind itself through Valusia.  Strong sword and sorcery stuff, really highlighting the fact that Kull, while the King of Valusia, is also a servant to the law and to the heavy weight of history.  We get to see Ka-Nu, King of the Pictish tribes, and his seeing he and Kull interact is a real pleasure, especially if you know the relationship they have later (Brule the Spear-slayer gets a mention but does not appear yet).  If you like Robert E. Howard's work or barbarians in general then you can't go wrong with this title.  (Dark Horse -- please make this an ongoing or a series of minis!)

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion #2 -- Cut off from the rest of their allies, Easy Company and the rest of the Lost Battalion try to find their way out of the wilderness, but the Nazi's professional mountain soldiers have them surrounded... and trapped.  The attention to detail which Tucci has applied here is admirable, and the ambush of Easy by the Germans is scary and exhilirating all at once.  The issue is unfortunately undone by Tucci's art, which makes it hard to keep track of who is who.  If wishes were fishes this would be drawn by Joe Kubert, but wishes ain't fishes so it ain't.  The story is pretty darn good so far though.

Marvel Apes #0 -- Reprinting the first appearance and origin of Marty Blank, AKA The Gibbon, as well as the first Marvel Apes story from Spider-Man Family and all of the Ape Variant covers.  The Amazing Spider-Man stuff is just alright, and man, Pete was a real whiner in the mid-70s!  Wah wah wah I made my Aunt sad my girlfriend likes Flash Thompson I have no money wah wah wah.  Yeesh.  The Gibbon was considered a dog of a character for a reason, and his intro is not exactly a glowing endorsement to go pick up that era's Essential volume.  Not really worth the money, but as a bookend of sorts for the Marvel Apes miniseries (which, of course, I really dug), I'll take it -- at least now I have all of the covers and the short as well.

The Pick Of The Pile is Kull, edging out the two Marvel cosmic titles, both of which were really good.  Comparing the two days, Justice Society of America still wins out.

So, uh, what ELSE did YOU read this week?

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I Read This Week

Well, between having three weeks worth of comics on hand this week coupled with being out of town this weekend, I didn't quite get finished with everything I bought on Wednesday for the first time in quite a while.  So, I figured, something is better than nothing, so here is what I DID read!

Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom -- The Justice Society of America is fractured.  Half of the team distrusts the "god" known as Gog who is walking across Africa, while the other half believes he is there to do good.  This sets up a collision between Stargirl, who doesn't trust Gog, and Damage, who has essentially become Gog's herald.  Of the three specials, this one reads most like a regular issue of JSA -- not that that is a problem, mind you.  The big surprise return of a personal favorite character really puts this one over for me.

Futurama Comics #40 -- It's Xmas time once again, and you know what that means -- run for your life!  Hijinks ensue when Bender becomes a Mall Robot Santa, while Fry, Leela, and Dr. Zoidberg head to Neptune to deliver weapons for the Robot Reindeer's "Reindeer Games."  Great fun just in time for the Holiday season.  The cover is a great Kirby homage.

glamourpuss #4 -- Everybody in the mood for some Really Good Advice?  Good!  It's the First Annual Swimsuit/Really Good Advice issue, as glamourpuss advises us in everything from the proper way to use hairspray to avoid the "blocky 80's look" (as well that "burning sensation" in the eyes) to how to deal with personal fears and reservations using fire.  Meanwhile, Dave Sim continues to explore the history of the photorealistic style of Alex Raymond, including an idea of just how time consuming the "ink by brush" technique was.  I'm madly in love with this series.  

Haunted Tank #1 -- In the early days of the Iraq War, an American tank crew is met by a rather unusual ally -- a Confederate cavalry general named JEB Stuart who just happens to be a ghost!  The racial tension angle is obviously a new twist in the old Haunted Tank story, but the way in which JEB presents himself -- a Southern gentleman, who fought for his rights as a Virginian -- impressed me.  I'll be picking up the rest of this series.

Justice Society of America #21 -- The truth about Gog stands revealed -- and the Justice Society now must choose whether they will band together in this time of crisis, or will they let their differences tear themselves apart.  Maybe I am just a naive fanboy, but it's comic books like this that got me hooked on the medium and on superheroes in general.  Everything about this works -- from the introductory conflict to the twist to the cliffhanger.  This title just hits it for me every month.

Final Crisis #5 -- Grant Morrison's bizarre trip into the collapse of the DC Universe continues in appropriately bizarre fashion.  I thoguht this issue was "just alright," which is a bit of a letdown considering the big responses I had to the first four issues.  Still, the story here is interesting even if overall I got a feeling of confused choppiness rather than cohesion.  This has not dampened my enthusiasm for the balance of the story, though!  Strange note: DC changed the paper to the normal DC glossy stock!  No!  Go back to the Vertigo style!

House of Mystery #8 -- Harry, Fig, and Anne move deeper into the basement... but if the upper levels of the House are bizarre and strange, what horrors can possbibly be housed down there?!  Also, we get a look back at when Harry first found himself in the House, and his unusual guests, a scared little man named Abel and his pet homonoculus Goldie.  I've said before that this series is like the 00's Sandman, and that holds even more true here: this House has mysteries piled upon mysteries, and I am really enjoying reading about each and every one of them.

The Pick Of The Pile is Justice Society of America #21, but there was a lot of great comics in this section of the haul.  Just goes to show that there's lots of good stuff out there if you look.

So what did YOU read this week?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Rick gets us started with the first installment of his 25 Days of Christmas Covers!  Keep checking back at Mail It To Team-Up to see them all!

G Kendall talks about when Onslaught really started to get... well... Onslaughty.

Kelson has news on an animated Flash feature!

Mister Bones is certainly excited about owning The Dark Knight on DVD or Blu-Ray.  I can relate!

Scipio makes the case that The Brave And The Bold is better than Batman: The Animated Series.  Hrrrrrm.

Hey rob!  I've got this poster!  Awesome!

Via Frank: The Mysterious Disappearances Of The Martian Manhunter!  (Hey DC!  I'd buy a story titled that!)

And finally, Dan DiDio answers a bunch of questions and asks one over at Newsarama.

Have a great weekend!  

Weekly Dose Of Weird!

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #5 -- This is the weirdest bar mitzvah I've ever seen.

I. "Live For Reunion" -- Young Hal goes on vacation to coastal Plandome with his parents, but they are warned of the Green People who abduct visitors.  Hal's parents laugh it off, but that very night disappear in front of Hal's eyes.  Hal spends every moment studying to learn how to destroy the Green People, then returns to Plandome during "Green People Season."  When the apparitions appear, he is ready... but not ready to see his spectral parents, beckoning him to join them in their wonderful new home.  

II. "Stranger In The House" -- A peaceful, happy family is suddenly invaded by a cruel soldier, who orders them to serve his every whim!  But when the family is pushed to the breaking point, the husband stands up to the soldier... only to have him disappear entirely, removed from the young girl's doll house he was mischeviously placed in.

III. "The Mirage" -- A prisoner makes a daring nighttime escape, and now is determined to cross the desert surrounding the prison and make everyone pay for locking him up.  The next day he finds that his canteen of water is empty, damaged in his escape.  Running out of time, he spots an oasis, like something out of a storybook.  Dismissing it as a mirage, he crawls onward, while the masters of the oasis bemoan that modern man is trapped behind an impenetrable wall of disbelief, and their paradise will always remain unentered.

IV. "Aucas" -- (Text Story) An American reporter and photographer head up river in Ecuador and encounter the primitive Auca Indians.

V. "Stowaway" -- A young boy stows away on a space ship and soon finds himself, wonder of wonders, in space.   The skipper and the crew treatly him harshly, never letting him forget about the stupid decision he made.  When a space storm damages the engine, only the kid is small enough to go EVA and fix the problem.  When his tow-line snaps and the ship pulls off, he thinks he is a goner, but the skipper was turning the ship around to save him.  Inside, the skipper tells the boy that he is proud of him and the kid tells him, "Thanks, Dad."

VI. "A Dreamer's World" -- Test pilot Al Gibbons is piloting an experimental four-stage rocket booster, the fourth of which seems to take him to a bizarre dream world.  There he meets Helen, a chemist, an old sea captain, and other strange residents, all of whom have "broken through a forbidden barrier" of some kind.  When the dream worlders try to get them to stay, Al and Helen flee back to the test jet, but when he wakes, Al is alone.  The Air Force chalks it up to oxygen starvation and has him grounded, but Captain Gibbons rushes to the University and finds Helen, having blacked out from a chemical spill.

VII. "Our Atomic Future" -- Detailing the wonders of atomic power.

Overall Weird Rating: 3.5 (out of 5).

A mid-50s Charlton, this one is all over the map.  The first, second, third, and sixth features are all very strong, and definitely push the right Weird buttons for me.  But the others end up being more filler than anything else.  Of note is that all of the art (except possibly the last feature) is by Steve Ditko, which really holds up nicely.  Not only is the cover unrelated to any story inside (not uncommon), but a story even remotely similar to what they describe doesn't appear!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Looks Good?

Well, after two weeks of being unable to hit the comic shop, I should have a nice pile of stuff waiting for me, including the new arrivals.

Final Crisis #5 -- Heroes defeated!  Evil gods reborn!  Miniseries delayed!  What the heck will go down next?!

House of Mystery #8 -- As a general rule, basements are dark and scary places.  When you go to the basement in the House of Mystery, well, that's just asking for trouble.

Watchmen #1 (New Printing) -- It's going to cost be $18 to get this reprint of the series, and I could probably buy the trade paperback for about the same amount.  I'm torn on what to do here.

Marvel Apes #0 -- My favorite modern Marvel event that didn't have "Annihilation" in the title gets a follow up!  Ook ook!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unbridled Capitalism: The Kindness Of Strangers

One of the most enjoyable aspects of running this blog has been "meeting" other comic book fans who I never would have had the opportunity to interact with if not for the blog.  One such blogger is Lilbones (whom I refer to as Mr. Bones since he is married and has a family), proprietor of the entirely awesome Tales From The Batcave blog.  Now, besides being my go-to guy for info on all things Bat-related, Mr. Bones is also amazingly generous.  I say this because as soon as he found out that I was within spitting distance of completing my collection of Iron Man, he volunteered to hunt down stuff in his neck of the woods for me!  So you can imagine my schoolgirl like glee when the package arrived, stuffed to the brim with Iron Man-y goodness.

The first issue is Iron Man #121.  This one has an odd history with me because for at least two years I thought I owned it thanks to a mismarked punchlist.  This is a somewhat rare issue for the era, no doubt thanks to the Namor appearance.  Glad to finally have it in collection "for real this time."  Next is #152, the classic debut of the Stealth Armor.  This is one of those covers which most Marvel fans of a certain age recognize even if they have never read the issue.  Very iconic work by Bob Layton!  Though the Columbia contest header was an unfortunate choice.  The same goes for #155, which also features a striking Layton cover.  This is a tremendous era in Iron Man history, so getting the chance to read this is really exciting.

The next two issues, #176 and 179, both come from the Rhodey as Iron Man era, another classic point in the series.  I scored almost a complete run of the era a few years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I am definitely eager to check these out as well.  This period often gets summed up in just one sentence ("Tony Stark is fall down drunk in New York"), but Denny O'Neill always had a lot of stuff going on when he was in charge of this title.  

Finally, we have a pair of later Annuals to round out Mr. Bones' awesome contribution.  The first, from 1998, is actually a team-up, featuring Captain America as well as the Golden Avenger!  Plus MODOK!  And it's written by Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid, oh my!  I'm having flashbacks, of the good kind!  The other is the 2001 Annual, written by Chris Claremont of all people.  I was never good about remembering to get Annuals so these two are most welcome.  I think the '98 may very well be the top of the pile.

This all just goes to show you that the real benefit of comic book collecting truly is the camraderie of collectors.  Yeah, there are some bad eggs out there, but most, like Mr. Bones, are good people who want to spread the good tidings around to everybody.  And it's to the credit of our hobby that fans like Mr. Bones exist.  He knows how thankful I am for his kindness, and now I absolutely must find some way to keep this going.  Truly, this is not the kindness of strangers, but of friends.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Well, yeesh, that was pretty bad, wasn't it?  I had intended to make some updates last week, but obviously, that did not end up working out. My wife and I returned from visiting her family on the Sunday after Turkey Day, and then I turned around on Monday and flew to beautiful San Jose, CA for a business trip.  Imagine my surprise when the hotel we were staying at was charging a fee for Internet access!  How very 90s!  So, needless to say, no updates, but we should be back on track this week.  Sorry for the delay!