Sunday, April 29, 2012

What happened to the Maid of Tomorrow ?

Today Uma Thurman celebrates her 42nd birthday and since she was one of my first candidates for the SEARCH FOR POWER GIRL series ( back when there WAS a Search for Power Girl series on the blog ) I think it´s appropiate to write this rant I have been putting off for a few days now.

Uma´s exposed Umammaries don´t leave much to the imagination.

I try to focus on the positive things of comics on the blog from time to time there are just some things I have to get of my chest and this is one of them.

Now Power Girl never had an easy standing ( no pun intended ) in the world of comics. While she was an interesting character and immensly popular with the readership - especially the female readers which you can see by how many women dress up as Power Girl - her own series suffered from bad karma.

Or more from a curse. Although sabotage also might have something to do with it. Because somehow DC never had the idea to put somebody who can draw hot women on one of her series. Which sounds like a no - brainer.

I mean when you are looking for a new artist for Iron Man you sure don´t pick the guy who can´t draw tech stuff even if his life depended on it. If you´re looking for a new artist for Hulk you sure don´t pick the guy where it looks like somebody glued two loafs of bread in a wet paperbag together when he tries to draw muscles. And if you´re looking for a new artist for a western comic you probably pick the guy who can draw a horse.

Well, apparently logic like that doesn´t play any role when a big comic company is looking for an artist for a comic book with a female lead. According to Comic Geek Speak DC is very aware that whenever they do a Nightwing series the artist has to be capable of drawing certain cheesecake shots of Dick Grayson or else this secret coven of female Nightwingfans will descend on them and destroy them.

Somehow nothing like that happens with Power Girl and there seems to be the idea that it won´t sell anyway.

It doesn´t exactly help that Power Girl´s history is - seemingly - one of the most complicated histories in the DC universe and most all writers on her book deemed it necessary to give her a new origin.

I´m saying her history is seemingly complicated because when you look at the beginning it was really simple : she´s the cousin of Superman from Earth 2. What Supergirl was to Superman on Earth 1 Power Girl was to Superman on Earth 2. Only she was a grown woman ( and not only in the chest area ), she was more pro active and liked to punch things in short she was more her own character than just the female version of Superman.

She was a member of the Justice Society and the seeds to Power Girl´s enourmous rack was sown when artist Wally Wood began drawing her breast bigger in every issue to see how far he could get away with it and nobody noticing. Or so the urban legend has it. Anyway, all was good and fine with Power Girl.

And then there was a crisis. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the DC universe will never be the same again.

And Power Girl will never be the same again. Because she was so popular that DC decided to keep her as a character. Which shouldn´t have been difficult because the original Supergirl had died in the crisis and there was no new Supergirl in the new DC universe for many years to come. When John Byrne had the unenviable task of relaunching the SUPERMAN franchise he decided that anything derative of Superman would make him less unique. So in the beginning there was no Kandor, no Krypto, there never had been a Superboy ( which caused it´s own avalanche of problems in the Legion of Superheroes universe ) and there was no Supergirl. Now you would think this would be easy : there is no Supergirl, there is Power Girl so you just say that Power Girl is Earth 1´s Supergirl. But by John Byrne´s decree there were supposed no Superman - ish other superheroes so if DC wanted to keep Power Girl they had to come up with something else than her real origin.

After the crisis nobody remembered that there had been a multiverse and something like Earth 2 ( except the poor Psycho Pirate who ended up in a psychiatric asylum because his memories of the crisis were intect ) and suddenly whenever Power Girl arrived somewhere all the other heroes were like : " Who are you again ? Are you Superman´s wife ? " And it´s because of this that she got all those ridiculous new origins to shoehorn her into the new continuity.

Her first bouts of glory were in the Keith Giffen / J. M. DeMatteis league where one of the few artists who was born to draw her - the incomparable Bart Sears - should cement her look for the next decades.

There were a few artists on the Justice League books in the 80s that drew a really fetching Power Girl like Kevin Maguire or Adam Hughes which should tell you what a crazy comic decade the 80s were. A babe artist on a book with babes ? It´s mad I tell you !

Anyway, I never understood why DC didn´t just go and put Bart Sears, Kevin Maguire or Adam Hughes on a Power Girl book. Okay, keeping in mind the time it takes Adam Hughes with his stuff he´s probably only doing the covers ( he did two for the Amanda Conner series ) but Bart Sears back on Power Girl would have been really something. Kevin Maguire did 2 series with the Justice League international cast after DC railroaded the Giffen League so he could have done a regular Power Girl books as well.

Don´t tell me he doesn´t need money. Just have Power Girl as the main character and team her up with Guy Gardner and the stuff practically writes itself. And if that becomes repetetive you can have one of the other guys like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire or Ice make a cameo appearance. Dude, that´s like printing money.

Anyway, back to Power Girl´s history when DC launched INFINITE CRISIS it brought back the multiverse and suddenly everybody remembered who Power Girl was. Which was kind of weird, everybody going like : " Hey, I remember you. Where have you been all this time ? " and you might think that all the complications were over. But nothing´s that simple where quantum mechanics and comic continuity is concerned and so it wasn´t that surprising that in one of the best Justice Society of America stories ever written - THY KINGDOM COME - Power Girl went up against Power Girl.

Say whaaat ?

In the story Gog, a god from the Tird World that preceeded Jack Kirby´s Fourth World, tries to make everything better so he sends Power Girl to Earth 2 even if most heroes don´t know there is something called an Earth 2. Power Girl arrives on Earth 2 and after the usual misunderstandings and battles between allies she has finally come home again.

And then Power Girl comes home to Earth 2.

And she finds this other Power Girl has been eating her cookies, drinking her milk and sleeping in her bed and she´s pissed.

Yes, I also was confused by this. Apparently when the multiverse with its 52 parrallel universes was reborn during INFINITE CRISIS a Power girl was needed on Earth 2 and since Power Girl was on Earth 1 the universe created another Power Girl that wnet looking for Superman since she didn´t know he had gone to our world and died during INFINITE CRISIS. Nice way of the multiverse to say it has gone on without Power Girl.

So Power Girl´s history was once again pretty confusing but at least we got a new series were the first 12 issues were done by Amanda Conner. Now my choices for an artist are known but Amanda Conner really rolled up her sleeves with that one and knocked it out of the ball park. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it only lasted 12 issues and that they weren´t bold enough to do the book without any superhero stuff. Because really, in this book you could have had an entire issue of Power Girl going to do the laundry and it would have been entertaining.

There were some issues afterwards but nothing to really write home about. And when the NEW 52 came around Power Girl was the first fatality of the new multiverse - less universe. There was the MISTER TEERIFIC book where a Karen Star ( Power Girl´s secret identity on many occasions ) was a cast member but it didn´t interest me enough to follow the book. Power Girl´s time was apparently over.

Until the second wave of NEW 52 books was announced and WORLD´S FINEST starring none other than Huntress and Power Girl was announced. And the icing on the cake was that the artists on the book would be Kevin Maguire and George Perez. I thoguht I had died and gone to geek nirvana and wanted more of this cake.

What I didn´t know was that this particular cake was a cake like in the THINNER novel by Stephen King because from then on the hits just kept coming. First they changed the costume on Power Girl who suddenly looked more like a teenager than a grown woman ( this blog reported indignated ).

Well, it seems there was a tidal wave of indignation by comic fans because then DC claimed that the two superheroines on the cover were not really Power Girl and Huntress but rather the Supergirl and Robin of Earth 2 who are stranded on our world and adopt the names of Power Girl and Huntress. Really ? That´s not helping and it sounds a lot like keeping your cake and eating it at the same time to me.

It´s not even been a year and the multiverse is back again. Talk about being consequent. I´m not sure but wasn´t one of the reasons for the whole FLASHPOINT thing and the NEW 52 to start from scratch with only one universe ? And now Earth 2 is back and probably the multiverse too. I keep hearing how there is this big masterplan behind it all but the more I see of it the more it looks like DC is making it up as they go.

So Power Girl is now Supergirl ? That´s weird because there is a Supergirl book in the NEW 52 and apparently it´s the first Supergirl book that doesn´t suck since, well, since the first crisis. And believe me I´ve read them all so I know it must be true. For the moment I have no first hand experience with the new Supergirl book becuase so far I have only issue 8 which is drawn by George Perez and I haven´t read that yet.

Another fact that lends credibility to DC making it up as they go is that Power girl´s costume has gone through another alteration as can be seen on the actual cover of WORLD´S FINEST and although not as much of her breasts are cover up as befoe there still is no magical cleavage window which is one of the MUSTS where Power Girl is concerned.

I have to say I don´t want to dis Perez but Kevin Maguire´s variant cover really looks better.

But you know what the ugliest part of the cover really is ? This.

From all the logos DC has had over the years, from the bullet to the swirl this is really the greatest abomination. And to think they paid somebody actual money to come up with this.

Now if you are against the new WORLD´S FINEST or can´t wait till the first issue comes out I have to say the art by George Perez looks a bit strange in the preview pages I´ve seen so far.

The thing is the smaller the art gets reduced the worse it looks. There are a few websites where you can get the preview pages but so far has the best preview with the biggest size and it doesn´t take forever to load. You can check the pages out for yourself and you can see that in the bigger size it doesn´t look strange at all. In the printed version it surely will look great.

In closing, the new wave of NEW 52 books doesn´t look like it´s going to be different than the first wave and me, I´m still kind of waiting that it´s over. I´m thinking about finally getting the FLASHPOINT hardcover but right now I´m much more interested in the JIM APARO - LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT hardcover that has been finally released. It´s a 50 dollar book but at amazon it goes for 33 EUROS so I´m tempted to get it even if I probably have all the issues in this one in the spanish or SHOWCASE version. Still it would be a treat to have them all collected in one book and in color.

Which is another thing about DC that gets me worked up. I mean, it took them almost seven years to do a commemorative book about one THE defining artist of the 80s and for many comic fans the reason why they became DC fans in the first place.

Time to wrap this up for Today before it becomes even more depressing. After our excursion to the parallel worlds of Power Girl the next post will be also a bit out of this world as we finally begin our journey with THE INCAL.

Since we´re ending this post with one of the greatest Batman artists Today´s video is with the one who started it all. I think I haven´t posted BATMAN AND ME : THE BOB KANE STORY before.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Essential Fantastic Four reading

Since we got a bit sidetracked by the erratic and complicated publishing history of the Fantastic Four in Germany in my last post, I really didn´t get to write much about another of my favorite storylines from ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR 6, which I like to call The Coming of Gabriel.

I don´t think there is really anything I can spoil about this - the story was first published in 1972 - but if you want to be surprised just skip the rest of this post and get ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOLUME 6.


Usually I use the black and white pages from the ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR volumes but since I first read the story in the colored version I´m making an exception. It´s true, it was the german translation but I couldn´t find any pages of that.

The story with Gabriel starts in Fantastic Four 120 in the story called THE HORROR THAT WALKS ON AIR, written by Stan Lee, with pencils by John Buscema and inks by comic institution Joe Sinnot. A great part of the look of the Fantastic Four issues of that time was due to Mr. Sinnot´s unmistakable inks as we will see when we come to volume 7 of the FANTASTIC FOUR ESSENTIALS ( as you can see hope does spring eternal ). In that volume John Buscema only draws the first four issues before Rich Buckler becomes the regular artist and with Joe Sinnot´s inks it still looks very consistent - but more on that when we get to volume 7.

You know, just this Tuesday I was bagging my old issues of THOR ( remember when that was a book you could read ? ) and I have to say a great deal of the good look was due to Joe Sinnot.

But this post is not about Thor it´s about the Fantastic Four.

When I first read the story with the mysterious Airwalker - who later claimed to be the angel Gabriel - I was really shocked because Marvel had a really realistic approach in their universe which means when a character died he stayed dead ( yeah, those were the times ) and the outlook was rather scientifically oriented which means that it was all based on facts. Or as based on facts as you could get at that time in a comicbook. It´s true, Superman and Batman had their run - ins with devils and angels but most of it without any scientific grounds.

Not so with Marvel, although they had their gods from Olymp or Asgard there always was the underlying notion that while they were powerful, godlike beings there was a higher authority above them, something that religious people could label as God. But what if an angel appeared in the pages of the Fantastic Four like it does in this story ? There is a being like Mephisto in the Marvel universe so it stands to reason that there should be the opposite part. So Reed Richards and crew take this angel at face fact and try to find out what this mysterious being, that has appeared in every country and walks across the air, wants. Which is to announce the end of the world like his namesake from the bible.

And here´s another reason why I wanted to use the color pages : Gabriel´s dress that just looks so much better in color. As soon as I saw him the bright visual struck a chord in me and the roman soldier / superhero design is really brilliant. It´s still one of my favorite costume of Marvel´s more elaborate ones like Jack of Hearts or Dr. Strange´s duds with the mask thing.

Okay, once again it´s End of the World time and it seems there´s not a bloody thing the fabulous foursome can do about it since Gabriel first defeats the Fantastic Four without breaking a sweat and then tells the people of the world - or rather New York City since that is where their battle takes place - there is one way to win his favor : they have to destroy the Fantastic Four !


You have to hand it to Marvel in the 70s, when they did the end of the world they went all or nothing. This comic is like one of them old 70s disaster movies and a superhero movie all rolled into one and printed on four colored paper. So, the Fantastic Four have to go up against an angel who can swat them away like flies, they have everybody out to get them, the police and the military are fighting against them and on top of all that Reed´s brilliant last - minute - invention that was supposed to defeat Gabriel ( how many of these contraptions does Reed manage to pull out of his sleeve anyway ? ) manages only to enrage him. Naturally Gabriel takes out his frustration on our heroic quartett whose only options seem to be to go down or to go down fighting. In short : everything is lost.

Enter the Silver Surfer.

Back then the Silver Surfer only appeared sporadically which added to his popularity but since he usually went up against adversaries like Mephisto or Dr. Doom you knew as soon as he appeared on the pages that now it was " amped up " as the kids say nowadays.

Deriving his strength from The Power Cosmic the Silver Surfer is one of the Marvel universe´s powerhouses who can go the distance with Thor or the Hulk so when even he seems to fall things look bleak. But as usual not everything is as it seems and while the Surfer gains the upper hand in the end all of this means nothing because the real adversary is only revealed at the last page of issue 121.


Holy s - word ! That´s exactly what I was thinking when I came to that cliffhanger. Nowadays Galactus and the Fantastic Four are on a first name basis and probably anybody from Aunt May to the Mighty Forbush Man has had an adventure with Galactus and lived to tell about it.

But back then Galactus´ appearance in a comic was more like - that´s it, don´t start reading any long books. Heck, don´t start reading anything at all and you better hope you can finish whatever you´re reading right now. Because Galctus always came hungry and what he eats are planets. And best guess : the planet you´re currently living on has just been added to the menu.

Galactus is probably one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby´s best creations and I´m not going into the whole debate of who came up with what since that is not only a post all unto itself, but I´m not enough of an expert in that departement to even make an educated guess. Suffice it to say that taking Jack Kirby´s soloworks for DC into account like THE NEW GODS and the whole FOURTH WORLD complex I think it´s clear who had the bigger influence in this.

Though he can look a bit silly with that strange hat - at least under certain artists - he´s a great character and with the right creative team he can really bring it. Like in Carlos Pacheco´s final issues of his much underestimated Fantastic Four run.

And then there are other more forgettable storylines like EARTH X in which a Galactus that ate certain planets because there were babycelestials in giant eggs inside them ( which sounds an awful lot like those Kinderüberraschung commercials : in every seventh planet is a little Celestial ) was just one of a plethora of harebrain ideas that showed that whoever wrote this never read many Marvel comics. I´m not sure but I suspect there were a lot of illegal substances and pharmaceutical products involved in making this comic.

Back to Galactus, I remember I once tried to explain the concept behind him to a friend who mostly read french BD and he really had troubles wrapping his head around a being who so totally endangers whole species and against who you are completely helpless. I don´t know if that was just him or if other readers of french BD would have the same problems but there was apparently a limit to what he could imagine. He was absolutely intent on destroying somebody like Galactus and just couldn´t process the fact that someone of that power level was beyond the reach of man.

Which is also always the problem the Fantastic Four have with him. They barely defeated him the first time he came to town and only because the Watcher bent every rule there is about being a Watcher and practically handed them the Ultimate Nullifier on a silver platter. This time around things are not going to be easier especially since Galactus is much more " hands on " in this encounter where he battles the FF on carnival grounds.


Yup, all this brouhaha just because Galactus wants his old herald back. Okay, he vowed to never menace earth again but since Gabriel brought the world to the brink of destruction and he gives them a way out he´s technically keeping his word. Which sounds a bit like nitpicking but it´s also totally in character for Galactus.

He´s always sticked to the rules that suited him while bending or breaking the ones that didn´t. He stands so tall above anything else that he just doesn´t care. Now on one side I can understand the Silver Surfer´s answer to Galactus offer to serve him again, which in short is : " F - word you Galactus ! " I mean the guy exiled him to earth by buidling a barrier around the planet he can´t overcome. And just because he couldn´t harm those who really bested him without breaking his word. Talk about a sore loser.

Now I´m playing a bit of Devil´s Advocate here but wouldn´t working for Galactus solve all of the Surfer´s problems ? Firstly he wouldn´t be exiled on earth anymore and could roam the galaxies freely once again. Okay, he had to search for worlds that could sustain Galactus but it´s not like he hasn´t done this before and that way he could at least be sure that Galactus doesn´t eat inhabited planets. Or too many of them. And who knows ? Somehwere along the way he may find someone who´s willing to take over the job. Which isn´t too far - fetched since it did happen with a few willing candidates later on.

So after a bit of back and forth the Silver Surfer is ready to take Galactus´ offer but Reed is against it out of principle. Dude, a Reed Richards who´s willing to take on Galactus and possibly doom the world just on principle ? I really would have liked to see some of that chuzpe in CIVIL WAR. I mean he even ignores the president´s orders in this story. Okay, it´s Richard Nixon who was president at that time but this is before Watergate when dissing Nixon was okay.

Unsurprisingly the Fantastic Four are no match for the OG ( Overloomig Galactus ) and although it´s fun to see Ben take him down for a peg in the end Reed´s big idea - which he blatantly swiped from the Surfer - is playing a game of chicken with Galactus.

Basically Reed Richards tells Galactus that if he doesn´t leave the people of earth alone he will blow up his ship thus stranding him on our planet, the same fate he has beset on the Silver Surfer.

Now that´s a bright idea : first get one of the most powerful beings in the universe really peed off and then strand him on earth. No wonder they call him Mr. Fantastic. Although Mr. Death Wish might be more accurate in this case. While Galactus and Reed have an intellectual battle with worst case scenarios the regular humans are not so willing to put their fatih in Stretcho´s negotiating abilities and the army starts another futile attack under the commando of General Thunderbolt Ross. That guy really is Marvel´s posterboy for senseless military destruction by all means necessary.

So for a second time the Silver Surfer agrees to Galactus terms which does him no good because Reed still won´t listen. He returns Galactus´ ship but only to get him to leave earth and when the Surfer tries to follow the ship Reed stops him at all costs and almost pays with his life for it. Thankfully the Silver Surfer can use his power cosmic to restore his health and after Agatha Harkness has established a psychic rapport with earth´s population he can let them in on his big plan. Which is about time since everybody is going bonkers out of fear Galactus might return.

Now Reed Richard´s plan is so brilliant that it´s almost worthy of a Doctor Who story : while he was on Galactus´ ship he set an autopilot to fly into the Negative Zone where Galactus can devour planets for eons ( good for us tough nookies for the inhabitants of the Negative Zone but that´s how the FF´s mastermind rolls ). Which is a really great solution although Marvel never delivered on the potential of that ending, namely Galactus going mano a mano versus Blaastar and Annihillus. Now this would be a great miniseries.

So all in all the whole saga is one big rollercoaster ride in which the hits just keep coming and the stakes are raised higher and higher. There is no filler and it´s got an almost cinematographic storytelling. The ending is also great, especially the reaction of the world going from " Reed Richard is crazy ! He´s going to doom the whole world ! We´re all gonna die ! " to " Yay, Richards and the Fantastic For ! Never doubted you for a second. " without blinking and eye which gets mixed reactions from the Fantastic Four ( business as usual ) and the Silver Surfer ( Those earthling are all mad I tell you. Mad ! ).

Like I said, one of the best stories contained in this volume of ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR and to tell the truth, I´m still surprised that the storyline hasn´t been traded yet as I really would like to have it in a beautiful color hardcover. But what do I know, I would also trade the Overmind Saga. Although one of the benefits of the ESSENTIAL version is that I don´t have to suffer pantsless Galactus. I bet I´m not the only one who was weirded out by the flesh colour on Galactus´ arms and legs.

And on this note I´m ending this post Today since we´re already going into overtime. I´d like to say that this is the end of my musings about ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 6 but there are still a few great stories I haven´t touched upon like the mystery behind the Black Leopard or Johnny Storm and Crystal in the worst break up in comics ever.

If you want to read a bit more about all the craziness with Gabriel, Galactus and the Silver Surfer, the boys and gals from BRONZE AGE BABIES provide a longer analysis of THE RETURN OF GALACTUS in 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 parts and my next post will probably be the long anticipated next Moebius post since I have finally read all my INCAL albums.

Today´s video is kind of a follow up to the HOBBITT animation movie I already posted and which you should absolutely see. It´s another rarity, the famous animated movie of THE LORD OF THE RINGS - THE RETURN OF THE KING which was made for tv by the same animation studio like THE HOBBITT and which picks up the events after Ralph Bakshi´s LORD OF THE RINGS movie.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A post four this blog´s sixth anniversary

Since we have the sixth anniversary of TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN this month I thought that this is the perfect opportunity to continue our ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR series where we left off last year - the coming of Gabriel.

Like in my last post about the FANTASTIC FOUR ESSENTIALS I will of course mention the german issues and the complicated publishing history of the issues contained in ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 6. You may ask yourself why I decided to drag this topic out of the mothballs but as always the main reason was that I started this last year and I always intended to come back to it but as always other things came up. I even re - read my first post on the subject to eliminate some typos not that long ago and got a hankering to continue the series. But the case was that one of the reasons why I discontinued it was that while I had volumes 6 and 8 of the series it was almost impossible to find volume 7. And because I didn´t want to do an incomplete series I left it for later and forgot about it. And that was that.

But life´s funny that way. When you think something is absolutely sure and it´s going to happen and nothing can get in your way - fate intervenes and the most likely thing becomes almost impossible. And also, sometimes when you have let something go and you are absolutely sure you´re not going to find it in a million years - suddenly it´s been right in front of you the whole time. Or it appears somewhere where you always go.

So three weeks ago, while doing my usual order at BLACKDOG COMICS I looked in the ESSENTIAL section and even though I didn´t really believe I would really get it I ordered volume 7 and it really arrived at my home Yesterday.

Which leads us to Today, where I´m still not finished with re - reading the INCAL albums for my next Moebius post and where I also missed writing a special post for the big six year anniversary of this blog. So by default, because there´s nothing else urgent on my plate and to still celebrate this anniversary in some kind we´re continuing our trip through my comic collection of Yesteryear.

We already covered THE SAGA OF THE OVERMIND and I mentioned that one of the reasons I bought ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOLUME 6 in the first place is that it´s the bridge between the last issue of the WILLIAMS VERLAG ( which published the german version of Fantastic Four 124 in November 1978 ) and the first issues by the CONDOR VERLAG around 1980. It´s a bit difficult to set an exact date for this since the DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER pocketbooks that first came out had lots of reprints of old Fantastic Four stories mixed with issues of The Thing, Marvel Two In One and anything else from Spider - Man to Alpha Flight. And some of the Fantastic Four issues appeared in other publications like MARVEL COMIC SONDERHEFT 2 which had issue 133, the fight between The Thing and Thundra.

But the publication history of Marvel comics in Germany has always been extremely complicated. In my first ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR post I wrote that german readers had to wait several years to read the conclusion to the aforementioned issue 124 of Fantastic Four which was finally published in a special edition by PANINI COMICS in 1998.

And that´s true for readers of my generation. But what I didn´t know at the time I wrote that is that issue 124 had been published in the german language before Williams even started publishing Marvel comics in Germany.

The thing is ( no pun intended ) that it was first published by the BSV, short for Bildschriftenverlag which published Marvel comics in Germany from 1966 - 1973 under the label HIT COMICS. Now compared to the BSV the comics from Williams were works of art. The BSV published the issues out of order, with a lot of pages missing and under really bad german names. The Fantastic Four got it pretty good with a name like DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER, which was a pretty accurate Translation, but other series weren´t so lucky as the Hulk went on his rampages under the title HALK, MENSCH - DÄMON - UNTIER ( Hulk, man, demon, beast / monster ),

Daredevil fought crime as DEVIL - MAN, TEUFELSKERL

( although Teufelskerl comes pretty close to the original meaning of Daredevil ) and the X - Men even had to suffer double as they first fought as X - MÄNNER

and then as X - MENSCHEN.

But bad translations of the names weren´t the only problems the BSV had, the translations inside weren´t much better and the covers were put together rather carelessly, the writing was often done by hand and badly at that ( just compare the cover of issue 128 of Fantastic Four from PANINI with the corresponding cover from HIT COMICS as shown above ) and often the covers showed scenes from the issues or pages from the stories instead of the actual covers.

And if they used the covers they sometime redrew them to horrible results.

But that´s a story that´s much too long to tell it here in detail. If you are really interested in this part of german comic history ( and this is really more for my german readers ) you should check out Jakob Kurtzberg´s excellent DAS SAGTE NUFF ! magazine which is really indispensable in that departement.

Sadly it´s not published anymore but so far every issue I read was worth its money even if the price is a bit hefty at 7 EUROS for a black and white magazine. But since he´s probably paying for it out of his own pocket you should really support him. I´m not sure if I already posted some links when I last mentioned DAS SAGTE NUFF ! but here is a list of the 12 issues that were published with the tables of contents and contact info and here is the official blog .

And with that it´s once again time to wrap things up for Today, even if I really didn´t get to write much about the FANTASTIC FOUR ESSENTIALS themselves. But I hope we can get down to the nitty and gritty in our next post. And just so you don´t think I have forgotten that the Moebius posts are only on pause here´s a beautiful rendering of the Idol of Millions, Aunt Petunia´s favorite nephew, the ever - loving Thing by Moebius.

Now I always try to close my posts with a video that has to do something with the topic of the post and the more obscure or weird the better. Originally I wanted to put a documentary about Jack Kirby at the end of the post but since I will have another post where I can do that I went into the deep reaches of comic paraphernalia to bring you the Hanna Barbera THE THING cartoon.

Yes, you have heard right. Thanks to the fine folks at Comic Geek Speak ( link at the link section ) I heard of this animation gem in which Ben Grimm has been accidentially transformed into a teenager who lives the normal student life on campus and who´s trying to score with a female student. He has two halves of a magic ring and when he puts them together and speaks the magic words : " Thing ring, do your thing! " he can transforn into The Thing. Which is practically the whole basis for the series. I tried to find a full episode in the original language but apparently it´s so unpopular that nobody cared to upload it. Instead I found a version which is probably the mexican version since Ben Grimm´s called LA MOLE in it and not LA COSA which is his spanish name. Enjoy ( if you can ) !

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Happy Easter !

Today just a short post to wish all my readers happy holidays. Right now I´m taking a much needed break from my hugely popular Moebius posts, but don´t despair there are at least two left to come.

Initially the plan was to stay away from the internet because I haven´t slept very much during the last days but I wanted to get this post done. Just a few days ago I finally tried the option thingie that lets you write something and post it at a certain time but since it´s always confusing to wrap my head around that whole CET / AM / PM thing I´m just writing this in real time - as always.

With 6 posts in one month I have the highest post rate since November last year but I´m not sure what my next post will be about. Judging from the comments on my last post there are quite a few fans of Karl May´s work like WINNETOU or DURCH´S WILDE KURDISTAN and it might be interesting to do a post about it. I mean there are the books, the movie adaptions and the comics based upon the books. I remember reading a comic version of the adventures of Kara Ben Nemsi Effendi but for the life of me I can´t recall the name of the comic.

Another thing I have in mind is doing a post about those german comics I read when Condor was printing the Marvel comics again in Germany and those issues were my sole source of Marvel stuff. I found a few covers during the research for the last post and I have to say I bought quite a lot of them. Not knowing the source material I had no idea how good the translation was of if they left out pages ( which happened quite a lot in german adaptions of US comics ) but the quality of the stories they selected was top notch. Just look with which comic they started.

Now there may be some readers who say : " Hey, what´s up with Doctor Who ? It´s been ages since you mentioned it. "

Well, probably not but it´s still true. I haven´t written about the good Doctor lately which of course doesn´t mean my enthusiasm for the series has diminished. I´m still trying to get my fix of Whoness and in my quest to that end I even managed to get some comics. Yes, that´s right. I regularly check out the bargain section and while some books stay at a good price for a long time ( like the AVENGERS WORLD THRUST hardcover still offered at 9.18 EUROS or the AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS : HEROIC AGE oversized hardcover offered at 22.95 EUROS containing AVENGERS PRIME and the first six issues of AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS ) some of them are going very quickly.

So quickly in fact that the last ones I got from the bargain section were gone after a few days. The comics I ordered were TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS VOLUME 3 ( a 19.99 $ book offered for 8.63 EUROS ), DOCTOR WHO CLASSICS VOLUME 7 ( a 19.99 $ book offered for 7.84 EUROS ) and DOCTOR WHO - WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE ( a 17.99 $ book offered for 6.49 EUROS ). Which was 57.99 § of comics for 22.46 EUROS so I was willing to try out those Doctor Who comics. Of course the GREEN LANTERN trade was good with solid art by Joe Staton although I would probably not have bought it at regular price.

The DOCTOR WHO CLASSICS was a bit weird to read since it recolored reprints of older Doctor Who comics starring the seventh Doctor portrayed by Sylvester McCoy. I´m not very familiar with this one since I have only seen two things where he appeared in : the THE FIVE DOCTORS special and the really bad DOCTOR WHO pilot where he´s the current Doctor at the beginning and then regenerates. Interesting stories with a variing degree of art quality but it was strange to read the adventures of a Doctor to which I had no connection. Maybe I should try another volume with the first Doctor.

Now DOCTOR WHO - WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE was indeed a Doctor I´m very familiar with since it had the Matt Smith incarnation as well as his trusty sidekicks Amy and Rory Pond ( I love it how Rory always says he´s not Mr. Pond and the Doctor insists yes, you are ) but I got a bit of mixed feelings from this one. I had bought the 100 PENNY edition of the first issue of this series and was very eager to read the first trade THE RIPPER but this was kind of meh.

I liked the first story with art by Mark Buckingham and the idea of a goalshooting duel to the death but the rest of the trade left me a bit unimpressed. The story was clever enough but while the art managed to capture the main characters likeness the blocky, minimalistic line just didn´t work for me. Maybe just a minor detail but it bothered me through the whole story. But all things considered not a bad investment.

As for the proper Doctor Who television series I finally managed to get my brother to watch the second season of David Tennant and we still have a few specials to go before we come to the Matt Smith episodes. As for my personal Doctor Who watch I´m still watching season two of the original series and my next episode is CRATER OF NEEDLES from THE WEB PLANET. I just haven´t been able to warch an episode in the last days because I have been too busy as always. As for new episodes there are none as of this date but the new trailer for season seven has been released and it looks like it´s going to be as thrilling as ever.

Last but not least I have one of those celebrity birthdays that manage to annoy some of my readers. Krista Allen, who also was on SMALLVILLE, CHARMED and X - FILES ( in the episode FIRST PERSON SHOOTER she played vr honey Maitreya as well as the real life original stripper Jade Blue Afterglow ) celebrates her 41st anniversary. She is probably best known for her role of Jenna Avid on BAYWATCH HAWAII.

BAYWATCH HAWAII was a BAYWATCH spin - off like BAYWATCH NIGHTS and man, BAYWATCH is like THE ultimate babe tv show. No kidding. No other show had more actresses who were featured in Playboy or playmates who had a guest role. Apart from that the show had every hot babe there is in one of the episodes.

If there was a hot babe during the time the show was produced you can bet that she´s in - at least - one of the episodes. And so it´s no wonder that Krista Allen was added to the Who´s Who of male fantasies that was going through the revolving door on that show with names like Pamela Anderson, Carmen Elektra, Tracy Bingham, Teri Weigel, Jenny Mc Carthy, Jasmine Bleeth, Donna D´Erico, Kelly Monaco, Brande Roderick,Stacy Kamano, Nicole Eggert, Mitzi Capture, Gina Lee Nolin and Erika Eleniak.

I just recently got the sixth season on DVD from amazon, which is the one with Carmen Electra. They have most of the seasons for less than ten bucks now but at the moment I have to pay my old orders before I can get new stuff. This whole amazon thing is just too tempting because they have all these comics and DVDs and Blue Rays so cheap. The last thing I ordered, and which will probably arrive next Tuesday is the second volume of ARCHIE - THE MARRIED LIFE by Norm Breyfogle but I just had to get it.

The first volume was just incredible ( although I still have to write the review on it and the other Archie comic I got ) and the great thing about these telephonebook sized volumes ( 320 pages ) is that they include both storylines, the one where he´s married to Betty and the one where he´s married to Veronica.

I just couldn´t wait until this new volume comes out and if I can find the time I will probably re - read the first volume before diving into it.

Like I said, I could have ordered more seasons of BAYWATCH but right now there is a lot of other stuff I haven´t watched yet like the second season of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD or as it´s known in Germany ONE DUKE SELDOM COMES ALONE ( Ein Duke kommt selten allein, don´t ask ) starring SMALLVILLE´s Pa Kent John Schneider, season one of AIRWOLF, seasons one and two of TRIPPING THE RIFT or season five of THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR ( Jail bait sexbomb Tatyana Ali totally rocks ! ).

Does she have a booming hardbody like a teenage Janet Jackson or what ?

Man, with that terrific body and a voice to match Tatyana Ali´s the total package - and I´m not talking about Lex Luger. You work that body girl !

Although she still could take some grinding lessons from Janet Jackson.

Especially this move is very popular with the male audience members.

Back to Tatyana Ali she really bOObed all out in later movie appearances :

Okay, I know all the DVDs I bought is a lot of stuff and maybe I went a bit overboard with those " 2 complete tv seasons for 20 bucks " offers, on the other side I missed the boat on GALAXY RANGERS ( one of the best animated series ever ) and I´m always bummed out when that happens. In any case, I think that the BAYWATCH seasons will be either keep their low price or get to it later but I can wait for that. Right now I got the most important one with Carmen Electra and plenty of stuff to watch.

I hope you also have enough things to watch over the holidays as there is either nothing on tv or they are showing all the good stuff at the same time. Like always the post got a bit longer than planned and I hope you´re not too bored by now. Happy Easter !

For all those who might find them without entertainment the next few months Today´s video is the animated movie THE HOBBIT from 1977 that was never released in Germany. A rare find that I stumbled upon while watching the ARZACH RHAPSODY episodes from one of my previous posts. Which you should really watch because they are quite fascinating. But now, welcome to Middleearth my fellow travelers.

edit : the video was deleted , I hope you already watched it. For those who haven´t, here is the intro from the movie. It was all I could find.

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