Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What Looks Good?

I may be in Minnesota, but new comics are STILL coming out! I know, I'm shocked too!

Batman: The Brave And The Bold #1 -- You love the TV show, now read the comic book!

Final Crisis #7 -- FINAL CRISIS! *clap-clap-clapclap!* FINAL CRISIS! *clap-clap-clapclap!*

Justice Society of America #23 -- Black Adam's back and this time... well, I guess he's always kind of mad, isn't he? I mean, that's his thing, right?

Unknown Soldier #3 -- Into the flood again.

The War That Time Forgot #9 -- Leave it to this title to take a simple concept like soldiers fighting dinosaurs and make it all complex.

Nova #21 -- The Nova Corps is back, Ego the Living Planet just showed up, and DARKHAWK! Oh heck yes!

glamourpuss #5 -- Anything that isn't "The Eighties!"

Journey v.2 -- Holy crap, I haven't even started the first one yet!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Well folks, I am in beautiful (as well as freezing cold!) Minneapolis, MN for business this week, so updates will be spotty at best. Things should return to (relative) normalcy next week.

Now I need to figure out how I am going to read Final Crisis #7 with my local comic shop several hundred miles away...

Crisis On Earth-Blog: The DC Challenge

Boy, are you in the "Black!" I guess the answer really is "Unknown" to you! Sorry, but you are going to have to check out some of these other blogs involved in the DC Challenge if you want to solve the big one!

The Anti-Didio League of America
The Aquaman Shrine
The Atom: Tiny Titan
Being Carter Hall
Comics Make Me Happy
The Continuity Blog
Crimson Lightning
Dispatches from the Arrow Cave
Firestorm Fan
Girls Gone Geek
I Am The Phantom Stranger
The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Justice League Detroit
Once Upon a Geek
Pretty, Fizzy Paradise
random picture day
Reilly2040's Blog
Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
when is evil cool?

Monday, January 26, 2009

What I Read This Week

Black Lightning Year One #2 -- Principal Jefferson Pierce has work to do, but he takes some time out to talk to Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet about his progress.  Meanwhile, Tobias Whale and The 100 react to the new "Lightning Vigilante" who seems intent on eliminating their presence on the streets of Suicide Slum!  Hamner and Van Meter do a good job of capturing the strength of our hero as well as the grit and grime which he has to move through at this early stage of his career.  I think it helps to be a Black Lightning fan (as well as being familiar with the original issues) to really like this series, but that's what I am.

Tiny Titans #12 -- Get ready!  The Tiny Titans world will never be the same!  Because when Darkseid takes over as temporary principal, he decalres that everyone will take their final exams today... that's right, it's a FINALS CRISIS!  Also, tremble before the clash of The Hall Monitor and Tthe Anti-Hall Monitor!  DC readers who don't normally read this great AA title should definitely read this one!

Guardians Of The Galaxy #9 -- It's Assualt on Precinct 13, if Precinct 13 was in the Negative Zone and filled with super-powered freaks, and it was under assault by Blastaar's forces of Negativze Zone weirdos.  Plus, naked Star-Lord.  DnA have really hit their stride with this title and they do a great job of juggling the ensamble cast, even with them as split up as they are right now.  Fun title month in and month out.

War Machine #2 -- Rhodey is on a mission, and it's going to take more than an army of mercenaries and cutting edge military armor to stop him!  The story and the art are both over the top, but in a sense I really like that -- War Machine is such a 90s character, that him being over the top is almost a given.  Rhodey's new ability to acquire and utilize his enemies' weapons give the title a sort of arcade game feel, also appropriate.  Manco's art is a sort of photorealistic style, but the action is so unrealistic that it makes for a nice contrast.  I was disappointed that the fourth volume of Iron Man had to end, but so far I am pumped up about War Machine.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #2 -- Let the space opera continue!  Shi'ar Emperor Vulcan let loose a band of dangerously unstable criminals to hunt down Lilandra, Marvel Girl, and Korvus, while Havok makes his move to bust the Starjammers out of captivity and take his brother down for good.  Maybe I am just prone to liking cosmic stories, or stories with Havok and Polaris in them, but I enjoyed this issue much like I enjoyed the first.  The War of Kings stuff is building nicely and I am very interested in seeing what role the Starjammers will play in it.

The Pick Of The Pile is Tiny Titans.  I'm sorry, but a Finals Crisis?!  You have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat that.

So what did YOU read this week?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Rick gets us started with a sweet Secret Society of Super-Villians letterhead.

Bonus Game!  The Code!

Dixon takes a look at High Frequency Vision.  That's not how sight works!

Shag reveals the Secret Origin of Firestorm!  It's no so secret anymore, apparently.

G Kendall takes a look at Onslaught: Marvel Universe, a comic book which I have never read and hopefully never will.  He is a better man than I.

rob! shows off this super-sweet Craig Hamilton Aquaman painting.

And finally, Frank gives us the new "Black Terror" (SPOILERS!)

Weekly Dose Of Weird!

Twilight Zone #1 -- Women.  Just goes to show that they're all evil, I tells ya, evil!*  Meanwhile, Rod Serling looks on.

I. "Frozen Worlds of Space" -- Learn something about Jupiter and Saturn.  Well, conjecture, anyway.

II. "Perilous Journey" -- Skiers Larry and Ron make their way across the tundra when Larry falls into a pit.  He finds himself in a strange world, where a little girl saves him from snowball wielding punks and a polar bear.  In the girl's house of ice, her reflection is that of a beautiful woman, and like magic, suddenly she truly is.  Wanting to take her away from the place, Larry smashes the mirror, which causes her to age rapidly, as well cause a cave-in.  Trapped in the ice and snow, Larry is found by Ron, and the two make their way back to the spaceship for their trip back to Earth from... The Twilight Zone!

III. "Do Not Touch Exhibit" -- Chump changer criminal Mike is on the run from the law when he ducks into a museum to hide out.  Ducking behind an exhibit, he soon finds himself in Montana... in the 1800s!  Things, of course get worse, as Mike discovers that he's now going to be a part of history in the making at Little Big Horn... and The Twilight Zone!

IV. "Wings of Death" -- (Text Story) Two scientists run afoul (oy) of a vampire owl.

V. "Voyage To Nowhere" -- Buddies Dan and Roy are on a fishing trip when they spot a small sailboat piloted by a woman dressed in turn of the century garb.  The two men watch helplessly as the sailboat is dashed against the rocks.  Back on shore, they discover that the girl, Carlotta, is a ghost, who died 50 years prior in that very manner.  Roy becomes obsessed, and goes back to find her again.  Even as Dan pleads for him not to, Roy gets on the sailboat with Carlotta and is promptly wrecked on the rocks.  The police question Dan about Roy's disappearance, but the charges are dropped when they see Carlotta and Roy sailing together for all eternity... in The Twilight Zone!

VI. "Custer's Last Stand" -- A little history to go with your science.

Overall Weird Factor -- 1 (out of 5).

Nothing too outlandish in this particular specimin, although the weird "hidden world inside an alien world" thing in the second feature was a little strange.  These stories are sparse, sticking to a 5- or 6-panel layout pretty much the whole way through.  Rod Serling pops up tp introduce features #2 and 5, which is nice.  Not bad for the era in which it was produced (1962), and it is all original material, which is a change of pace from some of the stuff I have featured here.  Quaint little mystery comic book all told.

*Women are not evil.  Please disregard that statement.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Retro Review: What If? Special #1

This gem was given to me by my good friend Adama, who runs the finest Green Arrow blog I've ever seen over at Dispatches From The Arrowcave.  He has been known to collect What If?, and he came across this issue (along with another one featuring Shellhead) one day and picked it up for me.

Our story goes all the way back to hallowed antiquity -- that is, Tales of Suspense #39.  That issue, of course, is the debut and origin of Iron Man, where (as all of us now know) Professor Yinsen sacrificed his own life to give Tony Stark time to power up his crude first armor, allowing the injured industrialist to defeat their Communist captors and escape to become a great hero.  But Uatu The Watcher asks us to take a look on a different Earth, where Yinsen's gambit does not pay off, and Tony is captured before the Iron Man can rise.  So now let's examine what would have been if Iron Man Had Been A Traitor!

After their escape plan was foiled, warlord Wong Chu intended to use the armor as a weapon himself, but his plans go awry when he received orders to send Stark into China and to the lab of Chen Lu!  There, Chen Lu implants a device into Tony's chestplate which allows him to turn the device on and off remotely.  Chen's plan is to allow Tony to be found by American troops and returned to the States, where he will become a pawn of the East.  Tony says he would die before he betrays his country, but Chen calls his bluff, taunting him, saying that while saying such words are easy, living up to them is not.

Soon, Tony is found by an Army patrol and flown back home.  Picking up where he left off as an industrialist, he soon is confronted by CIA agent Nick Fury, who suspects that Tony was compromised.  Tony angrilly thows Fury out, but then is contacted (via a miniature transmitter planted in his skull!) by Chen, reminding him who he serves.  Tony then "debuts" Iron Man on the superhero scene, and quickly is accepted as a defender of freedom.  Nick Fury, however, still does not trust Stark, and suspects that the armor might be controlled remotely.  When Reed Richards informs him that his theory could  be feasible, Fury is confident that he can expose Tony Stark as a red traitor.

Unfortunately for our favorite fed, Tony Stark receives a report on the new organization named SHIELD, including that Fury is nominated to be it's director, and is ordered by Chen Lu to kill Fury.  Shortly thereafter, Fury is attacked by an unknown terrorist group who calls themselves HYDRA!  Nick barely escapes with his life, and now is convinced that Stark is a traitor.  Taking his information to the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards devises a method by which Iron Man is tricked into a special powder, which reveals that there is a signal being beamed into the suit from a satelite.  Chen Lu observes this and orders Stark to kill Mr. Fantastic.  Breaking into the Baxter Building, Iron Man avoids nearly all of the automated defenses, and manages to slip a cassette tape to Reed.  The tape (made by Tony on the sly, by recording at a super-slow speed his meditation mantras, then played back at regular speed to translate the message) clues Reed in to Tony's situation, and the big-brained Mr. Fantastic quickly devises a plan.  Reed "traps" Shellhead in a new device, and quickly takes control of the armor, then removes Tony and performs some quick surgery on his heart, ending the threat.  While Tony recovers in the hospital, Reed Richards informs Fury about the situation.  Fury inquired about the armor, and Reed tells him that all weapons will eventually turn on their creator.  Meanwhile, the empty Iron Man armor streaks towards Chen Lu's laboratory, and crashes explosively into the building.

As a fan of the Tales of Suspense era of Iron Man, I was a prime candidate for this story.  Just seeing the early 60s Marvel crew running around was a lot of fun.  But on top of that, this is a well constructed yarn which examines the battle between saving oneself and being a hero.  Tony Stark fights however he can, but Chen Lu holds all the cards: it's hard to resist someone who can essentially put shrapnel into your heart at will.  But Tony figures out a way to stop Chen Lu, knowing that if he is taken out of his chestplate he'll die anyway -- Reed's quick thinking being the only thing which saves him.

Seeing Iron Man -- who along with Captain America was the most patriotic of the original Marvel characters -- betray his country makes for stirring reading for an Iron Fan.  This is America's best and brightest turned into a Commie lackie.  That's the strength of What If?, and while there are a lot of times where the title just goes a little too far into left field for me (there was one I read once involving the Punisher getting the alien costume instead of Eddie Brock, and that has to be one of the lamest alternate universe stories ever), in this case the twist is not so outlandish that it cannot be enjoyed.

The artwork is not able because of the breakdowns done by none other than Steve Ditko.  Pat Redding handles the finishes, but with all of the layout and panel work being done by an legend (not to mention one of the men responsible for inventing Marvel's visual look) really helps sell this as an alternate Silver Age story.  Art style may change, but good storytelling is good storytelling.  The same goes for scribe Peter B. Gillis, who's dialogue could have passed muster in the Silver Age, though admittedly it is mostly devoid of Stan Lee's legendary linguistic banter.

Overall this was a very cool oversized (38 pages) comic book.  A fun adventure with a nice twist of the classic Tales of Suspense story which I must have read at least a dozen times at this point.  The Ditko breakdowns are a very nice touch as well.  Totally worth picking up if you can find it for a good price.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Looks Good?

We've got a new President in the White House, so all sorts of people are filled with Hope and Change and all that jazz.  As for me?  Show me to the comics, please.

Black Lightning Year One #2 -- The 100 better watch out, because there's something great and terrible brewing in the heart of Suicide Slum's newest resident!

Tiny Titans #12 -- The Tiniest adventures this side of a Sword Of The Atom revival!

Guardians Of The Galaxy #9 -- King Blastaar in the house!  Or, as it were, the Negative Zone!  I'm torn on which War Of Kings banner to use as my message board signature.  Right now I have Black Bolt, but hnnn, Blastaar...

War Machine #2 -- Rhodey's heavily armed mission continues, as he goes after the wife of that other War Machine, Parnell Jacobs!  Wow, Iron Man Volume 3 flashback.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #2 -- Kingbreaker!  Loantaker!  Shoemaker won't you fix my soles for free?! (Bonus Cool Points to whoever can figure that one out!)

Lone Ranger And Tonto #2 -- Pricey, but the first LR&T special was very cool, so I may pick this one up.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

DC Sampler #2: The Warlord

In honor of Mike Grell's new Warlord series being solicited in the April 2009 soliciations, check out this very sweet spread from the 1984 DC Sampler #2, featuring none other than The Warlord!  Warlord really was a "far out" read, with all sorts of seemingly conflicting elements working well together in the little (lost) world which Grell created.  Hopefully this new incarnation will last longer than the last abortive attempt at a revival.  DC has impressed me over the last few years with some of it's non-superhero stuff, and any proliferation of that is a good thing in my opinion.  (A new Arak, Son Of Thunder, anyone?)

I got this image from the same place I get all my images from the DC Sampler #2, The Nostalgia Zine.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I Read This Week

Final Crisis #6 -- After the jumbled confusion of the last issue, everything starts to hit the fan in this one, as Morrison throws everything but the kitchen sink into his blender that contains the DCU as we know it.  The brawl in Bludhaven continues, as Checkmate enacts its doomsday scenario plans, the Flashes get ready to make their final strike, Superman's anger is unleashed, and the Batman stands before Darkseid.  This is epic, sweeping superhero stuff, grand and gigantic in scale.  No page is wasted as there is something to marvel over on every one.  And where we go from here, both for this story and the larger DCU, is anyone's guess.  Given the choice between an event which leaves everything on the table and goes all out to use the strengths of the comic book format, and one which tries to be like a cinematic event, I will take the former every time, and this title is no different.

Invincible Iron Man #9 -- This FINALLY was in my mailbox when I got home from Florida on Sunday.  And after all the waiting, the verdict is... just okay.  It's more of the same from last issue, as Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, and Maria Hill wrestle with their new status, and Tony puts into motion his plan to make sure that Norman Osborn never gets his hands on all of SHIELD's information and intelligence, no matter the cost.  Fraction tries very hard to make Tony into the loveable smug-faced Cool Exec which we know and love, and he does a good job in achieving that goal.  The dialogue between the three leads is natural and enjoyable.  La Rocca's is consistant but still has some weird touches.  Tony, for instance, looks like a big goober on more than one occasion.  Not a bad issue but not a great one either, a good second installment of the story with a good cliffhanger.

The Phantom Annual #2 -- Gone missin'.  My LCS owner wasn't sure if they had simply not gotten it from Diamond or if it wasn't shipped, but he's working on it.

The Pick Of The Pile was Final Crisis, no doubt.  Some folks online may have gotten bored with this story, but in all honesty I cannot fathom how that is even possible.  Great issue all around and now I am really impatient for the finale!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Sorry everyone, no Weekly Dose of Weird this week, as I am heading out of town for a SECRET SURPRISE PARTY!  It's so secret I'm not even sure on all the details!  But, I do have some worthy links to check out!

Dixon drops the knowledge about solid light particles.  (Is it a particle or a wave, though?)

Shag gets in the act with a look at the Firestorm toy from the Super Powers line.

Rick knows how to keep his pants up aroud his waist like a real American.

Scipio makes another one of his Heroclix maps, this time on Paradise Island (or Themiscyra, if you prefer).

rob! will always know the date with this way cool Super Powers calender.


And finally, Frank gives us one last Overpower card for the Martian Manhunter (woo!): Martian Vision!

New Awesomeness: Firestorm Fan Blog

Character-driven blogs are part of what makes the "blogosphere" community so much fun.  It was sites like The Aquaman Shrine, Idol-Head of Diabolu, Dispatches From The Arrowcave, and Plastic Man Platitudes (and previously the defunct Black Lightning Limited) that inspired me to make my very own over at Being Carter Hall.  So it makes me very happy to welcome another worthy addition to that roll-call:

Firestorm Fan

Come join Shag (named, evidently, after the state dance here in South Carolina, or, perhaps, the film named after said dance) as he details everything great about one of DC's overlooked lesser heroes, Firestorm, the Nuclear Man!  Those of us the right age to remember the latter years of Super Friends (along with the Super Powers Collection of toys) will doubtful ever forget Firestorm, the guy with the flaming toupee whose powers had nothing to do with fire.  Be that as it may, please go check out this swank new blog!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Looks Good?

Whew, thank goodness for a lighter week after all those holiday-induced Four Color piles.  I may be a comic nutjob, but my wallet doesn't need this bad of a workout!

Final Crisis #6 -- Insanity abounds as Grant Morrison destroys the DC Universe!  Honestly I have no idea what to expect within these pages.

The Phantom Annual #2 -- Featuring Mandrake the Magician!  I am not sure if Moonstone is putting out another issue before they retool and relaunch the series, but their Phantom stuff is top notch.

So what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Randomness: Underworld Unleashed Promotional Flyer

More promotional goodness from the dark days of lore we call the 1990s!  This was unearthed while cleaning out all of my junk which was accumulating in my closet.  I remember the hype for Underworld Unleashed, and thinking it was a great idea (ah to be an idiot 14 year old again), but the only issues of it I ever bought were the Superman ones, as those were the only DC comics I was reading at the time.  Mainly I remember the "real" Lex Luthor coming back, with a bald head and bushy red eyebrows.  But those comics have long been sold.

I don't know how much of the fallout from this series is still around.  I think Major Disaster still has his probability powers (put to amazing use in The Flash by Waid and Augustyn), and Ocean Master still has his magic staff, but beyond that I got nothing.  The other thing I remember being hyped about this series is that it had a special Fifth Color being used in it -- and Five, of course, is One Higher Than Four.  So that makes it better by default.

And while there aren't as many goofy-sounding series on this promo piece as there were on the Zero Hour one, I do have to say that "event fatigue" folks can see that DC was putting out tie-in one shots to suspect events years before Dan DiDio was around.  So there's that, at least.

Anyone out there have some memories of Underworld Unleashed?

Monday, January 12, 2009

What I Read This Week

The holidays always make these posts so hard.  Good thing we're all caught up.  

Kull #3 -- The hidden threat to Kull's kingdom is revealed as he formally meets Brule the Spear-Slayer, a most remarkable Pict.  Strong S&S which does a good job of giving Kull and his timeline a unique "voice."

Black Lightning: Year One #1 -- Meet Jefferson Pierce, defender of those who can't defend themselves, on a mission to clean up the streets of Metropolis' Suicide Slum.  Oh, and he might become a superhero later.  Meter and Van Hammer detail the revised origin of one of DC's most underrated heroes in a very compelling beginning.

House of Mystery #9 -- Fig and her father try to figure out what the hell is going on, while Miranda's husband wants no part of Harry or Lady Anne.  Also, Cres apparently has something of an odd lovelife, historically.  A great comic book all around.

Sgt Rock: The Lost Battalion #3 -- With the Allies' armor unable to penetrate the Germans' perimeter, it is up to the 442nd to bust Rock and his men out.  More focused and easier to follow than last issue, with a nice cameo by the "Haunted Tank."

Invincible Iron Man #9 -- Gone missin'.  Again.  Marvel's sub service really slows down around the holidays.

Final Crisis Secret Files #1 -- Who is Libra and why has he become the herald of Darkseid on Earth?  See how this Justice League of America baddie from thirty years ago became a true force.  Final Crisis fans should definitely check this one out, but even regular JLA fans will enjoy it as well.

Justice Society of Amreica #22 -- The blowoff to the Gog Saga bows here, as well as tying up the story of the Superman of Earth-22.  Johns leaves it all on the table here -- perhaps too much, as there is a lot going on in not a lot of space.  Still, I liked it even if it could have been better.

After resisting a strike from Gog last issue, Citizen Steel takes the god of the Third World off his feet with a few well-placed punches in the ankle.  Hell yeah!

The War That Time Forgot #8 -- Lt. Carson and the Viking Prince begin to realize that they may have a common enemy, while Col. Jape totally loses it.  No one cares one lick about this book but I have been enjoying it as a fun romp, which is exactly what this issue is.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8 -- The Guardians are still fractured, and each section has their own problems, including Peter Quill being trapped with "King" Blastaar in the Negative Zone!  Fun both as a prologue to War Of Kings as well as in it's own right, this book is simply non-stop.

Venom: Dark Origin #5 -- Retelling Amazing Spider-Man #300 with a few twists, Venom confronts Spider-Man directly for the first time.  Really feels like a throwback to about a decade ago when such Venom miniseries were common, and I mean that in a good way.

War Machine #1 -- James Rhodes is not happy.  In fact, one might say he is mad as hell.  But unlike the rest of us, James Rhodes has a suit of high tech armor, tons of weapons, and an orbiting satelite as a staging ground.  Rip roaring (and highly violent) debut, a perfect fit for the character.  Features some old school Iron Man callbacks as well, nice.

The Phantom #26 -- Guran tells the Walker children about the 13th Phantom battling slavers off the coast of Louisiana in late 18th century.  Neat done in one (something which the Phantom property is well-suited to), but somewhat similar to the last such issue (#20), which also featured art by Zeu and had an older Phantom having a high seas adventure.

Secret Invasion: War Of Kings -- Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans, wants revenge on the Skrulls who imprisoned him, and he is willing to go to any lengths to achieve it.  And after them: the Kree.  If you weren't interested in War of Kings, you will be after reading this insane one-shot.  (Also, check out the War Of Kings Saga freebie, which does a great job of recapping all you need to know to set up this issue as well as the other WOK titles.)

The Pick Of The Pile is Final Crisis Secret Files, which just barely edges out the SI:WOK one-shot.  Both were excellent, though, as were plenty of the comic books this week.

So what did YOU read this week?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Rick gets us started with an howlingly cool letterhead.

Dixon sez: It's all done with Mirrors, at least on the Flash TV show.

G Kendall takes a look at how the Onslaught goofiness spread to the non-mutant books as well.

rob! shows us the Aquaman toy from The Brave And The Bold... as well as Black Manta!

Frank has a showcase of Overpower with the Martian Manhunter (woo!): Malleable Form, Alien Physique, Telepathic Probe, and Martian Strength!  

Weekly Dose Of Weird!

House of Mystery #191 -- Man, another sequel to Demonic Toys?  C'mon Charles Band, give us a break already!

I. (Introductory Story) -- Cain welcomes us to the House of Mystery, and tells some ungrateful brats an apparently unsatisfactory story.  When they demand he tell them another, he complies...

II. "No Strings Attached!" -- Gramps Miller is a kindly old tinkerer who lives on the outskirts of town, beloved by the local children for his ability to fix toys as well as his puppet show. One day, a Mr. Stone shows up at his door, offering him $25000 to sell his house.  Miller refuses, and Stone returns later holding the mortgage.  Forcing Miller into debtors' prison, Stone intends to sell the property for a fortune when the highway comes through.  Gramps dies in prison (the many letters from the town's children hidden from him by Stone), and the collective anguish from the dreams of the children rise up, animating the toys and puppets in the house, who string up Mr. Stone like a marionette.

III. "Cain's Game Room" -- Various mishaps and hijinks.

IV. "The Hanging Tree" -- In Salem, MA, the crone Hecubah is hanged from a Lover's Tree for Witchcraft, placing a death curse upon all who carve their initials into it.  Issac Irvington, descendant of the Salem settlers, stops a honeymooning couple from carving their name in the tree, raving about the curse.  The tourists laugh him off, then return later to finish the job.  Issac follows close behind, and chisels out their initials... creating a perfect pair of I's in the process, and being dragged to Hell by Hecubah for his troubles.

V. "Night Prowler" -- Fred and his wife hear a strange noise downstairs.  Thinking it is the prowler the police have spotted in the area, Fred grabs his shotgun and heads downstairs... but returns to bed, smiling, wishing his wife a Merry Christmas amid the sound of hoof-falls and jingle bells.

Overall Weird Rating: 1.5 (out 5).

Yes, this would have come out in December, as it is the March/April 1971 issue.  The stories themselves are well done but not the most creative I have ever read.  Still, there's some neat stuff in here, including the army of angry toys rendered by "Wild" Bill Draut.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Unbridled Capitalism: Killing Time

One of the real and tangible benefits of having a local comic book shop close to your work is that when you need to kill an hour, you can kill an hour surrounded by 4 Color goodness.  So when my wife needed me to wait a while before picking her up from work, well, that presents itself as a golden opportunity to do some discount bin diving!  Let's see what we were able to find!

Hawkman: One of the problems of being a Hawkman collector is that none of his series have ever sold all that well.  Which means that there is a substantially lower chance of finding his comics in discount bins.  Compare this to, say, a 90s Marvel mutant title (which I will get to in a bit).  Anyways, I did manage to find one issue, #15 from the second (Shadow War) volume.  The series only lasted a couple of issues past this issue, and by this point Tony Isabella was off the title, but hey, more Hawkman is more Hawkman!

The Flash: Now, the Scarlet Speedster is much easier to find in back issue bins.  I mean, that's one of the Flash's main traits, isn't it?  Sells good as a back issue?  Anywho, a little patience and a lot of digging yielded good results, as I was able to net some issues from Volume 2: #42, and #45-49.  Run, Wally, run!

Other Stuff: I mentioned "90's Marvel mutant title" up above, and one of my favorites from that period was X-Factor.  In fact, at the time, it was my favorite, even more than Excalibur, if you can believe it.  I pretty found the entire run from the debut of the new, Havok-lead team straight through the Phalanx Covenant storyline.  Now, despite G Kendall's best efforts to rekindle my nostalgia, I passed and only bought one issue (I sold these comics off once already, after all) -- #87, which, of course, is the classic "X-Aminations" issue.

Further oddness from my youth was found in Book Five of Alan Moore's throwback 1963 series.  This was another series that I had all of and had to sell off, much to my later regret.  Slowly but surely I am rebuilding it, and in the last few months have acquired 2/3rds of the six published issues.  Book Five features Horus, Lord Of Light for those curious.

All in all a well spent $9, if I don't say so myself.  Looking forward to digging in to all of these in coming months (and years, knowing the way I operate).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What Looks Good?

Well, the holidays are behind us for another year, which means its time for me to catch up on my Four Color purchases.  Sounds good to me.

Kull #3 -- Kull faces suspicion from his own people, but what of his ancient tribal enemies the Picts?  I have enjoyed the first two issues of this title and hope we see more than just this miniseries for the Exile from Atlantis.

Black Lightning: Year One #1 -- It's about time!  Jefferson Pierce survived the streets of Suicide Slum, but will The 100 survive the rage of Black Lightning?!

Haunted Tank #2 -- JEB Stuart finds himself in a very strange new battlefield.  I liked the first issue of this updated take on the classic property.

House of Mystery #9 -- Just what the heck is going on in the basement?!  I'm really curious!

Sgt Rock: The Lost Battalion #3 -- The cliffhanger from the last issue -- with the battalion surrounded on all sides by the Nazi's mountain troops -- is more than enough to get me excited for this comic.

Invincible Iron Man #9 -- Tony Stark has gone from the top of the world to the bottom, and now he's got a psychopath by the name of Norman Osborn on his tail.  Eventually I hope to get back to more traditional Shellhead fare, but the setup for this plot was pretty good.


Stuff I Probably Won't Get But Looks Neat:  
Justice League of America Geo-Force Action Figure -- Because, cmon, it's a Geo-Force action figure!  Geo-Force!  I kinda wish it was in his green and gold costume, but this is the classic (and now, modern) look.

Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures v.1 -- Mostly as something to mine for the weekly dose.  I am not familiar with any of the stories collected herein by my reckoning.

Outer Space Men OGN -- Check out the website here.  The Outer Space Men were an odd toyline from the 60s, which captivated my young brain when I discovered them some 18 years ago or so.  Just to see what the heck kind of story gets spun out of all these great toy designs sounds cool to me.

So what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Thought: Back Issues

Found this article today at Newsarama:

Shop Of Ideas: No More Back Issues!

It's an interesting approach these guys have taken, completely eliminating the back issue stock of their shop.  I can see some benefits here as well as some drawbacks, but I am interested: what do you guys think?

Would you be happy if your LCS decided to up and liquidate all of it's back issues?  Or would you welcome the opportunity for new, perhaps lesser known stuff to take it's place?  

What do YOU think?

Monday, January 5, 2009

What I Read This Week

I'm still a week behind thanks to being out of town for New Comic Book Day last week, but I am getting caught up.  Sorry!

The Flash #247 -- This was your life, Wally West... hope you enjoyed it.  The series bows here as Wally West -- family man, friend, teammate, and Fastest Man Alive -- does everything in his power to save the person who means the most to him.  As far as a series blowoff goes, this is pretty lowkey (not as lowkey as, oh I don't know, not having the titular star appear in it like Marvel did with Iron Man!), but considering that Wally is not going anywhere any time soon I think that it is wholly appropriate.  Burnett offers a satisfactory roundup for Wally's adventures as the Flash, while the art by Carlo Barberi and Drew Geraci is uneven but otherwise nice.

Unknown Solider #3 -- The rebels attack the school looking for "wives," and the Soldier is taken hostage with them.  But after a forced march and witnessing the "enlightened" methods of justice of the Lord's Resistance Army, the strange voice in the Soldier's head returns, and all hell starts to break loose.  This title has really solidified itself as a different animal from just about any other title on the shelves today.  It is harsh and unblinking, and just a bit unsettling.  I'm not sure if I am going to continue with this title, because while I can see the quality staring back at me from its pages, I don't really enjoy reading it, at least not in this format.  The whole thing's a little too real I think for a monthly.  

Vigilante #1 -- There;s a new Vigilante in town, and he is using his own brutal brand of investigation to figure out what the mob families gain by attacking political candidates.  Wolfman's setup is decidedly old school, with a sort of 80s approach to the pacing and the storytelling as the new Vig ends up going undercover to learn more about mob he is fighting.  But as a whole the story falls apart, a situation not helped by Leonardi 's art, which doesn't always convey the story well.  I like the new Vigilante as a character but for now I am going to pass on this series.

Nova #20 -- There's a new Nova Corps in town, but Richard Rider is spending some time with his old crew -- the New Warriors.  That is, what is left of them.  Meanwhile, the newest Centurian, Richard's younger brother Robbie is finding himself well suited for his new line of work.  Kind of a quiet issue, although I like that a "quiet issue" of Nova still involves a group of centurians dealing with a rampaging Dragon Man.  Great fun and a worthwhile read for old New Warriors fans as well.

Captain America Theater of War: America First -- After World War II, a new spectre is rising to menace America, and it's name is Communism.  Luckily, Captain America still defends the Red, White, and Blue from all threats, and is on the case when saboteurs and enemy agents try to destroy the American way of life.  But who is this Captain America?  And can he be trusted when he is named as a traitor by a crusading Senator hell bent on rooting out all Red influence in America?  I'd never a single story with the Captain America of the 50s, but this over-sized actioner by Howard Chaykin really delivers on the promising of Commie Smashing.  But it also addresses what Captain America means to his country, the true threat of Communism in this era, and the motivations of men like McCarthy (here represented by a stand in) and how that relates to normal men and women.  Really fun one shot, just like the earlier Theater of War issue.  Also includes a couple of short reprints from Atlas' failed attempt at reviving Cap in the 50s from which this character is based.  These are not all that good, to be honest, but I have never seen any of the 50s Cap stuff before so it is welcome as a cultural oddity if nothing else.

The Pick Of The Pile was Theater of War.  I like Chaykin, I like historical stories, I like reprints of comics which I have never had a chance to see, and I like Commies getting smashed.  All in all a solid outing well worth reading.

So what did YOU read this week?