Saturday, June 24, 2006

MARVEL tricked SUBZERO ( and what I have been reading, too )

Yesterday I was at the comic shop. I initially wanted to wait a few weeks after Erlangen to go to the comic shop because I still have tons of stuff to read. But if I wait to long the stuff just keeps piling up. And since I got some spending money yesterday I decided to spend it on the best thing money can buy : comics. I got TAROT - witch of the black rose 38, 52 week four to six, SQUADRON SUPREME 4, WONDER WOMAN 1, SAVAGE DRAGON 126, JSA 86, FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER - MAN 9, NEXTWAVE - agents of H.A.T.E 5 and SHANNA 1.

I know what you´re thinking. SHANNA 1 ? Isn´t that more than one year old ? Yes, it is. But it´s been sitting in my bag with all the other issues from that series because Marvel tricked me. They tricked me ! When I ordered the series through PREVIEWS it was solicitated as a Marvel MAX series. When I ordered it it was an uncensored, action packed, boobs flying everywhere adult comic. And when the series came out it was a watered down, totally censored, no nipples or boobies Frank - Cho - light Marvel Knights sissy version. Not that I neeed naked boobs in every comic I read. There are tons of comics I read without exposed boobies on every page ( for that there are comics like TAROT ) but when you advertise with boobies you have to deliver the boobies. It´s just something that you owe to your readers. Don´t lie to your readers. Because the worst part is not that there are no boobies but that they were not honest about it. If the readers knows beforehand that there will be no naked women he can base his decision ( among other things ) on this fact. Not this fact alone but it IS part of the decision process. IF however you make a decision on facts that turn out to be untrue that decision turns out to be wrong. If you knew there would be no boobies you may nave ordered it or not. But you would not have ordered it based on facts that are untrue. And there was no chance to cancel the order when readers had the information that it would be different from the advertised version. You had no chance to react.

Now I say, Marvel knew that if they solicit the SHANNA series by Frank Cho as an uncensored comic the orders would go through the roof. So they did it. I´m not saying that it was malice on Marvel´s part and they set out to trick the readers from the get go. But they didn´t care if they could really go through with it as an uncensored version as long as they had the orders. Later on they changed it to the MK version and had Frank Cho redraw the pages. And that is something they MUST have known to happen. What ? I´m supposed to believe that a big comic publishing company like Marvel suddenly realized they would not be able to go through with it ? Afte more than 40 years publishing comic in America ? I´m supposed to believe that what was possible in Richard Corben´s CAGE is suddenly impossible with SHANNA ? Now, if Frank Cho would say : " Hey, I´m okay with this because that is how I planned it from the start. " then I would have bought it long ago. But everyone who has read an issue of LBERTY MEADOWS knows how he hates censorship and how he hates to redraw panels for newspaper publication. He even takes special care to include the uncensored versions of his strips in the issues. And now I´m supposed to be okay with this thing that I know Frank Cho will not like ? That´s just wrong. You don´t get somebody like Frank Cho and then tell him to censor himself and redraw panels. I mean what did Marvel expect ? They hired him for the boobies. You don´t hire a heavyweight champion and tell him to pull his punches. Unless you want him to cheat. And that is for me what Marvel did in this case. They took the quick money and ran.

And that´s the reason why this issues have been lying in my bag so long. Because I don´t like to be played. But now the patience of my comic dealer has run out and I have to start taking the issues home. So not only do I have to waste my money on a series I have already not very much money to spend I also have strained my relationship with my comic dealer and he´s now less likely to give me some leeway when I REALLY need it. So thank you Marvel, I will remember that and it will go on the list along with cancelling SPIDER - GIRL and the THING. It may take some time but I will get even. So start watching your back.

But enough of my little rant ( that topic always gets me worked up ) let´s forget about lies, treachery and all the hate. Relax. Exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale. Deep breaths. Just like Mr. Myagi taught you : search focus.

Okay, I´´m all cool now. I´m chilling. I´m groovy, brother. Now let´s come to the comics I have read and not gotten around to write about :

STRANGERS IN PARADISE 82 - Not much to say that I haven´t already said. It´s hard to see this series end but it is still one of the best reads. I just know Terry Moore is going out in style.

Black Panther 16 - No, no, wait. I really liked the issue. I know I have been bitching about the previous pre - wedding issues and that I still understand why suddenly Marvel feels the need to retcon Storm´s and Black Panther´s history and introduce a new backstory for them. What´s wrong with the 30 years of history and romance and flirtation they already have ? Anyway, finally some things happened and it seems like the wedding has the possibility to be the biggest superhero disaster ever. And the art by Scott Eaton is solid as always.

Batman 653 - Interesting read but mediocre art. It is interesting to see what happened in the missing year and it is surprising that Harvey took Batman´s job while he was away. But is it not just a question of time till Two - Face takes control again ?

American Way 4 - Now that everybody knows that the new member is black the shit starts flying. Note to self : Don´t try to fix a mess by starting a bigger mess. As soon as I read in the solicitations that they would release the biggest psychotic killer in history to turn this around I knew this was a bad, bad idea. And it is. It just turns out worse than expected. The art on this one is good but just too clean and sugar coated for my taste. But maybe that´s just me. Still...the story is top notch. How will it end ?

  • issue 4

    Majestic 17 - This comic is incredible. But not in a good sense. This comic manages to combine two of the things I hate most in comics. 1. the old " it´s all just a dream " and 2. the old " whe are now back to where we started in issue 1 " shtick. Combined with the horrific artwork this is one series I´m glad I´m not spending any money on it.

    Sensational Spider - Man 26 - I don´t like the art in this issue. I just don´t like this overrendered, painted art that loses all kind of livelyness and movement. The story progressed from last issue but the art just threw me off. Another case of writing for the trade but not drawing for the trade.

  • Issue 26

  • New Avengers 18 + 19 - Now, that I got issue 18 in Erlangen I could read it and it was absolutely brilliant. Big blockbuster action and the way Spider - Man was used just shows the new S.H.I.E.L.D.´s attitude towards superheroes. They are just things to be used and thrown away. This will play out in upcoming issues of CIVIL WAR and the question remains if there will be a superhero community...or a S.H.I.E.L.D. after all is over. At the moment it seems that the two cannot exist at the same time.

    Amazing Spider - Man 532 - This is the issue for all people like me who read CIVIL WAR 1 and were just baffled by Iron Man´s 180 degree turn. Here is the reason why he is now a flip flopper and why Spider - Man is still on the side he is on. A great read with good characterisation. And it explains all the holes in CIVIL WAR 1.

    JLA Classified 16 - 21 - At first I didn´t want to buy the issues because I´m not particulary fond of Klaus Janson´s inks on Jose Luis Garcia Lopez´artwork. For me he needs an inker like Joe Rubinstein or Brett Breeding. But while I was in Erlange I found all the issues of this story and decided to get them anyway. And let me tell you : compared to the inks by Sean Phillips Klaus Janson is an inking GOD ! It seems that Mr. Phillips is not content with ruining comics with his artwork, now he has to start with ruining other artists work with his inks. Aside from that I really liked the story. The JLA thought that with taking this particular dictators power away he would be defeated. But he was just getting started and he turns out more dangerous than any supervillain. It seems there is a contest going on between the writers of DC who can defeat or maim the JLa in the most horrific and gruesome way. And as an old horror comic reader I say : more power to them. A good story that involves the problems of superheroes dealing with everyday politics on a global scale. This is a recommended read for all guys ( and gals ) out there who think superhero comics are too simple and only are about punching bad guys and escapism.

    Thunderbolts 100 - 103 which I will not writing about now because with all the previews that have been piling up while my comic shop was canceling this series they deserve a post all of their own.

    Sgt Rock The Prophecy 5 - One more issue to go by one of the great masters. Good art and an interesting story.

  • Issue 5

    Blood of the Demon 15 - One of the best ONE YEAR LATER stories. This series always surprises the reader and throws him a curve ball when he least expects it. Sadly there are only three issues left till the end of the series. I wonder how the new ATOM series by John Byrne will be. Well, only time will tell.

    Warlord 4 - Not much to add since last issue. The art still freaks me out and the story is kind of complicated. Not intriguing complicated just confusing complicated. Just makes me more sad that I couldn´t find any cheap issues of the Mike Grell series in Erlangen. Why doesn´r DC release trades ( or even SHOWCASE ) from good series like this ? In my opinion they should start with their best stuuf from the 70s and include a special Jim Aparo line. I mean this is one of the few artists who literally BUILD DC, who defined the look of DC for decades, who drew the most prolific and greates stories ever and they didn´t even release some special comics. That´s not right DC.

  • Issue 4

  • Ultimate Spider - Man 95 - A good read like always altough the ultimate versions of Blade and Morbius look like the normal ones to me.

    So, I just found out that most of the previews I put up from BUZZSCOPE are now nonexistend. So I have to substitute them with previews from MILE HIGH COMICS or delete the ones I have no substitute for. So from now on I will have to post the pages instead of the link. So this blog will be less spoiler free from now on. Great, as if I have too much readers as it is.

    But before ending the post on this negative note I wanted to write about some of the old comics I have been reading since Erlangen. Since I haven´t had that much time on the computer to write my blog I have started to make note whenever something comes to mind like the diary I kept in Erlnagen ( to which we will come in my next post....hopefully ). First of it are TEEN TITANS issues 16 to 19 which are simply superhero gold. This, my dear comic reading fans, is the gold standard. When Marv Wolfman and George Perez were on the title it was THE best selling book of DC and to find out why you just have to read one issue. There are topics popping up in this pages other series didn´t dar to touch. Especially issue 18 that brings the topic of politics into play especially Kid Flash who is totally anti - communistic and tells the others to lay off him for being so redneck since he doesn´t give them any shit for being so damn liberal and free - thinking all the time. Wow, there really was a time you could bring something like this in a comic. Now, the heroes are all on the same level and understanding and political correct. All " Peace out. " and " We understand your pain. " that´s just too much wishy washy for me.

    Another great issue is issue 19 which stars Dr. Light in his pre - Identity Crisis version where he is just a loser. It was really funny to read and what I liked especially about the issue was that the whole thing started with Dr. Light being pissed because the Riddler stumped the BATMAN. So he escapes from prison to show everybody up. At the end he naturally is in prison again all grumpoy and pissed off but when he hears that the Riddler is doing time in Gotham again he can´t help but smiling and saying : " Maybe this wasn´t such a bad day after all. " There´s nothing better than a little Schadenfreude to brighten your day. One of the first things that I noticed was that in the german translation Changelings dialogue was changed. In the german version he tells Cyborg how he was hitting on a mousy biblarian chick when she let her hair down and took off her glasses she had beautiful eyes. In the original she was still mousy so he went out with her sister. But apparently that was just too much for german readers. Obviously the german publishers were afraid to turn the young impressionable and innocent readers into morally questionable players and playboys who just use women.

    One other funny thing about this issue is when Dr. Light decides to lead the monsters to the Titans so either the heroes kill the monsters or the monsters kill the heroes - which both works for him. And then he thinks : " If they kill the Titans maybe I can lead them to the JLA so they kill them too. " and I just can´t help picturing in my mind how Dr. Light leads the monsters in one big blazing trail of destruction through the DC universe and obliterating all heroes. But the best dialogue in the issue is between Kid Flash and Dr. Light.

    Kid Flash : " You´d sell out your own mother for a nickel. "

    Dr. Light : " No, I wouldn´t. " - " Not for a nickel. "

    That´s like right out of an episode of Beavis and Butt - Head. Nice to know that even lowlifes like Dr. Light have SOME standards and won´t sell their mothers. For cheap. This series is one of the best in history and you just need to get all the trades or issues you can get your hands on. You won´t regret it.

    The next issues I read are issues 16 to 19 of MOSAIC which is THE best Green Lantern series of all time. You can´t call yourself a Green Lantern fan if you haven´t read this sries. It´s a requirement. No, really. Can you call yourself a Batman fan if you haven´t read Frank miller´s RETURN OF THE DARK KNIGHT ? Can you call yourself an X - Men fan if you have not read THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA ? You see the point I´m trying to make.

    GREEN LANTERN : MOSAIC was a different superhero book. The series was about John Stewart the broken Green Lantern, the one with so much tragedy with his wife Katma Tui being killed off by Star Sapphire and the death of a whole planet on his conscience. It was just a question of time till he cracked so noone is really surprised whenever he gets possesed or brainwashed or mindcontroled. The othe focus of the series were the little stories involving the everyday people ( and the strangest aliens ever to appear in the pages of a comic book ) and their lives. Really personal and down to earth stories. All very surrealistic with strange dreams and a main character who was a borderline psychotic - at best. At that time there was Green Lantern Classic ( Hal Jordan ), ther was Ultimate Green Lantern ( Guy Gardner ) and than there was Green Lantern on crack - which was MOSAIC. The series was started by Cully Hamner but in the last issues somebody else took over so I stopped reading it not knowing it would end in only three issues. The miniseries spun out of the five part storyx MOSAIC where a crazy guardian of the universe made up his own pet planet from parts of different other planets. But after he was defeated the other guardians decided to keep the planet intact as a big experiment to see if different species could coexist in so confined quarters. And they left John Stewart in charge to make it all work somehow.

    The character the last issues focus on is Rose, who appeared in various previous adventures of Green Lantern, and her live. She has a different view of superheroes namely that they are not human but a different species. Which is true. Superheroes are not normal humans anymore, they have special powers and are not like they were before - some even returning from death.

    Our daddies broke rock. We break ground.

    This words are repeated throughout the story of Rose growing up the daugther of a coal miner on a farm. And through the course of the story the words take on all kind sof double meaning. Which was one of the characteristics if the series, working with double meanings and analyzing what things really mean. In the series all the meanings, metaphor or aspects of the terms " green " and " red " are explored. And there are a lot of references to architecture and music, especially jazz music. Like in one of the last issues the words " I´ll build a concert to paradies with a new tune every day. " is clearly a quote form Cole Porter´s AN AMERICAN IN PARIS song lyrics " I´ll build a stairway to paradies with a new step every day. "

    Another thing that stood out to me is that in the last issue the small window of Power Girl´s dress has transformed to some serious cleavage almost down to her belly buttton. We need more artists like this. Yes ! But honestly, MOSAIC is one of Gerard Jones best series and you definitely need to check it out. Ther is no chance in hell this comic will ever be published in Germany ( since they didn´t even publish STARMAN here ) or to be collected in a trade so try to find some issues in the dollar bins of your local comic shop. Since there is no big buzz about the series ( which will change directly after this post goes online ) at the moment you should be able to find the issues pretty easy. They are worth it.

    I hope I gave you some tips you can use and next time we will get back to my adventures in Erlangen.

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