Friday, September 07, 2012

I want more John Buscema hardcovers

You know, getting a colonoscopy is not as much fun as one might think as I can now tell you from personal experience. Because just this Tuesday I had to undergo the procedure and I still haven´t fully recovered yet.

Although to tell the truth I was narcotized for most of the examination. The nurse asked me if I wanted to sleep during the exam and I was only too willing to go for that option. Sign me up for that, nurse.

I mean, do I really want to be awake while some guy puts an anal probe in my backside that is probably bigger than the anal thingie Cartman got shoved into his anus by aliens in SOUTH PARK which transformed into a giant satellite dish ? Nope. Not a big fan of that.

So the second - worst thing was getting the infusion because the nurse couldn´t find a good vein and had to stick the needle into me various times : into the crook of my left arm, my left hand, the crook of my right arm and a few times in my right hand where she finally found a decent vein. That was quite painful and at the end I felt like a pin cushion and was ready to get a super villain outfit, call myself Porcupine and to be mounted as a trophy at Avengers Mansion. On the other hand I really slept during the whole thing and aside from the fact that I tried to roll on my right side ( I usually sleep on the right side but for the examination I had to lie on the left side ) everything went well. Thank god for small favors.

Now as I said the whole needle thing was the second - worst thing about the colonoscopy because the worst thing is taking all the laxative to clear out your bowels. That´s just awful. The day before the examination you are not allowed to eat solid food, just soup without any indigrients and the first thing you have to take is magnesium sulfate. No kidding.

I´m not sure if that´s really the best modern science can come up with or if the medics were just fooling around with me. I mean, magnesia sulfurica, really ? That sounds more like something Merlin would use in medivial times and not what you get from a modern doctor. And you have to take it twice.

But that´s not the worst part. No, not even the fact that you have to take the magnesium sulfate twice. The worst is that as a continuation you have to take something called Endofalk and that´s the part where you wish you could take more magnesium sulfate instead. Because while it says " pinnaple / lemon flavoured " on the package it really tastes awful and after drinking more than two glasses you are ready to empty your bowels but going the other route. And you have to drink 2 liters in 1 hour of the stuff. Which is about the time when drinking two glasses of magnesium sulfate sounds like child´s play in comparision. So the whole examination was not so tough but the preparation was the killer.


Now you may recall that I mentioned in my first post about this year´s visit to Erlangen how I bought volumes four and five of Kurt Busiek´s AVENGERS run that started with George Perez as the regular artist. I had already gotten volume three so this was a no - brainer.

The only downside was that the first two volumes were out of print as hardcovers and I really didn´t want to get the new reprints since they only have the trades so far. A really strange thing about that is that the trades cost as much as the original hardcover version. What´s up with that ? Is this the difference because of the inflation or has somebody in marketing decided that the old hardcovers were priced too low and now they want to put out the trades for the same price as the old hardcovers so they can charge even more when they reprint volumes 1 and 2 as hardcovers ? In any case that is just speculation and it was redundant since I couldn´t find the old hardcovers anyway and I wasn´t about to get the trades.

Well, this all changed when I found somebody who was selling the first volume of the AVENGERS ASSEMBLE run at for a reasonable price. Okay, it was ten bucks above the original price ( including shipment and package ) but that´s not so bad for an out - of - print hardcover that´s impossible to find. Since I didn´t buy it directly from it isn´t in pristine condition but it´s in better shape than the last hardcover I bought from another seller over amazon. That was the new printing hardcover AVENGERS - UNDER SIEGE which looked like somebody dragged it over five miles of bad road with the local school bus. The inside is okay but from the outside it looks like it has seen some action during a military engagement or something.

Yes, I know. Why do I need the hardcover if I already have the single issues AND the trade with the beautiful Jusko cover ? It´s like I said before : we always buy the same comics over and over.

Ever since I got the AVENGERS - ASSAULT ON OLYMPUS hardcover I wanted the companion piece. Okay, you might ask, is there a difference between the trade and the more expensive new hardcover printing of UNDER SIEGE ? First of all, the hardcover includes ALL the covers which are not in the trade and it also includes the last page of issue 271 and the complete issue 272 which was part of a crossover with the ALPHA FLIGHT series. In the trade the whole part with Namor and Marrina is cut and although it is not really necessary it gives a more complete picture of why Namor is absent during the whole UNDER SIEGE fight. In the trade it looks like he went off to tend to his affairs in Atlantis and that´s all she wrote.

Not included ( neither in the trade nor in the hardcover ) is AMAZING SPDER - MAN 283 in which Spidey battles Titania and the Absorbing Man and which takes place between issue 274 and 275 of AVENGERS and AVENGERS WEST COAST 16 starring Tiger Shark and Wirlwind and which is an epilogue. I´m not sure if these issues really have to be included.

The other difference is the better quality of paper and printing in the hardcover. While I like the original trade with it´s woodier paper and the original pixelated printing the hardcover just looks better, brighter and slicker since not only is it printed on glossy paper but the coloring was completely redone. And while recoloring by Marvel CAN completely destroy the art like in the TALES OF ASGARD HC it works really well in this case.

As for the story, it´s one of THE best Avengers stories on so many levels and for so many reasons not least because it´s the unofficial secret origin of the super villain group that should become the THUNDERBOLTS.

Great art, great story and if you really haven´t read it you must get it. Get the hardcover, get the trade or look for the original issues in the dollar bins, get it any way you can - just read it. By the way, is it really a coincidence that one of the best Captain America villains is german ?

I guess it really is true that Nazis are the better villains. Although where Cap is concerned most of his villains are Nazis like the Red Skull. Maybe that´s why Captain America is one of the greatest superheroes - he grew up on a steady diet of crushing Nazis.

Now having both hardcovers I sure would like it if Marvel continued with producing these high - end collections of John Buscema´s 2nd Avengers run. Even if Roger Stern only stayed until the end of the ASSAULT ON OLYMPUS story line there are still a few good stories that followed ( or even came before UNDER SIEGE ) that are worth to be collected.

What I also crave is a hardcover that collects Walter Simonson´s story in which Nebula joins the Council of Cross - Time Kangs and tries to use the Avengers to penetrate a Time Bubble that appears in our century and engulfs everything up to ten years in the future. The story starts here

and apparently ended in AVENGERS 297

only to continue in FANTASTIC FOUR 337

and reach its conclusion in FANTASTIC FOUR 341.

Apparently the group of superheroes that managed to breach the Time Bubble in one of Nebula´s visions wasn´t the Avengers but the Fantastic Four accompanied by Iron Man and Thor. You can say what you want but it takes chuzpe to write the epilogue to your Fantastic Four story during a stint on Avengers. And Walter Simonson even managed to to turn that into a kick - ass story that managed to disassemble the Avengers without killing off Avengers left and right. Read ´em and learn, Bendis.

Now with the 4 issues of AVENGERS and 5 issues of FANTASTIC FOUR you would have quite the satisfying chunk ( 9 issues in one big story ) and you could even include issues 291 to 293 of AVENGERS which is when Nebula first begins to intrude into Dr. Druid´s dreams. Okay, maybe that would be a really big hardcover with 12 issues but the three issues, that mainly deal with the final fate of Marrina are not enough for a hardcover of it´s own ( unless you include some ALPHA FLIGHT issues by John Byrne with Marrina and Namor ). And otherwise you had to pack them together with issues 286 to 290 which make up the HEAVY METAL story that comes directly after ASSAULT ON OLYMPUS and in which the Avengers go up against the Fixer, the Mad Thinker´s android, a Kree Sentry, the Super Adaptoid and Machine Man.

Anyway, I don´t care which stories they do collect as long as they continue with the Avengers issues by John Buscema. Here are a few links if you want to read more about that golden Avengers period :

Avengers UNDER SIEGE by Ye Olde School Café part 1 / part 2

Marvel Comics of the 1980´s look at Roger Stern´s AVENGERS run

Top 10 Avengers stories ranked by iFanboy

And speaking about golden Avengers periods with great art, before I started going on this tangent I was talking about volume 1 of Busiek´s and Perez´ AVENGERS ASSEMBLE book which is another masterpiece.

The hardcover collects issues 1 to 11 of the series as well as the AVENGERS / SQUADRON SUPREME ANNUAL ´98 by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco ( Yay ! ) and the ROUGH CUT EDITION of issue 1 with the pencils for the full issue and the script, all the variant covers, other covers and AVENGERS posters by George Perez and an introduction by Kurt Busiek as well as some additional thoughts on the Avengers. Not a bad package all things considered.

Now while I really want to wait with re - reading this run until I have managed to track down volume 2 I caught myself starting to read it just Yesterday. I can´t help it, I look at the art and then I flip through the pages and then I come across a favorite scene or something else that´s cool and I totally forgot and suddenly I have read half an issue and begun the next.

And even if the art looks a bit different then what I last read of George Perez ( which was issue 8 of the new SUPERGIRL book ) after a few pages you are so immersed in reading that you just don´t notice anymore. And George Perez´ art in this one could really be used for a textbook on how to draw superhero team books. I remember when his return as a regular penciler on AVENGERS was announced a lot of people were not sure if he could maintain a monthly output and speculated there would be some fill - in issues included. Well, chupate eso, George Perez not only did his monthly duties with an enthusiasm that put a lot of the " hot artists " from that period to shame he also delivered mindboggling doublepage spreads with hundreds of characters on one page or pages with an unbelievable amount of panels and detail.

One such example is the last page of issue 4, the big " Who´s going to end up on the Avengers roster ? " issue.

It´s a big picture of the new Avengers team striking a pose and Captain America shouting the obligatory trademark " Avengers Assemble ! " battle cry, with two small panels with the reporters on the upper left corner and a small insert panel with Hawkeye on the lower right corner ( I whish I had a better scan of it ). The last panel which is a closeup on Hawkeye who smugly says : " And the crowd goes wild - " is really the icing on the cake.

I don´t know if it was in the script or if George Perez added it but it´s just another example of superb storytelling in this series. It really isn´t necessary to understand or tell the story but it´s really such a tiny detail that nevertheless manages to give the issue the extra Ommph. Especially if you have read the issue and know what Hawkeye gives up and why.

Oh and by the way, there were some fill - in issues by other artist but counting all the doublesized issues he did George Perez ends up with 36 issues in 3 years which means one issue per month. Not bad for an old guy. Anyway, as I said before this is one of the best AVENGERS runs and if you have the chance to get any of the collections for a good price anywhere ( especially the first three volumes ) you should take it.


People who try to follow me on facebook may have noticed that I don´t post there so often and here´s one of the reasons why :

This week I posted this video ( alternative link ) on facebook but it seems it can´t be seen outside of Germany. I tried to embedd it but neither PRO 7 nor myvideo seems to think that´s a necessary function ( hence the links above ) and I couldn´t find it on YouTube although I´m not sure that would have helped much.

The video - for those that can´t see it - is from the sixth season of SWITCH RELOADED ( frightening that the sequel to SWITCH managed to get a sixth season, isn´t it ? ), a show that does parodies of everything on german tv which sometimes are good and sometimes not so good. As coincidence would have it, I stumbled upon this particular clip while switching through the channels ( sometimes nomen EST omen ).

The woman is Martina Hill who plays such german celebrities like Sonya Kraus, Heidi Klum ( she really nails her voice ) on SWITCH RELOADED or beginning with this season Daniela Katzenberger ( she does an even better job on Daniela´s cleavage ). I had no idea who this woman, Tatjana Ohm, was and I guess I´m not really up to date with big breasted women on german tv. Anyway, 42 years old news speaker Tatjana Ohm is on N24, one of various news channels in Germany. Here´s her wikipedia entry and sorry, there is no english version available.

But that just shows you that you never know where you might find interesting things. To think that she was on tv all those years and I never knew. Ah, the cleavages I have missed. And now that I mentioned her so much I think it´s time to post a short clip with the original. Because YouTube blocked the clip I originally posted I added this short clip with Tatjana Ohm which I personally uploaded on this blog. It took me a few hours to find one and it´s the only one I found. The woman who does the weather is Miriam Pede, by the way.

Damn, I got sidetracked again with all my personal stuff and all the talk about hot women and big boobs this starts to read like an episode of ComicGeekSpeak with Uncle Sal. Which sometimes is the only thing to get me through the day. Anyway, since I should be in bed for 5 hours it´s time to wrap it up. Maybe I can continue my Erlangen report next time but it´s like every time I sit down to do it something else comes up.

Since I will probably be re - writing this post Tomorrow I guess I should mention that one of the major tv sexbombs of my misspent youth, Heather Thomas celebrates her 55th birthday on that very day.

For generations of adolescent young boys the highlight of the week was the short moment on FALL GUY where she appeared in her blue bikini. There also was hot Markie Post on the show who stole the scene whenever she ot a chance to show off her incredible 36 - 24 - 36 measurements in a bikini but she didn´t get much of the spotlight until the third season.

Anyway, you can read more about this in my POP CULTURE TV SIREN MARKIE POST entry which you can find in the POPULAR POSTS section. It´s also one of the posts that get the most spam. Back to sexy Heather Thomas, she didn´t have much success outside of FALL GUY and the movie ZAPPED probably because she didn´t do nude scenes but she still was on one of the best known tv shows around the world and that has to count for something. So happy 55th anniversary Heather Thomas, many happy returns and thanks for the blue bikini and all the other bikinis !

Since I mentioned AEON FLUX and LIQUID TELEVISION in my last post here is a clip from DOGBOY, one of my favorite serials on the show. You know, in retrospect it is really strange what kind of weird stuff I used to watch.

The story and the plastic hairdos are just hilarious, I only wish I had a longer clip. There are some LIQUID TELEVISION shorts included in the DVD extras of the AEON FLUX DVD but sadly no DOGBOY.

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


Geier said...

Du weisst, daß du nen Knall hast? ;)

SUBZERO said...

Aber klar doch, wer hat das nicht ?

Geier said...

:D Wie könnte ausgerechnet ich dir da widersprechen?!

SUBZERO said...

Habe ich auch nicht erwartet.