In my last post ( for which I couldn´t find a good title and I´m not faring much better with this one ) I wrote a lot about the AVENGER runs of two of comics greatest artists - John Buscema and George Perez - and Today I´m going to write about another one who I have mentioned a lot. Sorry, but I guess I´m really an old geezer, although judging by most of the stuff the big two put out you end up with the greats sooner or later.
By the way, I may be a little slow Today because blogger has changed its design making it more userfriendly or like I call it " a real pain in the ass to work with ". I don´t know why blogger keeps doing this because every time they have a new " userfriendly " design it´s more difficult to use.
They already did an update some time ago but I managed to keep the old design. But now it automatically switched to the new design and there´s nothing I can do. The last time they switched to a new design the HTML automatically crunched together and if you wanted to have some space between the pictures and the text ( which I prefer because otherwise it looks like s - word and people might think you don´t give a s - word about how your blog looks ) you had to put it in by hand every frikking time you changed something. Which I do a lot. So that was a real trainwreck and so far I could avoid it. But this new update seems as impossible to work with and I probably will have to copy / paste a lot of br / br HTML if I want the posts to look right. Thanks blogger for making my life easier.
I really don´t know why companies keep doing this unnecessary updates that really don´t help the customers. Computers were created to solve the problems we wouldn´t have without them and every time some website I´m visiting on a regular basis does another update it proves this. It´s the same with Google. Do you remember when looking for pictures on Google was easy and the page didn´t take forever to load and you could see the size of the pictures below ? Can anybody explain to me why that was changed ? Were people complaining that they found stuff too easy on the internet ? I really can´t understand it.
Anyway, so far the new blogger update is really complicating things because each time I have added or corrected something and press " actualize " I have to open a new window to continue working on the post.
Now actually I wanted to do this post on Monday because that was the 62nd birthday of horror hostess / movie star / cult siren / pop icon ELVIRA a.k.a. Mistress of the Dark ( massita ! ) and it would have been an excuse to mention her again and maybe put some new pictures of her on the blog, but as usual I didn´t get around to do it.
So since I´m already on the subject I want to mention my two posts I did about Elvira, one is what I call ELVIRA 101 - what you need to know about Elvira but were afraid to ask and the other one is about Elvira in the comics . This is a comicblog after all. There are a few more posts were Elvira is mentioned but those two are the main ones and you can find the others by clicking on the " Elvira " tag.
Now the reason why I couldn´t do the post on Monday was that I had to take a time out because I have a serious case of tendinitis in my left hand. For a few years I´ve had it in my right hand and it never properly healed but now I also have it in my left hand. And before you ask when I´m on the computer writing these posts I handle the mouse with the left hand while typing with the right. Which usually means my left hand is used more than the right one. Man, combined with my left shoulder acting up again and a case of stomach cramps I´m really a trainwreck.
But enough of my troubles, in the world of comics things don´t look too good either and let´s start with DC.
IS IT JUST ME OR ARE DC NEWS JUST TOO DEPRESSING RIGHT NOW ?
I have now officially given up on JUSTICE LEAGUE, which may sound strange since I don´t have it on my pull list. But I got the first storyline in hardcover and was planning on buying the next story as well.
But now I´ve had enough. And it´s not about Superman and Wonder Woman sharing spit ( Wonder Woman also kisses Apollo on the cover of her own mag this month who is technically her half - brother, so welcome to the Starfire / Catwoman club of DC hoes ) which has happened before. In fact here is a whole list of Justice Leaguers making out. So, no, Supes and Wonder Woman locking lipps is not a problem since it has happened numerous times before in Justice League lore. It also always made more sense than the whole Lois thing. Just read the MAN OF STEEL - WOMAN OF TISSUE essay you can find on the net. I mean really, if you had to choose between a woman who totally ignores you when you look like Buddy Blank but gets the hots when you look like a total hunk ( typical alpha male fixation ) and a woman who is your equal or even stronger than you who would you choose ? And you have to keep in mind that there are things that Superman can only talk about with Wonder Woman because Lois wouldn´t understand. Yes, I get the whole " Superman needs Lois to stay connected to normal people " angle but that still works if they are just platonic friends. Or when he interacts with Jimmy Olsen or his parents. So my problem is not the kiss.
My problem is that I wait for it to get better and become the lynchpin book DC promised it to be and it´s just not happening. I mean this is the book where the important things were supposed to happen and so far there only was a story about how they first met where they failed on all levels. And according to all sources it just doesn´t get better. What´s even worse is that apparently Jim Lee is leaving the book which was the only reason I was even remotely interested in the book. So, that´s it for me, I´ll read the issues my brother has ( IF I can find them in his labyrinth he calls a room ) but no more trades for me.
The next news didn´t come as a big surprise to me because as avid readers of this blog know I have mentioned a few times that while I´m reading RESURRECTION MAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL I´m not really enjoying it because the mandate to discontinue from their previous incarnations has not really benefitted the books. Well, it looks like the sales numbers are backing me up because both books were cancelled with issue 12. In the case of RESURRECTION MAN the whole " caught in a war between devils and angels " angle has really been done to death in comics, books, movies and tv series. So to take a series that was original because it was its own thing and turn it into a more generic mystery series backfired. Because now it had to compete with all the other mainstream versions and it clearly was not in the top category. As for JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONLA : if you build something special like with JUSTICE LEAGUE - GENERATION LOST only to totally ignore it and start from scratch you can´t hardly blame the readers for losing interest.
There also is the whole Liefeld thing on the internet but quite frankly I´m not that much interested. Rob Liefeld has always been someone who polarizes people and while I´m not his biggest fan I have to say that I read his Captain America run during the whole HEROES REBORN brouhaha which was not the worst comic I read.
To tell the truth SPIDER - MAN CHAPTER ONE was much worse and that was written and drawn by John Byrne who I´m a big fan of. So all I want to say is that if you hire Rob Liefeld you must know that there will be some scandal involved one way or the other. And really, I don´t want to comment on all the firings and rewrites and creative team changes at DC. If you read my blog you should know what I think about the whole DC relaunch and as long as it´s successful where sales are concerned DC will continue on this course. And all the people who are defending DC are interested in keeping their jobs for which I can´t fault them. There is an old german saying : " Whose bread I eat, those song I sing. " ( I think in english its " He who pays the piper, calls the tune. " ) and I think it applies here.
Now there is one last DC thing I want to comment on which is the new cover for CATWOMAN 0. It seems the old one was too anatomically impossible and too ventilated.
So they ordered a new one that´s more in line what a human body can really do and a bit more covered up. Which confused me a bit because I thought their whole new approach with Catwoman was to go back to her origins as a former prostitute. But lately DC has been contradicting itself on a daily basis so who knows ?
IT`S OFFICIALLY ALAN DAVIS MONTH NOW
That´s right, Alan Davis seems to slowly become the hardest working man in comics. Not only does he do at least a dozen covers each month he also has a new three part CLAN DESTINE story coming out in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL 33, DAREDEVIL ANNUAL 1 and WOLVERINE ANNUAL 1.
On top of that he also did the artwork on MIGHTY THOR 18 which is the prologue to the EVERYTHING BURNS storyline that runs through the Thor books. He doesn´t do the entire crossover but he provides covers and I think he does the interiors for MIGHTY THOR 20 which has a nice cover
that pays homage to the cover of one of the best Spider - Man issues ever, the legendary issue 33 by Lee and Ditko. ( You can find an animated version of this cover and three others by Kerry Callen right here )
But really, more Alan Davis comics is excellent news. Now if he would only do a series on a regular basis. As for all the other Marvel books right now I´m still saving all the AVENGERS VS X - MEN books so I can read them in one sitting. If that´s a good thing or not - well, I´ll find out pretty soon. And as for the MARVEL NOW books, I´m not sure how Marvel plans to get new readers with even more new books but if I can get my hands on a comic by Mike Allred I´ll take it.
HOW FREE COMICS LEAD TO ME BUYING MORE COMICS
In one of my past posting I pimped my comicshop, the SAMMLERECKE in Esslingen ( which I´m going to mention in this post later on ) so Today I´m giving a shoutout to one of my online comicshops, ANDI`S COMIC EXPRESS . And let me tell you, they sometimes take the express part very serious.
One of the reasons I prefer to order from them instead of other online comicshops is that you get one free comic for every 10 EUROS you spend. Now the books you get are usually the books from FREE COMIC BOOK DAY or GRATIS COMIC TAG but this time they also had some free Halloween Special comics so I ordered four of them.
The first one was LAUGH COMICS 1 ( I don´t think this was a Halloween special ), that has various short Archie strips from diferent art teams.
Like all of the free comics I ordered it´s poketbook sized and has 16 pages. I always like to check out new Archie stuff since it´s something I´m not that familiar with since it´s been decades since I read it on a regular basis. But to tell the truth so far the only thing I found really interesting is the MARRIED LIFE books by Norm Breyfogle. I don´t know if it´s the art by one of my favorite Batman artists or the fact that it´s not only a series of gags / stories but rather an ongoing plotline. But in comparision to this the other comics I have seen seem uninteresting. But who knows ? There might be an Archie comic or book that will give me the Archie bug yet. There are a few books available at amazon but so far they are not in my price range and I really don´t have the budget to just get a few hardcover collections on a whim. What I can definitely say is that the Archie comics by Dan DeCarlo look the most interesting.
The second one was the 2008 BONE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL which really doesn´t have anything new. The part that is presented here is a sequence with Bone, Rose, Grandma and the scary rat creatures so it is appropiate for a Halloween special. Like I said, nothing new but for me it´s the first time to see these pages in gorgeous colour. So far I only have the regular edition of the series, which means a few trades and the rest in single issues but if I win the lottery I´l probably get the ONE VOLUME EDITION and the colored version. The only thing that weirded me out is that the last page in this comic is obviously done by Paul Pope and while he does have his merit and I have a few of his comics in my possession it´s like being hit in the head by a two by four.
A PEANUTS HALLOWEEN was the third free comic I got and you really can´t go wrong with Peanuts and Halloween. Since it couldn´t be any other way the book ( that has some black and white pages not like the other free comics ) includes a few strips with Linus trying to spread the gospel about The Great Pumpkin.
As most Peanuts strips it´s just too hilarious and while I probably won´t be able to buy all of Fantagraphics COMPLETE PEANUTS editions I´d like to get one with some Halloween strips.
But the real piece of resistance was the HOT STUFF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2010. Of all the Harvey comics this was the one I was really not familiar with.
Of course I had read some comics with Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost ( who for some strange reason was Casper the Little Ghost in Germany ) and Wendy the Witch when I was just a little tyke.
But I don´t think I ever saw anything about Hot Stuff, the Little Devil. Nevertheless this was the comic I kept coming back to. After a few days of flipping through the pages again and again I decided to go on the internet and I really found a collection with comics, indeed, the first comics were the same as in the Halloween Special so I could keep on reading from where I left off.
It´s a 200 page collection from Dark Horse, the HARVEY COMICS TREASURY - VOLUME 2 not to be confused with the HARVEY CLASSICS VOLUME 3 : HOT STUFF also from Dark Horse. The collection I got has only 200 pages and is smaller but it´s only 15 bucks and all the pages are in color. If you only want to read the comics and you like the color versions better this is the book for you.
Now if you are more interested in the history around the HOT STUFF comics, then you should get the HARVEY CLASSICS VOLUME 3 which is bigger and more expensive but you get 480 pages of strips and background info.
The reason why I didn´t order this right away was that I really didn´t care for the black and white strips and since this is my first exposure to the HOT STUFF comics I wasn´t sure how much I would like this. But I think I might just get this after I´m done reading the trade I have. And who knows, after that I might check out the volumes with Casper and Richie Rich which are also available from Dark Horse.
RIDING WITH THE KING
Now a few posts ago I wrote about some of the goodies I got from the second hand section of my comic store but there are some goodies I didn´t mention like THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR 54. You see ? I told you that we would talk about another one of the great comic artists later.
When I first came across the work of Jack Kirby, I didn’t get it. At the time, the man who was already called King was beyond me. I thought the art was ugly. I thought the writing was overwrought and overlong. The stories themselves seemed needlessly complicated. I was, of course, wrong.
This was not written by me but rather by fellow blogger Max Romero in his post JACK KIRBY, THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING on his blog GREAT CEASAR´S POST ! which can be found on the blog roll of this very blog. Of course the same thing happened to me and possibly thousands of comic readers throughout the ages. The genius of Kirby is not something you get the first time around and you have to cultivate your tastes before you can really appreciate it. But since I have already written a few times about this ( Jack Kirby is a constant topic on this blog with his brilliant comics like KAMANDI or OMAC ) we can skip that part. No, the reason why I mention it at all is that after almost a month of reading this in little bits to avoid the possibility of my brain exploding because of an overload of Kirby goodness I finally finished it Yesterday. So when I ordered the HOT STUFF collection I wanted to order something else because I don´t like to place an order at amazon for just one thing. So I ordered the JACK KIRBY, KING OF COMICS hardcover by Mark Evanier which I got Today. So much for avoiding a Kirby overload.
JACK KIRBY, KING OF COMICS is oversized, 224 pages thick and just chock full of gorgeous pieces by Kirby. Now I tried to post this as soon as I could because I got my copy for 21 EUROS which is a real steal with a regular price of 40 Dollars. But by the time I finally got all the material for this post it was already too late. They only have one copy left and the price is 33 EUROS at the moment. It´s like I always say, with amazon you snooze, you loose. Nevertheless it´s a great book and you should definitely check it out. I have only had the time to flip through it ( I spent most of the time Today writing this post, you know ) but if I ever have a nerdgasm it will be from this book. On one page I thought it was cut wrong because it was shorter than the other pages - until I discovered the reason for the different size was that it was a foldout of this mindblowing Jack Kirby piece colored by Alex Ross.
Another wonderful piece is this final splashpage with a really terrifying Silver Surfer. I always thought that John Buscema was the definite Silver Surfer artist but this piece can really make you soil your pants.
So this book gets my recommendation and if you say that this is too expensive for you get an issue of the JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR ( there are some collections of them available on amazon and at good comicshops, online and otherwise ) because they are worth it for the original Jack Kirby pages alone. You can learn more from such a page than from reading a thick book about how to draw comics.
Now I hate to cut things short right here ( I might add a few more things Tomorrow ) but once again I´m already four hours past bedtime so I better end this.
As I have mentioned the PEANUTS in my post Today´s clip is the song LINUS & LUCY by George Winston. It´s the best known song from the soundtrack and if you really like Jazz music see if you can find it somewhere.
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