Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hurrah ! It´s Norm Breyfogle Wednesday !

Well, not really. Since comic creators still don´t get their own holidays we have to wait a bit for that. It still IS his birthday Today so I wanted to do a little homage post to one of my all - time Batman artists.

Especially since he´s nowhere in sight of the NEW 52. You would think that with the sorry state the company´s in right now and the constant changes of creators they would use every available resource they have.

On the other hand it doesn´t really surprise me since I´m not sure it fits with their new grim and gritty Image - ification of their universe. Is it just me or were none of the actual execs of DC around during the 90s ? Because that was when we did all this grim and gritty for the first time - which made it slightly original. Call me jaded but most of what´s going on at DC right now seems like a lot of rehashed bad ideas from the 1990s.

I don´t like to repeat myself but a company that just doesn´t have the common sense to give Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire cart blanche on any property they fancy is shooting it´s own kneecap. And they also had no idea what to do with George Perez either. They f - ed up Power Girl, for heaven´s sake ! How can you f up Power Girl ? Especially when you have artists like Kevin Maguire and George Perez on the book.

Man, it really doesn´t surprise me that they don´t call Norm Breyfogle for anything. Anyway, this post is not about me going on another rant about the actual state of DC comics - since that is neither very pleasant to read about nor will it accomplish anything about ending the horror that is the NEW 52 before it´s time since DC is just raking in huge amounts of cash with their current four colored orgy of violence and unfulfilled tittilation.

No, Today is about giving props to one of the best artists out there whom - sadly - a lot of newer readers don´t know because of all the hype around the NEW 52 books. If they know Norm Breyfogle at all it´s from his work on the BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED series. Which has been canceled. Sob.

But before that Norm Breyfogle did one of the definite runs on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS with Alan Grant that still hasn´t been collected.

At least from DC. In Spain PLANETA DE AGOSTINI collected the run in 5 hardcover volumes before losing the DC license to ECC Ediciones. I already did a post on that where I also translated the article NORM BREYFOGLE´S BATMAN : A DIFFERENT LOOK by David Hernandez from spanish to english which you can find here . It really goes more into detail and since I can´t possibly come up with anything nearly as good I´m not even trying. I have done a few posts on Norm Breyfogle already so I spent most of the time Yesterday and Today ( when I wasn´t working of course ) going over them and sorting out which pictures I have already used

and which part of Norm´s long comic career I already covered. And of course I corrected all typos ( at least all I could find ), added all new changes and checked out all the links if they were still working. Which is one of the reasons why it took me so long to get this post done.

Originally I was going to do a post on one of the books I just recently acquired and go back to the INFERNO storyline but then facebook notified me of Norm Breyfogle´s birthday so I changed plans at the eleventh hour.

So, I already did a post on Norm Breyfogle on BATMAN. I sorta, kinda did one on one of my favorite villains / anti hero ANARCHY in this post . And I did GREATEST COMIC ARTISTS : NORM BREYFOGLE which covered pretty much everything else, so we can go home. What´s left to write about ?

I still haven´t read a lot of PRIME since my last post on Norm Breyfogle. I got two issues because they were rather cheap but since they are issues 10 and 11 I can´t comment on the series. The art is of course nice.

I got one issue of Valiant´s BLOODSHOT by Norm Breyfogle but since it´s issue 30 not much to report here either. Usually I stock up on cheap back issues at the Comicbörse Stuttgart and other conventions but since the Comicbörse was cancelled I´ll have to wait for this year´s Salon del Comic de Barcelona or Comicsalon Erlangen for that. If I can attend there at all.

What I did manage to get was the six issue miniseries METAPHYSIQUE which Norm Breyfogle did for Malibu´s BRAVURA imprint. It is a story that mixes superheroes, religion, ESP experiments by the government and the usual Breyfogle craziness into one of the weirdest not drug induced mind trips you will probably take reading a comic this side of Grant Morrison. Norm does it all on this one - except lettering and colors - and since it´s owned by him there may be a sequel coming somewhere in the future.

There has been a number 1 issue of the second volume OF BITTER SOULS, which has left Speakeasy Comics and gone to Markosia but that seems to be the only issue so far. At least according to what I could find out on the internet. So it seems the first trade about which I already wrote will be the only one available for the near future. And his association with Archie Comics also seems to have come to an end since he wasn´t present in the most recently released fourth volume of ARCHIE : THE MARRIED LIFE.

I still wanted to do a post on Norm Breyfogle because just this week I came across some of his work I haven´t mentioned or forgot to mention.

Because of my post on FLASH in January I realized how little of William Messner - Loebs´ and Greg LaRoque´s FLASH I had read. So when I went to my regular comic shop in Esslingen I found a dozen old issues ( which was especially fortunate since I only had 3 comics in my comic box ) which lead me to re - read my old FLASH issues. So far I have read up to the end of the RETURN OF BARRY ALLEN storyline because that´s the point from which on I have all the issues but I don´t want to continue - I have still so many issues missing before that. And since I probably can´t find those issues until Erlangen I stopped with FLASH. It´s hard but the early issues are just so good and I want to complete the run if I can.

Now, since I had gotten some new FLASH issues I had to take out some of the other comics in the longbox. It was mostly FLASH but also annuals and other series because it was not enough FLASH stuff for a full longbox.

With the new issues however - and possibly more of them in the near future - I started looking for other scattered FLASH issues like DC RETROACTIVE - THE FLASH so I had all my FLASH stuff in one box. One of the comics I found was the FLASH 80 PAGE GIANT and Lo and Behold, the second issue opened with a story by Brian Augustyn and Norm Breyfogle.

For more of his work at DC - besides the occasional short story - you might want to check out THE SPECTRE series that started in 2001 and which had post - Parallax Hal Jordan as the host of the Spectre.

Mr. Breyfogle did issue 15 to 23 and issues 25 to 27 which was the book´s final issue. This is a series I should probably own since most of the other issues were drawn by Ryan Sook and P. Craig Russell - a personal favorite of mine - did covers for most of the issues penciled by Norm Breyfogle.

On the other side of the street I had written in a previous post that he had done an issue of BLACK PANTHER and the HELLCAT 3 part series but I totally forgot to mention that he also did the AVENGERS ANNUAL 2000.

Which is doubly embarrassing because not only am I sure that I already used the cover by Carlos Pacheco on the blog ( although without the logos and type ) but it´s included in the fourth AVENGERS ASSEMBLE hardcover which I have only leafed through like - what ? -a hundred times ? You might think a fella would remember some of the great art from the issue.

So these are my tips for Norm Breyfogle stuff to read and if you haven´t gone over my old posts to which I posted the links make sure to head for the back issue bins for his work on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS if you haven´t already. The same goes for his ELSEWORLDS books BATMAN : HOLY TERROR and FLASPOINT which thankfully hasn´t got anything to do with the NEW 52 and didn´t f - word up 75 years worth of DC continuity.

Now you might say that there is not that new stuff in this post and you would be right. Which is the reason for the next section, our ever so popular link section. These are all either web pages that provided helpful information, pictures to illustrate the post or are previously unposted articles or interviews I found while doing ( or preparing ) the post :

20th Century Danny Boy has a really lengthy interview with Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle on their five year tenure on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS and some other topics, as well as a long article on Norm Breyfogle´s 1992 Batman redesign . They also did a post on his 50th birthday that has a lot of great art on it like some original pages. Comic Book Resources has an older interview with Norm Breyfogle and Chuck Satterlee about their OF BITTER SOULS book which may be a bit outdated but still has some interesting parts as it looks back on Norm´s early days in the industry. They also listed Norm Breyfogle as number 199 of their 365 reasons to love comics list. O´Ryan´s Observatory was especially busy with four posts on Norm Breyfogle : one about his work on DETECTIVE COMICS with Alan Grant ( which is labeled as number 1 so there may be more to come ) whereas the rest is one interview in three parts ( part 1 / part 2 / part 3 ) . And last but not least 13th Dimension provides THE GOTHAM TRIBUNE : NORM BREYFOGLE and there´s some cool Breyfogle art on Comicverso´s SHOWCASE : Norm Breyfogle post .

I couldn´t end this post without including some homage covers by Norm Breyfogle. The first one - though probably not used as a cover at all as far as I know - is Norm´s version of the A DEATH IN THE FAMILY cover.

The second one was indeed used for a cover but don´t worry if you can´t remember it. It was used for a special holographic cover for PRIME which is a real shame. Of course it´s done in homage to ACTION COMICS 1.

And with that I´m wrapping up this post since it´s already two hours after Norm Breyfogle´s birthday and I think you have enough to read. Now there are a lot of Norm Breyfogle interviews you can find on YouTube, even some where you see him drawing. But I´m going with a fan made motion comic of DETECTIVE COMICS 601 since it has the most action.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Big Culo Day 2014 !

Yep, that´s just typical for me : I missed Valentine´s Day butt I managed to do a post on Big Culo Day ( although only bare - ly ). I´m not sure what that says about me besides that I´m male, not dead and still single.

( art plug 1 : picture above is by kiwine whose deviantArt link you can find here but BEWARE, the gallery contains ADULT CONTENT )

Ass always I didn´t really prepare in advance so I just quickly gathered all the pictures of babes with sexy butts I could find ( and when I say quickly I mean I didn´t spend more than an hour on it ) and we´ll see how far we come before it´s time to go to bed. For those not familiar with Big Culo Day, it´s an ongoing annual event that was initiated by fellow blogger Jotace from EL BLOG DE JOTACE and which is all about big butts.  Yes, any cheap excuse to put ass pictures on the blog so let´s get to it.


Originally I wanted to safe this for my next post on Power Girl butt since it looks like that´s gonna be a while - and there will be still tons of Power Girl material left - I´m going to put it here. I´m not sure if it´s a meme that´s going on the interwebs butt I have found several pictures where Power Girl´s cleavage is not in the usual place. Here´s the first one by - art plug 2- BobbyRubio ( BobbyRubio´s deviantArt gallery link ).

In the gallery are some sweet drawings like one of Jamie Alexander with her now famous dress from the THOR : THE DARK WORLD premiere.

For me one of the best dresses on the red carpet so far this year although - keeping with the topic of this post - the best part is the rear.

Back to Power Girl and her derriere, my second pic is by Joe Gravel, an artist some of my longtime readers might be familiar with.

Now while it´s not that difficult to find him on the net it is rather difficult to find some pictures that are safe to post here, so I´m not including a link here. Which is a damn shame because his stuff is not only very sexy but outright hilarious. Especially if you know your comics continuity.

Our third picture is by Budd Root and I also can´t remember from where I got this one. So there´s no gallery link on this one either. Sorry, guys.

Budd Root is of course best known for his CAVEWOMAN series which he doesn´t draw anymore. Art Adams once said, that if he had been smart he would have done a comic like CAVEWOMAN instead of MONKEYMAN AND O´BRIEN. A hot, super strong chick, giant gorillas and dinosaurs.

Anyway, the book has been on hiatus for many years after Basement Comics suddenly went away ( one of my longest gaps in my various comic collections is the one in CAVEWOMAN - PANGEAN SEA ) but it has returned at its new home at Amryl Entertainment. I only found out last year by accident when I was browsing one of my online comic shops. It´s not as good as with the man himself at the art but Rob Durham and Devon Massey are doing a very good job and now that there are two artists dividing the chores comics are coming out on a more regular basis. And Budd Root still does the occasional nude cover. I just hope that sales are at a point where they can start putting the old stories into trades.

Coming back to Power Girl, the last one is by CallMePo, who I have featured a few times on this blog but here´s the obligatory gallery link anyway ( obligatory warning : this one also contains adult material ).

And that´s all about Power Girl for now, I just hope I can post more of her stuff - which has piled up a lot in the last few months - very soon.


Yes, I know what you must be thinking right now : WTF ? Is this for real ? We´re talking about a kid´s show here. Now while that is true I was just recently re - watching the show when I noticed something strange.

Now I´m not an expert on all things Marvel but so far there hasn´t been an established ethnical background for S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Maria Hill ( well, sometimes boss depending on the storyline ), I think in all the comics I read she was always depicted as the regular white caucasian female.

When I was re - watching the episodes I noticed that somebody apparently decided that with a name like Maria she has to be a latina and gave her a butt to put Beyonce and J - Lo to shame. I´m not kidding. I literally had to take a break because I was getting a boner. Here´s a pic from the show.

Man, she really got some serious back. I wonder if she got sexed up to use her womanly wiles on horny Tony Stark, to get him to cooperate.

Thanks to SO EASILY DISTRACTED for providing the picture and proving that I´m not the only one who got extremely distracted by Maria´s booty.

So that´s my Big Culo tv tip for Today and with that we´re again at the end of the post, rather sooner than later because I spent a lot of time looking for pictures since I couldn´t prepare for this. Happy Big Culo Day.

As we couldn´t end this post without a special Big Culo video, here´s one I came across a long time ago. It´s a burlesque dancer who could give stripper wannabe Miley Cyrus lessons in twerking. Enjoy the show !

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Remember : you can´t say " happiness " without saying " penis ".

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Epicly Illustrated Journey to Dreadstar

After writing so much about old Marvel and DC comics in my last posts I wanted to write about an independent comic - well, sort of. It´s one of the comics on my reading pile and while it had many incarnations at various independent publishers its roots lie with Marvel Comics.

Or rather with their Epic line. And yes, while this post is about a new edition of DREADSTAR it´s once again time for another trip with the " Way Back When Machine " back to the 80s when Marvel was the House of Ideas instead the House of Big Events ( or the House without a Clue ).

Back to DREADSTAR and Epic, for those younger readers out there, during the 80s there was a big boom where everybody was trying his hands at independent comics. Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman had managed a giant hit with their TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES which was a black and white comic nonetheless. Which proved that it was possible to compete with the big two without having to produce color comics, which at that time was too expensive for some indie publishers. The thing they could offer however which the big two didn´t was creative ownwership.

Up to this point while you could become a big star at DC or Marvel the thing you never got was copyright. Everything you did was still work for hire and everything you created belonged to the company you worked.

Now the smaller publishers could offer you the intellectual ownership of all your ideas and creations. There was no guarantee your comic would be a hit or sometimes even that you would be paid. But if it was successful it was totally yours. So in order to prevent all their top creators from abandoning ship and trying their luck elsewhere Marvel started the Epic imprint where creators could retain the rights to their creations and get royalties. Which is where the story started for me, not with one of the many series they launched later like COYOTE ( or DREADSTAR ) or ALIEN LEGION but with their EPIC ILLUSTRATED magazine, which was simply called EPIC when it came to Germany thanks to the Condor Verlag in 1983.

Yes, the Condor Verlag did not only publish the much hated pocket books they also tried all kinds of formats like regular comic size, magazine sized " albums " like they are called here in Germany and magazines like EPIC.

I´m not sure but I think this was when Volksverlag published U - COMIX


so I was probably reading those two anthology magazines on a regular basis. The thing was you couldn´t get those in Neckarweihingen and I had to go to the newsstand in Ludwigsburg for that. But I could buy EPIC at the local stationary store where I went every week for the lottery ticket.

Now what I liked about EPIC was that it featured some of the artists I already knew from my super hero comics like John Byrne, John Buscema or Barry Windsor - Smith but also artists I knew from SCHWERMETALL like Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson or Jeffrey Jones. And like those other publications the stories were aimed at an older target audience and more explicit. Yay for nudity ! Well, this was a big deal for me back then.

And I guess it was an additional selling point for american comic creators. Not only were they given ownership, they had more artistic liberty ( which also was a plus for Marvel since they could do more adult material ) and the printing was much better than the usual three colour system. All of the covers and even some of the stories in EPIC were fully painted.

But what does this all have to do with DREADSTAR you might ask. And you probably are bored out of your mind by my ramblings about now. Well, one of the serials in EPIC was the METAMORPHOSIS ODYSSEY by Jim Starlin which first was in black and white but which later on made full use of the improved color palette.  It´s one of the best science fiction stories you will ever read - period - and it introduced the character of Vance Astrovik who would later on star in his own series under the title of DREADSTAR.

But for me that series was still in the far future as I only got the parts of METAMORPHOSIS ODYSSEY that were in the german EPIC magazine and also another milestone comic from Condor by Jim Starlin : The Death of Captain Marvel which kicked off the Marvel Comic´s Graphic Novel line.

I think I read somewhere that Marvel is reprinting all those classic graphic novels from the 80s and 90s which may not be such a good idea keeping in mind that they want to sell those new graphic novels they do NOW.

Because if you want to sell your customers the drivel you are currently producing it´s not really the best strategy to hit them over the head how much better you product used to be. While preparing for this post I was going through my graphic novels and boy, it´s like a Who´s Who of current and up and coming comic superstars. Another thing I noticed is that - as usual - my comics are original copies, german translations and spanish editions. The originals are all from later on in my comic reading career which is one of the reasons why there was a huge gap in reading the adventures of Dreadstar since I never got the DREADSTAR graphic novel you can see at the top of the post. The graphic novels I got were the ones I could get in Germany and in Spain, of course the first ones where those I could get in the spanish translation because Spain was - and still is - at least one decade ahead of Germany in comic trends.

From the spanish editions I only have two which is sad because FORUM produced these high end hardcovers with fabulous glossy paper that lasts for decades : SWORDS OF THE SWASHBUCKLER by Bill Mantlo and Jackson Guice, PIRATAS DEL ESPACIO ( Space Pirates ) in the spanish version.

Like the spanish name suggest it´s a really cool sci fi series about pirates in space and - if I remember correctly - a young earth girl whose granny is somehow connected to their captain ( the horny woman with the green shirt ). The story of the graphic novel was continued in a 12 part series.

And ELRIC CITY OF DREAMS by Michael Moorcock, Roy Thomas and P. Craig Russell which is called .... well, basically the same thing in spanish.

Man, if there ever was an artist born to bring Michael Moorcock´s nightmarish landscape of the albino prince to life it´s P. Craig Russell. If you are a fan of Michael Moorcock´s books and a comic fan you must get this graphic novel as well as the other adaptions Craig Russell has done.

But let´s get back to my big pile of Marvel´s 80s graphic novels : now the german versions by Condor are all softcovers and like most german comic publications they are not confined to a single series. Since Spider - Man is the most popular one in Germany the graphic novel HOOKY was issue 1 of DIE SPINNE JUBILÄUMS - COMIC - ALBUM under the ominous title of DER KAMPF DER HEXENMEISTER ( Battle of the Warlocks ) - that´s probably because the original title doesn´t sound very spooky in german.

The rest of Marvel´s graphic novels were first published as the Epic Comic Collection albums, which ran from 1983 to 1985

and later on as MARVEL COMIC EXCLUSIV, from 1987 to 1993.

Now, of course I can´t mention the german versions without mentioning the different covers some of the comics had like - for instance - SUPER BOXERS by Ron Wilson, John Byrne and Armando Gil. Looks pretty good.

And here´s the german version. WTF ? Now who in his right mind would think this is a better cover than the original ? The boss´ son in law ?

But wait, I got an even better one for you. Here´s the original cover to John Byrne´s SENSATIONAL SHE - HULK graphic novel by the man.

And here´s the abomination that was let loose on german readers which undoubtly led to years of intensive therapy sessions down the road.

Inside was - of course - the same terrific art by John Byrne and the story was pretty risque. I don´t know if Marvel ( well, Disney ) would allow a story where She Hulk had to strip naked in front of a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. I´m not even sure if they would allow this dress.

" Oh, but what about those graphic novels by Marvel in the original language ? " you might ask yourself. Well, I also have a lot of those - in softcovers as well as in hardcover - but once again our time is up for Today. And I really could do a whole post on those wonderful novels alone.

If you haven´t read them please go to your local comic shop and check them out. They are probably not very expensive and most shops have them in stock. One of my personal tips is THE INHUMANS written by the great Ann Nocenti, who used some of them as part of the supporting cast during her fantastic run on DAREDEVIL. The art is by the often underrated Bret Blevins one of my personal favorites who is hugely missed from our four colored publications. The comic landscape is a bleaker space for it. 

As usually I got distracted a bit, talking about Epic Illustrated and graphic novels by Marvel and all this stuff so you´ll have to wait until the next part to find out how and where I finally discovered the DREADSTAR series. But first let me give credit to those that helped put this post together :

OPEN LETTERS MONTHLY has an interesting post by Justin Hickey about P. Craig Russell´s adaptions of Elric and The Jungle Book ( of which none of the pics ended up on the post ), Ben Djarum´s post CODEX APOCRYPHA : BOYHOOD INFLUENCES is just full of cool - but also very graphic - stuff ( it provided the Elric art for the post ) and last but not least the EPIC THURSDAY ! post by Sean Robson at TALES FROM THE FLAMING FAGGOT provided the much appreciated Metamorphosis Odyssey page. Airwolf !  

Now before I wrap up this post there have been some complaints about the lack of pictures with big breasted cosplay massitas in my latest posts. Which is totally unacceptable and will be rectified right away. It is still a few days until BIG CULO DAY 2014 so I hope this Lara Croft helps a bit.

As for the video at the end here´s the first part of the Metamorphosis Odyssey. There are a few about this and Dreadstar on YouTube but this is the only one I found with music. Princes of the Universe, indeed.

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