Saturday, November 11, 2006

What the Sam Scratch is goin' on here?!? #17

James Bond Jr. #11
James Bond Jr. #11, November 1992

Three observations:

1. That's a fairly cost-inefficient deathtrap, isn't it?
2. It's pretty sad that at 12 issues, this series is the longest-running comic book with the James Bond name in the USA. We could learn a thing or two from the Swedes.
3. Whoa, Jimmy Jr. really needs to go to dry off-the-cuff wisecrack school, doesn't he? Watch some Connery movies, ya punk.

In celebration of Casino Royale, opening this Friday at a theatre near you, more Bond and British secret agent goodness tomorrow and throughout the week! Also, 4: your crest is on the wrong side of your jacket, Jimbo.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

More fun with Yahoo! Mail

Richards run-in

Dr. Doom Bah! It is of no surprise to Doom that Richards would allow himself to be photographed on the street like a common Hollywood trollop. In Latveria there is but one response to the popping of a flashbulb in the presence of Doom, and it is swift and punative, as it must ever be—not so much to ensure that the insolent "shutterbug" learns a lesson, for it is a very swift lesson indeed that he will have no need of again on this earth, but more that the people about learn from example and practice that the only proper response to the passing of Doom is to lower ones gaze and murmur in obsequience. As it says right on page ten of The Rough Guide to Latveria: cameras are forbidden within the city limits of Doomstadt! Though it appears from this headline that he struck back with the force of his powers, no doubt Reed Richards, ever the humanist, simply playfully dangled the paparazzi photographer from a great height or perhaps bounced his camera into the East River. Mercy of that sort is for the weak, Richards, and it shall be your downfall when Doom strikes, at the moment you least expect it! It shall be no helpless photographer you face then, Richards. For then I shall destroy you. I shall destroy you, Richards!

I don't remember the nineties.

N.B: For maximum suspension of disbelief in this post, please temporarily forget the fact that Mister Bull is permanently and perpetually six years old.

You know that saying about the sixties? That if you remember the sixties, you either weren't there or you were Hal Jordan? Well, I kinda feel that way about the nineties.

I was laying awake last night, waiting for's almost here, isn't it? It's really, really close, right?...and to try to get to sleep I started thinking about comic books I've bought and read in the past. And I realized something funny: I don't remember much about the first half of the comic books, that is.

I know I bought lots of comic books during the nineties...stack, piles, towers of 'em. I was living in Buffalo and Chicago and I remember the comic book stores I spent much time and many, many dimes in. But before 1996, when I moved to New York City and and bought JLA #1, I don't remember what most those comic books could possibly have been. I know the first past of the nineties was a remarkably Image-laden time, so that might account for how little I remember. I remember Queen City Comics in Buffalo, and Chicago Comics in (natch!) Chicago, plus that scruffy but friendly local Oak Park comic book shop. But with a few exceptions, I don't remember a lot of comic books from those years. Surely I musta bought a stack o' comics every week from 1990-1995...what the heck where they?

Here's the very few titles I do remember buying and reading:

Starman #63STARMAN (1994): I got hooked on the Jack Knight Starman series straight from issue zero, and it still remains one of my favorite superhero series of all time. You can argue that the later issues wandered and it was sometimes a little too obsessed with collectibles for its own good, but it did two things that I never woulda imagined in my comics fandom before that point: it sparked my love of the DC Universe fictionopolis (imitated after but never done quite as well as Opal City) and for the concept of legacy heroes. More to the point, it stlll remains one of the few superhero comics with a beginning, middle, and an end, and when Jack and his son drove off into the sunset in the final issue (hey, the baby goes in the back seat, Jack), we haven't seen him since except in a couple cameo appearances. That James Robinson was able to bring an ending to a saga in a genre whose sagas never end still sticks with me.

LSH #0LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES and LEGIONNAIRES (1994): I actually discovered the Legion in quarter back issues in the bins of the Half-Price Book Stores across the Midwest as I traveled around selling wonderful Norton books: it was the "Five Years Later" Legion that first caught my attention and had be snapping up back issues left and right. Too many cast members? Too hard to pick up the story threads? I never had that problem, and in fact that was one of the appeals. When the series re-booted in 1994 following Zero Hero, however, I became more of a fan than ever of the bright, beautifully redesigned world of 2994. New costumes, new characters, reimagined adventures and twice a month I could pick up a Legion book? Sign me up for that, especially because I could work my way backwards through Legion history by buying back issues of Volume 3 and 2. It was the beginning of my long love affair with the Legion, and though my interest hasn't carried over to the current volume, the characters still remain among my favorite in superhero comics.

L.E.G.I.O.N. #1L.E.G.I.O.N. (1989): At the same time I was gleefully diggin' back issues of LSH out of longboxes I also pulled up the quirky and often outrageous L.E.G.I.O.N.. I don't remember whether I discovered Legion or L.E.G.I.O.N. first, but I remember understanding immediately that the second spun out of the first even though the first followed the second chronologically. And oh ho, I had a little stuffed crush on Stealth. It went downhill fast by the time the title changed to R.E.B.E.L.S., but it was an amazing, fun, Lobo-flavored ride while it lasted.

Superman #75THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN (1992): Yep, I hopped on board this bandwagon a few issues before Supes got himself battered to death in big single panels of Superman #75, not for the speculator craze but because I was intrigued by the story. But it was what happened after his death that made the Superman books even more compelling reading: missing corpses, the plotting of Luthor, and the surprise emergence of four supermen. Everybody in America (okay, well, comics fandom) was guessing who was the real steel deal! Sadly, I guessed wrong (I thought each of the four had some spirit or element of the real Kal-El). The unpredictability and the intricacy of the four Superman titles following the death issue kept me reading the character for many years until I finally dropped 'em all in a fit of boredom during the Millennium Giants storyline. But at the beginning, at least, it was the 52 of its time: every week something startling and exciting happened, and I couldn't wait to read what happened next.

Astonishing X-Men #4THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE (1995): It was in the middle of one of my long dry spells of interest in the X-Men that a weird alternate universe stunt replaced all the X-books and got me back on board for four months. I'm a sucker for alternate histories and this one was the most elaborate and intricate to that date. I enjoyed some of the books more than others: my favorite was Astonishing X-Men, which did the unthinkable for me: it made me like Rogue, Sabretooth and Changeling. After the stunt was over it was back to confusing business as usual and I soon dropped all the X-titles again, but it had one of the most triumphant ends to a story that featured nuclear war I've ever read. Marvel revisited this universe last year, and what was "House of M" but another version of it, but to this little stuffed fan, they've never done it better.

Lobo the DuckAMALGAM (1996): I glanced at but didn't follow Marvel vs. DC, or, depending on who you asked, DC vs. Marvel, but remained scoffing and unimpressed at the gimmick of letting the fans instead of logic decide the outcome of battles. Storm defeats Wonder Woman? Wolverine beats Lobo? Pshaw, I ain't buyin' those victories. Like class elections, t'aint nothin' but a popularity contest. But I did hop on board for the two sets of wacky and wild Amalgam Comics, which showed more imagination and clever fun in two sets of 12 comics each that most of the DC and Marvel universes put together (hah!) that entire year. My favorites were the Spider-Boy and Dark Claw books, but I 'member being especially delighted for some reason by Generation Hex. And who can resist Lobo the Duck? Who, I ask ya? Who?

Terminal City #1A WHOLE BUNCHA VERTIGO BOOKS (1993-): They weren't always age-appropriate for a little stuffed bull, but boy howdy, if some fans are Marvel Zombies, then call me a Vertigo Virtuoso, because for a while there, 'specially during the early nineties, I was buyin' and devourin' almost everything they published. You remember the classics, of course: my favorites have always been Sandman and Preacher, but from the slew of suddenly-twisted superhero comics (Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Swamp Thing) to the darker and more mysterious mystical titles set in the DC Universe (Hellblazer, Books of Magic) to some of my favorite original works (the first Terminal City miniseries, House of Secrets, Kill Your Boyfriend), I expanded my comics tastes past and beyond just four-color superheroes thanks to the Vertigo line. Sure, I bought a lotta series that in retrospect never quite lived up to their potential or my hopes (Nevada, Chiaroscuro, Goddess, even Grant Morrison's Sebastian O), but every issue was an experiment in something new. I stopped being a Vertigo zombie sometime in the late nineties and only pick up a handful that probably still aren't fit for a little stuffed bull (which is why John won't let me review '!) but there was nothing like those glory days when you never really knew what would happen in something that looked and felt like a DC Comic but really wasn't.

Bacchus Color Special #1LOTSA INDIES: Love & Rockets. Zot! Miracleman. A kindly clerk at Queen City Comics in Buffalo thrust the first copy of Bone over the counter at me and demanded I buy it. From Hell. Groo. Bacchus. Hellboy. The Maze Agency, Madman. I spent a lot of dimes on those paperback reissues of the complete Carl Barks. You can make fun of the nineties as the rise of bad girl pinups, Image Comics and Rob Liefeld, but remember that it also meant the explosion of indie comics that are considered classics today. It was a market in which it was not only feasible economically to publish V for Vendetta but also Grendel. Even more than Vertigo I got a chance to expand my horizons during these periods.

Wow, well that's actually a lot more than I thought I would come up with. But it still seems like I'm missing a lot of my memories from 1990-1996. Like Sam Beckett, my little stuffed brain has been swiss-cheesed by time and too many comic books. I can't believe I wasn't reading more superhero comics regularly; even more than now I had disposable income and lots of leisure time. What the heck else was I reading during those six years? What were you reading? Tell me and maybe I'll remember I read it too!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A surefire way to get me to open spam.

Roy Thomas spam

It's the only spam that explains what was going on between the lines of an Earth-2 Golden Age spam.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Separated at Birth: Election Day

As an addition to Sunday’s Ten of a Kind, here's's a similar-themed Separated at Birth! We here at Comics Oughta Be Fun remind you today to vote early and often! Remember, while the times may change, the campaign jokes seldom do:

cover of Archie #446 (Archie, December 1997), pencils by Stan Goldberg, inks by Henry Scarpelli

cover of Archie #551 (Archie, November 2004), pencils by Stan Goldberg, inks by Bob Smith

Oh, Archie, in the words of Stevie Nicks...will you never win?

Politically-correct Cap.

Mighty Mike Sterling over at Progressive Ruin has brightened up all our days by posting some weirdly compelling sound effects panels from a 1975 issue of Captain America. Go check 'em out!

Here's one of the panels:
Captain America #181 panel

Not only do I have no idea what's goin' on in that panel, it's also a little, um...politically incorrect. So I fixed it:
Captain America #181 panel

See? Anyone can be PC...even when you're fighting a horde of snake-themed villains. Now you know...and knowing is half the battle!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Day: Vote tomorrow, mortal man / Sayeth the Demon...Etrigan!

Ever-vigilant Sleestak points out I missed one of the greatest election covers in yesterday's "Ten of a Kind":

cover of the Demon (1990 series) #27 (DC, September 1992), pencils by Val Semeiks, inks by Karl Kesel

Thanks, Sleestak! I think we can all agree the devil you vote for is better than the devil you don't, so get out there and vote tomorrow like your soul depends on it!

It's a good time to be a Superman fan.

52 Week 2652 WEEK 26: This comic is fun. We're at the halfway point of the series I considered to be a wacky experiment on DC's part and which has turned out to be one of the greatest delights for me for far this year. I like the fast movement that the weekly schedule provides, the slow but steady mysteries twisting around each other, and the examinations and growths of a core group of the DCU's second-tier heroes and villains. This one brings the beginning of a new storyline for Montoya and the Question, a faceoff between Steel and Starlight (my least favorite plotline of the series so far, but I'm still eager to see where it's goin'), a nicely Fawcetty dinner party, a Mr. Tawky Tawny analogue for the Black Marvel Family, and The Best Line of the Week: "Everyone knows you can't have a Justice League without a Manhunter from Mars!" And as tangled as Hawkman's origin has been post-Crisis, didja ever think you'd see his story as something you could sum up in two pages? Me neither. Here's to another twenty-six weeks of a world without Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman, 'coz I'm enjoyin' the DCU jus' fine without 'em.

Agents of Atlas #4AGENTS OF ATLAS #4: This comic is fun. Whoa! How's that for a psyche on this little stuffed Namora fan after last issue's startling final page! This issue is a perfect all-out action adventure following #3's lengthy recap, leading me to believe, man, this thing's gonna read great in the trade. (But don't wait for the trade, pick it up now! It's got giant crabs!) My favorite bit was a clever meta-fiction tip of the hairstyle to the problem of making characters look different: now that blonde Namora is a cast member, Venus decides to go redhead so she looks different! Thanks,'re a very thoughtful mythical being! Plus, who says comics aren't education: I learned that Venus was born of foam! Some of the pellets inside me are a foam/styrene compound, so me 'n' Venus have a lot in common. Maybe she will come over and give me little nose kisses. Nose kisses from Venus. Sigh. (And don't miss Gorilla Man's typed report on the back page listing the Atlas companies they've targeted, especially Atlas Comics: "They only had superhero books, and all those had crossover stories, so you can do buy all of them to get one damn story! Gotta be a racket. And where's all the war books?" Haw! It's funny because it's true.

She-Hulk #13SHE-HULK #13: This comic is fun...sorta. This issue wraps up the Trial of Starfox storyline which has been danglin' around since #7 (I don't blame Dan Slott for the delay; Civil War not only split the Marvel Universe in two, it split this running plotline!), and hooray hooray! Mister Starfox is not a creepy nasty naughty perv like he's been accused of being. So why is this comic only sorta fun? Well, like I said last issue, I'm less interested in the cosmic storylines of this book than I am the down-to-Earth legal matters of Marvel Manhattan, so the Trial on Titan just makes me a li'l jumpy and eager to get back to planet Earth. But my biggest complaint would be that Dan Slott basically unpacks a deus-ex-Thanos in the last handful of pages that undoes what was a kinda clever and interesting twist of last issue: turns out the real reason behind Thanos's obsession with Death wasn't Starfox after all. Hmmm, that was a lot of ado about nothing then. Still, She-Hulk has the usual clever Slott dialogue that, unlike a lot of comics, is actually funny, and next issue's got Awesome Andy in it, so that's okay by me.

Justice League Unlimited #27JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #27: This comic is fun...sorta. When JLU is good, it's really, really good. When it's not so good...well, it's just falling into a common trap for the series that there has to be a learning lesson for one of the heroes attached to the action. Black Lightning's pretty-well written in this story (Tony Isabella oughta be proud), but it's a fairly standard story of a hero doubting himself and then finding strength by believing in himself. It wouldn't be a problem if it didn't happen so very often in this series. Plus this issue contained a pretty weird-ass insert comic starring the Teen Titans and Li'l Lara Croft some character named Sara Hunter and her dramatically-overcome-at-the-last-second reading disability. For what turns out to be a PSA comic, it's not quite as in your face campy as this one, and its intents and audience are in the right place, but in putting out its "use your strengths to overcome obstacles" message, it lacks the clever quirkiness and energy of the Teen Titans cartoon and Teen Titans Go! comic book.

Fantastic Four: The End #1FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END #1: This comic is fun. I've been a fan of only a handful of Marvel's "The End" comics (The Hulk, The Punisher), so I approached this book with a little trepidation as well as a little dictionary to look up what "trepidation" means. I shouldn't'a worried: I luvs me some Alan Davis artwork somethin' fierce, and his story is every bit as colorful and dynamic as his trademark art: in the not-too-distant future, the FF is split up and each living their own lives and adventures: Reed throwing himself into his work on a space station, Johnny as a member of the Avengers, Sue exploring the undersea world with Namor, and Ben raising a happy family on Mars with Alicia and the Inhumans. Tantalizing hints of what went wrong to pull superherodom's first family apart are dropped, but the real focus is on an imminent danger that you just know is gonna bring them back together...for one last time, according to the title of this comic. It's a great fun adventure that's filled with both savvy quiet character moments and big splashy fight scenes, but the best part is seeing a logical reason that the FF might be pulled apart and how they deal with it. Published smack-dab in the middle of the highly-suspect actions of 616-Reed Richards, Alan Davis shows up the entire motivation of Civil War by remembering that the FF is, first and foremost, a family.

Superman Confidential #1SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #1: This comic is fun. Between All Star Superman, Busiek on Action and Superman and the new Legion cartoon series, it's a better time than ever to be a Superman fan. Need more proof? Enter Superman Confidential! This new Superman series begins with two of my favorite artists: Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale, and even tho' Darwyn's writing rather than drawing, his love and respect for the joys of Silver Age comics is evident on every page (well, except for those with the weird Teen Titans insert. Do what I did—rip it out!). I've been a big, big little fan of Tim Sale's artwork on special projects for DC and Marvel: Superman For All Seasons, Batman: The Long Halloween, Catwoman: When in Rome and Spider-Man: Blue have been my favorites. This looks like it's shapin' up to be another one, not merely for good solid superhero action but for its portrayal of one of my very favorite elements of the Superman mythos: the Clark/Lois/Superman love triangle. There's a gorgeously-written and illustrated three-page romantic sequence where Superman and Lois share a champagne toast on top of the Eiffel Tower that is the sort of scene I'd love to see in a Superman movie. Even if the Lois and Clark dialogue is a little more Dave-and-Maddie than Tracy-and-Hepburn, this is a delight. And Kryptonite is coming! Kryptonite is coming! That's why SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #1 is the most fun comic of the week!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

V for Vendetta #3
V for Vendetta #3, November 1988

Happy Guy Fawkes Day to my readers in the UK! Be careful lighting your bonfires and fireworks and don't let them get out of control!

Ten of a Kind #21: One person, one vote.* (*May not apply in all states.)

(More Ten of a Kind here.)