Friday, August 31, 2007


Tonight's FNF features Robert E. Howard's dour Puritan swashbuckler SOLOMON KANE, as reimagined by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin in Marvel Premiere #34. It's not quite uppercuts as in fisticuffs, but Kane gets in a nifty aerodynamic upperthrust as he deals death to the unctuous smuggler, rapist and murderer Le Loup.

I was moved to dig these out because first, I've always loved the Kane character- he's one of my top three favorite Howard creations- and I really liked Chaykin's unorthodox rendition, as Kane sports what looks like a rugby shirt and mismatched brown leather boots rather than dressing him in black from head to toe like most illustrators have done, and because of the recent news about another forthcoming series, this time from Dark Horse, featuring the character. I'll be watching that one closely...


Thursday, August 30, 2007


Time once more for TNT! Tonight's entry features Junior, one of the Young Heroes in Love, as he ponders his way out of a predicament he's found himself in. I know, I know, he's not actually thinking thoughts via thought balloons...but I looked through all 18 issues of that much-missed series, and did not find a single example of any character indulging in an inner monologue! Not one! Perhaps that's why it got the axe, who knows. Anyways, this is from the 15th issue of YHiL, written by Dan Raspler and illustrated by Dev Madan and Keith Champagne (or "Cham-paggan", as Zapp Brannigan would say).

Comics reviews will be finished soon, pinky swear.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Hoog! Tonight's miscellaneous mayhem comes courtesy of ADAM WARREN- it's a page full of facekicking badassery from his upcoming Empowered #2. He recently posted it on his DeviantArt site, and I thought it would be perfect. Hope you don't mind, Mr. Warren- look at it as advance publicity!

(I need to get #1 someday...)


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wait a...WHAT?!?

Will somebody help me pick up the pieces of my brain from where my head just exploded?

Ganked from this Gaspar Saladino appreciation. Just shows to go ya that no matter how many comics things you may think you've seen, there will always be something that you haven't.

I guess this qualifies for THURSDAY NIGHT THINKING, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Art appreciation time once more. This time a blog- A Soviet Poster a Day, which features, well, a Soviet poster a day, many in the Russian Constructivist style which I have a sincere fondness for, deep within my tiny, shriveled graphic designer soul.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

#2 in a series of comics that I used to have as a kid but no longer own, and remember with affection. This is (as you can tell) BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY #15, which came out probably early summer of, since it's cover dated September, 1966. The cover story is the one that left an impression on me, although I honestly don't remember the details of the story. According to the GCD database info, it was drawn and written by Joe Orlando, which might explain why I found it memorable. I also see where Reed Crandall did a story as well, which indicates that Warren wasn't the only publisher putting this fine work out there. While looking this one up, along with another for someone's LJ post, I was struck by all the really good painted covers (a Gold Key/Dell trademark) on both the Karloff series and the Ripley's Believe it or Not title as well.

Here's part one in the "series".

Friday, August 17, 2007


Since I'm no longer hiatizing, then that means it's time around these parts once more for that weekly beatdown showcase which has taken the Comics Blogosphereiverse by storm!

Tonight's four-color free-for-all is from GEMINI BLOOD #4, by Christopher Hinz and Tommy Lee Edwards. In this scene, two members of the Paratwa-killing team, Gillian and Laura, find themselves in a battle against some of the Shraddhan, augmented cannibals who spend a great deal of their existence living upside down and descending to prey upon normal humans- and they're some of the more conventional of Hinz's creations. You don't even want me to get started on the whole Paratwa concept...but I heartily encourage you to pick these comics up if you ever find them in the quarter boxes. This is a good little brawl by Edwards, early in his comics career. I wish I could find a good webpage which details Hinz's concepts; they're difficult to explain quickly and easily. They're using "flash daggers" and "cohe (stands for "coherent light") wands", by the way...


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


That semi-popular feature in which I opine upon various works of sequential fiction that I have perused in the interval since the last time I inflicted said opinions upon one and all, or to be specific, the period from approximately 24 July to 15 August, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.

Many of these are going to be even briefer than usual and all will streamlined somewhat; I'm way behind and I need to do this quickly or not at all. If you want in-depth, go read Jog or Spurgeon or someone who Deppey links to once in a while.

Aha! I KNEW something would happen to cause new character Vanessa to be phased out, and sure enough it's begun right here. Sad, but that's the way it goes. Still, in a lot of ways this continues the modest winning streak that Seagle has going on this inconsistent title; the tattoo scene was a hell of a good idea and it was very well executed by Becky Cloonan and Jim Rugg. A-

Doug Mahnke's always-solid art, even inked to distraction as it is here, is the sole reason to pick up this oh-so-serious slice of unpleasantness, which is sadly pretty much par for the course for most mainstream DC efforts these days. I like serious superheroics as much as the next guy, but there are limits. This is not Bad Comics necessarily, just dreary, and life's too short for this twaddle. C+

I've never really cared one way or the other for Booster; the only thing that's ever really been distinctive about him was his oddball origin, in which he was a 25th century pro football player who threw ballgames. Never bought his original series, just didn't impress me much one way or the other. I tolerated him in the bwah-ha-ha Justice League; he had a nice rapport with Blue Beetle, kind of the Dean Martin to Ted Kord's Jerry Lewis. I understand that he got the Standard 2000's DC Make-Me-Serious treatment via Countdown, and while it made him less of a comedian, like Dino, being serious wasn't necessarily his strong suit. So now, in the wake of Countdown and all that other stuff which I haven't really been following all that closely, we get a new Booster comic- and actually, it starts out OK, with BG trying to get back into the good graces of the JLA. But then Rip Hunter shows up, and this thing devolves into utter time-travel chaos. If time travel in your stories, not to mention the incomprehensible bedlam that is DC continuity these days, doesn't bother you as much as it does me, there's much to like here- mostly thanks to Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund's solid art, and in all fairness Johns writes some decent dialogue before everything blows up in the readers' face. So caveat emptor. B-

This series remains a tonic of sorts for what ails the latter-day DC reader; it's fast and furious and the character interaction is first rate. So entertaining that you don't even think about how improbable the notion of two beings, one cyborg and one Batman, merging and un-merging as easily as pulling apart two different-colored lumps of Play-Doh actually is. Just because Fox and Broome got away with it forty years ago, doesn't always mean it's a good idea in 2007, and that goes for you, too, Morrison. Still, the best Legion story I've read since Abnett and Lanning were committed, and Perez does a nice job drawing everybody's favorite futuristic teenage superhero team. It's so good, that it's no wonder that sales are anemic. A-

Another series which manages to be down-to-earth but not as middlebrow-leaning crass as so many DC titles seem to be. Easy to follow even though it crosses over with Amazons Attack; not surprising because Pfiefer's writing 'em both but still sometimes tricky. The highlight of this issue is the wonderful Batman scenes, especially the Bat-child safety seat. A-

If you've read any Warren Ellis at all, you've read this already; it could be subtitled Warren Ellis' Greatest Hits. Fortunately, I like the way his brain guides him to write, so as far as I'm concerned it's just fine. Your mileage, as the saying goes, may vary. It's interesting to see Ivan Rodriguez drawing comics these days, I'd think that catching for the Tigers would keep him busy. What? Oh. Sorry. Anyway, this Rodriguez's work is detailed enough, I suppose, and it's certainly busy, but there's a lifeless, awkward quality to it that keeps me from really liking it. Oh well, I didn't like Darick Robertson's art all that much either but found Transmetropolitan interesting enough for the first few years...which is just about what I see for this, too. B+

This reminded me of a magnet I saw once at my comics shop; it said "Can't sleep; clowns will eat me" and sported some creepy clown illustration. Yeah, I know, you've heard that one before. I've never been one of those who thought clowns were "scary" and all that; it's become such a cliche since, oh, Stephen King's It that it just smacks of trendy, shallow me-tooism rather than any genuine fear or dread when confronted with painted actors who only seek to entertain. Oh well, I digress. Nice to see the return of the anti-Nancy Drew, Judy Drood, as she gets involved with a mystery in a typically Salaesque deserted small town, tangles with a group of teenage juvenile delinquents and the evil clown doll army they seem to command, and encounters a strange little girl that holds the key to the whole thing. If you've read any Sala at all, you'll know how this all turns out, but as always with him it's the telling as much as the tale, and his quirky style is as fascinating as always. A-

Ollie re-enacts Cast Away here in chapter two but the Diggle/Jock synergy is intact, making this another great read. I'm just happy he didn't get a volleyball to talk to. A-

Street punks seem to be getting possessed by demons in this excessively bloody, and not very well drawn, first chapter. I'm used to Manco being apparent Artist for Life on this title, but this one's poor, even by his current standards, which are light years from his mid-late '90s work on another character with Hell- in the title. Regardless, this arc could be interesting, even if I believe we've seen this sort of thing before, and storywise it's a good enough start. In Diggle I trust. For now. B

The first issue was surprisingly good; this one's unsurprisingly competent. We get the standard Ellis-style dialogue, some improbable stunts, the standard wise-ass hottie to complete the character triangle, and for our trouble the occasional amusing dialogue exchange. Artwise, Garbett continues to ape Quitely but doesn't quite have it perfected yet, and I seriously doubt that hitting someone with a tire iron like that would cause such a large explosion of blood. Not that I care to find out for sure, mind you. I didn't get quite the rush in this, the second chapter, as I did the first- but I'm going to hang around and see what happens. B-

Not exactly in Fables' league when it comes to folklore pastiche, because the humorous vibe felt heavy-handed. But anything which gets me such a sweet cover and nine pages of Khari Evans artwork is aces with me. B+

Another issue of L&R, in which I continue to admire Jaime's economical, expert storytelling style and inkline, despite the fact that I've read most of what we get this issue, even as I continue to wonder why I just don't see what everyone else seems to see when it comes to the contributions of his brothers. Note to whoever did the prepress on the Maggie/Rena story: convert the lettering from CMYK to K only- it was a chore to read because the letters were slightly out of register and thus blurry. B+

Rouleau the artist, with his appealing-looking figure drawings and dynamic poses and perspectives (despite a young Doc Magnus who appears, apparently, has the facial structure of a 12-year-old on the cover and in places inside), bails out Rouleau the writer, who tries to cram six issues' worth of text into one, a feat only really carried off by Don McGregor in his salad days and precious few others. It's not Rex Libris text-heavy, but still it's too talky by half, but somehow enjoyable in spite of itself. The tweaks to the Men, both artistic and scriptwise, are neatly done, and even though she's not given much in the way of personality yet, I'm already finding myself really liking new robot Copper. B+

Another fine issue of this, my guilty pleasure title- good art covers a multitude of sins, I've always held, and Brian Stelfreeze's propulsive, fine-line illustration looks mighty damn good to me. A-

Between Sivana, Mr. Mind, new takes on Mary Marvel and the wizard Shazam, talking cockroaches, the whole mythology of the talking animals including Mr. Tawky, giant hairball-looking aliens, the employees of WHIZ-TV, and even a dash of real-world style political commentary, it certainly seems like Smith has tried to cram too darn much into one series- double-sized though it may be. Fortunately, he plotted it out very well, and nothing seemed forced. I'm still surprised that DC let Smith do this in the first place, but I'm glad they did; it isn't often that you get such an appropriate match of creator and character. That said, I won't stand on one leg waiting for the sequel. A

Eight issues in, and Cooke gives us his most Eisner-ish Spirit adventure yet. Unfortunately, it falls kinda flat, but I believe the reason is less that it isn't good but only that it isn't 1949 anymore. And of course, it's brilliantly illustrated- few penciller/inker teams are as good a match as Cooke and J.Bone are. Oh, and here's a nitpick, for what it's worth- "Gainesborough" as a nickname for Denny Colt is not clever, and sounds clumsy- the sort of thing that only a writer would imagine that a character would say. B+

Wow! Done in one night!


DOG OF THE WEEK(S): BLACK ADAM #1. Not even Doug Mahnke's art makes this grim exercise enjoyable.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I absolutely must interrupt my hiatus to pass this sad news on- according to Blog@Newsarama, MIKE WIERINGO has passed away.

What a shock. While I only own one or two comics he drew, I've enjoyed seeing his work posted regularly on his blog/website; he had a fluid, dynamic, graceful, clean style that was a joy to behold, and he brought it to everything he drew, be it a childhood reminisce or cheesecake illo or Fantasy series work like his co-creation, Tellos. I also would comment once in a while, and he was always friendly and pleasant to converse with.

I can't say I really knew him like many of you out there may have, but I definitely think the world will be a poorer place for his passing.

EDIT 11:02 CST: Here's a post on Mike from about three years ago, with some art. Just remembered it, thought I'd share.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hello, everyone. Taking a little vacation from blogging, even more so than usual, hence the video. I'll be back eventually, I promise, and I'll be even more behind in reviewing comics than I already am, which I'm sure will trouble absolutely no one.

I'll still update the Elton John blog, for what that's worth.


Friday, August 03, 2007


Tonight, we have none other than the pride of 4000 AD, MAGNUS, doing what he does best, i.e. ROBOT FIGHTING. From Magnus, Robot Fighter (Gold Key) #5, cover dated February 1965, art and script by the great Russ Manning. When I was a kid, I couldn't get enough Magnus, Turok or Doctor Solar, not to mention Magnus' backup feature The Aliens...

My only disappointment with this great page of mayhem is that the robot didn't go "squeeeee", like nearly every other robot Magnus dispatched, but a disappointing "whiiiine..." instead. Bah.

BAHLACTUS said knock you out...

Thursday, August 02, 2007


That wild and crazy comics blog meme! Tonight's cogitation is from none other than the late, unlamented by most Jared Stevens, AKA FATE, also guest starring the Phantom Stranger in his oddball semi-Vertigo Amish farmer hat period. Anyway, after skimming through darn near the entire run, I noticed that inner monologues were as close to thinking as Jared ever came; the writers never bothered with traditional word balloon-type thoughts. It provided a sort of narration, but it was also (as I said) an inner monologue, so I believe that constitutes "thinking", so here it is.

This may also be as close to a Fate overview as you'll get from me; after rereading the lot of them, I just didn't find that much to write about. It started out really awful, in that early-Image way, then kinda found its bearings about 14 issues in when Len Kaminski took over as writer and artists Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning began to channel their inner John McCrea. It still had its moments, especially if you imagine Stevens speaking and thinking in Bruce Campbell's voice (just try it with the page above!)...but overall it was a somewhat-better-than-the-norm collection of mystical superhero cliches, and I suppose it was just as well that it got canned. I still liked the character, though, and I hated to see him get killed.

Diamondrock's thinking it over!

I see via the indispensable where EMI/Capitol is/are releasing four classic Apple-era Ringo Starr albums, Sentimental Journey, Beaucoups of Blues, Ringo, and Goodnight Vienna, in digital format later this month. Anything which gets the solo Fabs on iTunes is all right with me, and while I already own the near-classic Ringo on CD, I wouldn't mind cherrypicking from the other three. Now, if only they'd make George's Dark Horse available...

Also, I see where the above-pictured compilation CD will be released as well, along with a bonus DVD with some cool stuff included. Here's the tracklist:


1. Photograph (1973)
2. It Don't Come Easy (1971)
3. You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful And You're Mine) (1973)
4. Back Off Boogaloo (1972)
5. I'm The Greatest (1973)
6. Oh My My (1973)
7. Only You (And You Alone) (1974)
8. Beaucoups Of Blues (1970)
9. Early 1970 (1971)
10. Snookeroo (1974)
11. The No-No Song (1974)
12. (It's All Down To) Goodnight Vienna (1974)
13. Hey Baby (1976)
14. Weight Of The World (1993)
15. A Dose Of Rock 'N' Roll (1976)
16. King Of Broken Hearts (1998)
17. Never Without You (2003)
18. Act Naturally (with Buck Owens) (1989)
19. Wrack My Brain (1981)
20. Fading In and Fading Out (2005)


1. Sentimental Journey (1970 promotional film)
2. It Don't Come Easy (1971 promotional film)
3. Back Off Boogaloo (1972 promotional film)
4. You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful And You're Mine) (1973 promotional film)
5. Only You (And You Alone) (1974 promotional film)
6. Act Naturally (with Buck Owens) (1989 -- music video)
7. Goodnight Vienna (1974 -- promotional film for album)

First 14 songs, I have no complaint. Included in this number is the wonderful B-side of "It Don't Come Easy"- "Early 1970", and I even agree with the inclusion of the mostly-wretched Ringo's Rotogravure's best cut, "Hey Baby". You'd think that there would be room for Journey's "Bye Bye Blackbird", but that's the way it goes. But it gets REAL problematic for me with #15- two tracks from Rotogravure and none from Ringo the 4th is way too many and way too few. Plus, here was a chance to get another track from 1981's damn good but unfortunately out of print Stop and Smell the Roses besides "Wrack My Brain", the album's single. It's a great track, but there are two or three others that would have been a better fit than "King of Broken Hearts", like "Attention", which should have been a big hit. I realize that to be inclusive, they needed to put a lot of comparatively recent Ringo on there- and "Weight of the World" and "Never Without You" are good choices. I would rather have seen the bouncy, fun "Mr. Double-it-up" or "La De Da", instead of "Fading in and Fading Out", which I've only heard once and wasn't impressed. Oh well. There's some great stuff on the DVD, though- the "Only You" clip (if it's the one I've seen) is Ringo and Harry Nilsson (in bathrobe) on top of the Capitol building, fun, the cover of "Act Naturally" with the great Buck Owens is fun, and I'm not sure that I've seen all the other ones (I think I've seen "Back off Boogaloo", but I forget)- but they sound great. I think I'd get a copy just for the DVD, a first for me!