Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Marshall Law: a timely tribute

CERTAINLY, he's one of my all-time fave comic-book anti-heroes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My comics reading for December 2010

MY ongoing comics side project of reading at least 50 stand-alone issues fell apart last month. I blame Xmas, personally.

COMICS READING FOR DECEMBER, 2010
* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
***** Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
**** From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
*** Legion Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
** Promethea
* WildC.A.T.S.
DUD (or lower) anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1. Masked Intentions #1 (Marvel, 2006) **½
All the stars are for Squirrel Girl. I lurve Squirrel Girl.

2. Salimba #2 (Blackthorne, 1986) *
3D comics suck if you don’t have 3D glasses close at hand. But this wanky, nothing comic is impossible to understand, even with 3D glasses. Paul Chadwick art is its only saving grace. Steve Perry thinks he’s a writer...he isn’t.

3. Image Firsts: Godland #1 (Image, 2010) **¾
Tom Scioli does Jack Kirby way better than Ron Frenz ever did.

4. Image Firsts: The Walking Dead (Image, 2010) ***
I had the first 25+ issues of this series, but sold them when it descended into nihilistic torture porn. Plus Charlie Adlard’s art is sub-standard. But re-reading this first issue made me appreciate how good The Walking Dead was at its beginning, when Robert Kirkman hadn’t yet run out of ideas and it was accompanied by the fine art of Tony Moore.

5. Lady Mechanika #1 (Aspen, 2010) ***½
6. DC Universe Holiday Special 2010 (DC, 2010) **½
7. Vext #1 (DC, 1999) ***
I bought this on a recommendation from the Comic Book Noise podcast. It’s funny, but is it the funniest comic ever produced? I’ve bought the rest of the six-issue series and I’ll pass judgment at a later date. Keith Giffen and Mike McKone kick the quirky series off in style though.

8. Attack #48 (Charlton, 1984) **
A Simon/Kirby cover and all-Wally Wood art in the interior – so why the low rating for this reprint issue? ’Cos the stories are perfunctory, by-the-numbers war yarns with a healthy dose of racism and Yankee imperialism. Utter shit. At least the art’s okay – even though it’s obvious that the bulk of it was drawn by Wood’s assistants and not the great man himself.

9. Batman: The Brave And The Bold #1 (DC, 2009) **
Forgettable debut for the series based on the animated show. Still, it DOES have B’wana Beast on the cover.

10. Fighting American #1 (Australian reprint, late 50s?) **
Can’t pick when this B&W title was published – there are no dates or tell-tale signs from the ads. They’re still plugging Captain Atom (the Aussie version) in a few ads, so it could be earlier than late 50s. This is a weird comic – it’s shaped like a regular comic, but the staples are at the top of the page. So it’s a vertical comic that becomes ultra-vertical when you open it. It would have been a pain for kids to read this comic on a train or in the back of a car. The Kirby art is nice, but the mega-insane anti-Commie story by Simon gets tiresome pretty fast.

11. The Fantastic Four Comic Album (Marvel, 1975) ***
A coupla B&W reprints of classic Lee/Kirby FF from the late 60s. “Also suitable for colouring and crayoning.”

12. Buried Treasure #2 (Caliber, 1990) ***
Classic 30s, 40s and 50s reprints featuring the talents of Jack Cole, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert and Joe Orlando/Wally Wood. The best of the bunch is “Lockjaw”, a funny animal yarn that shows Kirby was a versatile artist.

13. X-Women #1 (Marvel, 2010) ****
Forgettable Chris Claremont yarn, but the art by Milo Manara is exquisite. The X-Men have never looked so sexy.

14. Faust #1 (Rebel Studios, 1988) DUD
Writer David Quinn may be the most pretentious man on the planet. Tim Vigil was certainly one of the most overrated artists going round. This comic is a violent, tacky, unreadable pile of shit. Back in the early 90s, I was in a comic shop that was trying to sell a foil cover variant of a particular issue of Faust for ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Yeah, good luck with that, fellas.

15. Marvel Super Special (Marvel, 2010) ***
A bunch of reprints in B&W. I thought the Shang Chi/Deadpool team-up was kinda wacky (written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Kody Chamberlin).

16. Super Pro K.O. Vol. 1 by Jarrett Williams (Oni Press, 2010) ****¼
17. Double Impact Bikini Special (ABC Studios, 1998) *
18. Carnal Comics: Scream Queens Undressed! #1 (Re-Visionary Press, 1998) *** (if you like old porno snaps of Michelle Bauer)/DUD (if you feel this doesn’t actually qualify as a comic)
19. Carnal Comics: Superstars Of Erotica #2 (Re-Visionary Press, 1996) ** ½ (mainly for the artwork of Brad Foster)
20. Elegant Ladies by Brad Foster (Jabberwocky Graphix, 1988) ***
And a bargain at only 75 cents from Mile High Comics (http://www.milehighcomics.com).

21. American Century #25 (Vertigo, 2003) **
22. The Mighty Heroes #3 (Dell, 1967) DUD
23. Damage Control Vol. 3 #2 (Marvel, 1991) *
24. The Marvel Fumetti Book #1 (Marvel, 1984) -***
A horrible, horrible idea. Muddy photos on cheap paper, the lowest form of “jokes” and even non-jokes. A hideous expose on how nerdy and sad all these comic creators look like in real life. Utter shit on every level. The only thing that could’ve made it worse was if they ran photos of Bill Mantlo rollerblading.

25. Marvel Premiere #36 (Marvel, 1977) **½
I love The 3-D Man, but this is a fairly perfunctory tale by Roy Thomas.

26. Captain America: The Korvac Saga #1 (Marvel, 2010) **
Can you spell “redundant”?

27. Marineman #1 (Image, 2010) **¼
I’ll probably give this comic another chance just ’cos Ian Burchill’s art is so pretty and he clearly has put a lot of time, effort and love into this project. But I really just don’t give a shit about the ocean or anything that lives in it (unless I’m eating it). So if issue two doesn’t pick up the pace, then I’m dropping this title like a hot crayfish.

28. Rated X Special #1 (Aircel, 1991) DUD
Low-rent Heavy Metal-wannabe crap. “Hot & uncensored! Illustrated eroticism from Brazil!” screams the cover. Yeah, whatever. At least it isn’t any of Barry Blair’s perverted, racist shit – which is what made up 90% of Aircel’s output at that time. Artist Barroso does a nice Moebius-style linework and he sure knows how to draw naked chicks. Helga’s yarn is something else though –confusing, pretentious and boring. Something about a robotic Jesus Christ and Lucifer coming to a future Earth. I think... Maybe the story lost something in the translation to English.

29. Captain Phil And The Inter-Galactic Space Pals! #1 (SteelDragon Press, 1984) *
This comic should’ve been a lotta fun. It was actually kinda lame. Nice art by Greg Guler, though.

30. The Mundane Adventures Of Dishman #1 (self-published, 1985) **½
Promising mini-comic that got picked up by Eclipse in 1988. An ordinary guy suddenly finds he has the magical power to clean vast quantities of dishes in seconds. What does a person do with such a less-than-compelling superpower? This first issue was kinda intriguing and John MacLeod’s art is nice. Pity it was only eight pages long.

31. Last Days Of The Justice Society Of America (DC, 1986) *
Crisis On Infinite Earths really fucked up DC continuity. The poor bastards who suffered most were the JSA of WW2 fame. Suddenly, they had no place in this brave new world. So Roy Thomas tried to come up with a logical way of writing them out of DC’s new “improved” history. This was the best he could come up with – a bunch of old-time heroes locked in eternal battle with the gods of Asgard in some bubble universe. Frankly, it was crap and this one-shot was quickly forgotten about by the powers-that-be.

32. Marvel Holiday Special #1 (Marvel, 1991) ***** for Captain Ultra/* for everything else
Xmas-themed comics suck, but anything featuring Captain Ultra rules.

33. Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight (DC, 1993) ***
Mike McMahon art makes this a passable Batman tale.

34. Hercules: Prince Of Power #3 (Marvel, 1982) **
Another “Meh!” 80s tale from Marvel. Not much more to say, really.

35. The Renegades #1 (Age Of Heroes Comics, 1986) DUD
The B&W comics boom of the mid-80s has a lot to answer for.

36. Captain Marvel #50 (Marvel, 1977) *
Possibly the most unspectacular 50th issue “spectacular” ever produced by Marvel. Even with a classic Avengers line-up guest-starring in the issue. Maybe the fact that Al “I am utter shit” Milgrom did the artwork had something to do with the less-than-great nature of this comic.

37. Lovebunny & Mr Hell: Savage Love (Image, 2003) ***
A fun lil’ tale, guest-starring Savage Dragon when he wasn’t a genocidal rapist/murderer. Back in 2003 he was just a fun-lovin’ superhero who’d occasionally appear in whacky lil’ one-shots like this one. *Sigh* I miss those days.

AS ALWAYS, I recommend you check out the excellent podcast The Comic Book Attic at http://comicbookattic.libsyn.com.

And for all your back-issue needs, head to Lone Star Comics at https://www.mycomicshop.com/.

If you have any comments to make on this podcast, please email me at Dann.Lennard@gmail.com.