Monday, August 30, 2010

Mainstream Comics Too Violent To Show?

Are comics today more violent than they have ever been in the past?

Last week, Marvel may have answered that question when they promoted a new issue of Wolverine with preview which were so violent, that they had censor bars.

Now part of me wants to dismiss this as just a empty marketing ploy to promote the first issue of Wolverine: The Best There Is. I don’t actually think what’s under the bars really merits being barred out (on the internet) Still, the fact that readers are left wondering whether this is or isn’t a ploy sort of supports a recent statement by Robert Kirkman on excessive violence in mainstream comics - NOTE: This is not a direct quote, but rather a second hand account of what Kirkman said on I don't have a quote to the direct quote at this moment, but will search for it tomorrow. Thanks to Trey for keeping me honest. ;) - JS

According to the makers behind The Walking Dead in both the comics and the AMC Network reported in GQ magazine that the violence in comics is also damaging not only the society but also young children. Robert Kirkman of the magazine said that he has reading comics since the age of fifteen and he had never come across a comic with rape and dark elements that are present today. He said that such material was inappropriate for children and this is the reason why these comic books were damaging the reputation of the society in front of children today.

Which leads us back to my opening question. I decided the best way to decide this would be to list all the excessively violent scenes from comics within the past 3 years. With the help of several other comic readers, this is the list I came up with:



  • Lizard eats his own kid Spider-man 631
  • Sentry rips Ares in half in Seige 3
  • Blob eats Wasp in Ultimatum 2
  • Wonder Dog eating Wendy and Marvin in Titans 62
  • Gory beating of Marlene in Moonknight Shadowland 1
  • Kryb (a grisly hunchbacked Sinestro Corps alien who only attacks Green Lanterns who have newborn children. After murdering the parents, she puts the children in her sac-like back.)
  • Nightcrawler’s death in X-force 26 (vol 2)
  • Family at Picnic buzzsawed to death Justice Society of America 7 (vol 3)
  • The Cat scene from Rise of Arsenal 3
  • Every other issue of Secret Six ;)
I’ve probably missed a few, but as it stands, that’s a pretty damning list of atrocious scenes.

When I posed this question on the Bleeding Cool message boards the general consensus was that most of the excessive violence we are seeing these days is used to jazz up weak stories or to pander to the Grande Guignol groundlings that seek out those *Awesome* moments in comics today.

Perhaps this is just a result of all entertainment becoming more violent and graphic. This is a world where Saw, CSI and Grand Theft Auto reign and movies are commonly called into question for being too violent. In my Wild Wild West article, I mentioned the show was eventually removed from CBS because of concerns of violence. Looking at the show today, the mild fisticuffs that raised eyebrows in the 70's make that concern seem absurd.

So with all that, isn't it expected that the level of violence in comics would rise? Perhaps not when they were published under the Comics Code, but those days are gone. Outside of the comics code, there is nothing intrinsically different about comics that would keep the modern levels of violence from seeping in. In some cases, older writers with more nostalgic leanings might shy away from excessive violence, but not this new generation of comic writers. (There are some notable exceptions like Jonathan Hickman and Jeff Parker, but then again, their books aren't tearing up the charts like the more violent ones seem to be.)

What do you think? Do you agree with Robert Kirkman? Have mainstream comics become too violent?

Anyway, as a Pallet Cleanser, let us now enjoy the light hearted adventures of The Little Wise Guys from Lev Gleason's Daredevil Comic

[ Daredevil 65 ]

[ Daredevil 66 ]

- Enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Known Fact(s) about the Flashback Universe

A little known fact about Jim (the Editor & Chief here at the FBU): he's not a fan of the broad spectrum of concepts that make up the Vampire and Werewolf genres. If you've had a chance to read any of our comics here then you'll know there aren't any "traditional" vampires (if you can label vampires that way) in any of our stories.

We have monsters a plenty! A league of them as a matter of fact. You can read about them here.

There are no traditional vampires however. What if we did a story with Vampires or Werewolves in them? Which Vampire or Werewolf would you prefer to see?

  • "Sparkly" Vampires/Werewolves?
  • "Light Hearted" Vampires/Werewolves?
  • "Mutant" Vampires/Werewolves?
  • "Traditional" Vampires/Werewolves?
Would you feel short-changed if you came to read one of our comics expecting one vampire concept, but got another? Do Vampires and Werewolves have the same impact in genre fiction that they used to have? When a vampire is used in a story is it then a horror story? Is it a comedy story? Is it scifi?

I know a writer can make any story feel like any of those options listed above and more but what would be your knee jerk reaction to a vampire story? Has it changed in the last ten years?

Lets look a little further at BLADE. A vampire (of sorts) who's made a new resurgence in the Marvel U as of late in more than one book. First a little background: Marvel has recently decided to bring the Marvel version of vampires into the new millennium. They started by killing off the Marvel U version of Dracula, dusted off the concept of what a Marvel Vampire was and wasn't, and have let their updated vampires loose in the modern Marvel Universe.

Nowhere is this more prominent than in the X-Men book which has been moved to San Francisco that is now seemingly crawling with vampires. Where there are vampires, there's also Blade...

In the X-Men Comic (above) Blade is very much the way we remember him from the Wesley Snipes movies. He's lethal, on a mission, and not about to let anyone get in his way. With just a few panels they manage to hint at the eventual dual between Blade and Logan. This version of Blade even looks like the character from the recent movies.

This version of Blade can be found both in X-Men and his own new title Blade: Curse of the X-Men but there is yet another style of the very same comic, in another book all together being released at nearly the same time....

The Ultimates3 version of Blade is much more like John Shaft but with fangs and a sword. In fact, Blade's opening scene has him in bed with a couple lovely ladies (I think it's 3) just before all hell breaks loose.

So as a fan you may find your self, as I did, standing in front of the Marvel comic book rack at your local LCS. You begin flipping through comics, your excited that Blade seems to be back in a big way (he's going to be in 3 books). Your so excited in fact that you're going to read a few pages of both X-Men & The Ultimates3 before you take them up to purchase them.

What are the chances that one of them is a let down? If one is, will it sour you on buying both of them? Would you go home with a comic with Blade in it?

With Blade, Twilight, Buffy, I Am Legend, and Dracula, only six of the many different vampire concepts in circulation today it's pretty clear that the vampire genre is a convoluted genre indeed.

I think Jim, Pierre, and my self would rather have our fans focus on our great comics instead: where the golden age meets the digital age.

Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our League of Monsters Zuda Pitch

Due to extenuating circumstances, I don't have a regular post, but have something different to enjoy today. Before Zuda called it quits, Pierre and I were planning to submit a new League of Monsters story to Zuda. Click the image below to see the first 8 pages.

These first 8 pages were all created without any script or plot by Pierre, who sent them to me to dialogue as a sort of project kickstart. Having to devine a a story and dialogue from sequential pages of art was actually pretty hard, but after sort of letting the pages *talk to me* for a while, the story materialized.

Unfortunately, Zuda is no more, so while Pierre and I won't be able to see how it would have done in the contest (which was always a fickle thing anyway) we have every intention of finishing the story ourselves.

So consider this a preview! I hope you enjoy it!

- Jim

Monday, August 23, 2010

How did you discover the Golden Age?

When did you first become aware of Public Domain and/or Golden Age Comics?

Thinking on that question caused me to retrace my steps as it were to find out where I first encountered Public Domain and Golden Age superheroes. My first kneejerk answer was (wrongly) The Invaders. I think because I have such a love for that series but also because the stories were rooted in the World War II era, so they feel more Golden Age to me.

However, almost as soon as I thought of the Invaders, I realized that was wrong because I had read about the Freedom Fighters in the pages of Justice League of America 106 and 107.

And as soon as I thought of this issue, I remembered Justice League of America 100 where the JLA teamed up with the JSA and the Seven Soldiers of Victory. I bought this issue as a kid off a 7-11 Spinner Rack. This was most definitely the first comic I read which reintroduced Golden Age heroes.

And I somewhere on this timeline I also acquired a copy of Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes. I want to say this was in the fourth grade, so I would have been 9 years old. Still that book, while a great introduction to the Golden Age primarily focuses of heroes from either Timely or National (DC/Marvel) - with The Spirit, Captain Marvel and Plastic Man being the lone exceptions (going on memory here, so bear with me...)

So, to my young 9 year old brain, the Golden Age was this nebulous time when some heroes were created (no more than 12 going by Feiffer book) with newer heroes like Freedom Fighters and Metal Men getting created in my lifetime in the pages of Brave in the Bold or JLA. If I had read the text pages of the book, I would have realized this was wrong, but as a 9 year old, Feiffer's erudite commentary pieces failed to hook me. It would take Stan Lee's similar pieces in Origin of Marvel Comics to convince me that there might be something worthwhile in them.

What sooner corrected my perception of all this was another Justice League of America comic. This one containing all the heroes acquired when DC bought the Fawcett characters - Crisis in Eternity.

By the time this issue came out, I had read how DC was now able to publish the adventures of Captain Marvel because DC had bought the heroes from another, older company. (Not sure where I read this - in the pages of Shazam! perhaps?) This led me to realize that these other heroes appearing with the Marvel Family in this story were most likely from that same company.

So while I still had no idea how many other companies had existed outside of Timely and National, I now knew there *had* been others. When and How I discovered how many others will be the subject of another post. ;)

With that, I am happy to present today's free Comics - two issues of the character who, along with Ibis, really grabbed my attention from JLA 135: Spy Master!

[ Spy Master 5 ]

[ Spy Master 6 ]
- Enjoy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Comic Book Genre Examination

While doing research for this post I discovered that most readers I'd poled don't collect comics within "comic book genres" the way a person who buys (collects?) mystery, scifi, or romance novels will consume books of the same genre for years.

Based on that research it would seem that comics are generally widely collected by the following criteria. They are listed in order of frequency:
  1. Character (Green Lantern)
  2. Universe (X-Men)
  3. Style (Anime)
  1. Writer (Bendis)
  2. Artist (Perez)
  3. Company (Dark Horse)
Still, there must be some fans out there who collect comics based on "Style" or "Genre" right?

Anyone? All right, I'm sure you've all ready guessed that it is I who collects comics this way.

With the exception of "tie-in" comics (Farscape) I collect two genres: A.) "street level masked vigilantes" most of whom have little (Daredevil) or no (Nightwing) powers and travel by roof tops most of the time & B.) High-Concept type stories with a twist (Power CO.) usually with some sort of scifi twist to it.

There are far more Street Level Vigilante books out there than High-Concept books.

I regularly pick up Detective staring Batwoman (soon to have her own book), Nightwing (currently staring in the Batman books as Batman), MoonKnight, Daredevil (both of whom are in SHADOWLAND right now - I'm picking up ALL of that - which has also introduced me to another street level vigilante who fits the bill: SHROUD), Batgirl, The Red Hood and more.

In addition I have plenty of other books staring Night Man, Hawkeye, Solitaire, Ragman, Ronin, Robin, Ricochet, X, Night Thrasher, and the list goes on and on. I'm sooo true to the genre it self that I even own Bruce Wayne: Agent of Shield which has an amalgamated character of MoonKight and Nightwing called MoonWing in it!

So why oh why do I not have boxes and boxes filled with any ShadowHawk comics?

ShadowHawk debuted in IMAGE comics as Paul Johnstone. Paul was an ex attorney and ex district attorney who, through a traumatic time in his life (HIV among other things which was pretty ground breaking at the time), was motivated to become Shadowhawk:

"Johnstone decided to don the suit, christening himself "ShadowHawk" after his favorite superhero (a name that would eventually lure out the psychotic and racist villain Hawk's Shadow, who believed he was the one entitled to bear the mantle of ShadowHawk), and was taught how to fight effectively with the help of Christine, promising to "take back the night." Johnstone also kept the pills needed to slow his reaction to his HIV infection in small pouches on his belt so he could take them as needed. Early on, ShadowHawk's actions against criminals were brutal. He would catch violent criminals in the act and break their spines, leaving them to be discovered by police with no indication that he had attacked them other than hearsay from the criminals. This led to ShadowHawk garnering a reputation as an urban legend as well as being hunted by both criminals and law enforcement alike."~Wikipedia

This character is the exact type of character I collect, and fits nicely into the genre. He doesn't have any powers, he hides his identity, he has one of those "bird" and "shadow" type names, and he's taking to the roof tops by night to get around the city on patrol.

Jim Valentino (ShadowHawk's creator) has been quoted regarding ShadowHawk's origin that Jim wanted to create a "Batman Clone" but wanted to fix the problem with Batman (as he saw it): that his rogues kept getting out of jail/Arkham and causing more pain suffering and destruction on the citizens of Gotham (hence ShadowHawk's breaking of backs).

It would be one thing if I hated the character, I don't. I own a few. I've read a few more. I'm just not compelled to collect this character like I am the others. Why? I mean he's a clone of Batman after all & I think it's safe to say that I collect all of the other Batmanish characters out there.

Lots of the characters I listed above are DC characters, could that be it?
No, I listed other company characters as well: Dark Horse, Ultraverse, Marvel.

Lots of the characters I listed above work in conjunction with each other, could that be it?
No, Night Man, Solitaire, and X, work strictly alone.

Lots of the characters I listed above are rich (or know a rich guy) and can afford gadgets a plenty, could that be it?
No, Night man and X do their heroing on a budget.

I'm not alone in this either, check out these sales numbers from the same month in 2005 (I couldn't find 1992 - 1994 numbers):

18 Batman 646 $2.50 DC 69,931
38 Daredevil 78 $2.99 Marvel 45,042
46 Nightwing 113 $2.50 DC 39,811
51 SP-Nighthawk 2 $2.99 Marvel 35,161
53 Robin 143 $2.50 DC 34,119
223 ShadowHawk 6 $3.50 Image 4,280

The truth is not really such a mystery. Tweeting about ShadowHawk last night brought the answer I was looking for chirping to the top of my brain:

ShadowHawk did die (multiple times) but more importantly it suffered from missed deadlines. There were more than a couple of gaps between issues. Each were significant in time, and more than one coming in between what I'd call "key" issues.

Don't forget that WIZARD magazine was covering Image comics like no other publisher at the time. Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, they didn't get half the page count that Image stories got back then. Every. Little. Thing. Image. Did. It was in WIZARD and I would have been chomping at the bit to get my hands on ShadowHawk in between issues of Youngblood and Wildcats!

What's a street level vigilante comic book genre fan to do when his book isn't on the shelf week after week?

He finds another one!

Thank you Jim Valentino you helped introduce me to the ULTRAVERSE (The Night Man) and Dark Horse's COMICS GREATEST WORLD (X).

I owe you a debt of gratitude I can never repay. :)

- Caine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wolverine Omnibus Review

How many times do you buy the same comics??

I must admit that sometimes, I foolishly buy the same comic multiple times.

I bought Crisis on infinite Earths in single issues. Then I got the HC that came out in the late 90s with the beautifull wraparound cover by George Perez and Alex Ross. And then I got the Absolute Edition. Although I gave away the single issues to someone, and I sold the HC to someone else... I still bought the darn thing 3 times.

I often find it very tempting to replace an older copy with a newer edition.... especially when that newer edition has some extras that the previous edition did not have.

A great example of that is the Wolverine Omnibus.

Although I already owned one of the Weapon X TPB, the TPB of the Claremont/Miller Wolverine, and about half a dozen of the other comics we find in the Wolverine Omnibus edition, still I HAD to get mysefl a copy and essentially buy some of them comics once more.

Although I have a Weapon X TPB... the TPB did not include the Marvel Comics Presents covers.

Other short stories were also missing from my collection.

And of course... it includes the Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller... and the follow-up of that tale in a couple of issues of the uncanny X-Men.

And the "second" Wolverine limited series... although that one also includes Kitty Pryde. I had been one of the many foolish fools who passed on the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine series. There are a few reasons why I first passed on that comic when it first came out. Like many... I was not too crazy of Al Milgrom's work at the time. Although I could have said the same at the time of the work of Walter Simonson and Mike Mignola.

Only now am I able to really appreciate Milgrom's work.

But also at the time... I did not really know the character of Kitty Pride.

The X-men published here at the time were around the last issues of Cockrum or the early Byrne issues... so I had not been introduced to Kitty Pride yet. Kitty Pride meant nothing to me at the time. It would take a while until I could grow attached to her character.

So now was a good time to finally read that tale.... and I loved it.

Then you have some of the tales in which Wolverine guest starred... my favorite being the one by Mike Zeck. Loved it... especially the cover. I had a poster of that cover... sadly it was lost or damaged throught the years in one of the times that I moved.

Although I was suprised that it did not included Daredevil issue 249. It essentially features a tale where Wolverine plays a major part... but is missing from this Omnibus. I expected this tale to be included since the Omnibus does include Hulk issue 182 where Wolverine appears for just a single page.

Oh well.

It does not really matter since I own a copy of the DD comic.

And then we have the John Buscema era of Wolverine. I used to own them comics.... but again... one time that I moved... a box of comics seemed to have "mysteriously" dissapeared. I was planning to buy them once more... either as back issues or in TPB. But thanks to this edition... I got them comics once more.

As fate would have it... I was missing the Wolverine comics up to and including issue 10. And as fate would have it... the Omnibus includes the Buscema Wolverine up to and including issue 10.

Coincidence?? or cosmic destiny??

You decide. ;)

And to end the book... we got the Jim Lee Punisher featuring Wolverine. Loved that run of the Punisher.

And then we get various extras, sketches, covers for various editions of reprints or TPBs.... and even the pencilled version and the inked version of Captain America Annual #8. Love that.

Overall... the quality of this edition is great. It is a wonderfull edition that any Wolverine fan would love to own... assuming that you can read older comics that is.

I will probably sound like an old man... but people from the generations after me seem incapable to watch/read/appreciate anything that was done before their time. Whether it is to read some older comics, or watch some older movies... or even reading books.

Although when it comes to reading books... they seem unable to read books period... even current books.

But with movies... don't bother asking them to watch a black and white movie. Or even a movie from an era close to the stone age... like the 80s. The closest you can get to having them watch an "old film" is to have them watch Jurassic Park... or Terminator 2. Anything earlier then that is just too "ancient looking" for them.

And the same goes with comics. Trying to get them to read... and even more... appreciate comics dating from before the age of digital coloring is very difficult. 

Oh well.

So if you can appreciate some older comics... with some older coloring technique. Comics using a color palette from before the "Image Age"... the Wolverine Omnibus is perfect for you.

 It is an edition of great quality with some tales of the past by some of the greats of their time. So if you have a bit of an historian in you... or if you simply like well made comics...

...this book is for you.

- Pierre

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Movie Doldrums

I was discussing this Summer's movies with a friend yesterday. In general, outside of what I'll call kids movies (Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, ect...) I think this was one of the dullest movie Summers in a long time. While I enjoyed Iron Man 2 a good bit, other movies I was looking forward to (The Last Airbender, Clash of the Titans) sort of fell a bit flat for me.

Not sure what I was really looking for in Clash of the Titans, but for some reason, that movie seemed a bit too by the numbers to really recapture the feel of the old Harryhausen movies. Maybe it was because the actors kept repeating the theme of the movie over and over again. I'll put up with that nonsense in a kids movie, but do we really need to carry that convention over into *grown up* movies?

Also, I wonder if just trying to recaputure the magic of those old stop motion monster movies is a lost cause in this day of plentiful CGI? If every movie can feature amazing special effects, perhaps those effects are less special.

I know damn sure I'm tired of all this 3D hoopla - mark me down as unimpressed with the new wave of 3D movies.

It may be just me - maybe I'm just tired of big, booming movies. It may be telling that my favorite movie from last Summer was NOT Star Trek, Watchmen or Dark Knight but Inglorious Basterds. Both Star Trek and Dark Knight were fun and exciting, but I find myself thinking more about IG as time goes on.

Anyway, talking about stop motion monsters leads me to the star of today's free comic - Reptisaurus!

Reptisaurus was a giant monster comic based on a Danish monster movie Reptilicus. It was published by Dell in the 60's. As far as I know, only 8 issues of the title were published. I suspect the first issue was a movie tie-in which got a name change to Reptisaurus when Dell didn't liscense the character out right.

[ Reptilicus ]

[ Reptisaurus ]


- Jim

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wild Wild West in Comics?

Last week, Caine explained why he thought Burn Notice might make a cool comic, ending with the question of what show would we, the readers like to see as comics. For me, the answer is simple and the subject of today’s post: The Wild Wild West!

The first mashup?

Today, pitching and promoting a show or comic as a mashup is sort of expected. How many bad concepts have been summarized with the words: It’s like the Dirty Dozen but with Elves? Enough that I got sick of the trend and made an interactive parody of it with my Pitchbot 3000. And yet, a mashup is exactly what the Wild Wild West was. The show combined the Western genre (a long reigning champ on television at the time) with the Spy genre, made wildly popular no thanks in part to the early Sean Connery's Bond films.

The WWW presented the adventures of two Washington Secret Service agents, well played by stars Robert Conrad as the dashing ladies man James West and Ross Martin as the man of a thousand faces, Artemus Gordon. Traveling in their own luxurious private train car, our heroes would receive telegraphs from DC ordering them to foil the scheme of some eccentric villain with a doomsday weapon or a second rate Napoleon hell-bent on taking over America. Using wits, fists and gadgets, they always managed restore the troubled nation back into the safe hands of Ulysses S. Grant. (A historical note that I always found humorous when I watched the show as a teenager.)

For four seasons, the show was a top rater on CBS, but it was eventually cancelled due to concerns about the level of violence the show. As a kid (and later as a teenager) I found the show enthralling. Now looking back on it, I think there are a couple of reasons it would make a good comic candidate.

Gadgets + Guns = Good

While careful not to overdue it, there were a lot of cool gadgets used by West and Gordon on the show. Some appear for only one or two episodes while others (like the famous boot knife) became staples of the series. Here is a small list of the tools of the trade used throughout the series:

  • The gun in West’s sleeve (a popular gambler accessory)
  • A lock pick in the lapel
  • A knife in the collar Removable boot heels with either a derringer or explosives in them
  • A small knife in the boot which popped out with a click of the heels
  • Explosives in the bottom of a holster
This was no doubt in part due to the Bond influence on the show, however, it is an element that would help make the show interesting to comic readers. I could see an inventive writer taking a slightly more steam punk approach with some of the gadgets to allow for the introduction of things not seen in the series.

Gadgets weren’t the only similarity to the Bond films the series shared. Like 007, West and Gordon were more than ready to gun down opponents when the situation required such tactics. Because the show took take place in the wild untamed west it allowed our heroes plenty of opportunities to come out with guns blazing. (This was most likely a large bit of the appeal of Westerns in general...) And while not necessarily my cup of tea, there are quite a number of comic readers who prefer gun toting comic heroes (whether they be scarred ex-confederate bounty hunters or skull bearing vigilantes.)

Villains and Vistas

There are some people who believe it is not good heroes that make good comics, but rather interesting villains and vistas. They example that alwasy gets trotted out is the early Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four. If that rule is true, then the WWW would seem to contain enough of the same things to be a successful comic. Without a doubt, one of the features that made the show so popular was the colorful cast of villains writers came up with each week. One of the shows most famous, Miguelito Quixote Loveless was recently named as one of the Top Ten television villains of all time by Entertainment Weekly. Agnes Moorehead won an Emmy for her portrayal of villainess Emma Valentine in The Night of the Vicious Valentine.

Here are a few of my favorites notable villains from just the first season of the series:

  • Prof. Orkney Cadwallader, a mad scientist who uses nitroglycerin to make man made earthquakesplayed by Burgess Meredith
  • Ecstasy LaJoie, an assassin armed with an explosive garter and a deadly ring.played by Yvonne Craig
  • Morgan Midas, a scientist who uses a diamond derived formula to move faster than sight played by Robert Drivas
  • General Grimm, a leader of a ruthless paramilitary group played by Martin Landau
  • Colonel “Iron Man” Torres, a man who has rebuilt himself into a 19th century cyborg played by John Dehner
While most were just one shot villains, Loveless, played by the masterful stage actor Michael Dunn, would return again and again to the show. It was often his schemes which would lead to the most interesting plot scenarios. In The Night of the Raven he he shrunk James West down to the size of a mouse. In Night of the Surreal McCoy, he developed a way to enter the world of two dimensional paintings. In one episode, he shows up in a medieval suit of armor with a plan to destroy all plant life. Yeah, it sounds a little wacky, but Dunn always manages to sell the script.

Now as RKB mentioned last week, some Wild Wild West comics actually were printed by Gold Key back in the 60's...

Gold Key and Dell used to do all kinds of TV show adaptations, but they mostly all had that diamond in the rough quality to them. You read through a issue, read through a issue, a lot of 'it's okay' and some 'this is bland' mixed in with a few real gems...

I tend to agree with RKB's assessment. But now, based on how some companies are coming out with great adaptations of older shows now, I think it would be a good time for someone to tackle the Wild Wild West again.

Have a great weekend

- Jim

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No More Comics For Pierre

I came to realize something the other day as I was reading my Wolverine Omnibus edition...
I would buy no more Wolverine comics.

Mike Mignola WolverineI had all the Wolverine tales I would ever want to read.
I have the Wolverine Omnibus.
I have about a dozen Wolverine comics from issue 11 to 23.
I have a couple of one-shots, Bloodlust by Davis, Jungle Adventure by Mignola, and Bloody Choices by John Buscema.
Oh and I almost forgot the Marvel Comics Presents volume 2 TPB also by John Buscema (can you guys tell I am an artist kind of guy??). ;)

So I pretty much have all the Wolverine comics I would ever own.

But then I looked at the rest of my comics...And realized that I had all the X-men I would want except maybe the 2 remaining Essential Classic X-men that I still need to buy. But once I will buy those 2 Essential Classic X-men... I will own pretty much all the X-men comics that I want. And then I looked at other series.

The FF?? Once I get the Essentials up to the end of Byrne's run... I will have no reason to buy anymore FF comics... unless they release some John Byrne FF Omnibus... or some George Perez FF Omnibus maybe??

Captain America?? After the Essential up to the last issue of Mike Zeck... I will buy no more Captain America comics.

Hulk?? Until the end Of Sal Buscema's run.
Iron-man?? Until the end of the Layton/Romita JR run.... or maybe until the end of the Armor Wars storyline?? We shall see.
And so on.

So I realized that once I will have bought all them Essentials... since I barely buy new comics anymore... since I pretty much buy mostly old comics... I realized that at some point...

... I would have all the comics that I would want....

...and would buy little to no new comics.

Hopefully, there will remain some awesome comics like Invincible that will remain great and worth buying. But I don't foresee myself buying any new X-men comics for example. Not just because once you have the X-men Omnibus, the various Essentials, and a handful of other runs with Jim Lee or Alan Davis... you pretty much have the best of the best. But also... there is no way to make sense of what happens in the current X-men comics. I look at an X-men comic and have no clue as to what the hell is going on.

Although maybe if they have an upcoming X-men run by Alan Davis... I might give it a shot. But then again I doubt it. The last Uncanny X-men run by Davis was plagued by fill in artists.
So I might even pass on such comics... or I might get the Alan Davis issues only and say to Hades with the story and the fill-in issues.

So I still have 3 or 4 Essentials to look forward to on most of the series that I like (Captain America, Hulk, Iron -Man, Thor, FF, Avengers, etc)... but once I do get them Essentials... I will pretty much have run out of comics to buy.

Guess I will save a lot of money by then.... and I will be waiting even more impatiently for any upcoming Invincible Ultimate Collection.Which is good since I have been spending wayyyy too much money buying Omnibuses and Essentials lately.

So my wallet sure could use the break. ;)

I have seen for years comic collectors/readers who were no longer buying new comics... but who were simply filling the gaps in their comic collection. Although where I fill the gaps in my collection with Omnibuses and Essentials... since I don't care about owning the original comic... I just care about reading them stories... but they fill the gaps in their collection by buying the original comics themselves. Heck I have a friend who I think is crazy when he spends a hundred dollars or two to get a single issue of Amazing Spider-man that he is missing in his collection.

Why do I think he is crazy?? Because he could buy all the Spider-man Essentials for what he paid for just one or two of his comics.
But he wants to read the original comics.

But for years now... I have seen people like him who buy pretty much only old comics.
Seems like I am one of them now.
Damn! How did that happen?

It never occurred to me that I would be one day one of them guys - I who still thought that I was a young guy. ;)

Guess I will have to throw away my electric razor, let my beard grow and go buy myself a walking stick.

Until next time.


Monday, August 9, 2010

New Comics I'm Digging - Caine

Jim and I thought it might be fun to trade off this week so he's going be posting on Friday and I'll posting today. Continuing with a theme I've decided to follow in the foot steps of what Jim did last Monday: Comics I'm Digging.

When you see a book co-created by the likes of Robert Kirkman & Todd McFarlane and then penciled by Greg Capullo (eventually the full time penciller) you might all ready have an idea of what you'll get (and you're probably right).

I've always been a fan of using superpowers without a costumed superhero involved and this books delivers exactly that. Don't let the image fool you, that's not a true "costume" he's wearing, in as much as Spiderman's black costume wasn't a costume either.

If you've never read it, Haunt is about the ghost of Kurt Killgore (a C.I.A. operative) "haunting" his ex-priest brother Daniel. When the two join they create the entity known as Haunt!

As I said this isn't your typical "superhero" book as Daniel is eventually offered his dead brothers old job with the C.I.A., receives weapon's training, combat skills, and is sent out into the field by a brand new director as the previous one.....well that would be telling.

This book is paced really well with each issue being constructed around an action scenario that keeps the plot moving in fast forward, and Kirkman giving us just enough character development to balance it out into a complete package each month. Like the television shows we've begun looking at that would make a good comics here, Haunt almost feels as if they've done exactly that: take a television pitch and script it out into monthly comics with it's giant set pieces (drawn of course), international local, and lots and lots of covert manipulation and subterfuge in a sort of renewed cold war setting.

RED HOOD: The Lost Days
Like Jim last week (with Justice League: Generation Lost) I've never been a huge fan of Winick's work accept when he writes Jason Todd as the Red Hood. His original run back in Batman: Under the Hood has recently been turned into Warner Bros. latest animated DC feature (and it's good - if you don't mind the characters being redesigned each movie like Pierre does :). DC has released this new mini-series to explain how Jason went from being a corpse to the Red Hood. If your a general Batman fan then this book is for you with familiar Batman characters and locales galore.

Gritty, edgy, and fast paced Jason's journey is set to span at least a couple of years (the story, not the book) as he zig zags the world learning how to be a sniper, an assassin, about explosives, about poison, and generally just how to kill - things that Bruce never taught him while he was Robin. Considering his mission the irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife...

[BATMAN 635 Page 4]

The last time I can remember painfully waiting 30 days before I could return to the comic book shop to buy a comic was the Titans Hunt (Nov 1990) story line in New Titans which I can't believe has been twenty years.

To that end we're giving you THE BLACK HOOD this week as your free comics.

"Black Hood Comics was the name of an American anthology comic book series published by MLJ Magazines Inc., more commonly known as MLJ Comics, for eleven issues between Winter 1943 and Summer 1946. The series featured MLJs costumed hero Black Hood, and "Boy Buddies", featuring Shield's partner 'Dusty the Boy Detective' and Wizard's side-kick 'Roy the Superboy', together with humor strips." ~Wikipedia

[ Black Hood 9 ]

[ Black Hood 11 ]

- Read 'em!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Expanding Comics | Small Screen Infusion: Burn Notice

If you had a favorite action or adventure television series in the 80s, chances are there was some kind of comic book published about it.

You don't see comic books based on television series anywhere near as much any more. Video games sure, but not television and I think it's a crying shame. I don't think the comic book industry can really afford not to publish a book that may pull in a few hundred new readers (or more) based on the success of the property in other mediums.

That's why there should be a comic about Burn Notice.

For those of you that may not have ever experienced the show: Burn Notice is about an ex-spy who's been "burned" which means he can't work as a spy, or really anything else legitimately, and hope to have a life of any kind. The C.I.A. wants him to stay out of sight, but they don't want him gone, or they'd have just killed him instead of dumping him back in his home town.

If you follow the link you can view a trailer or two.

Why would Burn Notice make a good comic book? Lots of reasons:

Each episode has Michael helping someone out of a jam for money, and each problem solved is easily wrapped up in 50 minutes, which could easily be translated to 22 pages.

Michael is prone to "Magnum P.I." and "MacGyver" style inner monologues as he explains the inner workings of the spy culture and what goes on in social situations, the minds of the good guys, the minds of the bad guys etc etc. They'd make great square narration boxes on a comic book page.

With the book using Miami as the setting of the stories (like the series) a comic book publisher could easily use a revolving set of creators, each bringing a different flavor to the book and using different elements of Florida and the beach in general as inspiration.

Like many television shows, the main characters of Burn Notice started out very close to their archetypes. As the show's progressed they've been fleshed out but you can still see their archetypal cores which would transfer over to comics quite nicely.

The hard hitting spy with a heart of gold who's blood runs red, white and blue (if you're tough enough to see it). Nothing he's seen or done in the name of his country could make him turn his back on it or any of it's floundering citizens.

The old war horse who's been a soldier of one kind or another for son long that's all he knows. His stint with the F.B.I. didn't last too long because of all the office politics. With Micheal he gets to torture bad guys with a grin.

The warrior poet who only joined the IRA to serve what she thought were her people. Michael and Sam are her people now, and she'll do anything to keep them safe, including but not limited to using her incredible explosives expertise.

Genre fans love Bruce, have his character Sam Axe in each issue and you'll get 100 issues out of it easy!

This comic would work and sell well. What television show do you think would make a great comic book?

Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marvel Price Explosion?

$74.99 US/$83.99 CAN
$84. That is the price for the X-men the Dark Phoenix Saga 30th Anniversary Edition HC in Canada. In the US, the price is only $10 cheaper at $75.

Am I crazy or is this wayyyyyyyy overpriced?? About twice what it should be??

I had read online how Marvel seemed to have increased the prices of their TPBs... but since I mostly buy Essentials these days... I never really noticed this.

But when I saw this magnificent edition of one of the BEST X-men Sagas in comic history... I just knew I HAD to get it. Then the store clerk told me the price.... and I could not believe it. I was sure there was some kind of mistake.... but it seems that ... no... it was not the clerk pulling a fast one on me... this was real.

How could this be???

This past year... I bought the Avengers Forever HC, and the Avengers/Invaders HC which are pretty much the same size, same page count and format. The Avengers Forever HC was $35 US... and the Avengers/Invaders HC was $40 US.

Editor's Note: They are actually even cheaper on Amazon: Avengers Forever, Avengers/Invaders are about $25 and $20 respectively. Strangely, the 30th Anniversary Edition of DPS isn't available on Amazon...

What could possibly justify such price increase (other then Marvel wanting to make even more money that is)??

I am used that us Canadians always get screwed with the CAN prices...but it seems that it's not only us in the great white north... but pretty much everyone who gets screwed this time. Is there any kind of explanation to justify such a price increase?? Or are we royally being screwed over by Marvel in this case??

...I don't get it.

Don't get me wrong... it is a really nice book. But it does seem overpriced compared to other books that came out in the same format not that long ago.

What do you guys think??

I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crimson Movie Teaser

Yesterday I got permission to share the Teaser trailer for the Crimson Movie! (A movie spiritually linked to our own Mister Crimson ) which I have mentioned on this blog before

Check it out!

Filmmaker Ken Cosentino says this teaser premiered to 1,000 people this weekend in Buffalo and was very well received! For more information head on down to

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Comics I'm Digging

While having lunch with Trey Causey and Chris Sims Saturday, I was struck by the thought that perhaps I spend too much time on this blog obsessing over BAD comics and not enough time mentioning the ones I'm really enjoying. So today, I'm gonna change up my usual point of view and mention some bright spots in the world of comics right now.

Justice League - Generation Lost
I've always been a fan of the old Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire Justice League and while the team has had a couple of mini-series in the past, those always had that Brady Bunch Reunion feel to them. You could just tell it was a temporary reunion with a certain hollowness to it that I've never been able to pinpoint. Fortunately, this series has not suffered from that same malaise. For some reason, it feels more vital and exciting than the previous reunions of the old Justice League. I think partly because the story originates from the ashes of Blackest Night, but also partly, maybe, from the addition of all people Judd Winnick.

I've never really cared for the majority of Judd Winnick's comics output, but this Giffen/Winnick combo seems to be clicking much in the same way that the old Giffen/DeMatteis used to with convincing dialogue and some nice plot twists. And while not Kevin Maguire, the art team of Fernando Dagnino and Raul Fernandez are nicely matched for this type of big team action book.

Amazing Spider-man 637
Holy crap! What's this doing on the list?!

Well, good question - like a lot of people, I had to see what was the overall point of this issue (not much as far as I was able to discern) but what I was impressed with was the fantastic art by Paolo Rivera. Normally, I find myself sort of wincing when I read modern comics as it seems so many of today's artists are too busy trying to mimic Byran Hitch or Ed Benes (or whoever the hot new artist is at the moment). These mimickers seem to have forgotten that storytelling -not pinup pages - is the ultimate goal of comic art. So, when I got to Rivera's pages in ASM 637, I was floored by how clean and fluid they were.

Check this page out...

Rivera's art is so good, I had to check 3 times to make sure the pages I was looking at were actually drawn by a modern artist. Of the new material in the comic, he was definitely the bright spot.

I dropped this title during the Warren Ellis run (I heard it finished up good, but it just wasn't my thing at the time.) However, this series went through a rebirth of sorts, and based on the sample I saw in the Heroic Age giveaway, I decided to give it a try. So far, I've been really happy with the everything Jeff Parker is doing with this comic. The dialogue is crisp and witty. The plot twists come a mile a minute and Parker has a knack for ending each issue with a cliff-hanger that keeps me coming back month after month.

It also helps that each issue has some cute ideas in it (Man-Thing as a transportation system, a part Troll, part Asgardian foundling, irradiated Terrigen crystals, etc...)

The art by Kev Walker isn't really the type of stuff I generally like, trending more towards Mike Mignola than I care for, but I'll readily admit my artistic tastes could be classified as outdated. Overall, Thunderbolts is one of the books that has a legacy of being good under Kurt Busiek and Mike Bagley, with a real focus on character dynamics, and I can say that the team of Parker and Walker are honoring that legacy in grand fashion.

The Return Of Bruce Wayne
Let me just say, if the recent Jonah Hex movie left a bad taste in your mouth, then this issue will make a great pallet cleanser. Not only is there a nice twist on the Man with No Name gimmick, but Morrison also gets bonus points for having Batman win several gunfights while still playing nice with the Caped Crusader's aversion to fire arms. (Something the people writing the First Wave books probably wouldn't understand.)

Grant Morrison is usually one of those writers whose work runs hot and cold with me. I loved his Doom Patrol and JLA from the 90's and some of his newer stuff like his DC Comics Presents homages, Seven Soldiers and WE3, but other stuff (The Filth, Infinite Crisis) hasn't really clicked with me. On the whole, he strikes me as a writer who genuinely tries to use continuity as a tool rather than as an impediment - and this mini definitely shows that side of him at its best. This series has been so good, it gives me great hopes for Thunder World his recently announced 38 page Captain Marvel story. Though I find this comment from Morrison a bit ominous:

[The story will contain] everything I wanted to say about those characters

Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

And on that note, I'll leave you with today's Free Comics - two issues of Captain Marvel Adventures from 1945.

[ Captain Marvel 46 ]

[ Captain Marvel 47 ]

- Enjoy!


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