Monday, October 20, 2014

After years of jokes, I finally get my hands on my own...


...and it's a bit beat-up and torn, but Giant-Size Man-Thing #1, "How will we keep warm when the last flame dies?" Written by Steve Gerber, art by Mike Ploog, inks by Frank Chiaramonte. And once you get past the jokes about the title, man, what a weird book.

As is often the case, the Man-Things seems to lurch around the background of his own book: a cult that worships entropy wants to stop an environmental group from setting up an experimental commune in the Everglades, so they use the power of the Golden Brain. As you do. The entropists summon up a golden demon, but the Man-Thing defeats it and the Brain is lost. In the swamp, the Brain vaguely remembers it used to be the Glob, and fought the Hulk once; but grows itself a new body with seemingly no memory and joins the environmentalists.

The head of the entropists, having handled the Brain before, is able to assert control again, and reverts it back to the Glob and sets it to destroy the commune, Omegaville. Man-Thing intervenes again, tearing the Glob to pieces. The head cultist tries to get the Glob back into the fight, but it instead covers him, smothering him to death.

Maybe it's because I've been watching old Hammer horror movies this week, but it's like the seventies were full of weird pseudo-hippies and/or vaguely satanic cultists. And monsters. Also this issue, reprints of silly old Marvel stories; a Stan Lee/Steve Ditko story with a jewel thief and an ice monster hoax, a Jack Kirby one where a scientist abuses super-speed, and Goom, the Thing from Planet X!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The poster from 2012, the mask from 2011, but I've had them for two comic-cons...


This week's issue of BPRD: Hell on Earth (#124) is an excellent, single issue story; a great place to start reading. And super-creepy. But if you've been reading since 1994's Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1, you are both old, and in the possession of a pretty good pile of comics. Especially if you're not trade-waiting, and you've been getting the assorted Mignolaverse books like Sledgehammer 44, Lobster Johnson, and Baltimore. Strictly speaking, the latter isn't in the same universe, but it's Mike Mignola so it's going in the same box!

However disorganized you may assume I am...let me assure you, it's far more so. But most of my Mignola-books were together in a box...that got full. And has been in my garage, so I haven't been putting new issues in. Problem, or opportunity, for a proper longbox home for them? After some liberal application of packing and duct tape, yeah! It's reinforced and water resistant!

I've had this in mind forever, so it'll be nice to finish putting all those issues in there. Plus, it's a good opportunity to re-read a ton of them. Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today: Morbius vs. the lamest Halloween party ever...


A "monster mash"? More like a dead man's party, from 1970's Fear #30, reprinted in 1993's Morbius Revisited #4, "The Vampires of Mason Manor!" Written by Bill Mantlo, pencils by George Evans, inks by Frank Springer.

After facing the bizarre dimensions of the monstrous Helleyes, living vampire Michael Morbius and former C.I.A. man turned vampire hunter Simon Stroud find themselves attacked by real vampires! Which neither really believed in up to that point, even though there had been plenty of evidence: Morbius's victims, while traumatized and drained of a bit of blood, wouldn't turn into vampires themselves, yet there were several apparently tearing up Boston. Morbius is actually convinced he's hallucinating this fight, even as Stroud tries to convince him otherwise and the slain vampires turn to dust.

While back at the police station, Morbius's girlfriend Martine is unable to convince the cops of the dangers of a vampire, until the vampire breaks loose. Morbius and Stroud have their own problems, with Morbius going crazy with bloodlust right before they crash into a party full of vampires! So intent on blood, Morbius bites a vampire's neck, then helps Stroud capture one, who doesn't seem especially curious about how he came to be a vampire: he had been bitten, woke up a vampire three days later, and was drawn to that mysterious house. Morbius and Stroud take their prisoner back to the cops, to find Martine had herself been turned to a vampire!

Ah, I need to find that next issue or the reprint: I suspect Martine was cured, but I'm not sure it took; she may have been an actual undead vampire later on! I'm watching old vampire movies as I type this (the Vampire Lovers and the Return of Count Yorga) and I still think Morbius deserves a shot at B-movie fame. I'm sure Disney will get right on that.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Tactical."



Will Kitty Pryde be able to save Pool and Kurt? Or will Cyclops wreck things, as usual? And how many Star Trek episodes has Deadpool watched, anyway? None of these questions answered next time!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My girlfriend would say "stall" is usually step one of my "plotty plans..."


We saw Mr. Nice, Mastermind, and the Perfessor some time ago; if you recall, they were the Batman Adventures shout-outs to DC editors Archie Goodwin, Mike Carlin, and Denny O'Neil. And today we're checking out their second appearance: from 1994, the Batman Adventures #20, "Smells Like Black Sunday" Written by Kelley Puckett, pencils by Mike Parobeck, inks by Rick Burchett.

Even though the Perfessor is busy working on his memoirs, and Mr. Nice is too nice for his line of work; Mastermind is able to convince his cohorts to band together for one more job. Step one: break out of prison, which the Perfessor manages in a cakewalk.

Step two: stall. Mastermind leads the Dark Knight on a merry chase through Gotham, but it's a ploy to keep Batman occupied until it would be too late for him to stop Mr. Nice; and Mastermind had weaseled a promise out of him: stop being nice until midnight! Unburdened by his good nature, Nice is a virtually unstoppable fighting machine, and has a free run at the nuclear missiles at Fort Briggs!

As Mastermind sing-songs "I'm a nuclear power!" he may have counted his chickens before they've hatched. Although Batman can't get there in person, he's still able to call Jim Gordon to stop Mr. Nice, who can't turn away from his character after all.

Neither the best nor most essential of stories, but still well-executed fun. There's probably a moral or two here somewhere, but I was wondering how often Batman falls for that sort of distraction: he can't be everywhere at once, after all.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm working late all this week, which isn't helping my mood at all: I'll probably be used to that schedule just in time to go back to going in early. But I've been a little sad lately, anyway.

First up, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow have returned, and I caught the first few episodes of Gotham and the premiere of the Flash. Flash may be my favorite so far; while my girlfriend's worried if Ollie and Felicity get together it'll ruin the show.

Gotham is well made, but would it have been so hard just to do a Batman show? As is, like any prequel, it's a little limited since you know certain characters are going to be alive later; and while I'm watching football I keep seeing the commercial where young Bruce asks Gordon if Gotham can be saved. Gordon either gives a blisteringly naive and optimistic yes, or outright lies to Bruce; I kinda wish he'd admit no, probably not. Since we know Gotham City is still a corrupt cesspool of crime by the time Batman shows up, we know Gordon isn't going to make a lot of headway, so the show could become an exercise in Gordon banging his head against a wall.

(Incidentally, I'm not sure how old Bruce is supposed to be at this point, but it feels like he should've started seriously training by now. It would be pretty easy for him to sell that to this gruff version of Alfred, as not feeling safe and wanting to get back to a secure place.)

Anyway, four TV shows based on comics, that's great. None of them have a comic I'm interested in reading right now. That seems like a problem. I think Marvel's working on another S.H.I.E.L.D. book, and I've read a couple of Scott Snyder's Batman, but it hasn't completely won me over. Still, the comics seem like an afterthought anymore, don't they?

Another example: Bleeding Cool had a post with Chris Claremont explaining how the X-Offices can't create new characters right now, because the movie rights would go to Fox instead of Marvel/Disney. This is also why Marvel is allegedly dropping all support for the Fantastic Four, with Fantastic Fourever: rumor has it certain execs don't want to do anything to support a movie from a rival company, but the X-books and Spider-Man are too successful to cut out. FF isn't. I was wondering if Wolverine's death wasn't somehow related to that: I read Wolverine #12 the other day and wasn't really impressed.

Still, I was more disappointed with Chris Claremont's Nightcrawler #7, with plot by Marguerite Bennett. Kurt mourns the death of Wolverine, which would be fine; except we all know damn well Wolvie's coming back, probably sooner rather than later. This isn't the writers' fault, they're kind of in a corner: if Kurt laughs off Logan's death (especially since Kurt himself returned from the dead recently) it's a little too meta and it undermines any drama the Wolverine writers may have been able to wring out of it. You could take the angle of Kurt not believing it, or being convinced that Logan would return, and no one else believing him: DC did something to that effect with Red Robin after Darkseid "killed" Batman. Or, you can take the hit, and do an issue of Nightcrawler explaining how awesome Wolverine was. It does give artist Todd Nauck an opportunity for a greatest hits tour of X-history; he ought to get a pretty penny for some of those pages!

So, I kinda feel like, I don't know: too much of seeing how the sausage is made, I'd guess. Still, we'll look for something more optimistic tomorrow.
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Beat today, so just a couple from a book I'm surprised I found cheap:


From 1977, All-Star Comics #69, "United We Fall!" A classic Earth-2 story, featuring Commissioner Bruce Wayne, Robin, Hourman, Starman, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Wonder Woman against the Justice Society of America! Wayne seems to be holding the JSA responsible for actions caused by the Psycho-Pirate's influence, and when he brings the law down on the team, one of his officers panics and shoots Power Girl! (With an electric "shock-gun," that actually somehow nearly kills the usually invulnerable Power Girl.) To bring in the JSA, the former Batman calls in the other heroes; and neither group will back down.

Superman shows up in the end, and being the only one everyone will listen to, calms the situation down. Along with brainwashing from the Psycho-Pirate, Wayne was also working through his grief over the death of his wife Catwoman, and was pretty disraught; but his daughter the Huntress is glad to see he's going to be all right. And this is actually the first appearance of the Huntress! Helena Wayne had appeared before, but this was the first of her in costume--except for from the same week, DC Super Stars #17, featuring her origin. I have a vague feeling I have a beat-up copy of that somewhere, too...

Since Bruce is the only one controlled, this breaks the heroes down into those loyal to the JSA (the current team) and those loyal to Batman; which could've been a notion to play with. It also could've been a chance to really show which teammates just don't like each other. ("You've had this coming for a long time, Wildcat!")
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