Friday, October 25, 2013

Secret Wars II : Black was the new black

Well, for those of you who visited my site Yesterday - or better tried to visit my site - there were some problems with blogger but that´s all sorted out now. I wanted to post more about Flash and Wally West, but seeing as this was also the topic of my last post I wanted to go with something different and in this case it ties into SECRET WARS II.

In the first part of my love letter to SECRET WARS II we already covered that I am one of those people who´d buy the new omnibus edition of that series because I totally loved it. I was just getting into reading american comics in the original version and SECRET WARS II was all over the place.

I don´t mean that this was going into all sorts of directions but quite literally it was all over the place that was the Marvel universe at that time. SECRET WARS II and the Beyonder was popping up in every book and while such a thing might put off some readers I really liked it. You have to know, as I might have mentioned in previous posts, back then I got my american comics at the newsstand at the train station in Stuttgart and following a series was not easy. One month they might have THOR, FANTASTIC FOUR and HULK, the next one NEW MUTANTS, DAREDEVIL or IRON MAN. I went there two, sometimes three times a week to get the new comics but it still could happen that I missed an issue or two.

So when SECRET WARS II was happening I got really excited because here was a big thing that was in a lot of books. And while I didn´t get all books in the right order and without missing issues here and there with this it wasn´t really necessary. I mean it would have been nice but I didn´t care anyway. There were just so many crossover issues that you couldn´t help but get some of them. And while the quality on those issues might be different from title to title each one gave you another nugget of the story. So while you might not get all issues from THOR ( which was still written and drawn by Walter Simonson at that time ) you might get an issue of THOR that was a SECRET WAR II tie in, an issue of FANTASTIC FOUR that crossed over and an issue of NEW MUTANTS that tied in. In fact the chances were better than getting consecutive issues of any given title.

Another thing I really liked about getting into SECRET WARS II was that it was way ahead of what was happening in the german translations so there was a different status quo - which not only meant new team members on most team books but new costumes. So my Spider - Man looked like this

my Captain America ( or rather just The Captain ) looked like this

my Iron Man ( always bucking the trend ) also had new shiny duds

and even the mighty Thor polished up some new and exciting gear.

Although there was another look in the series long before it, that is still much talked about Today. Chugga - rumph, indeed my friends !

How could I ever write about Walter Simonson´s Thor run without mentioning Thor - Frog ? I can´t. Not only is this storyline one of the most beloved story by fans from that time period but it also happens right during SECRET WARS II and in fact totally ties in with that story.

No, it´s no mistake, there´s no SECRET WARS II CONTINUES IN THIS ISSUE sign on the Thor issues since they obviously don´t cross over, nor is it on NEW MUTANTS 38, which might be the reason why it´s not included in the omnibus. And which in my opinion is a huge mistake by Marvel.

I can understand that they left out issue 72 of ROM Spaceknight

 and issue 16 of MICRONAUTS

because those were licensed products and they just don´t have the license for those anymore. I mean, if they tried they probably could arrange something but Nowadays Marvel just doesn´t care anymore.

Which is one of the reasons you won´t see any ROM or MICRONAUTS trades from Marvel anytime soon, even if tose two series are much loved by a lot of fans. If you want to get those issues your best chances are probably in dollar bins. Anyway, back to NEW MUTANTS 38. As I said in my last post, while the core series might not have been exemplary for the high quality standard of Marvel at that time some of the crossovers are. There are some stories in there that really go way and beyond what you would read in comics at that time and - at least for me - NEW MUTANTS 38 is one of those that can proudly stand with the others I mentioned.

Those of you who don´t want to get spoiled and really intend to read a SECRET WARS II crossover, you better skip the next part. For those of you who have read the issue or just don´t care about spoilers or finally just want to know what the hell I´m rambling about, the gist is as follows :

In the previous issue - which IS included in the omnibus - the Beyonder fights against all the New Mutants in a big all out melee, kills them all and then brings them back to life. With their memories of dying still intact. Which is a really horrific expereince for kids of that age so they´re all reeling and acting like zombies ( which doesn´t go over to well at a party with the kids from the local school who think the students from Xavier´s private school are snobs because they are acting cold and emotionless ).

One of those who is especially hard affected is Danielle Moonstar, who is in the stable with her winged horse Brightwind. Yes, back then Marvel had some really tight continuity and for those who want to know, Danielle encounters Brightwind during the New Mutants tenure on Asgard collected in the ASGARDIAN WARS trade. The winged horse was trapped with barb wire and Danielle freed and adopted the horse thus becoming one of the Valkyries of Asgard. Back to our story in NEW MUTANTS 38, while Danielle is really down and just feeling horrible she sees her horse suddenly going down on its knees and actually bowing - before a mere frog, of all things !

Who is not a normal frog at all ( as you have probably guessed by now ) but Thor who has come to give her new hope in her hour of need.

Realizing that the frog is the asgardian god of thunder Danielle tries to go after him as he hops away but she is stopped by her winged horse.

Which is the moment when she understands that Thor didn´t come to her to get some help out of his personal ailment, but rather to give a fellow Valkyrie of the realm support and hopefully boost her morale. It´s this sign of greatness - helping others despite ones own terrible predicament -  that snaps Danielle out of her depression and also shows what a great character Thor is. Not only as a god or a fellow Avenger but as a hero. The message that it is possible to help others even if your own situation is not the best is a really strong one and it´s only part of this story.

You can read more in detail analysis about the issue right here and as I said, in my opinion it´s a big mistake that they didn´t include it in the omnibus. It might not be an integral part of the story but for me it had one of the best moments of the saga. So, if you already have the omnibus or just want to read a good issue that ties into SECRET WARS II go and get a copy of NEW MUTANTS 38. It has my highest recommendation.


Yes, it´s once again time to wrap things up, but I just can´t finish the post without adding two homage covers to Arthur Adams´ brilliant cover for NEW MUTANTS 38. The first one is from Marvel themselves

and the other one is from Image´s MORNING GLORIES book.


And one last thing, since we´re on the subject of SECRET WARS II and the new black costume of Spider - Man : issue 15 of AMAZING FANTASY

was hommaged on the cover of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 252, which presented Peter Parker in his new post Secret Wars costume.

For comparison, here´s the cover for the german version, which - as usual - has a lot more text and also features Spidey in his old threads on the cover to make sure the german readers know that it´s really Marvel´s Spider - Man inside the issue and not somebody else with the same name.

Now you might ask yourself who that might be and why I explicitly mentioned the possibility that it might be somebody else with the same name. I´m glad you asked. If you´re a longtime reader of this blog you might know that I wouldn´t mention it if there wasn´t some point to it so I just will come right out and say that during my preparations for this post I came upon a peculiar cover for a german comic. Is it coincidence ?

It´s an issue of the german anthology comic KOBRA ( I mentioned the series in many previous posts ) that has somebody who is called SPIDERMAN in a similar pose and wearing a black costume to boot.

Now issue 15 of AMAZING FANTASY came out in 1962 and this issue of KOBRA is from 1976 so this could be swiped. But AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 252 came out in May 1984, so this still makes it 8 years that KOBRA features a guy called Spiderman in a black costume on the cover before it happened for real at Marvel Comics. Food for thought my friends, eh ?


So, once again it´s time to wrap things up for Today and in our next post - if everything goes according to plan which it almost never does - we will talk more about Spider - Man´s black costume, more Spider - Man in der german comics and why the Submariner was sometimes called Prince Namor on the covers and sometimes Aquarius. Ja, ja. No kidding.

Okay, there´s two more things I have to post before switching off the laptop for Today. The first one is this totally bitching cosplay of Green Lantern Arisia for which I just have to give props. Outstanding job !

It looks lie she just stepped out of the pages of a comicbook to take her usual drink with her fellow Lanterns after a long day of ring - slinging at everybody´s favorite watering hole, Guy Gardner´s WARRIOR bar. 

The other thing is the usual video at the end of the post, and since I have finally gotten around to see it it´s the original US movie launch trailer for DALEK`S INVASION EARTH : 2150 A.D with Peter Cushing as Doctor Who.

For those of you who are new to Who, there are two movies with Peter Cushing as Doctor Who that are not considered canon but are still very much liked by Whovians. The Doctor is not an alien from Galafrey and not a timelord, but rather the inventor of a time machine. It´s a bit strange that Peter Cushing plays Doctor Who after playing Doctor Van Helsing but even if it´s not the real Doctor Who the movie is rather enjoyable.

Those who are well versed in Who´s Doctor Who may recognize the story as an adaption of the serial of the same name - The Dalek invasion of earth - but I have to say that Peter Cushing is a more likable Doctor Who than William Hartnell, and for those who love Wilf from the new Doctor Who ( and who doesn´t ? ) he plays the main character in the movie.

All in all a nice little movie and although it doesn´t really explain a lot about Doctor Who, and the Tardis really does look different ( it still is bigger on the inside ) all you really DO need to know to understand the picture is mentioned : that Doctor Who is a timetraveller who has encountered the Daleks before and that the Daleks are bad news.

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


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Bernard Cribbins played Wilf and the young copper in the Dr Who film. Oddly, I've mentioned this over and over with no reaction -and in none of the Cribbins/Dr Who interviews or features does anyone mention this -remember Cushing was a legitimate if not TV Dr and as Hartnell was possibly the 9th incarnation of the Dr (YES the 9th!) he might fit in there.
Now, The Spider on that Kobra cover (you KNEW I was going to respond to this!). I believe it is an illo from a Spider text story from an annual or holiday special enlarged and coloured. The pro artists in UK comics at the time (1960s) were pros and not comic fans and so probably not a swipe.
A nice Secret Wars blog post, Man!!!

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

One more thing -the Dalek space craft in the clip is an adapted hair dryer!

SUBZERO said...

Yes, I also don´t think the KOBRA cover is a swipe. But it is kinda strange. Or I´m just seeing what I want to see ?

So what I thought to be a Dalek ship is a hair dryer ? So they might already be among us. I think I´m hearing the cloister bell.....

Bill-the-Trigan said...

The KOBRA comic was a collection of old British comic strips from the 60's-70's and was printed at the same time as VULCAN (the British version). The original Spideman strips were from Lion between 1965-69 and was titled The Spider.

SUBZERO said...

Thanks for the information. I never got to write a lengthy post on KOBRA but since Terry covered the british side of that I don´t know if that would not be redundant. I still have to find the time to read the hardcovers of THE SPIDER and THE CLAW that I found on amazon and I haven´t even started with PANINI´s reprints of TRIGAN. Which are already at book 10 and the newest one I have is book 4. Maybe when I have caught up I will write more about these.