Thursday, July 31, 2008

green machine

Today I'm going to talk about all things green since our topic is Green Lantern or to be more precise the new relaunched GREEN LANTERN series and what happens after the REVENGE OF THE GREEN LANTERNS storyline.

I had done a post about that which I just re - read in preparation for today's post and I have to say that I covered more ground than I thought. Nevertheless there are still some things I have to adress in this post that sings the praise of Green Lantern.

First I want to say that it's nice to see that DC learned from it's past mistakes. This time they listened to what I wrote and kept the team of Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert together. After announcing the new Power Girl series by Amanda Connor they seem to follow my advice more often. Okay, my last entry about the Green Lantern series was about the REVENGE OF THE GREEN LANTERN and a lot has happened since then. As is the case with many good artists Ivan Reis could not do all the issues so after the four part WANTED : HAL JORDAN story he took a break and Daniel Acuna did the art on the three part Star Sapphire story that followed.


Now the REVENGE story was one of the few cases in which the ONE YEAR LATER thing really worked. Nevertheless it didn't really go into too much detail. That was covered in the WANTED story as well as the seeds of what would later become THE SINIESTRO CORPS WAR. I don't want to spoil too much but there is one thing I have to mention. I always found it stupid that Hal never wore the ring when he flew - with a plane. His reasoning in the comic was that if he wore the ring he wouldn't be as reckless.

Which might have been a good thing if you are a test pilot. I wouldn't know about that. My motto was always to avoid unnecessary risks. But Hal isn't a test pilot anymore. Now he's a regular pilot and you never know what can happen - or when a power ring can come in handy. So of course what I always predicted happens : Hal Jordan screws up and his comrades have to pay for it. Because he did fly without the ring.

Aside from Ivan Reis' usual awesome art my favorite part of the story is Green Arrow's comment on the whole mess : You should have worn the ring. Recklessness is a nice thing when you're flying solo and like to live dangerous but it's not so funny when someone else has to suffer because of it.

I have to say that when DC announced the return of Hal Jordan I was skeptical. Of course I couldn't wait to see the Kyle Rayner fans getting a taste of their own medicine. But after all the trouble they had gone through I feared another debacle. Because let's face it : there was nothing wrong with Green Lantern to begin with. There are always writers who think that it's the most daring idea to turn the main character evil and introduce a new hero who has to start from scratch. Well, let me tell you that's one of the oldest and most boring ideas in comics. It's practically been done to death and I'm surprised that it is still used in today's comic market. Nevertheless DC was convinced that was the best way to save the decline of the Green Lantern franchise. But why was it in trouble in the first place ?


I always liked the Green Lantern series because ( as with most good series ) it has a simple concept : mind over matter. The main character has a magic ring that can do anything he wants. As long as he can imagine it and his will is strong enough to make it happen. The power of the mind is an incredible thing and if you just look to the real world it's sometimes unbelievable what people can achieve through sheer force of will. So in the world of Green Lantern that concept of will to power was cranked up to eleven.

In the beginnig there were just a few Green Lanterns all of which received their orders from mysterious beings only known as " the guardians " and nobody knew who they were or where their home planet was. I don't know why that was changed in later issues. Maybe the idea of a intergalactic peacekeeping corps that just handed out all powerful energy rings without many instructions besides " Beware of the yellow ! " seemed a little odd. Maybe they thought this would give impressionable young readers the wrong ideas. Whatever was the cause the little blue smurfs along with the home planet of OA was introduced into DC history and many great concepts like the whole Green Lantern Corps, the book of Oa, the Manhunters, the main power battery were introduced. The stories began to weave a rich history of the green lanterns and the lore of the guardians.

Now some say that was one of the main problems. There are some readers who begin to panic whenever they encounter a comic book that already has a long history behind it and instantly begin to shout : Vade retro continuity. Which is not the same. But nevertheless it is a fact that with one green lantern for every space sector there were a hell of a lot. And DC didn't always use the potential of that concept. In the GREEN LANTERN QUARTERLY they told a few stories of the lesser known lanterns but mostly the unsung heroes of the corps didn't have a great part in the stories.

They mainly concentrated on the three and a half green lanterns of earth ( Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Gnort ) and other mainstays like Arisia, Katma Tui or Tomar Re. Hal Jordan had just returned as the main green lantern of earth but it seemed that was just another part of the endless cicle of Hal leaving earth and coming back again. DC had the impression that they were just repeating themselves and so they opted for a drastic idea : turn over the whole chessboard.


When Ron Marz entered the book his order was to give the book a new direction. So he turned Hal Jordan into the evil PARALLAX, got rid of the Green Lantern Corps and only left one person to continue the legacy : Kyle Rayner. Now I never was a big fan of the new direction. In fact : the issue Kyle Rayner was in as Green Lantern I was out. I don't know how many new readers DC gained with Kyle but I know that it lost a hell of a lot of it's old readers. Because there was nothing wrong with the books to begin with. It's true that the sales had been lagging but mostly because it needed more good stories with good art. Nevertheless it seems that a new generation was excited to experience the first steps of a new hero. To me Kyle always failed as the new kid on the block because he just blundered around aimlessly. Forgotten were the days of green lantern boot camp and it was all back to the days of just handing out rings in the hopes the recruit doesn't kill himself with it. And it's not so as Kyle ever took his responsibility serious : he mostly stayed on earth, never tried to find out his limitations, never trained and never sought advice from the remaining lanterns.....of which some lived just in his backyard. The most he ever did was ask other heroes how to be a hero. But that was the most he ever did.

Aside from Kyle's adventures in cluelessness Guy Gardner was turned into an alien / earthling halfbreed with the power to transform any part of his body into a weapon. Yeah, this power was stupid in the GUNFIRE series and it didn't get better by applying it to Guy. Meanwhile Hal was trying to fix the universe and the fallout from REIGN OF THE SUPERMAN which had turned him first mad and then evil in stories like ZERO HOUR. But the story of Hal Jordan was far from finished.


Hal Jordan's greatest hour was in the pages of the excellent FINAL NIGHT miniseries when he sacrificed himself to reignite our sun that had been depleted by the nefarious sun - eater which initially had been a villain from the Legion of Superheroes and responsible for the death of Ferro Lad in the Silver Age. Now the story of Hal Jordan could have ended there but the powers that be in the DC universe decided that such a selfless act should be rewarded and Hal became the host body for the Spectre, God's spirit of vengeance of earth. This way Hal had the possibility to atone for his sins and win his soul back.

Initially I wanted to post a clip right here that tells the whole story of Hal Jordan up to what happened in FINAL NIGHT in a few minutes. Sadly I couldn't find it on YouTube so here is a link.

Now I never read the SPECTRE series with Hal Jordan. Some say it's the worst DC ever wrote, some say it's not half bad others say it's some of the best stuff DC published. If I win the lottery some day I might find out but at the moment I can contain myself.

So Kyle had been the Green Lantern for ten years and he was finally beginning to act like it in the pages of JLA. He was one of the main characters in OBSIDIAN AGE on of the best league stories ever ( just read my post on it ) and it seems that he was here to stay. Well, that was all about to change when the next anniversary of Green Lantern came around and DC decided to bring Hal Jordan back.


Ever since the introduction of Kyle Rayner there were fans of Green Lantern who were not amused how DC used and abused Hal Jordan. There even was an organisation called HEAT who made it their mission to bring back Hal.

In fact their website is still online if you want to check it out. So DC published the GREEN LANTERN : REBIRTH miniseries which did not only piss off all the Kylehuggers and provide me with countless hours of fun reading their lamentations on the message boards. No, they didn't like to taste their own medicine. But as much fun as that was the main reason of the series was to bring back the Green Lantern Corps flying green chipmunks and all.

The REBIRTH series didn't deliver in my opinion and it is more in the category of HOUSE OF M or the COBALT BLUE story. Not so great in itself but needed for the greatness that comes later. Kind of a " You can't go there from here " thing. The new series was of to a slow start and when Carlos Pacheco left the book I thought that this was the end of it. But like I said that all changed when Ivan Reis came aboard and the book really took to the stars.


There are some changes that I don't like. The idea that the ring can now deal with yellow as long as the ringbearer doesn't show fear still sounds stupid to me. Just pick one thing or the other. Either it works against yellow or it doesn't. This whole " I want both " thing sounds way too feminine to me. Be a man ! Make a decision, dammit !

Other things are really pure genius. I just love the fact that they now have two lanterns in each space sector : a pro and a rookie.

Seems like DC learned something from this particular Clint Eastwood movie. And they also gave Mog, the green lantern planet, a purpose.

In the pages of the main title everything really went into overdrive when the SINIESTRO CORPS WAR started. Tying into the end of INFINITE CRISIS by incorporating Superboy Prime and the Antimonitor and bringing back evil cyborg Superman and his legion of Manhunters it was wildly sucessful - mainly because despite having various tie - ins you could still keep track without a scorecard. And the spin off series GREEN LANTERN CORPS acted as a complementary that told the stories that took place on the battlefield far away from the main characters of the GREEN LANTERN book. And after the end of the SINIESTRO CORPS WAR it still deals with the fallout and the fate of the yellow rings fighting MONGUL in the latest issues.

The green lanterns...not the rings.

Anyway, if you like science fiction space opera, high adrenaline super hero action, witty super hero dialogue and the best Guy Gardner in a long time you should check out this series. If you always liked the Green Lantern universe you will enjoy the book. And if you're new to all things powerful and green this is the perfect moment to jump aboard the big green bandwaggon.

Everything up to the SINIESTRO CORPS WAR is available in trades so you can pick the stories you like and immerse yourself in an exciting new galaxy. With SECRET ORIGINS promising to become another milestone in the rejuvenated green franchise ( as far as I can tell by the pages I have seen ) my fazit would be : this is a series well worth your money.

As usual, here´s a clip that has something to do with Green Lantern. It´s a fanmade trailer and - I´m cheating a bit since I´m writing this part 5 years in the future - so much better than the movie that followed later.

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Think green thoughts, my friend. Think green thoughts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy birthday SUBZERO !

Initially I wanted to write something about Green Lantern issues 31 and 32 but since I couldn't find any preview pages ( again ) and I haven't read the issues yet I decided against it. I still hope to get issues 29 and 30 which are the first two parts of the SECRET ORIGINS story.

I don't know what it is with DC comics lately but it seems impossible to get any preview pages. It's easier to find cbr files to download. So I'm postponing the post on that and instead I'm going to do one about the Green Lantern series and the spin off Green Lantern corps. It's been a while since I wrote something about the series but since I have been looking for pictures most of the day it's a post for another day.

Because its' my 41st birthday today I thought : What better way to celebrate it than by taking a look at what our favorite heroes have been doing in issue 41? Here are the best covers I found :

Okay, I know from personal experience how desperate you can become when you are looking for a job......but this is a bit too much. Volunteers wanted for atom bomb test ? Who the hell volunteers for somerthing like that ? And which newspaper puts such an ad on the frony page ? Daily Suicide ? Besides which scientist goes : " You know, I think we should try our new atom bomb on human test subjects. Igor, put an ad in the newspaper. "

Yes, that's the same BLACK TERROR Alan Moore used in his AMERICA BEST COMICS series. What ? You thought he invented all the characters ? It seems they became part of the public domain so everybody can use them.

I'm not sure on this one. Is that the Spirit or somebody who just looks the same ? And if it is then who swiped who ?

It seems that issue 41 is the big dinosaur issue.

The next one has KID ETERNITY on the cover. I recognised the character because Ann Nocetti ( or was it Neil Gaiman ) used him in a VERTIGO series. I never read the end of the series so I have no idea how it ended. I was cutting down on my pull list at that time and the title got elected. Maybe some day I'll look for the missing issues or maybe I'll just get rid of all the issues when I start to streamline my comic collection.

41 seems to be an unlucky number for Green Lantern.

Yes, issue 41 comes around and Hal gets it.

And it seems that Carol Ferris is always involved in issue 41.

And it seems his pal the Flash doesn't have more luck either. No matter which Flash.

Pre - Infinite Crisis Maxwell Lord. I'm still undecided if the new direction of the DC universe was worth crapping all over the best League series ever - the Giffen League.

Yes, that's the villain of the same name as Marvel's sorcerer supreme. I don't think I have read the first meeting of Tony Stark and Stephen Strange but I imagine Iron Man blasting Dr. Strange unconscious out of habit.

" Sorry, I thought you were somebody else. "

This one was always a personal favorite. Good storytelling and they concentrated on the Spider - Man / Rhino battle.

Another cover of happier times. Pre - Civil War Giant - Man which basically means.....he's still alive. I don't know but is it just me or have all series gone down the crapper ? Goliath - dead. Ant Man - government puppet. Tony Stark - alcoholic and Marvel's most hated. Maxwell Lord - dead....after turning evil.

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  • Monday, July 28, 2008

    Elvira update

    Today just a quick update. I'm still adding labels to all my posts to be more reader friendly. While doing that I noticed that I still haven't added the download link for the " Search for the next Elvira " clip to my 100th post. I already rectified that and here is the link to post 100.

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  • Sunday, July 27, 2008

    how to survive hell

    Today on my second 145th post I'm continuing with my adventures at the comic convention from hell otherwise known as SALON DEL COMIC DE BARCELONA 2008. This way I can use the pictures I took at the convention myself.

    While I'm writing this my house is invaded by dozens of flies that are fornicating uncontrolably on my new laptop and everywhere else.

    I have already told you that Adam Hughes canceled his visit and that I had a lot of trouble finding the fanzines. Like I wrote in my post about RANTIFUSO number 5 ( sounds like a song from Lou Bega ) I bougth issue number 5. I got a sketch in my brandnew, bigger, better sketchbook from a guy who already had done a sketch in the small book the year before. He told me that it was his first sketch of the convention but I think it turned out pretty well.

    On the first day there are almost no artists signing so when I found out that Peter Bagge was doing a session I jumped at the chance. This way I could take him from my list and concentrate on the remaining artist for the remaining three days.The line was really long but when it was finally my turn the curse of the little sketchbook struck again and I got a really ugly sketch that didn't even take two minutes.

    Now I don't want to sound ungrateful and I always cherish the chance to thank my favorite artists in person but I bought APOCALYPSE NERD ( the spanish version ) just like anybody else and I stood in line as long as anybody else. Why I was the person who got the ugliest sketch of them all.....I can't say. Most of the time I wandered aimlessly through the convention halls. At 17.00 hours I was so tired ( mostly from standing in line for Peter Bagge )that I went home. I was just so disappointed after the Peter Bagge sketch. All in all not a good first convention day and not a good omen for the remaining convention.

    This time I was on a strict budget and I tried to keep within. Because that's another thing you have to do : set yourself a limit for each day. If you don't do that you might blow all your money on the first day. Especially when you come from Germany where comics are expensive and they don't always publish the best ones. Especially when you are on a convention in Spain which compared to Germany is a comic wonderland. So you have to watch your money.

    Unless you're filthy rich.

    Then just blow as much money on comics as you can. If you have endless funds you have come to the right place. Because if I have to describe buying comics in Spain to someone in Germany these are the main differences :

    More comics. There are much more comics published in Spain especially in the superhero genre. While there is only one publisher for DC and Marvel in Germany ( PANINI ) in Spain there are two : PANINI for the Marvel comics and PLANETA for the DC stuff. So there is more competition and more high quality series are put on the market.

    More comics. Because of the competition the prices are not so high in Spain. Which also has to do with the fact that in Germany they always try to sell you a package deal. You know these offers where you buy a softdrink but you also have to buy a cell phone and a volleyball ? No ? Well, in Germany that's how they sell you comics. You want to buy the first three issues of MIGHTY AVENGERS ?

    Well, you also have to buy the first issue of AVENGERS CLASSIC. And all of them together are really cheap. Or if you want to buy the first six issues of NEW WARRIORS you also have to buy the new OMEGA FLIGHT mini series. Which leads us from the lower price point to the next plus for buying comics in Spain.

    Less comics. Sounds strange but in Spain you have to buy less comics if you want to read a certain comic. If you want to buy NEW WARRIORS you can do that without having to buy OMEGA FLIGHT. If you want to buy THE INITIATIVE you don't have to buy THE ORDER. And if you want to buy MIGHTY AVENGERS in Spain you can buy the translated single issues which have a price point of 1.95 bucks ( except the bigger first issue ) which is one buck cheaper than the original issues.

    More comics. If you are at a convention there are a lot of comics for half - price which is like 25 percent of what you pay in Germany. So you have to remind yourself to buy the comics you really need.

    More comics - avalable. In Spain you can not only buy comics at comic shops you can also find them at the newsstands ( although they are slowly disappearing from there ) and in super markets. Big super markets like FNAC have whole comic book sections that have as much inventory as a small shop. So you have more outlets for comics.

    So, after speaking so much about comics let's see what comics I got on my first convention day.

    Comics I payed for :

    I bought the MONOGRAFICOS DOLMEN - TERRY DODSON which is like the spanish version of MODERN MASTERS. Which means that instead of 15 bucks it costs 7 bucks, it has more pictures which includes a color section and it's printed on nice glossy paper instead of the cheap 80 gramm paper. So it's like MODERN MASTERS DELUXE. I had just finished reading the Wonder Woman issues by Terry Dodson so the time was just right for DOLMEN to release the book.

    I also bought issue 149 / 150 of the regular DOLMEN comic magazine which was a double issue that was more expensive than the normal issues. But it had all the information about the Salon del Comic and the comics that are nominated as well as a sketchbook section guessed it : Terry Dodson. And to top it all off I bought the DOLMEN Almanaque 2007 which was a special issue that had been done for the last salon and which included the best of DOLMEN since it's inception. I'm going to write more about this when i'm doing the single reviews but let me say one quick thing about the DOLMEN magazine. It's like what the WIZARD could be if it hadn't gone wrong. DOLMEN is 95 percent comics and nothing but comics.

    I bought ( of course ) RANTIFUSO 5, Pafman 2 and 3 in the hopes of getting it signed, Hole and Virgin also hoping to get it signed, APOCALYPSE NERD which I DID get signed, Classicos DC KAMANDI 3 which was the only one I was missing and the SUPERMAN / BATMAN issues 13 to 15 as well hoping to get it signed.

    The list for the artists who were signing on the second day was already out so as soon as I saw Carlos Pacheco's name on that list I went looking for something to buy that he could sign. I didn't want to buy JLA / JSA VIRTUE AND VICE a fourth time - they had reprinted the comic but with an additional comic that was not done by Carlos Pacheco. It was printed on better paper and on one side I would have liked to have a version with good paper that is not broken like the original I bought. On the other hand the comic that was not done by Carlos Pacheco really ruined the overall look of the book so I got the SUPERMAN / BATMAN issues. I had wisely brought his SUPERMAN issues but you never know what he's allowed to sign. And another reason was that they printed the spanish SUPERMAN / BATMAN issues in the bigger magazine format and Carlos' artwork just looks so good in the bigger format. I thought that if I couldn't get a Power Girl sketch by Adam Hughes at least I could try to get one by Carlos Pacheco.

    Comics and stuff I did not pay for :

    No, I didn't steal any comics. At the convention in Barcelona there is a table of FICOMIC - one of the main organizers of the convention - and they change your ticket for comics. Pretty old comics but nevertheless comics. The only rule is : you get what you get. You can't say which comics you like and you can only swap them with other convention goers. Which means that if you are a hot chick you get lots of comics and if you are me you get a lot of comics you already know like NARUTO while everybody else gets new issues of BLEACH.

    So my swag on the first day was that I got BATMAN BEGINS the movie comic, Spider - Man 52 and NARUTO 9 for my ticket. At a stand I got the free MY NAME IS SUNDAY and ESTHER Y SU MUNDO, a paperfan from JONU MEDIA that really came in handy once it got hot inside, 2 stickers of METABARONS and SIDOH, 2 postcards of ESTHER, postcards of LA DANZA DE LA CONQUISTA, LOST GIRLS, FEELINGS, LOS INFIERNOS, MOUSE GUARD, INDIANA JONES, VALENTINA, AZPIRI, SARAH, ARTEMIS FOWL, LA MORADA, DINO KID, EL MUERTO ZABALETTA, EL REGRESO AL LABERINTO and PERCAVAN. From Sci Fi channel I got a flyer and a cell phone etui. I got 2 ANIMANIACO stickers, a CD ROM game of MORTADELLO AND FILEMON, a s well as a beach ball and a mini basketball game - both from MORTADELLO AND FILEMON. And a reading sign from RANTIFUSO.

    So that was all for the first day and the worst was still to come. Now I have to prepare the video cassette for the first episode of JECKYLL.

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