Monday, May 06, 2013

The working dead

I know the title sounds a bit ominous but since I have slept approximately less than six hours in the last three days combined that´s exactly how I feel. And to top it off I´m sitting in an internet cafe right now writing this post instead of heading home to get some sleep.

Back when I was unemployed not being able to sleep was not that big a problem because I did what most people nowadays do when they can´t sleep : surf the internet. I mean, that´s where most of my posts on this blog came from. You can´t sleep, you fire up the old machine and it´s once again time to wax about comics. Is there anything better in the world than that ?

But when you have to work you have to get up at a certain time ( or at least try to get up at something approximating that time ) so you can´t spend hours in front of the computer until you´re either finished with your post or so tired you hit the sack. Whatever comes first. But that´s not an option anymore when you´re a working class stiff especially when your old computer´s not as reliable as it used to.

There has been a longer wait since my last post but only because I tried to write from the privacy of my own home instead of using an internet cafe. I guess I´m just stubborn this way. I tried for too long to find a way to do it at home but the blue screen is almost a permanent thing - if I manage to get the computer to boot at all. It's like the machine has digital Alzheimer. So I probably have no other choice than to buy a new laptop and in the meantime use the internet cafe.

Which is kind of difficult if I want to write about certain comics because I have all the material at home. So I will probably write more about things you can find on the interwebs like new previews, top ten lists and news. It´s been a while since we had a news post around here so that´s a nice change of topics. And in regards to my independent comic reading list - I can take a hint. I mean, at first the computer started acting up whenever I mentioned the topic but now he has gone into full strike mode to eliminate even the slightest chance I might do so. So the topic is shelved for the moment but not forever.


Like usual there is something that goes back to a previous post, in this case the one about Dark Horse reprints of the classic Warren EERIE comics in their EERIE ARCHIVE collections. Now, while the last one I mentioned - volume 11 - has gone back to the price of 37 EUROS volume 10 is currently available for 19.63 EUROS. There are only 6 copies left so don´t wait too long. And if you want a little bit more info about volume 10 you can find it here .


This is my fourth and final attempt to finish this part of the post. I thought since it´s  really not possible to do a just review without having the book in question at hand I cut my second session at the internet cafe short and tried to finish this at home. I really felt that I would be doing a disservice to my readers if I didn´t include all the things you can only see with the actual review copy but my computer bailed out on me after 15 minutes. So I´m once again at the internet cafe with some notes I made at home. It´s not the perfect in - depth review I wanted to make after three failed attempts I have to finally wrap this up :

Since we are on the subject of amazon there is something I absolutely wanted to mention before going on to other things. There´s a book sold at a real bargain price right now and there are still 14 copies left.

The book in question I´m writing about is IRON MAN OMNIBUS - Volume 1 by David Micheline, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr. I know it´s a big sucker, in fact you probably need a weapons license for that thing. It definitely qualifies as a foreign object in wrestling.

Now this is one of Marvel´s new 99.99 mammoth books and usually I wouldn´t dream of going anywhere near this sucker. Even if you get it from an internet comicshop or from amazon you pay between 85 and 75 EUROS which is out of my normal price range.

The reason why I still was adamant about mentioning it on my blog is that RIGHT NOW amazon Germany is offering the collection for 56.95 EUROS which is totally mindblowing. I don´t want to influence my readers into buying these comics or those.....well, that´s a lie. I do. I admit it. I try to warn my readers about comics which - I think - are a waste of money and steer them to some books that I think are more deserving of their hardearned dollars ( or EUROS in this case ). I´m not ashamed of that. And I also want to inform my readers of every comic bargain I come across. That doesn´t always work out as planned since some of these bargains are going faster than I can post them but I´m still trying my best. Because as somebody who has to pay for the comics on his blog out of his own pocket ( except the comics from BLACK TOWER COMICS that they send me out of the goodness of their heart and which I´m way behind on reviewing - sorry ) I know that sometimes you just can´t afford those nice hardcovers you´d like to buy. Especially with most comic books now going for 4 bucks. You just pay a lot of money for your usual subscription and there is nothing left for things outside of your pull list.

So, whenever I come across on of these bargains I feel obligated to mention it on my blog. Okay, back to the IRON MAN OMNIBUS, like I said, usually not something I would consider buying and at first I was not going to buy it. Bargains are one thing but 57 bucks is still a lot of cash for one book. But there were two factors that finally changed my mind about that.

The first one was being able to actually hold the book in my hand at my trusty comicshop and seeing how big it is. The second one was that last year I ordered the third volume of the TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS.

Now the thing never arrived and since it has been rescheduled to June I canceled my order but I was willing to pay pretty much the same amount of money for a collection that has only 792 pages. So that convinced me to order the book, especially since I don´t have to schlepp the thing home myself. And there is not much you can do wrong with the material collected in here. I mean this is probably as good as it gets with IRON MAN stuff, the gold standard so to speak - at least for my generation. The dream team of Micheline, Layton and John Romita Jr have created most of the classic Iron Man stories and a lot of them are included in this volume like DEMON IN A BOTTLE ( which just made the number 1 spot on Comicbook Resources list of The 25 Greatest Iron Man Stories Ever Told and the writing team of David Micheline and Bob Layton is currently in the lead on their Best Iron Man writer poll ), HULK IS WHERE THE HEART IS ( number 18 ) or DOOMQUEST ( number 3 ). Especially Bob Layton has been connected to the book - or better the Iron Man franchise since I think he was involved in the movie versions in some capacity - in some way over the years may it be as a writer, artist or inker.

Heck, Bob Layton may be one of the first inkers whose work I sought out and to this day I still look his stuff up whenever I ink something metallic or shiny. He´s just the godfather of heavy metal inking. And John Romita Jr is just one of the go - to guys when you have to put robots or mechas in a book. It´s either him or George Perez for me.

Back to the collection, it has 994 pages and collects the first legendary run by this comic creator trifecta - issues 115 to 157 -  that pretty much was a big thing when I was reading comics in my school days. John Romita Jr was just starting to stretch his artistical legs and like Marvel never gets tired to say the trio managed to capture lightning in a bottle.

The stories in this book include the aforementioned DEMON IN A BOTTLE story which I first read in the spanish version ( which was EL INVENCIBLE HOMBRE DE HIERRO which sounds waaay cooler than Iron Man ) and it´s one of the few Iron Man trades I have. The collection also features issue 147, the first american Iron Man copy I ever possessed in which BLACKLASH, the new modified version of Whiplash has his first appearance. I must have read this copy a few hundred times which may be the reason why the splash page is kind of etched into my brain.

And I still remember this particular text : " Three heads nod. And nod. And nod. "

There are a lot of other things I still remind of the issue like newly hired SI Vice President Yvette Avril saving the day only to have her thunder stolen by Public Relations chief Artemis Pithens as he takes credit for it. Or if I remembered correctly Iron Man just assumed it was Pithens who was the hero of the day and Artie didn´t correct him. Well, that´s the male chauvinism of the 80s at work here. I don´t want to go into more detail here but for those who want to know more about the issue they should definitely check out Gutter Talks review of Iron Man issue 147  called FIDDLING ABOUT WHILE STARK INTERNATIONAL BURNS.

Speaking about firsts, a lot of people and things are introduced into Iron Man lore in this volume that have later on become canon like Justin Hammer ( now known from his appearance in the second Iron Man movie ), the dreadnaughts, the stealth armor or the outer space armor. You also get Tony´s legendary clash with Dr. Doom during King Arthur´s time, a brutal battle against the Hulk, Namor, Madame Masque, the Melter, The Living Lazer,Blizzard and the Titanium Man.

Additionally to the 42 issues in this collection the hardcover also has 58 pages of extras including a re - colored version of issue 144 ( not issue 114 as it was misprinted in my copy ) that was done for IRON MAN : REQUIEM, one page about the true story of Jarvis´ resignation letter in issue 127, unused covers, covers for issues 113 and 114 by John Romita Jr, 13 original penciled and inked story pages, splash pages and covers, a calendar pin up, the hilarious one page story WHAT IF IRON MAN HAD A EATING PROBLEM ?, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe character profiles and armor schemantics, the introductions for the DEMON IN A BOTTLE and the DOOMQUEST trades as well as covers for the POWER OF IRON MAN, DEMON IN A BOTTLE, THE MANY ARMORS OF IRON MAN, IRON MAN VS DOCTOR DOOM and DOOMQUEST trades. There´s also John Romita´s new cover for this collection and I should mention that of course all the original covers are included.

Now one of my brother told me that I´m always buying books I already have and in this case it´s right that I have read some of the issues in one form or the other. But since those are scattered issues at best and the ones I read were either in the spanish version that were missing a few pages or the german version which were mostly the dreaded Condor Pocket Books that reduced the size drastically and cut off most of the text this is the first time I have them all in the original size, with all pages and the original text. So I think for me it´s a good investment. 

Okay, this is the end of my sales pitch although I never was very good at this. I´m not one of these persons who can do the whole salesman spiel and belive me - I was involved once with a position that would have been very lucrative but I´m just not cut out for it. I´m more the kind of guy who presents a deal with all the pros and cons and that let´s the client decide on his own. So I never went into sales.   

The only thing I want to add that if you were already thinking about getting this book now is the right time, especially if you don´t have the DEMON IN A BOTTLE hardcover ( which alone will cost you around 24 bucks ) or any of the other trades contained in this collection.

Well, as usual that´s all I have time for Today, as the counter on the internet cafe nears the 2 hour mark. I´ll try to complete this post Tomorrow if the internet gods are willing and with a bit of luck the hardcover will also be delivered at home. I don´t envy the guy who has to do that. There are not many links I can add that were essential to making this post ( otherwise than the ones I already included ) but be sure to check out The Comics Cube´s Top Ten Most Influential Comics Artists No 9: George Perez , it´s a great read and required for all people who don´t know him.

Now usually I put one video at the end of the post but since it has been so long since my last post I want to include to videos of movies that might have been overlooked by the regular movie goers.

The first one is WRECK - IT RALPH which really surprised me and is one heck of a film with a story that starts deceptively easy but has a deep message. And I think we can all relate in some way to the hero. I totally have to congratulate Christian Ulmen who does the german voice of Ralph. He´s a guy who I normally find enourmously irritating but he does a terrific job here. If you don´t have the greatest of times watching this movie you really need help.

The second one is JACK REACHER, in my opinion Tom Cruise´s best movie of the last years. Here in Germany it played in movie theaters closed to the public and it´s a damn shame if you miss this one.

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

I´m always careful about horses. It´s the women that get me into trouble.

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